University of Calgary

Data, Data Everywhere

Submitted by alumni on Tue, 04/11/2017 - 22:08.

Data, Data Everywhere

Today, big data is disrupting and decoding so much of society. What, exactly, might that look like in 2067?
by Jenny De Guia

Big data is on track to touch all aspects of society — and that’s well in advance of our 50-year forecast. We are now living in a world where we use large sets of data to not only create predictive models and optimize business, but one where big data will benefit individuals as well.

Think of today’s smart watches, sensors and wearable devices that collect data on our calorie consumption, activity levels and sleep patterns. Soon, data analytics will be able to decode entire DNA strings in minutes and find new cures and better understand disease patterns. Integrating data from medical records with social media analytics will enable us to monitor flu outbreaks in real time.

Extrapolate this and the potential to predict the developments of epidemics and disease outbreaks is not merely the stuff of sci-fi. Big-data applications are currently used to optimize traffic flows, make financial trading decisions, foil terrorist plots and detect fraudulent financial transactions.

Today, it’s no longer an option not to use big data, says UCalgary computer science professor Sheelagh Carpendale. A world leader in the emerging field of information visualization, Carpendale and InnoVis (her interdisciplinary graduate research group in information visualization) have succeeded in increasing accurate diagnosing of pulmonary embolisms; in recreating the serendipitous search of physical books that libraries have lost through digitization; in manufacturing a digital representation of the aurora borealis; and in identifying gaps in treatment time for stroke patients. U

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