Students Staff

10 January 2014

Big data conference at Essex backed by top businesses

The potential of using big data to transform businesses, improve services and offer vital insights to decision makers is being highlighted at a high profile conference being hosted by the University of Essex and featuring speakers from Intel, BT, Experian and Essex County Council.

Big data refers to the explosion in data generation over the past decade. Finding a way to extract useful insights and knowledge from the seemingly endless stream of information being generated in our modern world is a huge challenge to businesses, but is also seen as a vitally important route to growth and innovation.

‘Exploring Smart Data Analytics’ on Tuesday 14 January will offer organisations and companies from across the region the chance to hear about how big data is being used in a range of fields from retail and finance to the public sector and how the University of Essex is undertaking pioneering work in this field.

Speakers include Innovation Manager at Intel Mark Woodward, Director for Information Services at Essex County Council David Wilde, Chief Research Scientist on Data Analytics at BT Research and Innovation Detlef Nauck and Paul Orton from Experian.

Essex speakers will include Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Forster, from Essex Business School - Professor Vania Sena, Professor Neil Kellard and Dr Abhijit Sengupta, and Professor Maria Fasli from the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering.

The University is working with the South East Local Enterprise Partnership to make the University of Essex a leading centre of excellence for big data analytics.

This will further build on the University's international reputation for the collection, curation, management and analysis of big data and the important research projects covering this field based at Essex.

Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts MP announced in October that the University was central to plans for a Big Data Network for the UK with almost £5 million allocated to establish the UK Data Service at Essex - a new service for streamlining research access to data collected by government departments and other agencies.

Understanding Society, one of the biggest longitudinal studies of its kind in the world, is based in the Institute for Social and Economic Research and the Colchester Campus is also home to the UK Data Archive – the UK's largest collection of digital research data in the social sciences and humanities.

The School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering is also working on a number of projects relating to 'big data'. This includes helping companies around the world to analyse large data sets using techniques such as text mining to extract trends, information and market insights. Essex was also one of the first universities in the country to launch a Masters programme devoted to big data with MSc Big Data and Text Analytics.

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