UW News

big data


January 24, 2018

#MemoriesInDNA Project wants to store your photos in DNA for the benefit of science – and future generations

A collage of family photographs

Researchers from the Molecular Information Systems Lab at the University of Washington and Microsoft are looking to collect 10,000 original images from around the world to preserve them indefinitely in synthetic DNA manufactured by Twist Bioscience. DNA holds promise as a revolutionary storage medium that lasts much longer and is many orders of magnitude denser than current technologies.


November 30, 2015

UW researchers estimate poverty and wealth from cell phone metadata

The northern and western provinces are divided into cells (the smallest administrative unit of the country), and the cell is shaded according to the average (predicted) wealth of all mobile subscribers in that cell. The southern province is overlaid with a Voronoi diagram that uses geographic identifiers in the call data to divide the region into several hundred thousand small partitions, which each may be as small as a household or a microvillage.

In developing or war-ravaged countries where government censuses are few and far between, gathering data for public services or policymaking can be difficult, dangerous or near-impossible. Big data is, after all, mainly a First World opportunity. But cell towers are easier to install than telephone land lines, even in such challenged areas, and mobile or…


April 25, 2014

Online ‘Legislative Explorer’ uses big data to track decades of lawmaking

John Wilkerson, creator of the Legislative Explorer

University of Washington political scientist John Wilkerson has matched data visualization with the study of lawmaking to create a new online tool for researchers and students called the Legislative Explorer. Think of it as big data meeting up with How a Bill Becomes a Law. “The goal was to get beyond the ‘Schoolhouse Rock’ narrative…