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“Big Data Analytics: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”



May 12, 2014
5:00 pm
Bailey Hall 207

Refreshments will be served in Bailey Hall 204 - 4:45pm


Much has been written recently about “Big Data”, and the new possibilities that mining this explosion of data brings. It promises to help us understand or predict everything from how cancer patients will respond to different treatments to what a customer might purchase next from Amazon. As with most new phenomena, it is hard to sift through the hype and fanfare to understand what is actually true, and what is actually useful. This presentation will explain the significance of the Big Data phenomenon, illustrate some of the newer analytical methods, as well as highlight some noteworthy accomplishments (the “good”). In addition, it will explain some of the failures of Big Data analytics (the “bad”), which seem to be just as common, but are much less publicized. A key point emphasized is that, contrary to much published literature on the topic, massive data sets do not replace sound modeling fundamentals, common sense, or subject matter knowledge. Lastly, we consider perhaps the most serious issue with proliferation of uncontrolled data on the Internet, which is the potential lack of privacy to ordinary citizens (the “ugly”). It is argued that our technical capability to collect and analyze data is currently outpacing meaningful societal dialogue as to where to place reasonable boundaries to protect individual privacy.

For additional information, send e-mail to math@union.edu or call (518) 388-6246.
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