Keeping it real: the potential of big data in simulation modelling

 

The tremendous volume of data being collected from social media, environmental sensors, lab tests, smartphones and browsing patterns is providing vital insights into real-life human behaviour. And it’s transforming the modelling of public health interventions, according to internationally respected health data science expert Professor Nate Osgood.Professor Osgood, from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, told a packed seminar in Sydney co-hosted by the Sax Institute and the Australian Prevention Partnership Centre, that dynamic simulation modelling could make sense of the cacophony of data and assess the implications of big data for policy.Dynamic simulation models are computer representations of the real world that enable researchers to test policy interventions. Incorporating information derived from big data enables researchers to take into account how real human behaviour plays into the complex interactions that influence health, he said.

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