State, industry leaders converge at third annual MSU-hosted Data Summit

Contact: Laura McPhail

STARKVILLE, Miss.— Registration is now open for the third annual Data Summit, hosted by Mississippi State University’s National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center (NSPARC). Discussions and activities at the two-day event, held at The Mill Conference Center on 600 Russell St. in Starkville on September 13-14, will focus on data science and the growing emergence of “smart cities.”

Sessions at the summit will explore how data science can lead to new innovations and processes within the smart city concept across various industries, including agriculture, communication and media, education, energy and infrastructure, and city planning, government, health, leisure, mobility and logistics, public safety, security and data integrity.

Legislators and representatives from multiple agencies, businesses and organizations, including many from outside of Mississippi, will participate in presentations, panel discussions and breakout sessions — all focused on the invaluable role of data science in the growing smart city trend.

“Opening a dialogue on improving the smart city framework is important because it will help us understand how data science can help towns and cities modernize and compete in the growing data economy,” said NSPARC Executive Director Domenico “Mimmo” Parisi. “Finding ways to turn data into services and goods will transform our daily lives. Data will be the new economic currency, so identifying processes and technologies that can make good use of data is at the heart of the smart city concept.”

“It’s a big topic that touches so many sectors, and we are excited to extend the summit to two days this year,” Parisi added.

Speakers for Data Summit 2018 are still being scheduled, but several industry leaders and lawmakers have already confirmed that they will attend. Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves will open the summit, and Mark Henry of the Mississippi Department of Employment Security will be master of ceremonies. Key speakers from the business world include Stephen Bye, president of C Spire, Jessica Osaki, product operations manager at Google, and Judd Williams, CIO for the NCAA. Other special guests include Keith Squires, commissioner of the Utah Public Safety Department, and Steve Soltis, senior advisor with MAS Leadership Communication and former lead executive communication strategist for the chairman of Coca Cola. 

Registration for Data Summit 2018 is $25 until Aug. 31 and will increase to $40 through Sept. 7. For registration and additional information, including a full list of sponsors and confirmed speakers, visit, and follow the summit on Twitter with #msds2018.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at



NSPARC is expanding the boundaries of data science to create knowledge and innovations that drive human progress. Our expertise includes data analytics, predictive analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, system of systems, data governance, cybersecurity, cloud technology, and high-performance computing. Known primarily for our work with smart government and more than 50 data innovations created in the last 10 years, NSPARC has achieved national prominence in the data science field. For more information, visit