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Turning to Big, Big Data to See What Ails the World

Image from IHME website Like many fields, public health is in the midst of a data revolution: randomized control trials, pay-for-performance and value calculations, all based on data, are changing our ideas about what works and how to finance it. The impact of these new methods to gather and evaluate data pales, however, next to the Global Burden of Disease Report, an attempt to understand what sickens us and kills…

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Learning to See Data

FOR the past year or so genetic scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York have been collaborating with a specialist from another universe: Daniel Kohn, a Brooklyn-based painter and conceptual artist. Mr. Kohn has no training in computers or genetics, and he’s not there to conduct art therapy classes. His role is to help the scientists with a signature 21st-century problem: Big Data overload. Advanced computing…

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Learning to share big data

Ed Lazowska. Source: Seattle Business The University of Washington has launched a new project that could dramatically increase the power of academic research by giving a broad universe of scientists — including astronomers, physicists, chemists and biologists — faster and smarter ways of extracting information and meaning from the increasingly large amounts of data they have available to them. The new project is managed by the UW’s newly established eScience…

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Recent advances in massive, open, online science research

First MOOCs, now MOOLs: Massive Online Open Laboratories Self-assembling RNA molecules present compelling substrates for the rational interrogation and control of living systems. However, imperfect in silico models—even at the secondary structure level—hinder the design of new RNAs that function properly when synthesized. Here, we present a unique and potentially general approach to such empirical problems: the Massive Open Laboratory. The EteRNA project connects 37,000 enthusiasts to RNA design puzzles…

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What? Me Worry? Privacy, Big Data, and Statistical Research

Big Data have not only brought statistics to increasing relevance and importance, but have also led to references of statisticians and/or statistics being sexy! The seemingly unlimited potential for new types of data to predict human behavior has changed the practice of business and government, enabling marketing experts to tell stores your daughter is pregnant before she has even told you, permitting city managers to optimize city evacuations in disasters,…

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Accord Aims to Create Trove of Genetic Data

Photo by Phil Noble, Reuters More than 70 medical, research and advocacy organizations active in 41 countries and including the National Institutes of Health announced Wednesday that they had agreed to create an organized way to share genetic and clinical information. Their aim is to put the vast and growing trove of data on genetic variations and health into databases — with the consent of the study subjects — that…

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Data Science: The Numbers of Our Lives

HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW calls data science “the sexiest job in the 21st century,” and by most accounts this hot new field promises to revolutionize industries from business to government, health care to academia. The field has been spawned by the enormous amounts of data that modern technologies create — be it the online behavior of Facebook users, tissue samples of cancer patients, purchasing habits of grocery shoppers or crime statistics…

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Making big data user-friendly

NPR’s Marketplace Tech Report profiled a new tool this morning for analyzing big data collected from “all” social media sites. Called SumAll, this resource turns an otherwise cumbersome job of sleuthing and analysis into an easy point-and-click experience. What if researchers could develop a platform like this for analyzing big data from science, within studies, and across disciplines? The technology and user interface know-how is clearly ready. Is the data?…

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