Consulting for Statistics, Computing, and Analytics Research (CSCAR): Providing Expert Support for University of Michigan Researchers

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In today’s digital age, many research domains are highly reliant on data analysis, technical software, and advanced computing. To support researchers at the University of Michigan (UM) in navigating these complex areas, Consulting for Statistics, Computing, and Analytics Research (CSCAR) offers a wide range of free and recharge-based services. CSCAR’s team of highly trained consultants and experts provides individualized guidance and training to U-M researchers in all domains. Whether it’s data management, study design, statistical analysis, or the use of advanced computing resources, CSCAR is committed to helping researchers achieve their goals. In this article, we will explore the services and expertise provided by CSCAR, highlighting their commitment to supporting UM researchers.

Kerby Shedden, CSCAR Director and professor of statistics in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.

“By providing individualized support and training to U-M researchers in a variety of areas relating to the management, collection, and analysis of data, CSCAR is committed to helping researchers achieve their goals,” said Kerby Shedden, CSCAR Director and professor of statistics in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. 

Services Offered by CSCAR

CSCAR understands the diverse needs of UM researchers and offers a comprehensive range of services to address those needs effectively. These services include:

Individualized Consulting

CSCAR provides personalized consulting to UM researchers, addressing needs ranging from broad research strategy all the way down to the details of study design, statistical analysis, and data management.

“At CSCAR, we understand that researchers have diverse needs when it comes to data analysis and computing. That’s why we offer personalized consulting to ensure that researchers receive the support they need in their specific areas of research.” – Corey Powell, CSCAR consultant

Technical Software and Advanced Computing Support

In addition to statistical consulting, CSCAR offers support in using technical software and advanced computing resources. The team at CSCAR has expertise in various programming languages and software tools such as R, Python, SAS, SPSS, Stata, and Julia, among other tools. Whether researchers need assistance in debugging, profiling, or optimizing code, CSCAR consultants can provide valuable guidance.   CSCAR can also assist with the use of Greatlakes and other UM advanced computing infrastructure.

“At CSCAR, we welcome both new and experienced researchers. Almost anyone can benefit from our services.  We encourage anyone at UM to schedule an appointment to discuss their work with us, so that we can see how our expertise may contribute to achieving their research goals,” said Brenda Gillespie, CSCAR Associate Director and research associate professor of biostatistics. 

“We always listen to researchers’ specific needs and provide individualized support to assess which paths may be followed. We take pride in our ability to offer personalized guidance and training in a variety of areas relating to using technical software and advanced computing resources.” 

Manuscript Preparation and Grant Proposal Assistance

CSCAR consultants have extensive experience in manuscript preparation and the grant proposal process. Researchers are encouraged to consult CSCAR for questions relating to communication of technical findings, and addressing concerns raised by reviewers.

“We are dedicated to helping researchers resolve questions and concerns related to analytic approaches and to effectively present quantitative and empirical findings. Our ultimate goal is for researchers to find the most meaningful and robust findings in their data, to communicate effectively, and to achieve recognition for their insights,” said Carol Janney, CSCAR consultant with expertise in writing of research methods and results for publications, presentations, grants, and proposal development. 

Data Science and Analytics Support

With the increasing importance of data science and analytics, CSCAR provides specialized support in these areas. Researchers can seek assistance in data mining, text analysis, predictive modeling, and other advanced analytical techniques. CSCAR consultants can guide researchers in leveraging the power of data science to gain valuable insights from their datasets.

“We strive to help researchers uncover hidden patterns and trends in data through advanced statistical techniques. Whether researchers seek assistance with experimental design, regression analysis, predictive modeling, or complex machine learning algorithms, we are committed to providing analytic support to help them achieve their goals,” said Xiru Lyu, CSCAR consultant with expertise in statistical modeling, regression analysis, multivariate analysis, mixed models, and data visualization.

Workshops and Training

CSCAR provides training to U-M researchers through a variety of workshops that aim to enhance skills in statistical analysis, data science, and computing. These workshops cover topics such as regression analysis, machine learning, data visualization, and more.

