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The world according to Twitter as seen through a high-performance computer.

A big brain computer tracks Twitter’s global heartbeat during the 2012 elections and Hurricane Sandy in a research project created by two Illinois academics proving that real-time analysis of unstructured data is possible if you only have enough cores, cache and networking I/O.


I watched the 2012 elections on Twitter, and I wasn’t alone. Data from the social network proves that out, with more than 31 million election-related tweets recorded that night. But what does that type of activity look like in real time? Using the SGI (s SGI) UV 2000 Big Brain supercomputer at the University of Illinois, two data aficionados were able to generate a heat-map of activity in real time.

Below is the video of their efforts, set to somewhat over dramatic music for an election (maybe if it were 2000, y’all). And here is where you can see the live trending data showing sentiment on Twitter right now.

The two researchers, Kalev H. Leetaru of the University of Illinois and Shaowen Wang of the CyberInfrastructure and Geospatial Information (CIGI) Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, also tracked tweets related to Hurricane Sandy as part of what…

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