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"Broad Data" - Tetherless World Professor of Computer and Cognitive Science

Jim Hendler
Tetherless World Professor of Computer and Cognitive Science
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

"Big Data" usually refers to the very large datasets generated by scientists, to the many petabytes of data held by companies like Facebook and Google, and to analyzing real-time data assets like the stream of twitter messages emerging from events around the world.  Key areas of interest include technologies to manage much larger datasets, technologies for the visualization and analysis of databases, cloud-based data management and datamining algorithms.

Recently, however, we have begun to see the emergence of another, and equally compelling data challenge -- that of the "Broad data" that emerges from millions and millions of raw datasets available on the World Wide Web. For broad data the new challenges that emerge include Web-scale data search and discovery, rapid and potentially ad hoc integration of datasets, visualization and analysis of only-partially modeled datasets, and issues relating to the policies for data use, reuse and combination.  These challenges bring in to question many of the assumptions on which traditional big data approaches rely.

In this talk, we present the broad data challenge, what the challenge is from a big data perspective and discuss  potential starting points for solutions including those arising from research in the Semantic Web area.  We illustrate these approaches using data from a "meta-catalog" of over 1,000,000 open datasets that have been collected from about two hundred governments around the world. 


James Hendler is the Tetherless World Professor of Computer, Web and Cognitive Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) where he also serves as Director of the Institute for Data Exploration and Applications.  One of the early innovators of the “Semantic Web,” Hendler was the recipient of a 1995 Fulbright Foundation Fellowship, is a former member of the US Air Force Science Advisory Board, and is a Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence, the British Computer Society, the IEEE and the AAAS. He is also the former Chief Scientist of the Information Systems Office at the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and was awarded a US Air Force Exceptional Civilian Service Medal in 2002. In 2010, Hendler was named one of the 20 most innovative professors in America by Playboy magazine.  Hendler has served as  “Internet Web Expert” for the US government, working with the project.  In 2012, he was one of the inaugural recipients of the Strata Conference “Big Data” awards for his work on large-scale open government data, and he is a columnist and associate editor of the Big Data journal. In 2013, he was appointed Open Data Advisor for New York State by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

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  • Charles D.

    a large number of extremely important topics
    pre-coding at the author level
    a patchwork of local of structures rather than a global god's eye view
    humans in the loop
    meaning of data <> data
    data doesn't interpret itself

    November 8, 2013

  • Nitin k.

    The topic is very interesting. Is there a live webcast for people like me who cannot attend.
    Would appreciate if this can be recorded and the slides shared. Can the organizer or presentation expert pl. help here?
    Thanks in advance.

    November 7, 2013

    • Steven M.

      Hi Nitin, unfortunately there is neither a live webcast nor will it be recorded. Future events may have this option. I will see if the slides can be posted and shared.

      1 · November 7, 2013

  • Steve L.

    Interesting read about Jim Hendler...

    Closing In On A Million Open Government Data Sets
    http ://

    1 · November 5, 2013

  • Nick D.

    Looking forward to this!

    October 26, 2013

  • Steve L.

    Data Skeptics: Let's do something different for the upcoming Meetup with Jim Hendler...

    Read about Jim's work and come up with questions to ask him BEFORE the Meetup; I'll send him the Qs and see what he says (no, haven't asked him yet - surprise Jim!)

    Tell a friend about DataSkeptics.

    2 · October 16, 2013

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