Meadowlark: Sheffield based computer consultancy

Data analysis

The world that we rely on is a world that is informed by the computers that we use on a day-to-day basis.  Computers predict and plot the weather, tell us how prices have changed, and that our bills are due.  However the above examples are examples of information.  What about the data that creates this information in the first place?

Think of data as the raw material that we transform into information.  Generally that data will be numerical in form.  There may be numerous ways that data can be converted into information.  Is it possible that there is some new way of presenting the data that informs us in some new novel way?  Let me give you an example.

The engine management system of your car tells the console on the dashboard that there is a problem with the engine.  It does this by lighting an orange led, and the driver subsequently is subsequently alarmed.

The driver would be better informed if the console also indicated that the problem was caused by - perhaps - a broken sensor.  In the above example the driver is being informed but not in a comprehensive way.  However there is no doubt data available to the engine management system that clearly indicates that the broken sensor is the culprit.

How can data analysis help you?

Organisations of all types can accumulate large quantities of data, perhaps this data could be analysed and transformed to provide new information that would benefit the organisation commercially or its customers.

Data analysis tools we use:

Neural networks


Databases and spreadsheets

What you can expect from computer hardware in the future?

1. Smaller faster, cheaper, lighter computers for the desktop.  They will be no larger than a DVD drive.  They will be silent, and run free software, and much of this will be web based.  They will use solid state disks, and large quantities of cheap memory.

2. More powerful mobile phones will largely replace traditional PCs.  The screens of mobiles will occupy as much of the phone as physically possible.  "Soft buttons will have largely replaced mechanical buttons in top of the range phones.

3. Sophisticated screen display technology will be available that will allow us to use bigger computer monitors in smaller less likely workplaces.

4. Micro-factories: places of work no bigger than a loft extension, where budding entrepreneurs labour in their free time "printing" products with 3D printers and selling their wares by the internet.