NTU symposium explores Big Data trends to foster smarter communities of the future

Published on : 21-Mar-2014

From civic engagement to public health and traffic planning, Big Data – also known as the massive quantities of information about people and their daily interactions arising from multimedia, social media and the Internet – can produce a paradigm shift in how cities better organise themselves and improve the quality of life for urban residents, while leveraging the power of knowledge networks and collaborative digital technologies. 
The Wee Kim Wee School of Information and Communication (WKWSCI) at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) held its symposium on Big Data today, aimed at developing such smarter communities of the future.

About 200 academics, media researchers, industry players and government policymakers attended the symposium at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre. Mr Steve Leonard, Executive Deputy Chairman of Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) delivered the keynote address at the event, which centred on three themes: Social Media Analytics, Media Applications and Networked Communities.
Professor Alan Chan, Dean of NTU’s College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, said, “This symposium cannot be timelier. Social media and communication technologies are transforming the ways in which we live and have a huge impact on the economy.  The volume of data now available and the speed at which they can be transmitted hold tremendous possibilities for the development of global, connected communities, while at the same time raising complex social and ethical questions. NTU and the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, in particular, are keen to spearhead research in this exciting area.”

The symposium is part of NTU’s New Media thrust, one of the University's five Peaks of Excellence or interdisciplinary areas of research the University focuses on. The other four peaks are Sustainable Earth, Future Healthcare, Innovation Asia, and the best of East and West.

WKWSCI’s Acting Chair Professor Charles Salmon, said, “As a premier communication school in Asia, it is important for us to play a leading role in advancing our understanding of harnessing the rising volume of information that exists in society today. Given the speed and volume at which social media and communication technologies are generating information, we also appreciate the need for a new generation of media professionals who know how to use, analyse and understand big data. We look forward to working closely with the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and the industry to develop academic programmes to support Singapore’s efforts to be the Big Data analytics hub in the region.”

Mining and accurately analysing data can lead to better decision-making and greater efficiencies, thus helping companies improve their productivity and competitiveness, and enhancing the functioning of the public sector. However, many businesses and regulators today face the challenge of collecting huge data which is outpacing existing capabilities to analyse, store, understand and apply them meaningfully. 
To help corporate leaders and regulators better understand these trends and challenges, WKWSCI lined-up several distinguished experts to speak at the symposium. Among them is Professor Richard Ling, from the IT University of Copenhagen, who showed how it is possible to glean insight from the analysis of large mobile communication data sets and re-apply that insight to real-world issues such as the management of chronic sickness.

Dr Laura Wynter, Director at the IBM Research Collaboratory in Singapore shared the details of a project from IBM Research conducted across multiple cities that enabled transportation and transit agencies to better assess demand and address transit optimisation problems by using a technology-based data gathering system.

The other distinguished speakers include Professor Christopher Yang, who hails from the College of Computing and Informatics at Drexel University; Professor Sharon Dunwood from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Visiting Professor Edie Rasmussen from NTU’s WKWSCI.

Mr Tay Kheng Tiong, NTU’s Chief Information Officer also moderated a panel discussion on the topic "Engaging with socially-generated big data or big ideas to create smarter communities", involving Assistant Professor Wen Yonggang from NTU’s School of Computer Engineering; Ms Asha Philips, Asia Editor at Storyful Social Media Newswire and Mr Gavin Coombes, President (Asia Pacific) of Edelman Digital.

For more information, visit the WKWSCI Symposium website.

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Media contact:

Feisal Abdul Rahman
Senior Assistant Director (Media Relations)
Corporate Communications Office
Nanyang Technological University
Tel: (65) 6790 6687
Email: feisalar@ntu.edu.sg

About Nanyang Technological University

A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has 33,500 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the colleges of Engineering, Business, Science, and Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences. It has a new medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, set up jointly with Imperial College London.

NTU is also home to world-class autonomous institutes – the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering – and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI), Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N) and the Institute on Asian Consumer Insight (ACI).

A fast-growing university with an international outlook, NTU is putting its global stamp on Five Peaks of Excellence: Sustainable Earth, Future Healthcare, New Media, New Silk Road, and Innovation Asia.

Besides the main Yunnan Garden campus, NTU also has a satellite campus in Singapore’s science and tech hub, one-north, and a third campus in Novena, Singapore’s medical district.

For more information, visit www.ntu.edu.sg  


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