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Big Data Analytics Expert Group

Aim and context

The objective of this Expert Group has been to gather experts on the many faces of Big Data Analytics and compile with their help a white paper that fosters a future agenda for European research on this direction.

The result of the initiative is part of the strategic reports published by ERCIM, and can be accessed at

Sensing big data at a societal scale, and the transparent interlinking of digital and physical reality, has the potential of providing a powerful social microscope, which can help us understand many complex and hidden socio-economic phenomena, such as mobility behaviors, economic and financial crises, the spread of epidemics, the diffusion of opinions and so on. It is clear that such challenge requires high-level analytics, modeling and reasoning across all the social dimensions.

In practice, however, there is a big gap from the opportunities offered by the big data to the challenges posed by social, economical, scientific phenomena: Big data are fragmented and low-level. They reside in diverse databases and repositories, often inaccessible for proprietary and legal constraints, and have limited power to portray different social dimensions. There are many regulatory, business and technological barriers to set the power of big data free.

As a response, the paradigm of Big Data Analytics is emerging at the convergence of several disciplines, including machine learning, data mining, statistics, complex systems, socioeconomic sciences, etc. There is a flourishing body of research about making sense of Big Data, but a coherent scientific and technological framework is still missing. We need to put at work scientists and technologists from different disciplines to shape a research and innovation agenda that might drive the ERICM future actions.

Our proposal involved prominent research leaders in industry and academia to share their visions and elaborate together what should be the challenging research issues in this promising research frontier.

This Expert Group was born as initiative of the SoBigData Lab


Organization team

Scientific organization

Local organization

Method of work

The activity of the Expert Group has been performed along three steps:

  1. Experts’ short papers sharing. The selected experts were challenged in expressing their vision w.r.t the fertile research emerged so far in Big Data Analytics, and proposing topics and actions that should drive the research road map in big data analytics in the next 10 years in Europe. Special emphasis was given towards Societal Good and how the Big Societal Challenges of H2020 provide a fertile ground for Big Data Analytics research.
  2. Worskshop. A full 2-days workshop was held, with scientific interactive sessions and a final one dedicated at defining the structure of the position paper. A rapporteur was appointed for each session with the task of collecting the contributions as well as the comments and live discussions during the sessions and editing them.
  3. Position paper writing. The proposers together with the rapporteurs produced a first draft of “white paper/roadmap report” based on the experts contributes, and on the discussion and reports produced during the workshop. The draft was then reviewed by the experts and finalized accordingly.

Experts' contributions and other working material were collected in a private area here: (Ask organizers to get access)


The workshop of the ERCIM Expert Group on Big Data took place near Pisa, Italy, from May 29th to May 30th, 2014, a full 2-day working meeting, where all the experts involved discussed and collaborated in an interactive setting.

Workshop agenda

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

  • 19:30: welcome cocktail / light buffet dinner

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

  • 9.00 [Plenary Meeting] Opening, presentations, discussion and set up of the working method.
  • 10.30 Coffee Break
  • 11.00 Parallel working sessions / 1
  • 13.00 Lunch
  • 14.30 Parallel working sessions / 2
  • 16.30 Coffee break
  • 17.00 [Plenary Meeting] Wrap-up of first day
  • 18.00 End of works
  • 20.30 Social dinner

Friday, May 30th, 2014

  • 9.00 Parallel working sessions / 3
  • 10.30 Coffee Break
  • 11.00 Parallel working sessions / 4
  • 13.00 Lunch
  • 14.30 [Plenary Meeting] Final wrap-up / white paper organization
  • 16.30 Coffee break
  • 17.00 [Plenary Meeting] Continuation of previous session
  • 18.00 End of works
  • 20.30 Dinner

Workshop Venue

The venue selected is Tirrenia, a small beach village ten kilometers from Pisa, and the hotel GreenPark has been selected: Green Park Resort

Bigdataanalytics tirrenia 1.jpg Bigdataanalytics tirrenia 2.jpg Bigdataanalytics tirrenia 3.jpg

Directions and connections

Pisa is a well connected destination.

  • The International Airport “Galileo Galilei” of Pisa is only 7 km away from the Conference Centre in Tirrenia. It has become one of the main Italian airports, with flights to over 74 destinations all around Europe, United States and Russia. Info: Pisa Airport
  • The railroad line connects Pisa with the rest of Italy allowing you to get to Florence in 45 mins as well as Rome and Milan in under 3 hours. The main station is located in the city centre. Info: Trenitalia
  • Tirrenia is connected via hourly bus to Pisa station. Info: Time Tables

Bigdataanalytics tirrenia map.jpg

Experts List

  • Anastasia Ailamaki, EPFL
  • Emanuele Baldacci, ISTAT
  • Peter Baumann, Jacobs University
  • Francesco Bonchi, Yahoo! Labs
  • Martin Kersten, CWI
  • Alexander Löser, Beuth Hochschule
  • Stan Matwin, Dalhousie University
  • Dunja Mladenic, J. Stefan Institute
  • Amedeo Napoli, LORIA
  • Dino Pedreschi, University of Pisa
  • Nicolas Spyratos, Paris-South – Orsay
  • Michalis Vazirgiannis, LIX Ecole Polytechnique


For any information about this Expert Group, please contact the organizers at