Oracle has announced that it will provide an investment boost to two big data research projects at Western Sydney University’s (WSU) School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics focusing on cancer treatments for children.

These two projects are looking at new ways of using data visualisation to better interpret data obtained from these treatments, and how the use of virtual and augmented reality can make large-scale visual analytics more accessible.

The first tranche of funding will extend the project entitled ‘Enabling Effective Clinical Decisions with Visual Analytics’, which is currently supported by the Cancer Institute of NSW’s ‘Big Data, Big Impact’ grant.

Dr Quang Vinh Nguyen, senior lecturer with WSU’s School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics, said: “While the cure rates of childhood cancers have improved dramatically thanks to the growth of technologies and research, there is still a lot more that needs to be done.”

“By combining genetic information with clinical data and using visualisation techniques to break down that complexity, this research seeks to find new ways to battle childhood cancers with cutting-edge discoveries that are safe, less toxic and more effective.”

The second project – which focuses on using VR and AR tools and techniques - is currently open for application to PhD students until June 2017.

Dr Nguyen added: “Today’s knowledge-driven society generates a vast amount of data [but] ordinary analysis methods quickly become inadequate as the data size and complexity increases.”

“This research will focus on how an immersive visual data analytics experience can be enabled by utilising newly introduced technologies in the areas of virtual reality, augmented reality, or both.”

Robert Spinks, Oracle’s senior director of Big Data, Integration and Analytics said: “In today’s big data world, making data visual is a big part of making it understandable, especially when the interpretation is done by users who may not be skilled data scientists.”

“Rather than having users try to decipher reports or dashboards, visual analytics can add a new dimension and help users gain new and different insights from data more quickly.

“These research projects are both really exciting and we can’t wait to see their results.”