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Making Sense of Big Data

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University of California, Berkeley professor Ben Recht.

The work of University of California, Berkeley professor Ben Recht is concentrated on simplifying data analysis.

Credit: Peg Skorpinski

University of California, Berkeley professor Ben Recht's work concentrates on simplifying data analysis, with particular emphasis on the incorporation of expert knowledge within data analysis. He is especially eager to create ways to address problems common to many investigations, and he already has demonstrated that the same mathematical model can surmount computational challenges of determining a molecule's structure, predicting traffic flow, or forecasting an online shopper's habits.

"We're trying to understand if there's a single tool that all can use in data analysis," Recht says. "Is there a way of looking at analysis of huge amounts of data in which you don't have to build a giant new factory from scratch each time?"

Recht is known for developing a way to manage noisy or incomplete data with an algorithm that lets researchers solve a spectrum of different complex computational problems with less data. Recht says he greatly favors the U.S. National Science Foundation-funded Algorithms, Machines, and People Lab as the testbed for his work, as it consists of a collaboration of professors and grad students in different disciplines.

"We work at the intersection of algorithms, machine learning, and collaborative crowdsourcing," Recht says. "We're reaching into lots of different research areas on campus, and way beyond Berkeley."

From UC Berkeley NewsCenter
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