“By participating in our workshops and training sessions, U-M researchers can stay up-to-date with the latest methods for analyzing and manipulating data, and acquire new techniques to enhance their research,” said Chris Andrews, CSCAR Consultant with expertise in statistical modeling, particularly survival analysis, all forms of regression, programming in R and SAS; applications to clinical trials, administrative claims data, and some “omics” areas.

“Our workshops cover a wide range of topics and are designed to provide researchers with the skills needed to succeed in their research endeavors”.

Areas of Expertise at CSCAR

The team at CSCAR comprises experts with diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise. These experts have years of experience working with researchers in different domains where data and computation play a crucial role. Some of the areas of expertise at CSCAR include:

  • Statistical Modeling and Analysis: CSCAR staff are skilled in various statistical modeling techniques, including regression analysis, survival analysis, multivariate analysis, and categorical data analysis. They can assist researchers in selecting and implementing the most appropriate statistical methods for their research questions.
  • High-Performance Computing: CSCAR consultants have expertise in utilizing high-performance computing resources for computationally intensive tasks. They can assist researchers in optimizing code, managing large and complex datasets, and utilizing parallel computing techniques to enhance computational efficiency.
  • Data Visualization: CSCAR consultants can help researchers effectively visualize their data through the use of statistical graphics and data visualization techniques. They can guide researchers in creating informative and visually appealing visualizations to communicate their findings effectively.
  • Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence: With the growing importance of machine learning and artificial intelligence in research, CSCAR experts can provide guidance in utilizing these techniques. They can assist researchers in applying machine learning algorithms, developing predictive models, and analyzing large and complex datasets.
  • Research Design and Study Planning: CSCAR consultants can assist researchers in formulating research aims, designing studies, and determining appropriate sample sizes and power analysis. They can provide valuable guidance in ensuring that research studies are well-designed and statistically sound.
  • Biostatistics and Epidemiology: CSCAR consultants with expertise in biostatistics and epidemiology can support researchers working in these fields. They can assist with study design, data analysis, and interpretation of findings in the context of public health research.
  • Spatial and Geographic Data Analysis: CSCAR experts can provide guidance in analyzing spatial and geographic data, including the use of geographic information systems (GIS) software. They can assist researchers in exploring spatial patterns, conducting spatial regression analysis, and visualizing geographic data.

These are just a few examples of the areas of expertise offered by CSCAR. Their team of consultants has a wide range of skills and knowledge to support U-M researchers across various disciplines.

Accessing CSCAR Support

CSCAR meetings are held in-person at the CSCAR office suite in the Rackham Building.  Appointments can also be held remotely using Zoom or another platform. To schedule a consultation with a CSCAR consultant, researchers can submit an appointment request online ( or call the CSCAR front desk (734-764-7828). CSCAR offers walk-in support during business hours, allowing researchers to receive immediate assistance. Technical questions can be sent to and administrative inquiries can be sent to  CSCAR requests that all correspondence be made using a U-M email address.

Consulting for Statistics, Computing, and Analytics Research (CSCAR) plays a vital role in supporting researchers at the University of Michigan. With their expertise in statistical analysis, technical software, and advanced computing, CSCAR consultants provide valuable guidance to UM researchers in various domains. From research design and data analysis to manuscript preparation and grant proposal assistance, CSCAR offers a comprehensive suite of services to help researchers achieve their goals. By leveraging the expertise and resources provided by CSCAR, U-M researchers can enhance the quality and impact of their research projects.

Women in HPC launches mentoring program

By | Educational, General Interest, HPC, News

Women in High Performance Computing (WHPC) has launched a year-round mentoring program, providing a framework for women to provide or receive mentorship in high performance computing. Read more about the program at

WHPC was created with the vision to encourage women to participate in the HPC community by providing fellowship, education, and support to women and the organizations that employ them. Through collaboration and networking, WHPC strives to bring together women in HPC and technical computing while encouraging women to engage in outreach activities and improve the visibility of inspirational role models.

