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The hero big data needs? Data Civilizer helps scientists conquer the clutter

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In the Media
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Big data is a big deal. With these huge data sets, analysts can gain unprecedented insight into the hidden patterns of fields like physics, healthcare, and finance. Collecting and analyzing this data has become a relatively easy part of the process. Aggregating and organizing it all has proven to be more difficult.

“An oft-cited statistic is that data scientists spend 80 percent of their time finding, preparing, integrating, and cleaning data sets,” Dong Deng, a postdoctorate associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), told Digital Trends. “The remaining 20 percent is spent doing the desired analytic tasks.” Deng suspects that 80 percent may even be a low-ball estimate, citing Mark Schreiber, a data officer from Merck, who claimed his data scientists spend 98 percent of their time on “grunt work.”

To minimize this grunt work and help conquer the clutter of big data, Deng created a system called Data Civilizer along with a team of researchers form CSAIL, the Technical University of Berlin, Nanyang Technological University, the University of Waterloo, and the Qatar Computing Research Institute.

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