How Data is Being Put to Work is Explored at Data Summit 2016

At Data Summit 2016, Robin A. Thottungal, the EPA’s first chief data scientist, explained how the agency is becoming more data-driven and shared some of challenges and the innovative solutions taken by the agency in implementing real-time monitoring of environmental parameters about the current state of our ecosystem.

From explosions caused by fertilizers, to dead zones in the ocean caused by fertilizer runoff to dangerous algae blooms in lakes that pose a threat to drinking water, there are many threats to the ecosystem and the economy that can be prevented using a holistic data model that incorporates data from more sources to create prediction models.

This data can incorporate traditional data sources collected from factories regulatory entities, IoT sensor data regarding air and water, and engaged citizen scientists.

One such initiative, the Risk-Screening Environmental Indicators (RSEI) Model, uses information from EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), which tracks toxic chemical releases and waste management activities at industrial and federal facilities across the United States.  By analyzing this information as well as risk factors, RSEI calculates a numeric score, which can be compared to other scores calculated by RSEI. With smartphones on the rise, they too could be put to use in the future, said Thottungal, for example, capturing data and sending the it back to the EPA combined with geospatial information.

In a talk following Thottungal, Mike Booth of ThoughtSpot, which provides with search-driven analytics built for the enterprise, talked about the way that search has transformed the expectations and the lives of consumers, but is still underutilized in business. Analytics is difficult and requires training, he said, explaining that a massive bottleneck in data analysis has been created because of the lower numbers of trained business analysts. Despite billions spend on BI solutions, data remains inaccessible, he said, and only 22% of today’s business users actually have access to data.

Data Summit is an annual 2-day conference, preceded by a day of workshops. Data Summit offers a comprehensive educational experience designed to guide you through all of the key issues in data management and analysis today. The event brings together IT managers, data architects, application developers, data analysts, project managers, and business managers for an intense immersion into the key technologies and strategies for becoming a data-informed business.

Many presentations from Data Summit 2016 have been made available for review at