The University of Michigan has been recognized as one of the first Chapters in the new Women in High Performance Computing (WHPC) Pilot Program. Read more about U-M’s chapter at

H.V. Jagadish appointed director of MIDAS

By | General Interest, Happenings, News

H.V. Jagadish has been appointed director of the Michigan Institute for Data Science (MIDAS), effective February 15, 2019.

Jagadish, the Bernard A. Galler Collegiate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Michigan, was one of the initiators of an earlier concept of a data science initiative on campus. With support from all academic units and the Institute for Social Research, the Office of the Provost and Office of the Vice President for Research, MIDAS was established in 2015 as part of the university-wide Data Science Initiative to promote interdisciplinary collaboration in data science and education.

“I have a longstanding passion for data science, and I understand its importance in addressing a variety of important societal issues,” Jagadish said. “As the focal point for data science research at Michigan, I am thrilled to help lead MIDAS into its next stage and further expand our data science efforts across disciplines.”

Jagadish replaces MIDAS co-directors Brian Athey and Alfred Hero, who completed their leadership appointments in December 2018.

“Professor Jagadish is a leader in the field of data science, and over the past two decades, he has exhibited national and international leadership in this area,” said S. Jack Hu, U-M vice president for research. “His leadership will help continue the advancement of data science methodologies and the application of data science in research in all disciplines.”

MIDAS has built a cohort of 26 active core faculty members and more than 200 affiliated faculty members who span all three U-M campuses. Institute funding has catalyzed several multidisciplinary research projects in health, transportation, learning analytics, social sciences and the arts, many of which have generated significant external funding. MIDAS also plays a key role in establishing new educational opportunities, such as the graduate certificate in data science, and provides additional support for student groups, including one team that used data science to help address the Flint water crisis.

As director, Jagadish aims to expand the institute’s research focus and strengthen its partnerships with industry.

“The number of academic fields taking advantage of data science techniques and tools has been growing dramatically,” Jagadish said. “Over the next several years, MIDAS will continue to leverage the university’s strengths in data science methodologies to advance research in a wide array of fields, including the humanities and social sciences.”

Jagadish joined U-M in 1999. He previously led the Database Research Department at AT&T Labs.

His research, which focuses on information management, has resulted in more than 200 journal articles and 37 patents. Jagadish is a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and he served nine years on the Computing Research Association board.

Most CSCAR workshops will be free for the U-M community starting in January 2019

By | Educational, General Interest, Happenings, News

Beginning in January of 2019, most of CSCAR’s workshops will be offered free of charge to UM students, faculty, and staff.

CSCAR is able to do this thanks to funding from UM’s Data Science Initiative.  Registration for CSCAR workshops is still required, and seats are limited.

CSCAR requests that participants please cancel their registration if they decide not to attend a workshop for which they have previously registered.

Note that a small number of workshops hosted by CSCAR but taught by non-CSCAR personnel will continue to have a fee, and fees will continue to apply for people who are not UM students, faculty or staff.

Eric Michielssen completes term as Associate Vice President for Research – Advanced Research Computing

By | General Interest, Happenings, News

Eric Michielssen will step down from his position as Associate Vice President for Research – Advanced Research Computing on December 31, 2018, after serving in that leadership role for almost six years. Dr. Michielssen will return to his faculty role in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in the College of Engineering.

Under his leadership, Advanced Research Computing has helped empower computational discovery through the Michigan Institute for Computational Discovery and Engineering (MICDE), the Michigan Institute for Data Science (MIDAS), Advanced Research Computing-Technology Services (ARC-TS) and Consulting for Statistics, Computing and Analytics Research (CSCAR).

In 2015, Eric helped launch the university’s $100 million Data Science initiative, which enhances opportunities for researchers across campus to tap into the enormous potential of big data. He also serves as co-director of the university’s Precision Health initiative, launched last year to harness campus-wide research aimed at finding personalized solutions to improve the health and wellness of individuals and communities.

The Office of Research will convene a group to assess the University’s current and emerging needs in the area of research computing and how best to address them.

