Articles on Data

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The Large Hadron Collider is playing a key role in enabling the collection of big data. Supplied

The big data challenge and how Africa can benefit

Big data is about processing large amounts of data. It is often associated with multiplicities of data. But the ability to generate data outpaces the ability to store it.
Computer… or black box for data? US Army

How computers broke science – and what we can do to fix it

Virtually every researcher relies on computers to collect or analyze data. But when computers are opaque black boxes that manipulate data, it's impossible to replicate studies – a core value for science.
Somali university students celebrate their graduation. Universities that fare well on national measures may be ignored by international ranking systems. Feisal Omar/Reuters

Ranking African universities is a futile endeavour

The news that African universities will soon be ranked has generated a great deal of hype. But the initiative seems likely to be doomed from the start.
The consent policies of popular websites would take a month to read. Perhaps including a sign like this would be a simpler solution. Shutterstock

Personal privacy is eroding as consent policies of Google and Facebook evoke ‘fantasy world’

We live in a world increasingly dominated by our personal data. Some of those data we choose to reveal, for example, through social media, email and the billions – yes, billions – of messages, photos and…
Stacking the odds? Rebecca Siegel

Here be dragons? China’s economic data may not be all bad

The world’s second-largest economy has become the second-most watched and yet investors, politicians and economists are never quite clear what it is they’re looking at. China’s premier, Li Keqiang, is…
Instant access to health data is becoming the norm so we are wise to the implications. IntelFreePress

What the NHS can learn from the smartphone on data consent

In the run up to the introduction of the NHS care.data programme, there is an urgent need for a debate about what we, and our healthcare providers, mean by the term “consent”. So far, the plans for care.data…

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