WVU research to reduce information "clutter"; National Science Foundation funds project to reduce information overload
The convenience of technology has become both blessing and curse.
Between the internet, email, text messages and a blitz of social media options, people are scrambling to keep pace with information delivery in the modern age. With so many distractions, it can be hard to focus on what’s important.
Tim Menzies, a researcher at West Virginia University, is hoping to help ease these distractions by making the way society functions electronically more customized and efficient. Menzies and professor Andrian Marcus of Wayne State University recently received a National Science Foundation award worth $500,000 for their research on “Science 2.0.”
“Science 2.0 is changing the nature of research,” said Menzies an associate professor of computer science and electrical engineering in the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. “With the growth in size and complexity of the Internet and the massive information and data systems in the world today, it has becomes impossible for individuals to understand all of the data that they can access.”
In addition, said Menzies, data analysis is much more complex than it used to be. Starting in the 1990s, there was an explosion in new data mining methods, as well as many commercial data mining successes, such as Google. But for the average user, the new methods are difficult to understand. Science 2.0, he said, will help process and prioritize information.
“Imagine a calmer world, where you do what you do, assisted by a community of data mining agents who understand your goals and needs, and who occasionally tap you on the shoulder and say, ‘You’ll want to look more closely at this,’” said Menzies,
Menzies and his colleague are looking at ways to customize search results, so that individuals can more precisely set the boundaries of the information they want and receive the most pertinent results. The researchers plan to test the results of their efforts among students and industrial partners.
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