U-M approves new graduate certificate in computational neuroscience

By | Educational, General Interest, Happenings, News

The new Graduate Certificate in Computational Neuroscience will help bridge the gap between experimentally focused studies and quantitative modeling and analysis, giving graduate students a chance to broaden their skill sets in the diversifying field of brain science.

“The broad, practical training provided in this certificate program will help prepare both quantitatively focused and lab-based students for the increasingly cross-disciplinary job market in neuroscience,” said Victoria Booth, Professor of Mathematics and Associate Professor of Anesthesiology, who will oversee the program.

To earn the certificate, students will be required to take core computational neuroscience courses and cross-disciplinary courses outside of their home departments; participate in a specialized interdisciplinary journal club; and complete a practicum.

Cross-discplinary courses will depend on a student’s focus: students in experimental neuroscience programs will take quantitative coursework, and students in quantitative science programs such as physics, biophysics, mathematics and engineering will take neuroscience coursework.

The certificate was approved this fall, and will be jointly administered by the Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP) and the Michigan Institute for Computational Discovery and Engineering (MICDE).

For more information, visit Enrollment is not yet open, but information sessions will be scheduled early next year. Please register for the program’s mailing list if you’re interested.

Along with the Graduate Certificate in Computational Neuroscience, U-M offers several other graduate programs aimed at training students in computational and data-intensive science, including:

  • The Graduate Certificate in Computational Discovery and Engineering, which is focused on quantitative and computing techniques that can be applied broadly to all sciences.
  • The Graduate Certificate in Data Science, which specializes in statistical and computational methods required to analyze large data sets.
  • The Ph.D in Scientific Computing, intended for students who will make extensive use of large-scale computation, computational methods, or algorithms for advanced computer architectures in their doctoral studies. This degree is awarded jointly with an existing program, so that a student receives, for example, a Ph.D in Aerospace engineering and Scientific Computing.


U-M awarded a Clare Boothe Luce grant for fellowships to support women in STEM

By | Educational, General Interest, Happenings, News

The Clare Boothe Luce Program of the Henry Luce Foundation has awarded a $270,000 grant to the University of Michigan. The funding will support women PhD students through the Michigan Institute for Computational Discovery and Engineering (MICDE). The program aims to encourage women “to enter, study, graduate and teach” in science, and the funding will support women PhD students who make use of computational science in their research.

“We’re very excited to be able to promote women in scientific computing,” said Mariana Carrasco-Teja, manager of the grant and Associate Director of MICDE. “These resources generously provided by the Clare Boothe Luce program will make a huge difference in the careers of women pursuing computational science at U-M.”

For details on applying, and fellowship requirements, see the fellowship page at

The fellowships carry a $35,000 annual stipend and tuition, among other benefits. They will be awarded to students applying for PhD programs in fall 2019 in the College of Engineering, or several programs in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts (Applied and Interdisciplinary Mathematics, Applied Physics, Astronomy, Chemistry, Earth & Environmental Sciences, Mathematics, Physics, and Statistics).

The CBL program at U-M is funded by the Clare Boothe Luce Program of the Henry Luce Foundation, with additional support from the Rackham School of Graduate Studies, the College of Engineering, the College of Literature, Sciences and the Arts, and MICDE.

ARC Director Sharon Broude Geva re-elected Chair of the Coalition for Academic Scientific Computation

By | HPC, News

Dr. Sharon Broude Geva, Director of Advanced Research Computing at the University of Michigan, has been re-elected as Chair of the Coalition for Academic Scientific Computation (CASC) for 2020.

Founded in 1989, CASC advocates for the use of advanced computing technology to accelerate scientific discovery for national competitiveness, global security, and economic success. The organization’s members represent 87 institutions of higher education and national labs.

The chair position is one of four elected CASC executive officers. The officers work closely as a team with the director of CASC. The Chair is responsible for arranging and presiding over general CASC meetings and acts as an official representative of CASC.

Geva served as CASC secretary in 2015 and 2016, and vice-chair in 2017 and 2018.


