Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

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The Rensselaer IDEA


We Increasingly Live in a Data-Driven, Web-Enabled, Supercomputer-Powered, Globally Interconnected World.


“With the new technologies we are exploring at Rensselaer, a patient with a cognitively enhanced computer will be able to stay healthy much better than a patient alone. If we could extend that to hundreds of thousands of patients worldwide, the impact on global health would be immeasurable.”
- James Hendler, Rensselaer IDEA Director

The Rensselaer Institute for Data Exploration and Applications (IDEA) enables research across campus to access such technologies via the development of critical computational methodologies, including data-intensive supercomputing, large-scale agent-based simulation, and cognitive computing technologies.

IDEA has provided the impetus for a new partnership with IBM—the Center for Health Empowerment by Analytics, Learning, and Semantics, or HEALS. Located on the Rensselaer campus, the HEALS center is a five-year, $20 million effort to prevent the progression of chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.

HEALS is bringing together big data analytics, state-of-the-art machine learning, and the technologies of the Semantic Web to find insights within data from many different sources, including clinical data, lifestyle data provided by the patient, health or wellness data from mobile fitness tracking devices, and social network data from shared online activities. The goal is to enable individuals to improve their own health by providing health information customized for their specific medical, environmental, and life situations.

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