NSF, NIH, DoD, DoE, DARPA and USGS announced more than $200 million in new commitments that promise to greatly improve the tools and techniques needed to access, organize, and glean discoveries from huge volumes of digital data.
Mar 29, 2012. 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.
... The first wave of agency commitments includes:
National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health - Core Techniques and Technologies for Advancing Big Data Science & Engineering
"Big Data" is a new joint solicitation supported by the National Science Foundation
(NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that will advance the core scientific
and technological means of managing, analyzing, visualizing, and extracting useful
information from large and diverse data sets. This will accelerate scientific discovery
and lead to new fields of inquiry that would otherwise not be possible. NIH is particularly
interested in imaging, molecular, cellular, electrophysiological, chemical, behavioral,
epidemiological, clinical, and other data sets related to health and disease.
National Science Foundation:
In addition to funding the Big Data solicitation, and
keeping with its focus on basic research, NSF is implementing a comprehensive, longterm
strategy that includes new methods to derive knowledge from data; infrastructure
to manage, curate, and serve data to communities; and new approaches to education
and workforce development. Specifically, NSF is:
Department of Defense - Data to Decisions:
The Department of Defense (DoD) is
"placing a big bet on big data" investing approximately $250 million annually (with $60
million available for new research projects) across the Military Departments in a series
of programs that will
- Encouraging research universities to develop interdisciplinary graduate programs
to prepare the next generation of data scientists and engineers;
- Funding a $10 million Expeditions in Computing project based at the University of
California, Berkeley, that will integrate three powerful approaches for turning data
into information - machine learning, cloud computing, and crowd sourcing;
- Providing the first round of grants to support "EarthCube" - a system that will
allow geoscientists to access, analyze and share information about our planet;
- Issuing a $2 million award for a research training group to support training for
undergraduates to use graphical and visualization techniques for complex data.
- Providing $1.4 million in support for a focused research group of statisticians and
biologists to determine protein structures and biological pathways.
- Convening researchers across disciplines to determine how Big Data can
transform teaching and learning.
To accelerate innovation in Big Data that meets these and other requirements, DoD will announce a series of open prize competitions over the next several months.
- Harness and utilize massive data in new ways and bring together sensing,
perception and decision support to make truly autonomous systems that can maneuver and make decisions on their own.
- Improve situational awareness to help warfighters and analysts and provide increased support to operations. The Department is seeking a 100-fold increase in the ability of analysts to extract information from texts in any language, and a similar increase in the number of objects, activities, and events that an analyst can observe.
In addition, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
is beginning the XDATA program, which intends to invest approximately $25 million annually for four years to develop computational techniques and software tools for analyzing large volumes of data, both semi-structured (e.g., tabular, relational, categorical, meta-data) and unstructured (e.g., text documents, message traffic). Central challenges to be addressed include:
The XDATA program will support open source software toolkits to enable flexible software development for users to process large volumes of data in timelines commensurate with mission workflows of targeted defense applications.
- Developing scalable algorithms for processing imperfect data in distributed data stores; and
- Creating effective human-computer interaction tools for facilitating rapidly customizable visual reasoning for diverse missions.
National Institutes of Health - 1000 Genomes Project Data Available on Cloud:
The National Institutes of Health is announcing that the world's largest set of data on human genetic variation - produced by the international 1000 Genomes Project - is now freely available on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud.
Department of Energy - Scientific Discovery Through Advanced Computing:
The Department of Energy will provide $25 million in funding to establish the Scalable Data Management, Analysis and Visualization (SDAV) Institute.
US Geological Survey - Big Data for Earth System Science:
USGS is announcing the latest awardees for grants it issues through its John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis.
Further details can be found at
See also Obama's big data plans: Lots of cash and lots of open data, GigaOM.