U-M participates in SC18 conference in Dallas

By | General Interest, Happenings, News

University of Michigan researchers and IT staff wrapped up a successful Supercomputing ‘18 (SC18) in Dallas from Nov. 11-16, 2018, taking part in a number of different aspects of the conference.

SC “Perennial” Quentin Stout, U-M professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and one of only 19 people who have been to every Supercomputing conference, co-presented a tutorial titled Parallel Computing 101.

And with the recent announcement of a new HPC cluster on campus called Great Lakes, IT staff from Advanced Research Computing – Technology Services (ARC-TS) made presentations around the conference on the details of the new supercomputer.

U-M once again shared a booth with Michigan State University booth, highlighting our computational and data-intensive research as well as the comprehensive set of tools and services we provide to our researchers. Representatives from all ARC units were at the booth: ARC-TS, the Michigan Institute for Data Science (MIDAS), the Michigan Institute for Computational Discovery and Engineering (MICDE), and Consulting for Statistics, Computing and Analytics Research (CSCAR).

The booth also featured two demonstrations: one on the Open Storage Research Infrastructure or OSiRIS, the multi-institutional software-defined data storage system, and the Services Layer At The Edge (SLATE) project, both of which are supported by the NSF; the other tested conference-goers’ ability to detect “fake news” stories compared to an artificial intelligence system created by researchers supported by MIDAS.


U-M Activities

  • Tutorial: Parallel Computing 101: Prof. Stout and Associate Professor Christiane Jablonowski of the U-M Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering provided a comprehensive overview of parallel computing.
  • Introduction to Kubernetes. Presented by Bob Killen, Research Cloud Administrator, and Scott Paschke, Research Cloud Solutions Designer, both from ARC-TS. Containers have shifted the way applications are packaged and delivered. Their use in data science and machine learning is skyrocketing with the beneficial side effect of enabling reproducible research. This rise in use has necessitated the need to explore and adopt better container-centric orchestration tools. Of these tools, Kubernetes – an open-source container platform born within Google — has become the de facto standard. This half-day tutorial introduced researchers and sys admins who may already be familiar with container concepts to the architecture and fundamental concepts of Kubernetes. Attendees explored these concepts through a series of hands-on exercises and left with the leg-up in continuing their container education, and gained a better understanding of how Kubernetes may be used for research applications.
  • Brock Palen, Director of ARC-TS, spoke about the new Great Lakes HPC cluster:
    • DDN booth (3123)
    • Mellanox booth (3207)
    • Dell booth (3218)
    • SLURM booth (1242)
  • Todd Raeker, Research Technology Consultant for ARC-TS, went to the Globus booth (4201) to talk about U-M researchers’ use of the service.
  • Birds of a Feather: Meeting HPC Container Challenges as a Community. Bob Killen, Research Cloud Administrator at ARC-TS, gave a lightning talk as part of this session that presented, prioritized, and gathered input on top issues and budding solutions around containerization of HPC applications.
  • Sharon Broude Geva, Director of ARC, was live on the SC18 News Desk discussing ARC HPC services, Women in HPC, and the Coalition for Scientific Academic Computation (CASC). The stream was available from the Supercomputing Twitter account:
  • Birds of a Feather: Ceph Applications in HPC Environments: Ben Meekhof, HPC Storage Administrator at ARC-TS, gave a lightning talk on Ceph and OSiRIS as part of this session. More details at
  • ARC was a sponsor of the Women in HPC Reception. See the event description for more details and to register. Sharon Broude Geva, Director of ARC, gave a presentation.
  • Birds of a Feather: Cloud Infrastructure Solutions to Run HPC Workloads: Bob Killen, Research Cloud Administrator at ARC-TS, presented at this session aimed at architects, administrators, software engineers, and scientists interested in designing and deploying cloud infrastructure solutions such as OpenStack, Docker, Charliecloud, Singularity, Kubernetes, and Mesos.
  • Jing Liu of the Michigan Institute for Data Science, participated in a panel discussion at the Purdue University booth.

Follow ARC on Twitter at for updates.