The Era of Big Data – New Federal Research Initiative!!

Dear Commons Community,

The federal government is beginning a major research initiative in big data computing. The effort, which will be announced today, involves several government agencies and departments, and commitments for the programs total $200 million. The New York Times is reporting:

“Administration officials compare the initiative to past government research support for high-speed networking and supercomputing centers, which have had an impact in areas like climate science and Web browsing software.

“This is that level of importance,” said Tom Kalil, deputy director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “The future of computing is not just big iron. It’s big data.”

Big data refers to the rising flood of digital data from many sources, including the Web, biological and industrial sensors, video, e-mail and social network communications. The emerging opportunity arises from combining these diverse data sources with improving computing tools to pinpoint profit-making opportunities, make scientific discoveries and predict crime waves, for example.

“Data, in my view, is a transformative new currency for science, engineering, education, commerce and government,” said Farnam Jahanian, head of the National Science Foundation’s computer and information science and engineering directorate. “Foundational research in data management and data analytics promise breakthrough discoveries and innovations across all disciplines.”

On Thursday, the National Science Foundation will announce a joint program with the National Institutes of Health seeking new techniques and technologies for data management, data analysis and machine learning”

At the CUNY Graduate Center, the possibilities of doing research on “big data” was discussed this past summer.  And Paul Attewell and Bob Haralick have been conducting an exploratory seminar on the topic this semester.



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