The Magazine for AUT Alumni 2017

Smarter use of big data: national centre to create new data technology platforms

Smarter use of big data: national centre to create new data technology platforms

Building world-leading data technology platforms that create industries and keep talented young New Zealanders in this country is the focus of a new national organisation based at AUT.

The INTERACT Centre of Technology Excellence aims to create a quantum leap forward in New Zealand's ability to be a leading developer of data technologies and to retain IT and data science graduates in local industries.

INTERACT operates as a highly networked, industry-linked organisation with the central aim of addressing questions around large scale streaming, big data processing and analytics.

The national centre is expected to deliver economic gains through new technologies in areas including: Smart City Transportation, Predictive Analytics in Social Services, Precision Medicine, Environmental Surveying, Disaster Management & Prediction, Precision Agriculture and Autonomous Vehicles.

AUT's Pro-Vice Chancellor of Research and Innovation, Professor John Raine, says "INTERACT will significantly increase New Zealand's engagement in data-intensive R&D, an area where we have lagged internationally, but which offers the opportunity for advanced technology development and potential spin-off industry benefits."

Current projects at AUT that are part of INTERACT include the use of neural computing in predicting earthquakes, the matching of therapeutic drug regimens to an individual's genetic make-up, using drones to make and analyse 3-D maps of plant species in the wild, working with sensor networks, cameras and data analytics to make driverless cars safer, and creating predictive models that support social services decision processes when intervening in families at risk.

The INTERACT collaborative framework will generate a number of PhD graduates and seek to retain them in New Zealand through exciting research and industry opportunities. INTERACT will attract talent through postdoctoral fellowships and grow industry capabilities through close interaction with New Zealand companies.

Hosted by AUT, INTERACT has been conceived as a collaborative national organisation with key research partners such as the University of Canterbury, Lincoln University, Massey University and the University of Waikato, together with Callaghan Innovation and Opus International Consultants.

"INTERACT will significantly increase New Zealand’s engagement in data-intensive R&D, an area where we have lagged internationally."

Senior research staff from all New Zealand universities have engaged in INTERACT R&D projects.

INTERACT has a substantial list of industry partners, and existing multinational corporate partners, with others being introduced by Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) and is currently seeking to boost institutional support for its R&D activities through Government investment.


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