You can learn a lot about the world from Wikipedia, sometimes without reading the articles.
Kalev Leetaru, a researcher at the University of Illinois, has been looking at the capacious volunteer-written encyclopedia as a Big Data resource, concentrating on the connections between cities around the globe over time. To understand these connections, he focuses on the type of language used to talk about a particular place, to see whether the writers have a generally positive or negative sentiment toward the place at that time.
The result is an interesting historical atlas of the rise of globalization and warfare. His technical sponsor in data mining, Silicon Graphics International, hopes the work is also an advertisement for S.G.I.’s decidedly noncloud style of technical computing for some kinds of number crunching.
» via The New York Times (Subscription may be required for some content)
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