IBM and SAP Open up Big Data Platforms for Citizen Science

IT companies are making enterprise technology available to citizen projects that could benefit both the environment and business
Jan 29, 2014 8:55 AM ET

Original article by Kristine A Wong on theguardian

Sujeevan Ratnasingham is on a race to identify all living species on earth. With the tally anywhere between 10 million to 100 million – and one-third estimated to become extinct by the next century – it's a Herculean task in the least.

But undiscovered species are just as likely to be found in one's backyard as the Amazon rainforest. So it's no surprise that in this age of crowdsourcing and citizen science, the bioinformatics expert and his colleagues at the International Barcode of Life (iBOL), a consortium of universities, natural history museums and research institutes, are asking people around the world to gather samples. Then, back in their labs, scientists can identify the species by sequencing a section of its DNA (a procedure known as barcoding).

With hundreds of millions of records to analyze – and even more data per record poised come in over the next year, iBOL decided to host its database on HANA, SAP's enterprise platform that makes data available in a computer's memory. The switch will allow researchers and citizen scientists to quickly analyze the huge volumes of data in the cloud.

By merging their records with other datasets such as weather, researchers can conduct predictive analyses that can reveal patterns between species and location. The results can provide clues into how outside forces – from invasive species to climate change - are affecting the environment, and suggest how to manage wild land and agricultural land more sustainably.

Continue reading the original article about SAP on theguardian >>

Original source: theguardian.