Machine learning and big data

Big data

A few posts ago, I wrote about the impact of the ‘Findustrial Revolution’ on the financial community. According to McKinsey, there are now 20,000 FinTech companies in New York and London alone.

This seems to be driven by a confluence of events: tougher regulation, massive pressure on cost, newer technologies and thousands of technologists leaving the incumbent banks full of ideas, money and time to disrupt the old model.

Do regulators control or encourage these changes? Does innovation make the financial system better and safer, or more risky?

Several governments are making concerted efforts to attract and encourage more of this activity in their countries, with the UK, US, Israel and Japan leading the charge.

The ‘Findustrial Revolution’ is no longer a question of ‘if’ but a question of ‘when and how.’ (more…)

Investing in blockchain technology start-up Fluent


In the latest in a series of collaborations with external organizations (such as with IBM Watson, Samsung, and our Thomson Reuters Labs – Waterloo Region), we have recently announced a sponsorship and investment in Fluent, a financial technology start-up that offers a cloud-based financial transaction network.

Fluent enables real-time, low-cost, simple and secure invoicing and payments along global supply chains via blockchain technology.

The use of blockchain technology and bitcoin, or digital currency for financial transactions online, is relatively new. Bitcoin provides real-time, instant payment in the cloud versus the traditional transaction payment methods through banks or other institutions that can take up to three days.

Bitcoin uses cryptography to provide a virtual, secure payment method that bypasses central authorities like banks and international borders. Blockchain technology is the virtual “ledger” that manages bitcoin transfers, providing faster and more secure payments over the cloud. While there’s some debate around its use, many businesses and companies are exploring the use of digital currency and blockchain technology.

This partnership with Fluent bolsters our efforts to explore the potential of bitcoin and blockchain technology for our products and customers. Scott Manuel, head of Product Management & Delivery, Advanced Product Innovation, tells us more: (more…)

Working for Generation Open

Open Data Institute

Trust is at the heart of being open

Trust is a core value for Thomson Reuters. We don’t say this just because it sounds good, it’s something that is baked deep into our culture. The Trust Principles were established in 1941 in the midst of the Second World War as an obligation for employees ‘to act at all times with integrity, independence and freedom from bias.’

This year’s Open Data Institute Summit was for Generation Open, the ‘innovators and entrepreneurs, customers and citizens, students and parents who embrace network thinking.’ For us at Thomson Reuters, this feels a natural fit. Trust is at the heart of being open, and we really value our partnership with the ODI and the work they are doing to champion open data, which supports our own work in this area. (more…)

Filling 9 billion bowls through urban harvests

urban harvests

How will we feed 9 billion people in 2050? If we are to meet the hungry demands of our future, we need a revolution in the way we produce and deliver food. Here’s an excerpt from our 9 Billion Bowls multimedia report, which tells the story of a diverse group of scientists, students, analysts and inventors who are using Big Data and leading edge technologies in entirely new ways to make this happen. Access the full report at

Growing up

In a warehouse in Portage, Indiana, entrepreneur and earth scientist Robert Colangelo is literally taking this idea to the next level, with an indoor vertical farm. It uses one-tenth the land of a traditional farm and produces 26 harvests per year.

Green Sense Farms is built on 30,000 square feet of warehouse space where Colangelo and his team grow non-genetically modified lettuces and herbs without using pesticides, herbicides, sunlight, soil or rain.


University research is at the heart of our engagement with the Waterloo innovation ecosystem


In the Data Innovation Lab, we’re proud to lead and champion engagement with top universities globally. We believe that engaging with universities, and the innovation ecosystems around them, is fundamentally important to help us deliver future value to our customers, as well as creating partnerships that help grow and develop more new ideas in those locations for wider benefit. For example: Our Legal business has established the Legal Tech Open Innovation Challenge through its partnership with CodeX – the Stanford Center for Legal Informatics; We are a founding member of bigdata@CSAIL at MIT and this directly led to our early engagement and investment in Tamr, an MIT spin-out.

We’re really excited as part of our activities in Waterloo Region to be starting a new collaborative research project at the University of Waterloo with Professor Ihab Ilyas, one of the co-founders of Tamr. Collaborating with teams in Thomson Reuters working on big data projects, as well as staff from Thomson Reuters Labs in Waterloo, the research will create algorithms to highlight anomalies in enterprise data sets, improving data quality. More information on that can be found here. (more…)

All of us will be passengers on the road to the future


Every day, Thomson Reuters touches millions of automobile aficionados around the world, including people who design vehicles, regulate their safety, invest in automakers, provide tax advice to them, sue and defend manufacturers and suppliers, and, in the case of the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show which is currently underway, marvel at the sleek lines, speed and agility of the concept cars that offer unique and wonderful views of a future of which we all want to be a part. In the next few days were running a series of blog posts that will provide glimpses into the professional lives of our customers touching the auto industry, through proprietary data, insights and expert analysis that only Thomson Reuters can deliver.

