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WD, UN Use Big Data Competition To Fight Climate Change

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Data for Climate Action is an open innovation challenge to use data science and big data from the private sector to fight climate change

UN Global Pulse, a United Nations initiative seeking innovation in big data projects, and IT data storage maker Western Digital have shaken hands on a project to launch a competition called the Data for Climate Action challenge. 

Data for Climate Action is an open innovation challenge to use data science and big data from the private sector to fight climate change.

Data scientists, researchers and innovators from around the world are encouraged to apply and submit their proposals at DataForClimateAction.org by April 10. 

Green cloud finger © Singkham Shutterstock

Tackling climate change 

“Driving effective action on climate change requires not only climate data, but also rich information about human behavior,” said Robert Kirkpatrick, Director of UN Global Pulse.  

“Big data can provide dynamic feedback on how communities affect and are affected by the climate system, and enable innovation to increase sustainability and resilience. This data is primarily held by companies, like those participating in Data for Climate Action.” 

With support from the Skoll Global Threats Fund, this global challenge has galvanized a diverse coalition of companies from multiple industries and countries to participate through acts of data philanthropy.  

The challenge will offer researchers an opportunity to gain unprecedented access to national, regional, and global datasets–anonymized and aggregated to protect privacy–and first-rate tools to support their research. 

Working together

Companies contributing data for the challenge include: 

BBVA Data & Analytics, financial data analytics provider 
Crimson Hexagon, enterprise social media analytics provider 
Earth Networks, weather and lightning sensor network operator 
Orange, global telecommunications provider 
Planet, earth-imaging satellite network operator 
Plume Labs, environmental data sciences company 
Schneider Electric, global specialist in energy management and automation 
Waze, a free, real time, community-based traffic and navigation app 

In addition, researchers may apply to receive cloud-computing support from Microsoft and visual analytics support from Tableau, the UN said. 

data centre, green energy

Data for Climate Action will target three areas relevant to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal on climate action (SDG 13): climate mitigation, climate adaptation, and the linkages between climate change and the broader 2030 Agenda. 

The challenge aims to generate original research papers and tools that demonstrate how data-driven innovation can inform on-the-ground solutions and transform efforts to fight climate change.  

It builds upon the model of data science competitions pioneered by organizations such as Kaggle and company-specific initiatives to share big data for the public good, such as the “Data for Development” challenges hosted by Orange. 

Researchers who are selected to participate in Data for Climate Action will have four months to conduct their research. A diverse panel of experts in climate change and data science will evaluate final submissions based on their methodology, relevance, and potential impact. Winners will be announced in November 2017. 

To submit an application or find additional details on the challenge, visit the website here

 Originally published on eWeek