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DARPA to Utilize Big Data for Causal Relations Study; Paul Cohen Comments

big dataThe Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency wants to use big data analytics to identify cause-and-effect relationships in complex economic, medical and environmental systems.

DARPA’s Big Mechanism program will have three phases and initially focus on studying the molecular pathways that are responsible for cancer development and growth, the agency said Thursday.

“Having big data about complicated economic, biological, neural and climate systems isn’t the same as understanding the dense webs of causes and effects—what we call the big mechanisms—in these systems,” said Paul Cohen, a DARPA program manager.

The program’s goal is to make use of data from every research publication for an automated public causal analysis of complex incidents.

“Causal models are needed to predict how systems will respond to interventions—how a patient or an economy will respond to a drug or a new tax—and to understand why systems behave as they do,” Cohen added.

“And we can propose new experiments, suggest interventions and advance our knowledge more rapidly.”

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