UO to host conference on exploring opportunities in big data

Data Center

Big data poses big challenges and opportunities for researchers. Large science experiments like the one taking place at the CERN Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, Switzerland, can generate one petabyte of data every second (one petabyte is equivalent to 1000 terabytes), and even modest genome sequencing projects can produce terabytes of information that must be stored, organized and analyzed in order for it to be useful to researchers and businesses.

And big data is only growing bigger. This year alone the world will store approximately 2.16 zettabytes of data (one zettabyte is equivalent to one billion terabytes or 36 million years of HD video) according to the International Data Corporation. By 2016, global storage capacity will nearly double to more than 3.7 zettabytes.

To address the challenges and opportunities presented by big data, the University of Oregon Office for Research & Innovation and the UO Graduate School will host the Big Opportunities with Big Data conference on Friday, Aug. 8, bringing together industry experts and university members from across the country.

The event will be a unique opportunity for students, faculty, entrepreneurs and industry leaders to learn more about issues facing big data as they create new connections and develop future partnerships.

The conference’s four sessions will be organized around:

  1. Big Data, the Internet and Social Media

  2. Medical Informatics

  3. Big Data Challenges for Industry

  4. Big Data and Biology

This year’s keynote speaker will be Curtis Huttenhower, assistant professor of biostatistics at Harvard University. Huttenhower specializes in developing scalable methods for mining unstructured genomic data, with applications to the study of microbial communities and human health.

The keynote address will be presented in conjunction with the UO META Center for Systems Biology’s Symposium on Host-Microbe Systems Biology: Modeling our Microbial Selves, being held from Aug. 8 -10. Other crossover events will include a joint reception and a poster session.

In addition to the keynote speaker, a diverse list of industry speakers is also scheduled for the conference, including representatives from Concentric Sky, Floragenex, IBM, Illumina, Moonshadow Mobile, PeaceHealth Medical Centers, Salem Health, Trident Capital and WebMD.

The conference will take place in the Ford Alumni Center’s Guistina Ballroom. The event is free and open to the public; however, pre-registration is required. For more information and to register for the event, visit the Big Opportunities with Big Data website no later than Friday, Aug. 1.

—By Andrew Stiefel, Office for Research & Innovation