Anthony’s new book explores benefits and challenges of big data research

anthony book streamThomas AnthonyThomas Anthony, director of the Big Data Research and Analytics Laboratory and scientist with UAB Information Technology Research Computing, edited and co-authored the new book “Big Data and Visual Analytics” with Sang Suh, Ph.D., chairman of computer science at Texas A&M University-Commerce.

The book provides insight into the benefits of the methods and technologies used in big data and visual analytics, such as new tech with higher computation abilities that makes examining and solving large-scale problems possible for the first time — like UAB’s supercomputer, Cheaha, with its 450 teraflops of power. Anthony, who also is an adjunct professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, uses Cheaha to facilitate data-driven research on Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia and other fields for fellow researchers at UAB. The lab also supports local industry partners with their data analytics needs.

Each chapter in “Big Data and Visual Analytics” was authored or co-authored by scholars directly involved in research activities and covers such topics as virtual data machines, big data applications, high-performance computing clusters and big data implementation techniques.

“Almost every chapter in the book looks at benefits of using these new technologies in different fields, such as automated detection of medical conditions, sensor networks and gene-sequencing,” Anthony said. Other topics range from various approaches to medical imaging to the advantages of using the technique in libraries or to analyze social networks.

Topics covered in the book range from the benefits of new technology for use in automated detection of medical conditions to gene-sequencing and analysis of social networks.

The book also addresses the challenges of future big data research, which often depend on the type of research being performed, Anthony said. In medical research, privacy and security are big challenges. In the highly regulated finance industry, it can be difficult to meet regulatory standards.

“In general, all domains face similar challenges of getting the right data, computing on the right resources — and having access to those resources — as well as having access to the right workforce to apply these technologies,” he said.