Sunrise in Nevada desert

Nevada brings big data to the desert

Nevada is using big data analytics and advanced research applications to spur workforce and economic development across the state.

As part of the initiative, the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) and the Desert Research Institute (DRI) in Reno have partnered with IBM to use big data analytics and advanced research applications in the state’s higher education system.

DRI’s environmental research scientists are using IBM’s PureSystems family of integrated systems to analyze, visualize and model environmental data in an enterprise environment. The goal of the DRI and IBM collaboration is to improve upon scientific research capabilities in fields ranging from hydrology and water efficiency to atmospheric physics, archaeology and renewable energy, Nevada officials said. 

“From climate modeling to real-time water quality monitoring and airborne infection forecasting, IBM PureSystems will not only dramatically change the way data is managed and examined, it will offer a significant shift in the higher education business model,” Thomas Jackman, interim senior director of DRI’s Center for Advanced Visualization, Computation, and Modeling, said in a release.

With implementation of the IBM PureSystems technology and cloud-based services in a research environment across multiple campuses, institutions such as DRI will be able to better achieve research goals and provide data-driven engineering services to support business and industry needs, Jackman said.

IBM PureSystems technology lets DRI scientists dramatically improve performance of data and compute-intensive analytics to assist in further commercialization and application of science in real world scenarios. The technology, in combination with DRI’s Virtual Reality Laboratory, allows scientists and engineers to analyze and visualize large data sets in real-time. Examples include the simulation of emergency preparedness scenarios, such as fighting wild fires, and other situations that will reduce risk and provide resources to handle natural disasters and climate change. 

Nevada’s GOED also has plans to broaden the scope of big data analytics through the creation of a center of excellence that will serve as a collaborative innovation center between public- and private-sector organizations that work together addressing real-world social, economic, educational and environmental challenges, Nevada officials said.

Employing advanced technologies, a shared infrastructure and a common set of resources, the COE will deliver high-value shared services based on big data and a variety of analytics capabilities, they said.  An evolving trend among government agencies is the evolution of integrated platforms for big data, cloud and shared services, according to industry experts.

The planned COE center will be available to Nevada’s researchers, government agencies, faculty, students and businesses. The center will provide education continuum and technology skills transfer that will help in the spinoff of new business ventures in key areas such as water and aridity, national defense and security, alternative energy, and cyber-physical security, officials said.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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