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December - 2015 - issue > In My Opinion

Advanced Analytics & Machine Learning on Cloud - Creating Impact for Education, Healthcare & more

Anil Bhansali, Managing Director, Microsoft India (R&D)
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
Anil Bhansali, Managing Director, Microsoft India (R&D)
With the emergence of powerful distributed computing environment and on-demand cloud infrastructure, computing today is increasingly becoming affordable, scalable, and accessible to almost anyone, anytime and anywhere on this planet. The cloud platform now and in the future should be able to scale up or down to match demanding workloads. This democratization of computing has deep implications to how we set about solving complex social issues that involve processing and analysis of vast amounts of data to derive actionable insights in a timely manner. Advances in computing to such an extent can help governments and society create relevant interventions in pressing issues.

Big data analytics, coupled with machine-learning algorithms, hold immense potential in terms of driving fundamental changes to critical areas like education and health. What governments need today to make a deeper social impact is an intelligent cloud that enables efficient processing of vast volumes of data with rich visualization & analytics capabilities. Deriving actionable insights on this data will help them make informed interventions in areas of concern.

10,000 schools in Andhra Pradesh to help reduce dropout rates with machine-learning

Reducing the number of school dropouts and increasing the overall skill levels of the workforce are key areas of concern for local and state governments in India. An intelligent cloud can help drive skill levels to an appreciable level. It can do this by processing complex data on education, which includes data on student performance, school infrastructure, teacher skills, and enable experts to cull meaningful patterns from such data. This can lead to faster decision-making, replacing what would otherwise be a long drawn-out manual exercise. Further, it significantly reduces the chances of human error. The approach involves deploying machine-learning models that can predict the chances of a student dropping out.

Microsoft has engaged with the Government of Andhra Pradesh from several months to help harness Azure-based machine-learning and advanced analytics tools to provide meaningful insights to the government aimed towards reducing the rate of school dropouts. This will help the AP government to design and implement targeted intervention strategies. This is a first-of-its-kind initiative by any state government in India to perform this sort of complex parsing of data on public schools and deploy machine-learning technology to predict dropouts.


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