Perspectives on Clinical and Translational Research


Life from Synthetic to Real Data.

Dear Researchers

I am a post-doctoral research fellow at Clinical and Translational Research Support Center. In this post I would like to shed some light on the idea of research in contemporary sciences.  Most of the research done now days is data driven. The million dollar question is how to get the data.

In the field on computer networks most of research is done based on the synthetic data. There are many simulators in the market, which can perform lots of scenarios or one can generate there on scenarios. NS2 (NS3) is an open source simulator and there are other paid network simulator such as OPNET and Netsim to name a few.

Ad-hoc network is one the area of research in computer networks, which intrigues me the most. These types of network arise mostly in military and disaster management domain.


Fig.1: Typical examples of Mobile Ad-Hoc Network.

So, one can imagine to collect real data is ad-hoc networks is a major problem. So, researchers rely on simulations to generate these types of data.

Since, moving to medical school and performing analysis on hospital or patient data, the world synthetic data is a joke. It is quite amazing to notice that in one field of research synthetic data is a bench mark and in other it is not even a consideration.

But network to do occur in patient and hospital data and many statistical inference can be draw. Since, my time here at the center I was able to compute some interesting graph of patients movement within the hospital.

The figure below shows patient movement in a hospital through various stages of his or her hospitalization. In the figure various clusters are formed base on the ward in which the patient was during their stay.  The dataset of patient movement will be hard to make send of in it raw form. But thanks to the network or more specially graph theatrical approach, that information is so beautifully depicted in the following graph. This graph was created by using NODEXL in excel environment.


Fig.2: Patient movement network in a hospital.

In conclusion I would like to say that, we can see in the real sense the meaning of translational research.


M. S. S. Khan, Ph.D

Clinical and Translational Research Fellow

School of Medicine

Division of Infectious Diseases

University of Louisville

Louisville, KY 40202


Mohammad Khan • October 30, 2013

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