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Big Data Analytics--Nostradamus of the 21st Century

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Consulting the crystal ball

Researchers from Australia's Griffith University accurately predicted who would win 49 of 50 states in the U.S. presidential election.

Credit: New Line Cinema

Researchers from Australia's Griffith University accurately predicted who would win 49 of the 50 states in the U.S. presidential election using social media comments and data.

The researchers note the massive amount of information online concerning the election provided a rich source of data about what people were thinking and feeling about the election.

"My algorithms showed clearly to me that based on past patterns and sentiment in social media that [Donald] Trump, by Nov. 8, would take over the lead, despite only having a 10-percent chance to win according to all polls at that time," says Griffith professor Bela Stantic, director of the Big Data and Smart Analytics lab within the university's Institute for Integrated and Intelligent Systems.

The day before the election, Stantic correctly predicted Trump would win the swing states of Florida, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania, even though polls indicated Hillary Clinton was an 84-percent favorite.

Stantic says people are likely to be more honest when telling friends rather than answering polls. "It is scary how accurate prediction can be done by analyzing social media," he notes.

The researchers want to improve the predictive power of big data analytics by developing smarter and faster deep-learning algorithms to analyze large volumes of data drawn from diverse sources.

From Griffith University
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