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Symposium looks at opportunities from the information explosion

08 July, 2008

A symposium has been organised by CSIRO and the Statistical Society of Australia will explore how technology is generating masses of information and creating exciting home-grown opportunities for new services for business, government and consumers.

Almost constantly, information is collected by environmental sensors, RFID tag readers, web servers, swipe-card terminals and other technologies. The symposium, ‘Innovation, Services and Smart Information Use’ will look for ways to develop new services and industries based on this information. 

Dr Murray Cameron, one of the symposium organisers and outgoing Chief of CSIRO Mathematical and Information Sciences, said that statisticians are well placed to explore these opportunities and the risks they bring.

“Statisticians are experts at integrating data from different sources and working out how reliable the findings are that people draw from them,” Dr Cameron said.

“Google’s success, for example, is based on statistics – the statistics of analysing links and incoming hits. The company built its advertising business by gathering new and better data and using better analytical tools to fully exploit it. We in Australia can learn from that.”

“Statisticians are experts at integrating data from different sources and working out how reliable the findings are that people draw from them,”
Dr Cameron said.

A range of high profile organisations in information-intensive industries will be represented at the symposium. Speakers include:

  • Dr Nicholas Gruen, CEO of Lateral Economics, who will put the case that a ‘National Information Policy’ is as important to the economy as a Competition Policy
  • Dr Ian Reinecke, outgoing CEO of the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA), who will discuss ways to ensure clinicians have ready access to the wealth of clinical data they need when making decisions
  • Brian Pink, head of the Australian Bureau of Statistics, who will explain how well-managed statistical infrastructure can support policy formation and inform the community.

“At the end of the day we’d like to have heard what Australian service organisations want and pinpoint the research challenges to help make it happen,” Dr Cameron said.

The symposium is a satellite meeting of the Australian Statistical Conference being held this week in Melbourne.

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