Data: out of the lab and into the wild

Data is no longer confined to spreadsheets and endlessly obtuse databases. This week’s SXSW Interactive conference highlighted the increasing use of big data in everything from political strategy to behavioral psychology to health care. Data science has even arisen as something as an art form, as data visualizations and infographics have become a popular cornerstone of both print and web journalism. As Derrick Harris noted on GigaOM, we’re seeing the growth of tools to help non-data scientists create visual representations of their social graphs and interactions. And in this week’s “10 ways big data changes everything,” our colleagues at GigaOM provide compelling case studies that look at big data’s role in everything from determining the next big pop hit to tracking the outbreak of infectious diseases in developing nations.

Visualization of Twitter bios in the big data community, by Benedikt Koehler (via Flickr)

Visualization of Twitter bios in the big data community, by Benedikt Koehler (via Flickr)

And, of course, data is at the crux of next week event, the GigaOM Structure:Data conference in New York City on March 21-22. The two-day event will feature over 60 speakers and 40 panels, fireside chats and breakout sessions. GigaOM has assembled a speaker lineup that includes both data industry veterans and promising upstarts from the tech sector, government agencies, think tanks and research firms. Two of the speakers and topics we’re most excited about are:

  • R. James Woolsey: Chairman, Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Venture Partner, Lux Capital Management, and Former Director of Central Intelligence
    Big Data, Security and Innovation
    Wednesday, March 21 (10:10 a.m.)

    Massive amounts of energy data will emerge as utilities in the U.S. add information technology to their grids. But this also could make the grid even more vulnerable to security concerns as that energy data could be hacked by people and nations that could use it to their advantage. Woolsey’s background in defense and venture capital puts him in a unique position to discuss the intersections of big data, security, innovation and energy. He’ll be joined by GigaOM senior writer (and Earth2Tech founder) Katie Fehrenbacher for this conversation.
  • Usama Fayyad: Chairman and CTO, ChoozOn
    The 3V’s of Big Data: Variety, Velocity and Volume
    Wednesday, March 21 (11:30am)

    Businesses are hungry for data science that is as theoretically strong as it is fine-tuned. This has led to advances in dealing with the 3V’s of big data: Variety, Velocity, and Volume. This talk will map the next frontiers of data science, highlighting its impact on various industries, including healthcare, consumer services, marketing and advertising, social media and more. Featuring Usama Fayyad, one of the world’s foremost experts on data mining.

Don’t have a ticket to Structure:Data? There are a limited number still available, and GigaOM Pro subscribers receive a 25 percent discount on all GigaOM conferences. Click here to take advantage of the special GigaOM Pro subscriber rate.

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