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Obama administration to push big data agenda

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Big data must really be big to get its own White House-sanctioned research and development push.

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy will host a  live webcast Thursday at 2 p.m. eastern time to outline how the government can “help big data” with its Big Data Research and Development Initiative.

Here are three things the feds could do right off the bat to promote better use of big data:

  • put the government’s own data sets into open formats
  • push states to include a data or statistical literacy component in their education plans
  • establish ways to continuously collect data on prescribed topics as opposed to relying on temporary snapshots

Speakers at the event will include John Holdren, assistant to the president and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; Subra Suresh director of the National Science Foundation, and Marcia McNutt, director of the US Geological Survey.

There has been a focus lately on bulking up big data skill sets to meet the burgeoning demand for data scientists and statisticians, even artists who can help visualize important big data findings in a way that makes sense to lay people. Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering for example, will start offering a masters degree in analytics starting next year.  The big data skills gap was also a hot topic at GigaOM’s Structure: Data conference last week.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user DUCKofD3ATH


10 Responses to “Obama administration to push big data agenda”

  1. “Sounds” impessive, innovative, job producing, etc. But IBM offered to help reduce Medicare fraud for free, with Big Data…and was refused. What a truly innovative, valuable, Big Data project that COULD have been!!

    Valuable insights come from trustworthy data that is analyzed in new ways. My fear is that the fox wants to guard more hen houses – control the hen houses and you control all that are fed by them. I sincerely hope that non-political data scientists, data integration specialists, data modelers, quants, etc. do the work without political influence.

  2. Informatica Public Sector

    Having big data is nothing new to the government. Think about the volume of data the IRS or the Census Bureau must store on an on-going basis. But, harnessing the power of Big Data, applying statistical analysis to that data, and storing it a cost effective and accessible manner is just now coming to a government agency near you.

    The difference in the meaning of Big Data to public sector vs. commercial is interesting. Commercial entities are generally looking outward (Social Networks and consumer web sites) to acquire data which may be analyzed and used to make predictive analysis of behavior on the part of consumers. Public Sector is often looking inward at data it already has resident across a wide variety of systems in an effort to make government more responsive to citizens, and ensure more effective allocation of limited government resources. This difference highlights the need for greater integration throughout the government IT infrastructure, and a commitment to resolving policy challenges around Security, Governance and access of data.

  3. Great idea. It’s nice to see the government taking a proactive stance with this initiative. Composite Data from the Public and Priate sector can can be leveraged to provide insight that would otherwise go unnoticed.

  4. NSF has already put in a program: Computational and Data-Enabled Science and Engineering in Mathematical and Statistical Sciences (CDS&E-MSS). Let’s see how its director will position this program.

  5. Pamela Hill

    Let us hope for the well being of this country, action occurs sooner than later.
    Data securitization is PROACTIVELY minimizing terrorism risks — our current vulnerabilites are totally unacceptable and need NOT exist.
    Corporations exude ignorance in this space daily.

  6. dtishgart

    It’s great to see the White House recognizing the potential of and pushing a big data agenda. Few entities in the world are as directly linked to the tidal wave of data as the federal government. being a prime example.

    At Gazzang, we’re constantly talking to customers about securing big data. I’d like to see the government take at least a few minutes to address how they’re going to protect the data being created, accessed, stored, searched, visualized and analyzed.

  7. dtishgart

    It’s good to see the government recognizing the tremendous potential from the data being generated by the populace, state, federal and international agencies. being a prime example.

    At Gazzang, we’re constantly talking to customers about securing Big Data. I hope we hear at least a bit about how the government plans to protect the data being created, accessed, stored, searched, visualized and analyzed.