Brown University Scientists Receive $3.1 Million Grant for Big-Data Analysis Software

Computer scientists at Brown University, an NEC member, recently received a $3.1 million grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop software aimed at improving big-data analysis.

The team of computer scientists is building the new software to conduct rigorous tests to explore big-data and determine if results are statistically significant, which is not possible using current commercially available data exploration software. The software will be able to identify patterns and determine if those patterns are real, relevant correlations in the data set, or coincidental. The team hopes to devise a system that can alert users when they are near discovering genuine correlations that are not actually statistically significant but often appear after multiple questions or filters are applied to a data set, a phenomenon known as “multiple comparison problem.” If the team is successful, the tool will help pretend users from making false discoveries.

“The goal is to build a user-friendly system that can easily explore data and produce useful visualizations, but also continuously controls for the statistical validity of the results,” said the project’s principal investigator Eli Upfal, a professor of computer science at Brown University.

The New England Council congratulates Brown University on this grant to further their efforts at improving big-data analysis, which can help both private and public institutions across the region and beyond. Read more in Brown University News and Providence Business News.

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