Obama Administration Announces $200 Million ‘Big Data’ Initiative

Posted on Mar 30 2012 - 4:28am by Editorial Staff

Aiming to make the most of the fast-growing volume of digital data, the Obama Administration announced a “Big Data Research and Development Initiative.”  By improving our ability to extract knowledge and insights from large and complex collections of digital data, the initiative promises to help solve some the Nation’s most pressing challenges. To launch the initiative, six Federal departments and agencies announced more than $200 million in new commitments that, together, promise to greatly improve the tools and techniques needed to access, organize, and glean discoveries from huge volumes of digital data.

“In the same way that past Federal investments in information-technology R&D led to dramatic advances in supercomputing and the creation of the Internet, the initiative we are launching today promises to transform our ability to use Big Data for scientific discovery, environmental and biomedical research, education, and national security,” said Dr. John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Highlights from the initiative include:

  • Grants for an “EarthCube” project that’s intended to allow geoscientists to analyze and share information about the planet
  • Defense projects that aim to bring tie together “sensing, perception, and decision support to make truly autonomous systems that can maneuver and make decisions on their own”
  • A project between the NSF and the University of California, Berkeley that will explore approaches for turning data into information, including machine learning, cloud computing, and crowd sourcing
  • A partnership with Amazon Web Services to host a massive genetic database
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