Sunday, October 14, 2012

Big Data Projects Announced

The National Science Foundation (NSF) with NIH announced nearly $15 million in new Big Data fundamental research projects. These grants were made in response to a joint NSF-NIH call for proposals issued during the March 2012 Big Data R&D Initiative launch. These awards aim to develop new tools and methods to extract and use knowledge from collections of large data sets to accelerate progress in science and engineering research and innovation.

“To get the most value from the massive biological data sets we are now able to collect, we need better ways of managing and analyzing the information they contain,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins. “The new awards that NIH is funding will help address these technological challenges and ultimately help accelerate research to improve health. This will be accomplished by developing methods for extracting important, biomedically relevant information from large amounts of complex data.”

The eight projects run the gamut of scientific techniques for big data management, new data analytic approaches, and e-science collaboration environments with possible future applications in a variety of fields, such as physics, economics, and medicine.

For example, NSF awarded Rutgers University two of the grants. One project in a joint effort with Stony Brook University is going to develop technology to maintain indexes 200 times faster in databases with billions of entries. Rutgers will receive $400,000 of the $1.2 million awarded.

The second grant awarded to Rutgers will improve the accuracy and relevance of complex scientific literature searches and will be a joint effort with Cornell and Princeton universities. Rutgers will receive almost $1 million of the $3 million awarded to the collaboration.

Go to for a complete list of the “Big Data” awards.