Data science news

A Big Data Road Map for Government 

No entity produces, gathers and stores more data than the American government. So the challenges and opportunities of so-called Big Data loom large for the many agencies and departments of the United States government.

The Obama administration acknowledged that reality last spring when it announced a major research initiative in Big Data computing in government, with funding commitments that totaled $200 million.

Research is one step, but to really harness the Big Data opportunity there needs to be a proliferation of useful projects across government. The goal, of course, is to find insights and make better decisions using data from traditional databases as well as from the fast-growing new sources of digital data, including the Web, biological and industrial sensors, video, e-mail and social network communications.

A road map for rolling out Big Data projects in government is being released on Wednesday, “Demystifying Big Data: A Practical Guide to Transforming the Business of Government.” The report was produced by the TechAmerica Foundation, a nonprofit education organization, in consultation with technology experts in the White House, Internal Revenue Service, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and other agencies.

Electing Big Data: How federal Agencies can benefit from Analytics skills

For the government specifically, the inability to capture, sift through, and analyze the growing amount and variety of data can prove hugely detrimental, as data handling will be crucial to solving our country’s challenges. In addition, it will help our government spur innovation, strengthening our economy through technological advancements in business and society.

As explained in a recent opinion piece for The Hill by IBM Senior Vice President and Big Data Commission Co-Chair, Steve Mills, government officials who are armed with Big Data will be better able to address current issues, predict future ones, and have the insight to make more informed decisions on behalf of the American people.

As businesses, government and universities embrace new training and instruction we will see the true potential of Big Data and the impact it will have in the world.

What big data means for small business 

Almost 50% of CIOs surveyed said that they thought big data and business intelligence would be a top disruptive trend in 2013. However, much of the innovation and use of big data has traditionally neglected small businesses. Standard business intelligence (BI) tooling for accessing big data has been expensive, reliant on IT integration, and often required people trained in data analytics. However, over the last two years we’ve seen the rise of new cloud-based BI tools that focus on ease-of-use and lower cost. In addition, these tools provide built-in analysis that makes it easier for small businesses to utilize BI software and understand what big data means to them.

When Pirates Meet Advanced Analytics 

Crime fighters are learning to anticipate criminal behavior by finding important “clues” hidden in millions of pieces of disparate data. One fascinating example of this trend is the work that maritime professionals are doing to stop piracy.

They’re already good at analyzing structured data from previous incidents and real-time oceanographic conditions and they’re definitely seeing some results. The latest statistics from the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) show a 54% drop in reported incidents during the first half of 2012 as compared to the same period in 2011, some of which is certainly attributable to improved analytics.

Predictive Analytics on the Rise in Insurance Industry: Survey

According to a recent survey, the use of predictive analytics is on the rise in the insurance industry.

Insurance providers are increasingly interested in data or analytics solutions to help manage producers and improve their performance, according to a recent survey.

Trilogy Insurance & Financial Services partnered withInsurance Networking News to survey more than 100 insurance industry professionals on the current state of predictive analytics in the insurance sector. According to the research findings, insurance providers have made investments in analytics tools over the year but are just beginning to realize the significance of technology to help manage provider performance.

The top three benefits of insurance companies’ current data and analytics solutions  are customer segmentation, improving the competitive advantage of insurance carriers and retaining existing insurance customers.

The global spike in protests, tracked in social media and visualized

Protests are rising worldwide, according to this visualization produced by the intelligence analysis contractor firm Recorded Future. Their metric records “intensity” of references to protests in online media and social media, with red signifying heavy discussion of protests and blue for little or no discussion.

You can play with the chart here, but the above iteration displays data from all countries over the past year. The countries are ordered by intensity, with the most protest-saturated at the bottom and the least at top. (The graph is too small to fit all country names, so it displays the name of every fifth or so.)

The metric is not perfect, and not all protests are comparable. China experiences about 500 protests every day, yet its protests tend to be small and largely peaceful, whereas Syria’s far fewer “protests” can involve heavy artillery. “We are weighting by the amount of coverage, so if the more peaceful protests get less coverage on the Web, the numbers will be lower,” a Recorded Future designer responded when I asked about this.

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