Open data: Changing research

At the VicNode Office we’re always excited to hear how open data and technology are changing research. The latest inspirational story to come across our desks is Yuri Milner’s 100 million USD investment into the Listen Initiative. This project is conducting a survey of the million stars closest to the earth, searching for extraterrestrial life using some of the most powerful instruments available.

All the data from the Listen Initiative will be made open, with Milner saying, “we’re committed to bringing the Silicon Valley approach to the search for intelligent life in the Universe. Our approach to data will be open and taking advantage of the problem-solving power of social networks.”

The prospect of opening this data to the public has many people excited, both in and outside the research community. Dr Alan Duffy, Research Fellow at Swinburne University, is the data custodian for the VicNode hosted SMAUG—Hydrodynamic Simulations of First Galaxy Formation collection, said the following about the Listen Initiative on The Drum:

I think one of the biggest things will be the digital challenge. We have an enormous amount of data to search. That will be done in a way that is open source. Yuri Milner … wants this data to be out there for the general public to try and find the signal themselves. And look, if computer coding isn’t your forte you can also just download the SETI@home screensaver and it will just crunch the numbers while your computer is idle.

If you would like support to making your research data public, or would like to host a research data collection on infrastructure in Victoria, VicNode offers a range services to support researchers Victorian research institutions.