Data-Driven Companies

We are a society awash in data. Computing power is growing all the time, making number crunching and data processing faster and faster. Then there’s the cloud, where an infinite amount of data can be stored and managed. Making sense of all our data is getting more complicated. Here’s a look at companies and new technologies that can help.


Why Predictive Analytics Is A Game-Changer

By Dave Rich and Jeanne G. Harris
How companies use real-time data to plan for the future.

Making Data Work For You

By Ed Sperling
Just because you have an abundance of data and expensive tools doesn’t mean you’re making good use of them.

Who Is In Charge Of Your Data?

By Dan Woods
Nobody owns data. That costs companies billions.

Supercomputing For Rent

By Andy Greenberg
Exa is streamlining the number-crunching business–and its customers’ rides.

By The Numbers

America’s Fastest-Growing Tech Companies

By John J. Ray
Data-driven companies score high.

How To Win At Gambling

By Quentin Hardy
The way to get wise when the numbers are against you.

Compute Your Way Through Traffic

By Jon Bruner
Inrix navigation software gets its predictions about traffic congestion down to a science.

New Horizons

Obama’s Data Visionary

By Andy Greenberg
Graphics guru Edward Tufte on the iPad and how companies can avoid a data-driven money pit.

Wowd: Searching The Darkness

By Taylor Buley and Quentin Hardy
Wowd aims to go where Google can’t by tapping users to perform Web search.

How Smart Web Guys Win

By Victoria Barret
Omniture CEO Josh James on how big companies are getting smarter about marketing online.

The Corporate View

IBM’s Billions For A Peek Ahead

By Quentin Hardy
Big Blue’s data analytics push.

When Google Runs Your Life

By Quentin Hardy
Eric Schmidt wants to merge play and work on the desktop. Is that such a terrible thing?

Microsoft’s Data Play

By Quentin Hardy
A future of big sets, sensors–and computer software sales?
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Aging gene found to govern lifespan, immunity and resilience

Aging gene found to govern lifespan, immunity and resilience

A nematode worm that has a bacterial infection (highlighted in green). Copyright: Dr Robin May, University of Birmingham

( — Scientists funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) at the University of Birmingham have discovered that a gene called DAF-16 is strongly involved in determining the rate of ageing and average lifespan of the laboratory worm Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) and its close evolutionary cousins. DAF-16 is found in many other animals, including humans. It is possible that this knowledge could open up new avenues for altering ageing, immunity and resistance to stresses in humans. The research is published today (01 April) in PLoS ONE.

Dr Robin May, who led the research said: “Ageing is a process that all organisms experience, but at very different rates. We know that, even between closely related species, average lifespans can vary enormously.

“We wanted to find out how normal ageing is being governed by and what effect these genes have on other traits, such as immunity. To do that, we looked at a gene that we already knew to be involved in the ageing process, called DAF-16, to see how it may determine the different rates of ageing in different species.”

Dr May and colleagues compared longevity, stress resistance and immunity in four related species of worm (see notes for details). They also looked for differences in the activity of DAF-16 in each of the four species and found that they were all quite distinct in this respect. And, importantly, the differences in DAF-16 corresponded to differences in longevity, stress resistance and immunity between the four species – in general higher levels of DAF-16 activity correlated with longer life, increased stress resistance and better immunity against some infections.

Dr May continued: “DAF-16 is part of a group of genes that drive the biological processes involved in ageing, immunity and responses to physical or environmental stresses. The fact that subtle differences in DAF-16 between species seem to have such an impact on ageing and health is very interesting and may explain how differences in and related traits have arisen during evolution.”

The research in Birmingham is now moving on to look at the way in which DAF-16 coordinates a complex network of genes in order to balance the differing needs of an individual’s system over time.

Professor Douglas Kell said: “Research using model organisms that uncovers the biology underpinning ageing gives us the opportunity to understand some of the mechanisms that determine how humans age in a healthy, or at least normal, way. It is very important to develop a good understanding of healthy ageing if we are to appreciate what happens to an older person’s physiology when they become unwell or experience difficulties with everyday tasks such as recalling memories or moving around. Improving the healthspan to mirror increases in the lifespan is an important subject of BBSRC research.”

Provided by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (news : web)


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