PhD Studentships for 2014
Last updated on 5/13/2015 Print this page
Applications of Big Data for Social and Economic
Big data has valuable patterns and information within it that we
hitherto we did not have access to. Value can be created from big
data in a number of ways: making data more transparent (e.g.
sharing across public sector departments); as a basis for
controlled experiments (e.g. health interventions); for segmenting
customer populations for targeted interventions (e.g. randomised
controlled trials); replacing/supporting human decision-making with
automated algorithms; and innovating new business models, products,
and services (Gartner (2012).
Others predict a tsunami of data and Internet-scalable computing
with technologies such as Hadoop and noSQL that will make it
possible to "monitor a pandemic as it happens, anticipate where the
next bank robbery will occur, optimize fast-food supply chains,
predict voter behaviour on election day, and forecast the
volatility of political uprisings while they are happening"
(Needham 2013, p. 1).
From a research perspective, big data presents many
opportunities and challenges, from technical issues of data
collection, processing, storage, and analysis, through guiding
interventions and informing policy, to issues of privacy, security,
and civil liberties.
Big data can be used to help organisations operate more
effectively; it can also be made available to citizens and
businesses through an open data market.
IT developers can access big data through application program
interfaces (APIs), allowing them to build applications (apps) for
smart phones and other devices. For example, a traffic planning app
might be built that takes account of traffic congestion using a
traffic light feed, overlaid with roadwork data, taxi availability,
and local weather.
Collecting and storing sensitive data, analysing it, and making
some of it available in an open environment presents a multitude of
ownership, security, privacy, and ethical concerns. Proposals
related to use of big data by local government to improve, for
example, public health and to address health inequalities, to
increase citizen engagement and the democratic process are
welcomed, as are projects that consider the organisational change
aspects of big data and ethical and privacy issues..
To discuss informally how you might develop this doctoral
research please contact Professor Richard Vidgen, Hull
University Business School.
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