NCSA 30 | NCSA plays key part in Midwest Big Data Hub
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NCSA plays key part in Midwest Big Data Hub

NCSA plays key part in Midwest Big Data Hub

To accelerate advancements in the rapidly emerging field of big data analysis, the National Science Foundation has given $5 million to establish four regional Big Data Hubs. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will lead the Midwest Big Data Hub, a consortium of public and private partners.

“The BD Hubs program represents a unique approach to improving the impact of data science by establishing partnerships among likeminded stakeholders,” said Jim Kurose, head of NSF’s Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering. “In doing so, it enables teams of data science researchers to come together with domain experts, with cities and municipalities, and with anchor institutions to establish and grow collaborations that will accelerate progress in a wide range of science and education domains with the potential for great societal benefit.”

“Big data could help us determine, for example, how much water to use for raising food, how much for drinking, and how much to leave untouched,” said Edward Seidel, principal investigator of the Midwest BD Hub and director of NCSA. “It could help us make decisions on how to allocate resources based on current soil, crop, and climate decisions—ultimately, how to make the smartest decisions possible for the benefit of the people who live here.”

The Hub has dozens of corporate partners, ranging from Domino’s Pizza to Proctor & Gamble. Its leadership will work to develop policies and standards on how to share and store data in a way that does not compromise privacy or intellectual property rights. It also has a partnership with the National Data Service to support pilot projects to develop services for data communities to share, link, discover and compute on data collections.
“We see it as our mission to organize communities to support science activities around these thrusts,” Seidel said. “We’re really looking at how to make this model sustainable, as the need for big data services will only grow in the future.”