Sunday, November 27, 2011

Big data quantitative analysis toolkit

Just like data bytes may become much more richly modulated with attributes (an extension of data provenance; modulating data bytes with additional inspectable elements such as create/review/launch time stamps, and owner, quality, freshness, and controversy properties, etc.), so too may quantitative data sets.

There should be a ‘2.0 format’ standardized toolkit for quantitative data analysis that includes the top ten techniques often used to analyze data sets. These tools should be user-friendly, ideally as a widget overlay to websites, or otherwise easily accessible and usable by non-quant laypersons.

Suggested techniques for inclusion in the top ten most-useful data analysis tools:

  1. Fourier transforms
  2. Markov state models
  3. Entropy analysis
  4. Distribution analysis (e.g.; power law, Gaussian, etc.)
  5. Progression analysis (e.g.; linear, geometric, exponential, discontinuous)
  6. Qualitative math
  7. Network node/group theory/graphing theory analysis
  8. Complexity, chaos, turbulence, and perturbation modeling
It could become standard that these kinds of techniques are automatically run and displayed on large data sets.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Mental performance optimization

Much time is devoted to maintaining physical health through exercise but almost nothing is done to maintain mental health. The positive psychology movement, happiness research, persuasive behavioral change techniques, calming technologies, and books such as the Neuro Revolution have helped to destigmatize mental health as a focal point for improvement. The next big wave in mental health and performance optimization could come from mobile phone apps. The continuous intimate experience with these inseparable human appendages makes them perfect tools for managing mental health.

The first generation of mental performance mobile apps has been mainly for data collection. Subsequent generations could extend into targeted interventional strategies and ongoing performance management. NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) techniques could be used to shift attention to productive areas, shape goals and action steps, reframe unpleasant experiences, identify and bring out internal resources, and otherwise facilitate better feelings and experiences.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Citizen science health tools

The number of citizen science health and biology projects has been growing in the last few years due to a confluence of factors. Some of these include the plummeting cost of DNA sequencing, the availability of bioinformatics and other web-based data interpretation tools, the possibility of ordering direct-to-consumer blood tests, and having community DIYbio labs for experimentation, education, and support. DIYgenomics has developed a number of boilerplate tools to help in the design and conduct of citizen science health projects:

Study design and organization

Recruitment and marketing

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Quantization trends of the future: crowdsourcing and geolocation

Two conferences held in San Francisco last week underline key future trends, the crowdsourcing of work (and maybe everything), and hyper-local mobile-phone based services such as payments. Thematically, crowdsourcing and mobile services both deal with quantization – the idea of resources being granularized to the smallest unit, and then directed fungibly and automatically to where they are needed and requested, like routing internet data packets. In this case labor units and targeted personalized mobile services can be delivered on a quantized basis. Market principles continue to seep into life with quantization models which typically provide superior value creation and exchange.

CrowdConf2011 (November 1-2, 2011) was bigger and broader than CrowdConf2010. The main focus continued to be on crowdsourced labor, but these models are also emerging in e-government, consumer travel, entertainment, fundraising, and philanthropy (and health, though not included at CrowdConf). Software, professional services (i.e.; graphic design) and R&D have long been staples of crowdsourced labor, and these models are now being extending to almost all areas of the enterprise including sales, social CRM (customer relationship management) and finance, accounting, and administration.

Mobile-phone based services
Mobile is the platform. One billion smartphone users are expected by 2013 and app downloads grew explosively from 300 million in 2009 to five billion in 2010. Arguably, the mobile phone has become an indispensable human augmentation accessory: the loss of a phone is noticed within five minutes, versus the loss of a wallet which takes an hour. The intimate continuous connection individuals have with their mobile phones suggests the platform as a critical delivery mechanism for many important future services such as mental mood performance optimization.

Geo-Loco (November 3, 2011) focused on hyper-local mobile services delivery. The biggest growth area is mobile payment programs where the prevailing methods in use are 2-D barcodes (as used in Starbucks smartphone apps) and NFC (near field communication) chips which send encrypted data over short distances. The development of corporate and brand marketing strategies for mobile services delivery was another big focal area. The poster-child of success of branded smartphone apps, from Starbucks, allows payments, store locating, and checking nutritional information. Ironically, drinks can be configured out of 85,000 possibilities and shared with friends, but not actually ordered!