R&D plan preps agencies for big data future


R&D plan preps agencies for big data future

What: “The Federal Big Data Research and Development Strategic Plan,” from the White House’s National Science and Technology Council as part of its Big Data Research and Development Initiative.

Why: To get the most of big data and the government’s R&D efforts, the plan was created to guide federal agencies through their big data programs and investments. The plan does not include roadmaps or timelines for projects, as each agency is intended to use the plan based on its specific resources and constraints.

Findings: The plan offers seven strategies for helping agencies support R&D in data sciences, data-intensive applications and large-scale data management and analysis.

1. Create next-generation capabilities by leveraging emerging big data foundations, techniques and technologies: Agencies should scale up their computer systems to handle the size, speed, complexity and processing of big data.

2. Support R&D to understand trustworthiness of data, to make better decisions, enable breakthrough discoveries and take confident action: Agencies may need to modify traditional tests for validity, and the next generation of data-driven decision making systems should be able to integrate analysis of real-time data flows with historical data.

3. Build and enhance research cyber infrastructure that enables big data innovation in support of agency missions: Research communities should enable sustained, standardized access to open data and provide controlled access to protected data.  They should invest in both high-performance computing and exascale systems and involve the research community in the development of the infrastructure.

4. Increase the value of data through policies that promote sharing and management of data: Agencies can create a culture that supports open-source data and develop best practices and policies for metadata.

5. Understand big data collection, sharing and use with regard to privacy, security and ethics: Agencies should conduct privacy research and provide protections around big data collection, sharing and use.

6. Improve the national landscape for big data education and training to fulfill the demand for deep analytical talent and capacity for the broader workforce: Agencies should support data science-based programs and education, including discipline-specific data science training for researchers in fields outside of computer science and statistics.

7. Create and enhance connections in the national big data innovation ecosystem: Agencies should collaborate with each other and with industry, non-profits, academia and the public through development testbeds, sandboxes and innovation hub programs. Policy must keep up with technological innovation so stakeholders can rapidly respond to urgent priorities.

Read the full plan here.

About the Author

Amanda Ziadeh is a former reporter/producer for GCN.


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