University of Queensland: Using Big Data to perceive the modern world


University of Queensland: Using Big Data to perceive the modern world
  1. University of Queensland: Using Big Data to perceive the modern world
    latincorrespondent.com
    “Information is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine.” – Peter Sondergaard, Senior Vice President, Gartner Research The world is now recording more data than we are capable of processing. Over the next four years, the amount of digital data produced will exceed a staggering 40 zettabytes, which comes up... Read more » The post University of Queensland: Using Big Data to perceive the modern world appeared first on Latin Corre…
    Latin America

“Information is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine.” – Peter Sondergaard, Senior Vice President, Gartner Research

The world is now recording more data than we are capable of processing. Over the next four years, the amount of digital data produced will exceed a staggering 40 zettabytes, which comes up to 5,200 GB of data for every man, woman and child around the world, according figures from a Digital Universe study.

To give these numbers some perspective, Lucas Mearian, Senior Writer for Computerworld.com, highlights that 40 zettabytes is the equivalent of 40 trillion gigabytes, “estimated to be 57 times the amount of all the grains of sand on all the beaches on earth,” he says. Mearian also points out that to hit this figure, global data is expected to double every two years until we enter 2020.

As an impactful institution, the University of Queensland (UQ) is doing what it can to help us understand Big Data through intricate analytics. The University achieves this through the development of data fusion methods, allowing students and academics to ‘connect the dots’ and derive a global picture, from small-to-big, of certain situations; from market feedback on particular products and services, to overviews of patient medical conditions, to overall business performance, and even to trending social opinions in communities and various social networks.

Image courtesy of the University of Queensland

“Social media is now part of human life. It has been seen that performance of organisations can be influenced by social opinions,” notes Professor Xue Li, a UQ expert in Intelligent Web Information Systems. “For example, government elections, local housing prices, and stock market shares are all influenced by people’s attitudes, feelings, and moods,” UQ explains.

“Therefore, if we are able to accurately capture people’s sentiment and opinions expressed on social media toward certain objects, we can then predict changes of performance with respect to the changes of peoples’ opinions.”

Most Big Data applications incorporate three essential aspects: Big Data Fusion, Big Data Analytics, and Big Data Visualisation; one way UQ is striving to analyse Big Data is through the Data and Knowledge Engineering (DKE) research division of the School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering (ITEE). Here, Professor Xiaofang Zhou and his team of experienced academics are working at a world-first level on all three of these aspects in projects funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC).

“In dealing with the well-known three big- ‘v’ (volume, variety, and velocity) properties of Big Data, we are facing new challenges,” Professor Xue Li adds. “Firstly, traditional sampling and modelling theories are challenged: how much data ought to be enough for analysis? Should a solution be computed on the fly or simply searched over a large data space?

“Secondly, as in high-dimensional data space, every object would be an outlier, can we design algorithms and indexes to work with a large volume of high-dimensional yet sparse data efficiently,” he explains. “Thirdly how can we des…

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