Nothing captures the imagination of the public faster than a discussion on the car of the future. The driving public have been dreaming about flying cars for decades, and recently Toyota made headlines when a patent application suggesting they were working on one was published. Now in this case US20150246720 describes “an aerocar including a stackable wing and methods for morphing the stackable wing…atop the aerocar,” as opposed to a fully functional flying vehicle, so in reality we are probably many years away from a time when we can fly to work during our daily commute.

Cars that drive themselves were also a part of the automotive dreamscape that is until recent advances, most publicly by Google, demonstrate that the future of autonomous driving may be closer than previously thought. Experts claim the technology is still years away from being viable in all traffic conditions, but that has not stopped Google from conducting field tests, or Apple from apparently speaking with the State of California about autonomous driving regulations. Beyond these news reports, the automotive industry in general has filed a significant number of patents in the autonomous driving field, and Figure 1 shows the trend in autonomous driving patent published by the top six filers in the field over the last three years. (more…)

Filling 9 billion bowls by farming our data

farming data

How will we feed 9 billion people in 2050? If we are to meet the hungry demands of our future, we need a revolution in the way we produce and deliver food. Here’s an excerpt from our 9 Billion Bowls multimedia report, which tells the story of a diverse group of scientists, students, analysts and inventors who are using Big Data and leading edge technologies in entirely new ways to make this happen. Access the full report at

Precision agriculture, sustainable intensification

Today’s farmers put Silicon Valley to shame, with their adoption of data, analytics and technology to maximize both yields and efficiencies. One of the most promising tools is Data Share from Thomson Reuters.

This phone app enables farmers to confidentially share crop data and photos. Collectively, it gives them and other farmers a very accurate, unbiased view of crop health in specific locations. Imagine farmers all over the globe uploading such data in real time, on a regular basis.

How will Data Share help farmers plant more efficiently?

“The key to feeding more people is connecting farmers like Larry Winger to the bigger global picture so they can adapt to changing markets and climate conditions. Increase knowledge and increase yields,” says Kris Carlson, Global Head of Agriculture and Metals at Thomson Reuters. (more…)

Thomson Reuters at the Open Data Science “Science Against Slavery” Hackathon

Millions of forced laborers around the world generate an estimated $150 billion a year in profits for those who exploit them, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO). Two-thirds of this comes from commercial sexual exploitation and the other third from forced labor exploitation.

Thomson Reuters is deeply committed to confronting this problem of human trafficking, by providing our customers with vast amounts of data that can be used to help identify business partners that are potentially involved with illicit activities. Our World-Check product exposes risks that human networks hide and, we have recently partnered with two of the world’s premier anti-slavery organizations to turn the power of data analytics onto corrupt labor brokers and people traffickers.

Recent legislation pressures companies to avoid any association with forced labor. For example, beginning in October 2015, the Modern Slavery Act in the UK requires companies to confirm that steps have been taken to ensure that slavery/human trafficking are not part of the business or its supply chain. As part of our commitment against human trafficking and forced labor, five members of our Data Innovation Lab (Henry Chong, Dave Reed, Brian Romer, Joe Rothermich and Brian Ulicny) and two technology associates (Amit Shavit and Wendy Tay) based in Manhattan participated in the “Science Against Slavery” Hackathon organized by Open Data Science on Saturday, August 29th. The event was held at Impact Hub NYC, a “coworking space…for driving positive environmental and social change”. There were about 30 participants in the all-day Hackathon, ranging from undergraduate students at Brown, Northeastern, and NYU, to a cell biologist post-doc at Yale, a data scientist from Macy’s, a game theorist from Pitt, and several others.

After a late start, organizer Eric Schles gave a presentation on how women wind up being trafficked, due mostly to economic or social factors beyond their control. He sketched out how the digital traces of their trafficking online are used to bring cases against their exploiters, often only after they are hospitalized or police respond to domestic disturbance calls. Eric was, until very recently, an analyst in the Human Trafficking Response Unit of the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, focusing mostly on supply-side traces. His focus was on building automated tools for law enforcement, to gather and prepare information leading to the conviction and prosecution of sex traffickers on both the supply and the demand side. Eric’s GitHub repository of code for scraping and analyzing escort ads from sites like — one of the more notorious Craigslist-like sites for escort ads — provided a starting point for the Hackathon. (more…)

Filling 9 billion bowls: The answer is data


How will we feed 9 billion people in 2050? If we are to meet the hungry demands of our future, we need a revolution in the way we produce and deliver food. Access the full report at

Perhaps no other area is so ripe for data-based solutions than the production and delivery of food. In fact, a quiet revolution is already taking place. A diverse group of scientists, students, analysts and inventors is turning insights into innovation to meet the hungry demands of our future. They’re leveraging big data and leading-edge technologies in entirely new ways to get far better results at every link in the food supply chain. Better food, more of it, with less waste and fewer chemicals.

The 9 Billion Bowls report tells their stories in a single place:


‘National companies considering commercial drones must consider state privacy laws,’ by Zachary D. Ludens, Esq., and Matthew E. Kohen, Esq.



For a one-minute audio intro to the commentary, click here.

WestlawNext users: Click here to read the full article on WestlawNext.

Zachary Ludens

Zachary Ludens

Matthew Kohen

Matthew Kohen