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Europe's Largest Data Observatory Turns Big Data Into Big Images


Looking at the evolution of the bitcoin blockchain.

The newly opened KPMG Data Observatory at Imperial College London can convert big data into imagery so users can try to identify patterns.

Credit: Emiko Jozuka

This week marks the official opening of Imperial College London's KPMG Data Observatory, the largest such facility in Europe, which can convert big data into imagery projected onto a huge, circular wall-screen so users can look for patterns in an immersive environment.

The observatory is equipped with 64 monitors powered by 32 computers, and enhanced with 313 degrees of surround sound. Imperial Business Analytics director Mark Thomas Kennedy says the purpose of the observatory is to "take advantage of years and years of evolution," and leverage humans' ability to recognize patterns visually. "The more we can turn data into something visual, the more people can actually respond to what's going on in the world, and take decisions that move organizations forward," he notes.

For example, Kennedy thinks businesses would be less risk-averse if they could visualize patterns emerging from earlier or planned decisions. "Looking at these visualizations is a way to get signal from noise," he says. "Data transactions are happening all the time, but there's not visibility."

Kennedy says tracking all of this visually via tools such as the observatory could lead to instruments that can track something that is not being observed.

From Motherboard
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