Making sense of big data

April 8, 2013

When Jameson Toole explores the streets of Boston and Cambridge, he sees problems waiting to be solved — and he believes some solutions are already in our pockets. “Mobile phones are amazing data sensors,” says Toole, a native of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and a second-year PhD student in the Engineering Systems Division at MIT. “Every time you use your cellphone, there is a little breadcrumb that’s stored that can be used in a lot of different ways to help improve human lives.”

Together with his adviser, Marta Gonzalez, the Gilbert W. Winslow Career Development Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Toole is an advocate of big data: Specifically, he aims to harness the stockpile of information collected by our electronic devices. Whether it’s via an app or simply the data a phone company collects about its customers, Toole says, information stored in cellphones can be valuable in urban planning.

Read the rest of the article on MIT Newsphoto by Allegra Boverman

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