One of the last sessions at Digifest was about data. First off was Euan Adie from Altmetric how data we mine from the web can help research.I'd never heard of altmetrics before, but apparently in scholarly and scientific publishing, altmetrics are non-traditional metrics proposed as an alternative to more traditional citation impact metrics. Basically trawling and searching the web to see how much your research has been mentioned, discussed, tweeted or blogged about. This data can be collected automatically, but human intervention is still needed to but it into context. , but it still needs a human to put it into context - bad papers can get mentioned a lot!
Next was Tony Hey, previously from the eScience initiative talking about data intensive science.
A thousand years ago science was mainly experimental, describing natural phenomena. In the last few hundred years science was theoretical postulating things like Newton's Laws. In the last few daces we have seen the rise of computational science with the simulation of complex phenomena. But today science is data intensive. Scientists are overwhelmed with datasets from multiple sources - generated by instruments, simulations or sensor networks. New skills are needed for analysis and data mining, data visualisation an exploration, and for communication and dissemination.
Genomics and personalised medicine is a huge growth area, producing vast amounts of data. A recent experiment by the welcome trust looking at genetic markers would have taken 1,000 compute years to complete using a state of the art machine learning algorithm. Using 27,000 compute cores in the cloud, the analysis took 13 days. Just to demonstrate we need new ways of working.
Mi.Mu gloves. These are gloves designed to create music using complex motion tracking and algorithms linked to gesture detection and mapping software.
Used by Imogen Heap originally, they are fantastic. There's a great TED talk of Imogen explaining about their origin and how they work here:
There was a great musician demonstrating them at the evening dinner, but I'm afraid I made a complete cock up in recording a video if her, and just got a video of the table instead! Just watch a bit of the TED talk above to see how amazing they are.
Final thought from Digifest is about spaces. They manage to take a very ordinary exhibition space and create some great spaces for listening to and learning.