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The Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network (AURIN) is a unique computing resource allowing researchers to make sense of the masses of data that they are now having to deal with related to the urban settlements (cities) of Australia.
Researchers at the world-famous Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne recently had a medical conundrum that couldn’t be solved in a test tube or at a lab bench.
They wanted to know why there were an increasing number of patients – about a third of them women – being diagnosed with certain types of lung cancer when none of them had smoked and their families had no history of cancer. And why were they showing up in clusters in different parts of Victoria?
To find the answer, these specialists turned to scientists offering innovations in capturing, analysing and visualising diverse data sets through so-called big data analytics.
Using the AURIN platform – developed through a national co-operative effort led by The University of Melbourne – the Peter MacCallum scientists were able to draw on detailed data from a wide range of sources and combine it with their own lung cancer data.
This information included data on car pollution on Victoria’s roads and factory pollution through the National Pollutant Inventory, weather data from the Bureau of Meteorology and detailed population data from the Australian Census.