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A New Era of Data Gathering and Analysis

Marconi Society Coronavirus and Our Connected World

By Leonard Kleinrock

Leonard Kleinrock is a pioneer in computer networking and communications, creating fundamental mathematical models of packet switching, which is the technology underpinning the Internet. Kleinrock has been honored with the Marconi Prize, the National Medal of Science and the National Academy of Engineering Charles Stark Draper Prize.

There is an amazing (albeit monstrous) experiment taking place that we would never have run by choice. It is exposing our level of interdependence in a very real way that leaves no one untouched. It is also creating both the opportunity and imperative to gather and analyze vast amounts of global data that we might never have brought together before:

  • Supply chains, to see their importance and the critical flows
  • Education, including online and at home
  • Social interaction and the impacts of losing it
  • Food chains and access as supplies become disrupted and unavailable
  • Economics under these conditions and the enormous impact the pandemic is having
  • An externally forced drop in the markets which is sudden, unanticipated and not economically caused
  • Behavior of citizens under isolated and severe conditions, showing both community and hostility
  • Cooperation, or lack thereof, among governments as we struggle with national versus global interests

We need to be proactive in organizing this data gathering and in the design of experiments to run in today’s unusual situation. The Internet is absolutely a critical part of the data gathering, sharing and analysis. The act and science of this work must be organized by the researchers and data gatherers.

This is the proverbial “attack from outer space” which will hopefully bring all people and governments on this planet together to combat this truly external threat.