Using R to Build a Data Discovery Tool for Domain Experts

Monday, October 23, 2017 - 3:55 pm

Our team of researchers has, among their duties, to identify prospective donors for new research initiatives and academic programs. This involves both being able to write and run sophisticated queries on our database, as well as identifying patterns and associations in the data that can be used to surface the correct alumni and friends for a particular initiative. We wanted to put these abilities directly in the hands of research analysts, who are subject matter experts and can leverage that expertise in interesting ways when doing these searches, but who do not have SQL or data science backgrounds. We used R to build a tool called the "discovery engine" that meets both of those needs while remaining accessible for the research analysts. In this talk, we'll take a look at how we built this tool and how it is being used. 

Using R to Build a Data Discovery Tool for Domain Experts (Data Dialogs 2017)

Tarak Shah
Assistant Director of Prospect Analysis
University Development and Alumni Relations, UC Berkeley

Tarak Shah is the Assistant Director of Prospect Analysis at UC Berkeley in the University Development and Alumni Relations (UDAR), where he develops tools and analytics to support major gift fundraising. Find out more about him at