The Power of Data Science Used to Create Positive Change

File:DARPA Big Data.jpg(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Virtually every sector of the global economy has access to more data than would have been imaginable even a decade ago. Data is being used to solve tough challenges, plan strategically and ensure growth. Data science is also being put to good use: to bring positive change to some of the world’s most complex challenges, such as predicting ocean health, curbing human trafficking and, in the case of the company, Booz Allen Hamilton, 50 data scientists have volunteered their expertise to look for ways to improve animal care and adoption in the U.S.

These analysts were given a rich dataset with 16 years’ worth of information on animal adoptions from Lollypop Farm, a not-for-profit animal shelter in Rochester, New York. Lollypop Farm is committed to building lifelong bonds between people and animals through education, community outreach programs and the prevention of cruelty. Teams of analysts spent many hours looking through the organization's data for insights to help animal shelters nationwide.

The findings by Booz Allen Hamilton’s work are essential to Lollypop’s mission, helping to enhance adoption services across the States. The data analysed here reveals some interesting insights such as, women adopt shelter animals at a higher rate than men; dogs of all weights are adopted at around the same rate; pit bulls spend an average of 20 days longer at a shelter than Labrador retrievers. Other useful shelter information is that cats with unique names spend less time in a shelter compared with cats with more common names. Bizarrely, each letter in a cat’s name adds a quarter of a day to the time the cat will spend in a shelter!

As a company, Booz Allen Hamilton has a mission to solve the toughest challenges faced by clients. It applies its experience and expertise towards making a difference in communities, as the spirit of service is embedded in the Booz Allen culture. The Lollypop Farm effort by the company is part of the firm’s ‘Hackathon for Social Good Series,’ which also includes a ‘Hackathon on Human Trafficking.’ Booz Allen employees are passionate about giving back.

Data science has a big future ahead. There will only be more data and more of a need for companies like Booz Allen Hamilton to find meaning and value in that data. The New York Times has said, “This hot new field promises to revolutionise industries from business to government, health care to academia." Economically, we will also start to see a greater need for data engineers, people to build infrastructure around data and algorithms and data artists - people who can visualise the data.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia