Importance Of Big Data Ever Increasing In Fight Against Cancer
The importance of big data is ever increasing and in today’s world, it is bringing together fields of science that, originally, may seem to have little in common. One industry that is particularly benefiting from big data analysis is the healthcare industry that has, for years, tried to find a cure for cancer. By using algorithms that were originally used by astronomers to study stars and the universe, cancer researchers are now capable of decoding and analyzing massive amounts of data – bringing us one step closer to finding a cure for this terrible disease.
With the increasing availability of Personal Computers, cheap tablets, and access to Social Media, people create every day approximately 2.5 quintillion bytes of data. 90% of the data exciting in the world today has been created in the past two years alone. In order to tackle these massive amounts of information and to make sense of it all, smarter computers are being developed by the day.
The healthcare industry is one area that is currently benefiting from this close relationship between human information and PCs – using systems and algorithms originally developed by astronomers.
The first collaboration between astronomers and medical researchers began at a coss-disciplinary meeting where professionals from different fields discussed the importance and management of big data. At this meeting, medical professionals realized that astronomers scan through millions of pictures taken of the night sky each day by using image algorithms that are able to analyze and classify objects.
In the field of cancer research, doctors are analyzing massive amounts of pictures from humans; however, this is a human process that takes a lot of time. Hence, the question was asked: ‘’Can these same algorithms used by astronomers also be used in the medical field to examine pictures of human bodies?’’
The answer was yes and the algorithm originally used by astronomers has been advancing the study of cancer ever since.
According to Cancer Research UK, this algorithm has helped medical professionals to automatically classify hundreds of thousands of cells. Additionally, it allows doctors to look at patterns, how cells are related to each other, as well as precisely count the number of cells and find out the average distance between those cells. This has led to a completely different, more accurate, and faster way to produce a diagnosis – completely transforming pathology into the digital realm.
Already, scientists at Cancer Research UK have announced a breakthrough in the way they ‘’read’’ and analyze breast cancer cells. Many more medical breakthroughs are expected in the near future. Besides the medical field, other industries are currently also investing in big data as its potential is seen as unlimited.
One firm that is currently looking at how citizens can turn their own data footprints into their own advantage is CitizenMe. This firm aims to offer people the chance to better understand the data that is collected on them as well as on how they can use it to make a profit. It furthermore enables people to collect copies of their data from around the web and put it into an app on their mobile phones.
The founder of the company explained that: ‘’These insights and data can quickly become very valuable. People that are using the App can choose to anonymously exchange some of their own big data in exchange for a cash reward.’’
The application is currently being trailed by approximately 10,000 people worldwide.
Are you interested in how much data is produced every minute? Check out the stats below:
- 350,000 tweets every minute
- 400 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute
- three million Facebook posts uploaded every minute
- four million Facebook “likes” every minute
- four million Google searches every minute
- 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are now circulating around the world, 90% of which has been created in the past two years
- a total of 44 zettabytes of data will be in circulation by 2020