As people all over the UK discuss Big Data, following the BBC's Horizon TV show last week, The Age of Big Data, Associate Professor Tobias Preis commented, "The age of Big Data has arrived, and is constantly transforming the world we inhabit. BBC Horizon showcased some of the areas in which revealing patterns from vast amounts of data, in particular for the prediction of future behaviour, is of vital social and economic importance."

Dr Preis is an expert in the field, having recently analysed 45bn Google searches to discover a link between the way people search online and GDP. Read more about his research here and read the article about it in BloombergBusinessWeek. He is part of the UK's first Behavioural Science group at a business school, exploring how the analysis of, and learning from, human behaviour can affect business. More of his research recently looked at how traders might be able to anticipate and avoid stock market major crashes. 

He continued, "Big Data research can explore:

  • How can we prevent crime by predicting behavioural patterns to optimise policing?
  • How can we use data driven algorithms to develop trading strategies which outperform others?
  • How can we mine vast records of DNA to nail down diseases?
  • How can we pull in and analyse volumes of data from space to gain a better understanding of the universe?
  • How can we exploit records of online behaviour to identify individual customer needs in real time?"

Horizon revealed the opportunities and challenges of the age of big data across all these areas. "At WBS, together with my colleague Dr Helen Susannah Moat who is soon to join us here, I am analysing vast records of human online behaviour to anticipate decisions made in the real world. We mine vast amounts of online data from sources including Google, Wikipedia, Twitter, and Flickr among others, to understand information flow within society on an unprecedented scale. We try to reveal patterns in these vast data streams to detect and predict societal events, such as elections, crime, riots, disease outbreaks, economic and financial instability, resource shortages, and responses to natural disasters."

Dr Preis is currently putting the final touches to a Big Data Analytics module which will feature on WBS Postgraduate courses from September 2013. An announcement about this will be made by the end of April. Behavioural Science is already woven through the Warwick MBA by full time study, and is a specialism in the MSc Business (Behavioural Science). WBS also offers an MSc in Finance with Behavioural Science