Nom Nom Nom, Making Big Data Insights Consumable With Data Visualization


This is a post I wrote for the Instadat blog. For more news on big data follow @Instadat on Twitter or like us on Facebook.

Most people don’t like staring at excel sheets, with rows and rows of data. The visualization of data makes information and insights clear and quickly accessible. That’s why we love infographics.

As big data and artificial intelligence continues to grow, it’s not enough to store and manage large amounts of data, but it’s also important to find out how to make it consumable to the average person. What’s needed is beyond static infographics, but interactive dashboards that learns and adapts to human behavior.

For example, using a program called Gephi in my Social Network Analysis class, I visualized my Facebook friend network. The program allowed me to upload my own dataset, set my own parameters, and interact with the visualization it created for me (hovering over a node would highlight that person and their connections).

College Friends (Top Right Large Cluster), High-School Friends (Top Left), LA Startup Friends (Middle Left), LA Entertainment Industry Friends (Bottom Left), Other LA friends (Middle Area)

As you can immediately tell, my college network makes up a large portion of my Facebook network. Hovering over the graph gave me insight into my friend network that I didn’t have prior to visualizing this data.

One thing we’d like to do with TechGenius is revolutionize the way news is presented by looking at every part, from the collection to the presentation of information. Using advanced algorithms to identify trends and personal tastes, then using advanced visualization techniques to display the information on an interactive interface.

My hope is that the Human-Computer Interaction class from Stanford combined with these 15 awesome free javascript chart plug-ins (or these 25) should get us pretty far along.


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