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Tag Archives: big data

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Reinventing social science

Taking research to policy is our thing; social science is a means to that, not an end. Yet, we cannot help but think of how weak an instrument social science has become, especially in South Asia. Here is something I wrote in relation to some internal discussions a few months back: Expressed demand for social […]

Give big data, or be forced . . .

We’re thinking about how we can leverage mobile network big data to help manage infectious diseases. Now the Economist has gotten on the case: Doing the same with Ebola would be hard: in west Africa most people do not own a phone. But CDRs are nevertheless better than simulations based on stale, unreliable statistics. If […]

India media coverage for mobile network big data for development research

The Hindu Businessline, a newspaper with sophisticated business coverage especially on ICT issues, has introduced our big data work to its readers. Can telecom networks be used for better urban planning? Colombo-based ICT think tank, LIRNEasia, has completed a project which used data from telecom networks in Sri Lanka to generate patterns related to population […]

LIRNEasia invited to speak on big data @ IIT-Delhi

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Two weeks back I was invited to give a guest lecture by the Department of Management Studies at IIT Delhi. The topic of my lecture was based on our ongoing work in using mobile network big data for development in Sri Lanka. Attended by 60+ graduate students and faculty from various departments (Management, Economics and Computer […]

Mobile may follow Pharma to break Big Data taboo

Turnover of GlaxoSmithKline was US$44 billion in 2013 and it annually spends $6.5 billion in R&D. Its sales data is public information while results of R&D had been the best kept secret until October 2012. Two years ago the British pharmaceutical behemoth has stunned the scientific community when it decided to share the detailed data […]

IBM is betting on what we’re betting on

As someone old enough to remember the 1984 Apple ad that assailed IBM as big brother, I am willing to bet Big Blue will pull through and to be amused by Apple collaborating with IBM. The areas IBM is betting heavily on include data analytics, cloud computing and corporate mobile and social computing. At a […]

Building the big data eco system

Yesterday, Sriganesh Lokanathan and I spent the day at the inaugural event of a business analytics group, pulled together by the Sri Lanka Ministry of Higher Education and the School of Information and Business Analytics at Deakin University. Seven Sri Lankan universities were represented by faculty as were several Sri Lankan IT firms. When the […]

A better way to define rural

Nalaka Gunawardene asks good questions. So I paid attention when he tweeted: Where does urban end & rural begin in #lka? Not silly admin demarcations, but in REAL terms? What decides: Tele-density? Purchasing power? — Nalaka Gunawardene (@NalakaG) July 5, 2014 Based on the ongoing work using mobile transaction generated data (big data), we can […]

Why big data?

Every time I hear people agonizing over the possible ill effects of big data, I think of Dhaka, a city that is being choked by traffic. We all know that the solutions to transport management are among the most difficult to implement. We know that, in fact, there are no perfect solutions. Public transport is […]

Big data and the delivery of government services

The IDRC Asia Office was kind enough to permit publication of a part of a concept paper I wrote for them. Here is an excerpt: At present, the principal methods for understanding users or demand are quantitative research (representative-sample surveys) and qualitative research. The former is used primarily for understanding “what” questions and the latter […]

Predicting energy consumption using telecom and electricity Big Data

As part of electricity work LIRNEasia has made recommendations on the importance of DSM in Sri Lanka. Effective DSM is not possible without smart meters and that was an important part of the message, when we were invited by the Colombo Electricity Board (CEB) to share our research with their senior management. So it was with […]

Some reflections on the analytical challenges in Big Data

The work that we have been doing using mobile network big data over the last year, has been challenging on many fronts. I’ve spent some time reflecting on some of the analytical challenges that are faced in the Big Data paradigm and the common fallacies that I sometimes find in the broader discussion I see […]

Can mobile meta data replace costly traffic studies?

Today was the first public airing of our big data for development research results. It was a small amount of time, so we focused on a limited set of issues. So we showed that anonymized data sets can easily substitute for costly traffic studies. Slides.

Discrimination and big data

Issue of discrimination coming up in big data policy review. The value of big data is in understanding the consumer. But with understanding comes the ability to discriminate. Not all discrimination is bad. But some may be. So that will be the next phase: President Barack Obama requested the review in January, when he called […]

Thinking about big data

The recent kerfuffle about Google flu trends showed all kinds of critics of big data come out of the woodwork. This is normal for anything new. I am sure there was an outpouring to hostility to the motor car when the first accident occurred. What I found useful was the cooling of the hype associated […]

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