WD, UN Use Big Data Competition to Fight Climate Change

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.WD.global.pulse

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.
 
"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.
 
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.
 
Details on the Challenge

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.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he...