Apply Your Big Data Skills to the LinkedIn Economic Graph Challenge

Image credit: gerard79 at stock.xchng

Image credit: gerard79 at stock.xchng

Just imagine…

Imagine a world where every person who desires a meaningful career will be able work at the dream job perfectly suited for him or her.

Imagine a world where schools and universities prepare students with the optimal set of skills needed by employers.

Imagine a world where business is conducted confidently with fully trusted partners.

From what you can see around you, each person is happy and satisfied and fulfilled in a vocation full of dignity.

Sound far fetched? Perhaps. But LinkedIn thinks you, my reader, may be able to solve some of the world’s greatest economic challenges. They recently opened up the LinkedIn Economic Graph Challenge to the public where people like you can apply for a $25,000 (USD) research grant and get access to LinkedIn’s data to conduct your research. You can apply your big ideas to big data to solve some big economic challenges. Are you ready for it?

What is the Economic Graph?

LinkedIn’s vision is to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce. As part of this vision, LinkedIn is creating the world’s first Economic Graph. The Economic Graph is “a digital mapping of the global economy” according to LinkedIn. It is a data set that will comprise of all 3 billion members of the global workforce, the companies and organizations that they represent, the jobs that they do, the skills and professional experiences that they have, and the schools which enable them to be productive.

The LinkedIn Economic Graph Challenge

As you might imagine, with the demographics, firmographics, and interconnecting data covering the global economy, the full Economic Graph data set would be immense. Normally this data resides in Hadoop and other big data technologies such as Galene. How can you use this data to improve economic opportunities for people? The winners of the LinkedIn Economic Graph Challenge will have access to a subset of this data for conducting the proposed research. According to the FAQ, LinkedIn members’ data privacy and security will be strictly maintained throughout the research period, which implies that the data may be anonymized and data usage carefully monitored.

To participate, you need to submit your proposal to the LinkedIn Economic Graph Challenge website by the December 15, 2014 deadline. Each person or team can submit only one proposal. You can form a team of up to 5 people, and the team members do not need to be from the same business or school. LinkedIn will select up to 3 winning teams in early 2015. LinkedIn will award each winning team a USD $25,000 research grant, trips to LinkedIn headquarters in Mountain View, California, and access to the research data along with help from a LinkedIn employee collaborator. This challenge is currently open only to US residents, and there are other eligibility requirements as well. Please make sure to read the full official challenge rules on the LinkedIn Economic Graph Challenge website, which also has contact information if you have questions about the challenge.

Do you have an idea to create economic opportunity through leveraging big data?

Do you have a creative idea for solving a particular economic challenge via the big data powering LinkedIn?  For example, perhaps you can think of a data mashup between LinkedIn and, both which share the common goal of expanding economic opportunity around the world (video).  If so, please consider applying to the LinkedIn Economic Graph Challenge. Good luck!

Disclaimer: I am a LinkedIn member and employee but not directly involved with the challenge.

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