Open data and Big data

The data to understand the complexity of life we live.

For the second year in a row, Telecom Italia organised the Big Data Challenge contest, designed to stimulate innovation on the theme of Big Data, i.e. the set of data generated non-stop by social networks that reveal new trends. It is probable that any event leaves a trace, some form of data that can be made public to better understand the complexity of the society we live in. Big Data Analytics combines different fields of knowledge, from economics to sociology, from psychology to ecology. The Big Data Challenge 2015 was open to "data" fans in the industrial world, start-ups and universities, and then to individual professionals, researchers, academic or industrial organisations and companies, and centred around innovative projects. Last September 21st, a jury awarded the most promising ideas. "Get the data and make your project":  this is the claim that best captured the goal of Big Data Challenge 2015. Hundreds of teams from more than 40 countries took part in the contest, and the issue of quality of life in the city was the star of this edition. In the "Academic Track" category, addressed to the academic world, the winning team was "UNIMORE", formed by Francesca Pancotto and Marco Mamei, professors from the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. Their project "Interaction Diversity to Measure Social Capital" developed a metrics system that can assess the social capital of a city and was able to demonstrate a direct reciprocity between high economic growth and a high social capital.  In the second category "Industrial Track", addressed to professionals in the industrial world, the winner was the "IBM Research" team, formed by young Italian researchers and a Romanian expert in artificial intelligence. Members of this team were Andrea Sassi, Stefano Braghin, Michele Berlingerio, Francesco Calabrese and Adi Botea. With their project "TogetThere", they showed how geo-referenced big data can enhance the tourist’s experience by focusing on the main attractions, avoiding crowded places, for instance. The data (from telecommunications to energy consumption in 7 Italian cities) the contestants worked on were provided by Tim, anonymously and in compliance with privacy regulations that in "Europe have long made use of big data infeasible", claims Marco Patuano, Telecom Italia CEO. "It is true that there are strong limitations compared to other countries, but it is also true that data represent a great opportunity to develop applications. We are doing that internally and through projects like this one that encourage the emergence of an ecosystem".

Making Big Data "open" represents a key for us to access accurate information that is targeted and capable to develop the economy.

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