Home BlogWeekly News 10 Bits: The Data News Hot List

10 Bits: The Data News Hot List

by Travis Korte
Aziz Ansari

This week’s list of data news highlights covers June 22-28 and includes articles on topics from a new pharma data-sharing partnership to data-driven comedy.

Pictured: comedian Aziz Ansari, who is using basic demographic analysis to refine his comedy routines. Photo: Jakob Lodwick, Wikimedia Commons.

1. Big Pharma’s Big Data Push

Analytics giant SAS has announced a new partnership with GlaxoSmithKline to create a private cloud for the pharmaceutical industry in which to share and collaborate on massive stores of anonymized clinical trial data. GlaxoSmithKline committed to be the first company to share its data last October, and other large pharma companies are expected to enter into the collaboration. Dan Munro at Forbes notes that the partnership could be a “blockbuster” for big pharma data. http://onforb.es/19yesqb

2. Cognitive Neuroscience Data…From An App

Lumosity, a Bay Area startup that creates and sells “brain training” games, has published a paper in conjunction with psychiatrists from Duke University and the University of Michigan, using the startup’s massive cognitive performance database. The paper investigates the correlation between game performance and lifestyle factors such as sleep and alcohol use, but functions largely as a proof of concept for the use of such data in the context of cognitive neuroscience research.

3. What’s Next For Airline Data

The airline industry is overdue for a big data shakeup, according to information management scholar Thomas H. Davenport. Davenport, who recently released a paper subtitled “Turning Towards a Smarter Travel Experience,” interviewed executives in air travel and related industries, and developed case studies on successful data initiatives. He singled out British Airways, whose targeted sales program Know Me, has seen early success. http://nyti.ms/14cIzOz

4. Smart Ventures

Google Ventures, the internet giant’s business investment arm, is the subject of a new article on data-driven venture capital. Using data “gleaned from academic literature, past experience and due diligence,” Google Ventures’ small team crunches the numbers and presents results to the investors. Unlike many other VC firms (even emerging data-driven ones), Google’s team has enjoyed a high success rate from its 170 investments. http://nyti.ms/17xyP6f

5. Hadoop Analytics, Now With Streaming

Analytics company DataTorrent has raised $8m in seed funding for its real-time, Hadoop-compatible offering. Hadoop-based systems have traditionally failed to offer streaming options due to the platform’s orientation toward batch-processing, but there is emerging demand in business intelligence and elsewhere to get real-time alerts, which DataTorrent hopes to address with the help of its new funding. http://tcrn.ch/1aee7sh

6. Data Science For Non-Data-Scientists

Analytics software company Datameer announced a new version of its eponymous core product, with the aim of providing a big data analytics platform that can be used by people who are not data scientists. CEO Stefan Groschupf wrote on his blog that with Datameer 3.0, “What once were complex algorithms are now buttons you can click that will ‘automagically’ identify groups, relationships, patterns, and even build recommendations based on your data.” http://tcrn.ch/145Ijk8

7. Big Data For Development

The UN’s Global Pulse initiative released “Big Data for Development: A Primer,” which serves as an introduction to the capabilities of data science for development professionals. The primer was designed to aid in “the identification of sources of Big Data relevant to policy and planning of development programs,” and gives several case studies of successful initiatives, including a study that uncovered a close correlation between tweets about the price of rice in Indonesia and that country’s officially-released inflation figures. http://slidesha.re/11O5E6Y

8. Data Driven Comedy

Popular comedian Aziz Ansari is reportedly deploying basic demographic analytics to tailor his routines to audiences. Fans who provide their age, gender and relationship status will be able to apply for discounted tickets to two of his upcoming shows, and will be grouped according to similar demographic characteristics. Ansari hopes that this will allow him to gauge different groups’ reactions to his jokes.  

9. Satellite Imaging, And Lots Of It

Two former NASA employees have launched Planet Labs, a company that hopes to deploy a fleet of small imaging satellites. The fleet is unique because of the high frequency with which its data will be collected and stored. The startup’s representatives say they hope to provide universal access to the data, which could see application in oceanography, climate science and natural resource management

10. Cricket Analytics

Indian mathematician Srinivas Bhogle gave a comprehensive review of the state of cricket analytics. The sport, popular in many British commonwealth countries, has not received the level of analytical attention that sports such as baseball have gotten in the U.S.;  however, cricket’s methodical gameplay lends itself to meticulous data collection, which in turn has fed some burgeoning mathematical inquiry

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