Saturday, May 16, 2015

Big data hub in Chuncheon at Kangwon National University!

My first university teaching job started eight years before I earned the Ph.D. in communication at Stanford University and began teaching at the University of Texas at Austin. The job came to me as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Korea, assigned with my "K-16" cohort colleagues to teach English as a second language in universities throughout Korea. My assignment was to teach in the English Education department at Kangwon National University in Chuncheon.
Given all that transpired since that early experience in Korea, you can only imagine my pleasant surprise to learn that Kangwon National University, with support from Naver and the government, has established a "big data hub" on its campus. As reported in the Korea Joongang Daily, "According to the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning on Monday, Naver opened the nation’s 10th creative economy innovation center in Chuncheon on Monday along with a start-up fund worth 105 billion won ($96.2 million) dedicated to foster start-ups specializing in big data. The center occupies two buildings on the Kangwon National University campus in Chuncheon with about 1,270 square meters (13,670 square feet) of space. Start-ups can move in and work with the university’s entrepreneurship support center."
As shown in the accompanying photo from, President Park Geun-hye attended the opening of the new center in Chuncheon (click to see a full-size version of the photo).  In the article, she is quoted as saying "In the past, Gangwon-do supported Korea's industrialization with its natural resources, such as minerals, but from now on, it will help the Korean economy leap ahead with new resources, like big data," said the president. "Big data, as important as petroleum was in the 20th century, is the new capital for a creative economy. It creates added-value and jobs that require creativity and new ideas, with very few physical resources."  Those remarks by President Park are yet another indicator that she has a deep understanding of digital convergence and the underlying dynamics of the digital network revolution.
As a young American Peace Corps Volunteer, I taught at a provincial university that was at that time a relatively small one, based on agriculture and related departments.  At the time, I was incapable of imagining what might happen to this nation, thanks to its investment in education, and consequently its ability to harness the power of the digital network revolution!  My deep and sincere congratulations to the people in Gangwon Province, Chuncheon and Kangwon National University, who made this transformation possible.

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