White House announces new big data initiative

By admin on March 29, 2012

The Obama administration is announcing a new Big Data Research and Development Initiative, which will be supported by six Federal departments and agencies representing more than $200 million in new commitments. The goal of this initiative is to improve the tools and techniques needed to access, organize, and glean discoveries from huge volumes of digital data found in industries from health care to education and energy.

“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.

Big data is a big deal in the energy industry, as individual meter reads alone explode from one per month to over 35,000 per year as a result of smart meter deployments. In addition to the quantity of data, standardization is also becoming an important trend in the industry, with initiatives such as the Green Button helping to drive utilities to make energy usage information available to customers in a common format.

The implications of all this data are very exciting, as the information can be leveraged to create interesting new ways of engaging and empowering consumers. We’re encouraged to see the White House taking this step to encourage new investments in digital data exploration, and can hardly wait to see what kind of transformative impacts the initiative will have across a variety of industries.

Read more in the full press release, and check out this blog from Tom Kalil of the Office of Science and Technology Policy on why big data is a big deal.