We are experiencing an incredible, explosive growth in digital content and information. According to recent estimates there currently exists over 2.7 zetabytes of data and it is thought that the digital universe in 2020 will be 50 times as big as in 2010 and that in this period it will double every two years.
Research in traditionally qualitative disciplines is fundamentally changing due to the availability of such vast amounts of data. Equally, the commercial world is being transformed by a focus on big data, with companies competing on data analytics. We are entering a new era of predictive analytics and data intensive computing which has been recognised worldwide. Data Science has been identified by the UK government as the transforming and growth driving force across all sectors of economy with estimates suggesting that 132,000 big data job opportunities will be created in the UK economy alone between 2012 and 2017.
In response to both technological and scientific challenges as well as the shortage in highly skilled data scientists which have been acknowledged by various industries and governmental bodies, a new interdisciplinary Data Science Institute (DSI) has been recently launched in Bournemouth University.
The main objectives of the DSI are:
- Interdisciplinary training of highly skilled and internationally excellent researchers and leaders in the Data Science area covering big data, advanced/predictive analytics, data intensive computing and their innovative business, engineering and science applications, in a cross-disciplinary environment.
- Delivery of internationally leading and excellent research contributions to methodological, algorithmic, technological and applied research in Data Science with a focus on scalability, automation of typical tasks, adaptivity and learning capability of developed methods, tools and products.
- Provision of a unique highly stimulating environment and opportunities for making substantial academic, societal and commercial impact as well as developing awareness and breadth of knowledge for both students and staff by assembling a multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral team of academic, commercial and public institutions.
The Institute has grown out of our Smart Technology Research Centre’s core expertise in computational intelligence, machine learning, complex adaptive systems, data intensive computing, predictive analytics and big data and the complementary cross-university expertise in scientific visualisation, computer animation, graphics, applied mathematics, statistics, engineering, robotics, social computing, environmental and conservation sciences, bioinformatics, archaeology and anthropology, computational neuroscience, business, law and marketing.
As shown below we have structured the DSI into four overlapping themes and highlight the key challenges within each of them together with the names of the major contributing groups, centres and institutes from the University whose data intensive activities are co-ordinated and represented within DSI:
- Core Data Science Technologies covering the underpinning mathematical, statistical and computer science expertise and research concerned with new scalable approaches for capturing, storing, managing, analysing and visualising large-scale, complex and diverse data from multiple sources (Smart Technology Research Centre; National Centre for Computer Animation; Computing and Informatics Research Centre; Statistical and Mathematical Support Centre);
- Data Intensive Sciences focusing on the fundamentally changing nature of research and scientific enquiry, driven and informed by the deluge of data and emerging data-driven approaches (Conservation Ecology and Environmental Sciences Centre; Psychology Research Centre; Centre for Archaeology and Anthropology; Institute for Studies in Landscape and Human Evolution);
- Data-driven Real-World Applications focusing on challenging business, engineering and public sector applications in data rich and changing environments (International Centre for Tourism and Hospitality Research; Smart Technology Research Centre; Creative Technology Research Centre);
- Data-driven Digital Entrepreneurship exploring new business models and “data” products and services (Centre for Entrepreneurship; Centre for Intellectual Property and Policy Management).