University of Chicago Big Ideas Generator


Big Question: Safe data: A workshop on paradigms and platforms for safe analysis of sensitive data

University of Chicago Big Questions

Principal Investigator: Ian Foster, Computer Science; Michael Franklin, Computer Science

Funding Type: Workshop

Focus Area: Information

Big Idea: Access to new types of data has revolutionized much of science. Yet that revolution has yet to fully make its way to the scientific study of human beings and their interactions, where progress has been hindered by the legal, technical, and operational obstacles to sharing and accessing sensitive data about individuals. New paradigms and platforms are required to enable sensitive data from different sources to be discovered, integrated, and analyzed in an appropriately controlled manner, while also allowing researchers to share analysis methods, results, and expertise in ways not easily possible today.  Our goal in convening this workshop is to bring together a diverse group of experts in the motivating applications that illustrate the opportunities inherent in new approaches; the legal, policy, and ethical frameworks that define the risks associated with inappropriate data release or analyses; and the data management, data analysis, security, and other technologies that determine what can be created. We will charge this group with defining the new principles that may govern the collection and use of data about human subjects in this new era, and with identifying promising new methods, policies, and technologies that may allow for the realization of those principles in different settings.

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