Stories about “Big Data” often focus on the dilemmas posed by a deluge of data, but overlook the fact that scientists and engineers are creating powerful new techniques for collecting, managing and analyzing huge data sets. University of Rochester researchers are at the cutting edge of this research, backed by the latest super computers and a long tradition of inquiry and innovation. The potential applications are astounding, ranging from the prevention of global epidemics, to accurate predictions about which products will “sell” – and which ones won’t. These and several other avenues of research are highlighted at the Big Data conferences hosted by the University.
Big Data Analytics can be thought of as “sense-making” – finding meaningful patterns and high-level concepts in data. For example, at the low level, a CAT scan is simply an image of a slice of the body. Analysis algorithms can segment the image into different organs. At the high level, analytics can summarize the data in an extremely concise and meaningful way, such as “normal” or “diseased.”
Big Data analytics has emerged from the combined efforts of researchers in computer science, statistics, and economics, and in the physical, life, and social sciences. The area goes by several different names – for example, it is called “machine learning” or “data mining” in computer science and “predictive modeling” in finance. However, the researchers share an ever-growing toolkit of mathematics and computational methods. It is not uncommon to find a team including scientists trained in physics working on problems in finance, or for genetic analysis to make use of techniques developed for processing natural language text.
University of Rochester annual Big Data conferences bring together renowned researchers from across the nation, leaders of federal research funding agencies, representatives of high-technology companies, and faculty and students from the University of Rochester for presentations, discussions, and networking.
Work in Big Data is continuing to grow as a high-priority area for expansion in all of the University’s colleges and schools.
Big Data is the future, and the University of Rochester is helping make it happen.
Data Science is
“From the dawn of civilization until 2003, humankind generated five exabytes of data. Now we produce five exabytes every two days . . . and the pace is accelerating.”
—Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Google