Research Fellows Directory
Professor Graham Cormode
University of Warwick
My work is about finding approximate answers to questions that are too costly to solve exactly. Although computers got faster and faster since their invention, processor speeds have not increased over the past few years. Yet, humanity's capacity for creating evermore information has not slowed down. More and more devices are creating data: sensors recording GPS locations of vehicles in cities, smartphones capturing information about their users, social networks with millions of posts and photos. There's an increasing mismatch between our ability to create information, and our ability to digest this to make sense of it.
My research aims to bridge that gap, by coming up with ways to quickly summarize information, and allow these summaries to be used to understand the data. The simple solution to this problem would be to build bigger, faster, computers, but we've found that it isn't economical to make them bigger, and it's no longer physically possible to make them faster. So instead, we try to come up with ways that use fewer resources. The compromise is that the answers we get will be approximate. However, the approximations can be very good, and the gains can be very large, making this a worthwhile tradeoff.