Wolfram Blog
Stephen Wolfram

Announcing the Wolfram Data Summit

June 7, 2010 — Stephen Wolfram

The creation of large data repositories has been a key historical indicator of social and intellectual development—and indeed perhaps one of the defining characteristics of the whole progress of civilization.

And through our work on Wolfram|Alpha—with its insatiable appetite for systematic data—we have gained a uniquely broad view of the many great data repositories that exist in the world today.

Some of these repositories are maintained by national or international agencies, some by companies and other organizations, and some by individuals. A few of the repositories are quite new, but many date back 40 or more years, and some well over a century. But there is one thing in common across essentially every great data repository: a core of diligent and committed people who have carefully shepherded its development.

Curiously, though, few of these people have ever met their counterparts in other domains of data. And in our work on Wolfram|Alpha we are almost certainly the first group ever to have had the pleasure of getting to know such a broad range of leaders of great data repositories.

And one of the things that we have discovered is that there is much in common in both the methods used and the issues faced by these data repositories. So as part of our contribution to the worldwide data community we have decided to sponsor a data summit to bring together for the first time the leaders of today’s great data repositories.

The Wolfram Data Summit 2010 will be held in Washington, DC on September 9–10.

We have invited leaders of data repositories in all areas—socioeconomic, scientific, financial, medical, geographic, commercial, lexicographic, cultural, biographical, mathematical, and others. And we already know that many data repositories will be represented, including for example the BBC, Bowker, CABI, CDC, comScore, CRC, DataONE, Encyclopedia of Life, FBI, Federal Reserve Bank, Gale, IMF, Internet Archive, Moody’s, NASA, NCBI, NIST, NREL, NSF, U.S. Office of Management and Budget, Open Library, OpenStreetMap, ProQuest, Protein Data Bank, Smithsonian Institution, Sunlight Foundation, Thomson Reuters, UNESCO, UNICEF, US Census, US Department of Transportation, US Department of Education, World Bank, and World Conservation Monitoring Centre—as well as many others.

There is quite a lot to discuss at the Data Summit. Experiences and best practices in data curation. How data should be combined, validated, and standardized. How things from automated sensors to crowdsourcing affect data collection. How governmental and organizational data policies are and should be evolving. What can be done with data that is not yet in digital form. How privacy and commercial issues affect data dissemination. And much, much more.

This is a unique time in the history of data: as scientific and analytical methods become more and more prominent and successful in the world at large, so larger and larger numbers of important decisions are being made on the basis of data, by both organizations and individuals. And as computers, the web, and now mobile devices have become ubiquitous, data can be disseminated vastly more widely than ever before.

It is a difficult matter, though, to do this in a way that is immediately useful to a broad range of people. And that is part of what we are trying to achieve by making knowledge—and data—computable in Wolfram|Alpha.

And in fact, in doing this, we see something else too: that if data can be made uniformly computable, it routinely becomes possible to derive completely new facts and knowledge by combining very different kinds of data—thereby generating vastly more value than could be obtained from any data repository on its own.

It is truly impressive how much data has been carefully collected and organized over the course of many years in the world’s great data repositories. And today this data is poised to become dramatically more relevant and significant in the daily lives of people around the world.

Our hope is that our Data Summit this September will help highlight the great achievements of the worldwide data community to date, and will serve as a catalyst in the next phase of the community’s development.

I myself have been a lifelong enthusiast of systematic data—as well as being directly responsible over the course of several decades for the collection of large amounts of mathematical and computational data. For me, the great data repositories are wonders of the modern world—pure yet tangible instantiations of what our civilization has achieved in many different areas.

And I look forward to the progress that we can make with our Data Summit this September—as well as to hearing all those fascinating tales from the front lines of the world of data.

Note: This year, the Data Summit is a free invitation-only event, but we are keen for all relevant individuals to attend, so we encourage applications for invitations from qualified people.

Posted in: Wolfram News
Leave a Comment

10 Comments


Seth Chandler

This is a terrific idea. It would be great if the owners of the large legal databases would participate. This includes

LexisNexis (part of Reed Elsevier)
West Publishing (now part of Thomson Reuters)
Google Scholar (good luck)
LoisLaw (part of Wolters Kluwer)
Cornell Legal Information Institute (LII)
World Legal Information Institute (WorldLII)

Posted by Seth Chandler    June 8, 2010 at 1:07 pm
Bernard Gress

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac?

Posted by Bernard Gress    June 9, 2010 at 2:29 pm
Andrew

Will there be a video stream of the event?

Posted by Andrew    June 10, 2010 at 10:53 am
    Wolfram Blog Team

    We do anticipate live streaming portions of the Wolfram Data Summit. Please continue to visit the blog for event details and updates. Thank you!

    Posted by Wolfram Blog Team    June 11, 2010 at 8:29 am
led street lights

It’s really well done! Respect to author.

Posted by led street lights    June 13, 2010 at 2:36 am
dave

Appreciate your idea. Will provide a great platform to produce some innovative theories. Also, read a paper on the subject in International Journal of Computer Applications at http://www.ijcaonline.org/archives/volume2/number6/670-941, looks good.

Posted by dave    June 17, 2010 at 9:43 am
Rudolf Muradian

A new emerging science of ASTROINFORMATICS about astronomical data mining, advocated by S. G. Djorgovski and G. Longo can be joined to the Wolfram Data Summit agenda.
See recent Caltech conference proceedings
http://www.astroinformatics2010.org/

Posted by Rudolf Muradian    June 20, 2010 at 2:24 pm
Yamaha Lover

Being a blogger is like being in charge of your own personal insane asylum.

Sent from my iPad 4G

Posted by Yamaha Lover    July 4, 2010 at 11:16 pm
Deborah L

How about NCAR, & ngdc.noaa.gov? Hadley Climate research?

What kind of information will be available to Mathematica users from this summit?

A great idea and and great job Folks!!

Posted by Deborah L    September 7, 2010 at 2:09 pm
Jamaican Stone

“And I look forward to the progress that we can make with our Data Summit this September—as well as to hearing all those fascinating tales from the front lines of the world of data.”

I believe that with the current spirit that we have we will be able to achieve a greater success in the future for the world.

Posted by Jamaican Stone    April 2, 2011 at 4:50 am


Leave a comment

Loading...

Or continue as a guest (your comment will be held for moderation):