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NIST’s BIG DATA Workshop: Too Much Data, Not Enough Solutions

CCC Blog (06/21/12) Kenneth Hines

Argonne National Laboratory Computation Institute director Ian Foster gave a keynote speech at the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology’s recent BIG DATA Workshop, an event that brought together experts from academia, industry, and government to study key topics in support of the federal government’s Big Data R&D Initiative.  Foster says researchers and institutions can meet the needs of big data by accelerating discovery and innovation worldwide with a research information technology (IT) as a service program.  In addition, he says IT professionals can leverage the cloud to provide millions of researchers with access to powerful tools, enable a massive shortening of cycle times in the research process, and reduce the research IT needs.  Meanwhile, the U.S. National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) Howard Wactlar says a paradigm shift is currently taking place, from hypothesis-driven research to data-driven research.  Foster and others at the conference note that big data is not a new phenomenon, as NSF held a workshop on the topic in 1997.  However, the urgency to develop tools and techniques to work with big data has increased as the amount and complexity of big data has ballooned.

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