"Colombia Enters the Era of Big Data"
Simón Gaviria, General Director, Departamento Nacional de Planeación

Abstract: In the current context of fiscal restraint, the Colombian government has decided to make a more efficient use of one of its biggest assets: its data. And Big Data is seen as an enabler to get to that objective. In this presentation, Simón Gaviria, General Director of Colombia´s National Planning Department (DNP), will discuss the reasons why Colombia decided to embark in the development of a Big Data strategy, why DNP was assigned the responsibility of spearheading it, and its anticipated results, as well as its expected impact on both public and private sectors. He will also cover some Big Data initiatives currently underway within the Colombian government.


"Social Physics"
Sandy Pentland, Toshiba Professor of Media Arts & Sciences, MIT

Abstract: Analysis of the "social physics" of relationships between people often provides more insight than analysis of the people as individuals. This is particularly true for company management, marketing, and government policy. In this presentation, Sandy will illustrate with examples of improving company productivity, increasing marketing return, and improving the effectiveness of government policies. Finally, he will discuss the privacy and security ramifications of Big Data analysis, and how to handle big data ethically.

Sites/Projects: Connection Science, Human Dynamics Lab, MIT Big Data
Living Lab


"Big Data to Tackle Urban Mobility Challenges"
Marta González, Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, MIT

Abstract: Urban mobility models are important in a wide range of application areas. Current mainstream models require socio-demographic information from costly manual surveys, which are in small sample sizes and updated in low frequency. In this presentation, Marta will propose a novel individual mobility modeling framework, TimeGeo, that extracts all required features from ubiquitous, passive, and sparse digital traces in the information age. Combining demographic data, road network information and billions of mobile phone records, she will infer travel demand profiles and estimate travel times across five different cities. Marta will demonstrate that the percentage of time lost in congestion is a function of the proportion of vehicular travel demand to road infrastructure capacity, and is closely tied to spatial density and selfish choices of drivers. In this context she will explore the feasibility of smart routing applications.

Sites/Projects: HuMNet Lab


"Big Data, Smart Beta, and Other Things Investors Are Afraid Of"
Andrew Lo, Charles E. and Susan T. Harris Professor, MIT Sloan

Abstract: Recent technological advances in computing, data storage and handling, and trading have revolutionized the financial industry, increasing liquidity, lowering costs, and creating many new opportunities for investors, advisors, and portfolio managers. However, one unintended consequence of these innovations is the growing technological “arms race”, which inevitably produces winners and losers—high frequency traders vs. slower moving investors, quantitative algorithms vs. fundamental analysts, and robo-advisors vs. human advisors. In this talk, Prof. Lo will describe how Big Data has transformed investing—the ultimate numbers game—from a business decision into a computational problem, and what the pluses and minuses are of this new world order.

Sites/Projects: Web site


"Big Data, Innovation, and Industry-University Intersections"
Elizabeth Bruce, Executive Director, Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, MIT

Abstract: Big Data is a convergence of new hardware and algorithms that allow us to discover new patterns in large data sets— patterns we can apply to making better predictions and, ultimately, better decisions. Today, organizations are putting Big Data into practice in such diverse fields as healthcare, smart cities, energy and finance. Big Data has the potential to improve lives with better services and products, but obstacles remain between Big Data's promise and reality. This talk will review some of these challenges, and feature examples of research at MIT that aims to address these hard problems. This talk will also discuss how industry-university partnerships can accelerate innovation, and what it takes to be successful at this intersection.

Sites/Projects: MIT Big Data Initiative, Institute for Data, Systems, and Society


"Big Data in Economic Measurement"
Roberto Rigobon, Society of Sloan Professors of Management, Professor of Applied Economics, MIT Sloan

Abstract: National statistical offices have had the monopoly of measuring economic activity for a century, and most of their economic indicators are survey based. Two aspects are challenging these institutions. First, technology is allowing the private sector unprecedented ways to measure the economy differently, faster, and better. Second, from inflation to GDP, and from household characteristics to the census, the quality of the statistics have declined with surveys becoming less effective. In this presentation Roberto will describe how he is using new technologies at MIT to measure inflation rates daily and countries' relative sustainability.

Sites/Projects: Billion Prices Project, Thousand Big Mac Indexes Project