In DepthBig Data

Proposed study would closely track 10,000 New Yorkers

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Science  30 Oct 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6260, pp. 493-494
DOI: 10.1126/science.350.6260.493

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In a year and a half, 2500 households in New York City may receive a startling request: to allow a team of scientists to monitor in intimate detail how they lead their lives over the course of 20 years—where they go, what they eat, who they talk to, what they buy, and how their bodies grow, change, and deteriorate. That's the ambition of the Kavli Human Understanding through Measurement and Analysis (HUMAN) Project, a study now halfway through its 3-year planning phase, which released a preliminary study design this month. Many see the effort—which would amass information on health, behavior, and lifestyle as a resource for social scientists and biomedical researchers—as a symbol of the big data era, in which researchers collect data first and pose hypotheses later.