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IT Has 26 Words for Data Mining

As data proliferate, so do words for handling them

3 min read

Intelligence about baseball had become equated in the public mind with the ability to recite arcane baseball stats. What [baseball statistician Bill] James's wider audience had failed to understand was that the statistics were beside the point. The point was understanding; the point was to make life on earth just a bit more intelligible. — Michael Lewis in Moneyball (2003)

Organizations of all sizes are sitting on mountains of data; what they really need are knowledge engineers who can excavate nuggets of ­valuable information from that data. Earlier this year (in "The Coming Data Deluge," IEEE Spectrum, February 2011), I mentioned the concept of data mining, which uses sophisticated software and database tools to extract nonobvious patterns, correlations, and useful information from large and complex data sets.

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Special Report: Top Tech 2021

After months of blood, toil, tears, and sweat, we can all expect a much better year

1 min read
Photo-illustration: Edmon de Haro

Last January in this space we wrote that “technology doesn't really have bad years." But 2020 was like no other year in recent memory: Just about everything suffered, including technology. One shining exception was biotech, with the remarkably rapid development of vaccines capable of stemming the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year's roundup of anticipated tech advances includes an examination of the challenges in manufacturing these vaccines. And it describes how certain technologies used widely during the pandemic will likely have far-reaching effects on society, even after the threat subsides. You'll also find accounts of technical developments unrelated to the pandemic that the editors of IEEE Spectrum expect to generate news this year.

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