EMC attempts mapping personal, cultural beliefs via Big Data app

Dubbed the Human Face of Big Data, the mammoth data collection and analysis project has already received over 2 million responses.

Ashish Bhatia
While as many as 87 per cent women find an extra-marital affair unacceptable, comparatively only 76 per cent men think so. And though a vast majority (43 per cent) of women acknowledge that a proper diet is the most important factor for good health, only 33 per cent men feel so; 37 per cent men rate exercise as far more vital, against only 26 per cent of the fair sex.

These and many similar insights are some of the findings of an unprecedentedly ambitious and ongoing global crowd sourcing exercise being conducted by Big Data major EMC and award-winning shutterbug Rick Smolan.

The iPhone welcome screen
Dubbed the Human Face of Big Data (HFOBD), the mammoth, live personal data collection and analysis project - which has already received over 2 million responses - is being propelled by means of a free app available on iPhone and Android smartphones.

Participants can even compare their answers on family, trust, sleep, sex, dating and dreams against those of millions of others around the world.

The aim of the app is to map personal thoughts, actions, opinions and experiences, cultural beliefs and attitudes of people across Planet Earth. And the idea behind the whole exercise being carried out by EMC is to highlight Big Data and its infinite ability to collect, analyze, triangulate and visualise humongous amounts of data in real time.

The interactive visualisations allow one to identify patterns and trends in the answers according to various demographics and responses.

Expected to be the largest crowd-sourced study ever conducted, a sampling of early results from the first few weeks of data collection were shown at Mission Control Events in New York, London and Singapore earlier this week.

In another massive effort to showcase how Big Data can be deployed to get the pulse of the people on the fly, EMC has also collaborated with Twitter to tap into a stream of a billion tweets.

A 1,000-node Analytics workbench and Greenplum Data Computing Appliance and EMC partner Tableau Software's applications have beeb used to analyze the tweet traffic and create interactive graphics to a provide visual, at-a-glance reports and information.

One of the hottest buzzwords in the technology world today, Big Data focuses on finding fresh and immediate insights in the volume (terabytes, petabytes, or more), velocity, variety of information as it flows. It helps corporations connect the dots on a large scale to garner an overview, understand, make decisions, and then act in real-time to better serve their customers and target markets.

(The writer is a regular contributor to Gadgets & Gizmos)