Data is part of everything we do, especially given the current open data movement. From financial market performance to farmer’s market locations, weather to health care, bridge and road safety to population information, significant amounts of data are yielded and available for aggregation and analysis, and can be applied to improve public services. This is the philosophy behind the open data movement —that if we make all of this data available to the public, at least the high-value data, we can crowdsource public service issues and come up with the best possible solutions.
But open data is only as good as the data analytics platforms and true data transparency policies on which it relies. Bringing big data, open data and data transparency together empowers data to solve some of the world’s most challenging problems. Over the last few years alone, I have seen big data used to reduce sepsis, understand Parkinson’s disease, combat child sex trafficking and fight Ebola, among many other noble causes.
One such cause was the University of Texas at Austin (UT) and the Texas Advanced Computing Center collaborating on two Data for Good hackathons to develop solutions to prevent, detect, fight and reduce mosquito-transmitted diseases, including the Zika virus.