Big data has become a hot topic recently, reaching everywhere from global health to social media. We had a chance to attend Ontario Brain Institute’s (OBI) seminar on Brain-CODE and the many doors it opens for facilitating research and medical practice through data.
Brain-CODE (which actually stands for “Centre for Ontario Data Exploration”) was created with the intention to create a network that unites neuroscience research and practice across Ontario. It comprises a vast network of research facilities, universities, hospitals, and industry partners working together to create an easily accessible hub of information relating to brain research, neurological and psychological disorders, and neuro-technology. At this stage, Brain-CODE is a platform where researchers and clinicians can upload information they have gathered for sharing. From a health and science perspective, Brain-CODE ultimately aims to more precisely characterize the intricacies of the brain. From an entrepreneurial perspective, Brain-CODE ultimately aims to attract industry partners and business-minded individuals in order to drive the commercialization of research findings so great information can be put to practical use.
The most important link between research and commercialization is the analysis of the “big data” that is and will be available through Brain-CODE. What is most interesting and unique about the data available here is the fact that it all comes from different sources. This means data can be in different forms of both quantitative, qualitative, and imaging information, and it may not be standardized. This presents a need for data representation that is comprehensive to different audiences and interpretation of this data for insights that lead to practical application. With this, it is undeniable that there are countless opportunities for innovative data analytics and representation, which seems to follow the trend with big data in general.