Image: GreenBook Blog
Advances in communication, transmission, sensor, and instrument technology have made it possible to generate, collect, and store data in quantities never before possible. Nonetheless, the rapid evolution of our data-rich society does present enormous opportunities to those who can capitalize on it. Knowledge discovery can be accelerated by the development of new and effective means for the translation of data to information and information to solutions. Such knowledge discovery can drive innovation and economic development. As Brynjolfsson, Hitt and Kim (2011) discovered in their survey of 179 large corporations, those companies that have adopted a 'data-driven' decision making process had 5-6% greater productivity than companies that followed a more traditional 'intuition and experience' approach. In journalism schools, 'digital media' programs are seen as the wave of the future. Evidence-based medicine – the practice of relying on results of clinical studies rather than physicians’ intuition --- is now the dominant trend in medical school instruction. However, all of these changes will require major interdisciplinary efforts --- collaborations between those seeking solutions and those whose expertise lies in the collection and analysis of the data necessary to make solutions possible.
The vision of this IGERT is to make such collaborations possible, to move our society from one with a surfeit of data to one with useful and targeted information. A key component of this vision is the training of a new generation of PhD students who have the skills to make sense of vast amounts of data from many sources and media and the desire and ability to apply their skills to the provision of solutions to real world problems.