[Beowulf] UK BBC2 programme on Big Data

Lux, Jim (337C) james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Thu Apr 4 07:44:51 PDT 2013

A lot of big data and statistical mining sometimes provides harder statistical backup for common sense.

With respect to crime fighting.. There's an old phrase: "If you're hunting elephants, go to elephant country. "
What big data can do is help you find the elephant country.

Actually, the interesting aspect of the Los Angeles thing was that someone had a data set which allowed them to map "gang turf" and to nobody's surprise, crime/gang conflicts occur at the boundaries of "turf".  What was interesting is that the boundaries tend to follow straight lines  that are perpendicular to the line between the "gang center" (see, e.g. Voronoi diagrams or soap bubbles).  The boundary lines tend not to follow city streets which is how the police draw their maps. Essentially intertribal/gang rivalries are not constrained by the street grid.

 Darn those gangs, can't they make their gang turf centers follow a  tiling process that maps into the local street grid, which itself is hardly rectangular tiling.. Gang turf negotiations, as well as congressional redistricting, need HPC. (cluster marketers take note)

I would imagine that if it didn't violate oh so many constitutional restrictions, it would be interested to get cellphone location data on all those gang members.  I'm pretty sure that you could model it (with HPC of course) as a emergent behavior of a swarm with very simple underlying rules.

(and, speaking of gangs, boundaries, Sharks and Jets, the musical West Side Story was originally proposed by the composer Leonard Bernstein as East Side Story, as in the LA East Side, where this gang research was conducted, but the writer thought he was more familiar with Puerto Ricans and Harlem..)

From: <Hearns>, John Hearns <john.hearns at mclaren.com<mailto:john.hearns at mclaren.com>>
Date: Thursday, April 4, 2013 2:27 AM
To: "beowulf at beowulf.org<mailto:beowulf at beowulf.org>" <beowulf at beowulf.org<mailto:beowulf at beowulf.org>>
Subject: [Beowulf] UK BBC2 programme on Big Data

I know – it the latest IT Buzzword....                    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01rt4c7

In Los Angeles, a remarkable experiment is underway; the police are trying to predict crime, before it even happens.

At the heart of the city of London, one trader believes that he has found the secret of making billions with math. In South Africa, astronomers are attempting to catalogue the entire cosmos. These very different worlds are united by one thing - an extraordinary explosion in data.

Horizon meets the people at the forefront of the data revolution, and reveals the possibilities and the promise of the age of big data.

Also sorry for being parochial – readers furth of the UK may get this on iPlayer somehow...

Dr John Hearns | CFD Hardware Specialist |McLaren Racing Limited
McLaren Technology Centre, Chertsey Road, Woking, Surrey GU21 4YH, UK

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