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Dr Andi Horvath

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The University of Melbourne will lead the establishment of a new $20M ARC Centre of Excellence, which will create innovative mathematical and statistical models for analysing big data sets.

Many data sets and collections have the potential to make vital contributions to society, business and government, as well as impact on international developments, but they are so large or complex that they are difficult to process and analyse using traditional tools, said Melbourne’s ARC Laureate Fellow, Professor Peter Hall.

“Current solutions are ad-hoc, since adequate, mathematically founded statistical techniques currently do not exist,” he said.

“The aim of this Centre is to uncover the knowledge concealed within the size and complexity of these big data sets.”

The new ARC Centre of Excellence for Mathematical and Statistical Frontiers of Big Data, Big Models, New Insights is aligned with the National Research Priority Area of Frontier Technologies for Building and Transforming Australian Industries.

These national priorities focus investment on research in key areas that can deliver significant economic, social and environmental benefits to Australia.

Melbourne is now involved in a total of seven Centres of Excellence bringing an additional income of approximately $5.6 million (per annum) to the University. The other six Centres of Excellence are: the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrative Brain Function, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science, the ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology, the ARC Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course.

University of Melbourne Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor James McCluskey congratulated Melbourne researchers on an outstanding effort in securing the support for the new mathematical and statistical Centre of Excellence.

“The new Centre will produce a lasting body of excellent and influential research, which has the potential to add real value to a range of areas from health care services and road traffic networks, to marine ecosystems, astrophysics and more,” he said.

Melbourne will lead the new Centre and work with researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, Queensland University of Technology, University of Adelaide, University of Oxford, University of Technology, Sydney, University of New South Wales, University of Queensland, Harvard School of Public Health, CSIRO, Australian Institute of Marine Science, Sax Institute, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems, Canada, University of British Columbia, Vic Roads, AT&T Labs-Research.