An innovative open data platform for Barcelona

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The Database Technologies and Information Management Group (DTIM) is coordinating 'An Automatic Data Discovery Approach to Enhance Barcelona’s Data Ecosystem’, a project that will create a platform based on open data on Barcelona to support users in the process of developing intelligent applications.

The importance of data is not new, and the predicted economic value that can be extracted is very high. In this context, Barcelona is today a major centre for data science and artificial intelligence (AI) at European level. Small and medium-sized companies, large organisations, emerging companies and research groups are working on solutions for different sectors (tourism, health and mobility) based on data in a rich, constantly evolving ecosystem.

To become a data-driven society, Barcelona needs to facilitate access to and use of its data. The general aim of this project is for other people to be able to easily access, contextualise and cross the large amount of data the city offers. This will benefit suppliers and consumers of information and will enable the city’s management to improve from the perspective of data-driven public services.

The project has two main proposals, under Barcelona City Council’s control in both cases. One is the creation of a data hub in which public and private stakeholders can publish their datasets, as is the case of the Open Data BCN catalogue. The other is an innovative semi-automatic method to cross heterogeneous, intersectoral data sources.

The dataset and its hidden relations will be analysed to characterise the whole automatically. Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) will be used: an advanced AI technique that generalises the deep neural network model to exploit other aspects such as the topology of concepts and connectivity between data sources. Today this is innovative research that has still not been explored in the context of Data Discovery.

The project has received the Awards for Scientific Research into Urban Challenges in Barcelona 2020, which is given by Barcelona City Council, for contributing solutions to the challenges of COVID-19 and generally reconsidering the model of the city.

Related news item: The Scientific Research Awards recognise four UPC research projects to face the challenges of COVID-19 in Barcelona

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