IBMThe world has a lot of Big Data, or massive amounts of information stored across giant data centers. Now it’s time to make use of it. That’s why IBM Research has created its new Accelerated Discovery Lab. The aim is to find connections among massive sets of data that can be used intelligently for analytics and insights.

IBM is focused on the “four V’s of data,” or volume, velocity, variety, and veracity, said Laura Haas, IBM fellow and director of technology and operations at the lab.

“There’s a set of data challenges and lot of different expertise you need to tackle those problems,” said Haas, in an interview with VentureBeat. “Everyone is talking about Big Data and analytics. We talk to our researchers, but it’s still really hard to get the right kind of insight out of the data.”

She noted that a lot of drug discovery efforts cost billions of dollars, but many of those efforts wind up not paying off with products in the market. If the researchers could wade through much more data, they might gain insights into finding which drugs might be the best to pursue, Haas said.

Many customers recognize the value of Big Data but need help in getting started. That’s why IBM is setting up the lab at the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, Calif. The team will have an interdisciplinary focus with experts in hardware, software, data, and others. Among the researchers is Michelle Zhou, the researcher who figured out how to decipher someone’s personality by looking at 200 of their tweets.

“Michelle’s research is a very good example of putting two and two together to get something more,” Haas said.

The lab will have something like 15 projects running at a time.

“This is a very exciting time for us,” Haas said. “Getting insight out of data is a critical problem. We are at the beginning of a new age here. It is more of a struggle than we thought, and we have a unique opportunity here to take the data and explore the unknown.”

One of the partners is Thiess, an Australian mining company with more than $3 billion in fixed assets. Thiess partnered with the lab to increase its production rate, reduce operational down-time, and cut maintenance costs. By Dean Takahashi Read more