The power of big data in areas like business analytics and advertising is well established and burgeoning, but a growing movement within data science is exploring applications that benefit society as a whole — not just a single company or client. More than 100 researchers at U-M, in fields ranging from public health and biostatistics to social work and education, gathered on February 19 to share their work in this area at the second-annual Data for Public Good Symposium.
“A major concern in a data-driven world is information asymmetry,” said H.V. Jagadish, professor of electrical engineering and computer science and newly appointed director of the Michigan Institute for Data Science. “The underprivileged individual has very little information as compared to the people, companies and agencies they interact with on a regular basis. The value of information grows more than linearly with size, so it behooves us as data scientists to help ordinary citizens and the less fortunate among us. I am proud of the work our researchers are doing in this regard.”