Obama administration to push big data agenda

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