UBDC Director consulted on US Government Accountability Office Report: Data and Analytics Innovation

  • 25.10.16

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In January 2016, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) convened a forum on Data and Analytics Innovation: Emerging Opportunities and Challenges. UBDC Director, Prof. Vonu Thakuriah took part as an expert in urban informatics. GAO recently released the output of this forum as a Report to Congressional Addressees. Included below is a background summary and link to the full report.

GAO Report: Why We Convened This Forum

Massive volumes of data are increasingly being generated at unprecedented rates as a result of advances in information technology and developments such as use of expanded mobile capabilities (supported by more powerful and increasingly widespread bandwidth). New approaches to combining and “making sense of” large amounts of varied data—methods referred to as advanced analytics—are helping to uncover patterns, identify anomalies, and provide insights not suggested by a priori hypotheses. In fact, advanced algorithms are enabling the automation of functions that require the ability to reason; for example, an algorithm may use data on weather, traffic, and roadways to estimate and provide real-time information to drivers on traffic delays and congestion.

At the January 2016 forum, participants from industry, government, academia and nonprofit organizations considered potential implications of these developments. Their discussion of emerging forms of data, analytics, and innovation pointed to a combined process or cycle in which relevant data are generated and subjected to analysis, so that results can be applied to innovative decision making or uses. We term this process “data and analytics innovation.”

Consideration of related impacts spanned the economy and society, and included new opportunities with accompanying challenges, as well as potentially negative impacts. Following the forum, participants reviewed a summary of forum discussions, and two experts (who did not attend the forum) independently reviewed a draft of this report. The report does not necessarily represent the views of any individual participant or organization.

 

 

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