The University of Southampton

Academics must be part of the data revolution, says Tony Hey

Published: 9 May 2011

Professor Tony Hey will urge academics to take part in the technology revolution geared towards solving the world’s problems when he speaks at the University of Southampton this week (Thursday 12 May).

In a talk entitled 'The Fourth Paradigm: Data-Intensive Scientific Discovery', Professor Hey, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Research, will describe how we are in the middle of 'The Fourth Paradigm' – a period which is all about the data and computational systems needed to manipulate, visualise and manage large amounts of scientific data.

“We are dealing with a whole new type of science where data sets are so large that we cannot easily keep them on machines,” he will say. “What we are discovering in e-Science is that we have new communities like biologists, who are doing major tasks like gene sequencing on computers. In fact, soon we will be able to get our genes sequenced for about £100.”

Professor Hey will talk about some of the far-reaching changes that this fourth paradigm will bring to scientific discovery. He will describe how research technologies from Microsoft Research are making it possible to establish genetic profiles for drug delivery; to build an effective vaccine against HIV, and to protect the environment by applying machine-learning techniques to sugar cane so that ethanol can be extracted to power cars in Brazil.

He will claim that future progress can only happen if academic researchers collaborate with one another and with people from other disciplines.

“We need to solve the major health and environmental problems facing the world today,” he will say. “A multidisciplinary society is the way forward. Academic researchers, you should be part of the process not part of the problem. Computing can help solve the world’s problems and it is worth being involved.”

Professor Hey will deliver 'The Fourth Paradigm: Data-Intensive Scientific Discovery' on Thursday 12 May at 6pm in the Nightingale Lecture Theatre on the Highfield Campus, University of Southampton. The lecture is part of the Faculty Distinguished Lecture series in the Faculty of Physical and Applied Sciences, and will be chaired by the Dean of the Faculty, Professor Dame Wendy Hall. No tickets are required to attend the lecture and all are welcome.

Professor Hey was a former Head of School of Electronics and Computer Science in the University of Southampton and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He was also Head of e-Research for Research Councils UK.

For further information contact Joyce Lewis; tel.+44(0)23 8059 5453.

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