Complex information networks are ubiquitous with increasingly voluminous and diverse data: examples include social networks, medical health records, stock market, disaster response, and environmental science. Complex, partial, unstructured and time-varying multimodal data pose significant new challenges to knowledge discovery. Healthcare is an excellent example of a data offering all these challenges: patient health records, consisting of imaging data (CT scans, MRI, pathology images), physiological measurements, physician notes, disease states, treatment history including medication, and outcomes (well-being of the patient). The spatial variations (e.g., in 2D/3D images) and temporal behavior (response to medication, changes in imaging and other measurements) are further complicated because data sampling is not uniform in any of these dimensions. The primary mission of the Center for Multimodal Big Data Science is to address the grand challenge of developing novel computational methods leveraging image analysis, natural language processing, machine learning, system identification and database technologies to discover significant knowledge to provide a transformative impact on a broad spectrum of applications.
A central component in this research effort is the BisQue image management and analysis platform that has been developed in the lab over the past 10 years. BisQue specifically supports large scale, multi-dimensional multimodal-images and image analysis. Metadata is stored as arbitrarily nested and linked tag/value pairs, allowing for domain-specific data organization. Image analysis modules can be added to perform complex analysis tasks on compute clusters. Analysis results are stored within the database for further querying and processing. The data and analysis provenance is maintained for reproducibility of results. BisQue can be easily deployed in cloud computing environments or on computer clusters for scalability. The user interacts with BisQue via any modern web browser.
The interdisciplinary research projects built on top of BisQue span four main areas: marine science, plant biology, materials science, and healthcare.