UM Professor Wins IBM Big Data Faculty Award

August 25, 2014

MISSOULA – Brian Steele, an associate professor in the University of Montana Department of Mathematical Sciences, recently received a 2014 IBM Big Data Faculty Award.

The award, which includes a $10,000 prize, recognizes Steele’s interest in advancing coursework in big data, which is the analysis and study of extremely large data sets.

Over the past two years, UM has launched partnerships with technology companies such as IBM, software giant Symantec and local startups to develop big data curriculum. Big data analysis is an in-demand skill, with application in industries including business, computer science, government and law.

“This award is a recognition of the University’s effort to build this big data initiative,” Steele said. “I think it’s not directed to me so much as a group of individuals across campus.”

Steele acknowledges the work of Mathematical Sciences Department Chair Leonid Kalachev, Assistant to the Provost for Special Initiatives and Department of Geosciences Professor Nancy Hinman, and others with the successful launch of the initiative.

Steele said the award money will be used to help develop big data courses at UM, and the University is working to finalize a four-course big data certificate program.

For more information call Steele at 406-243-5396 or email More information on UM’s Big Data Science Initiative is available online at



Contact: Brian Steele, associate professor, UM Department of Mathematical Sciences, 406-243-5396,