Computing Community Consortium Blog

The goal of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is to catalyze the computing research community to debate longer range, more audacious research challenges; to build consensus around research visions; to evolve the most promising visions toward clearly defined initiatives; and to work with the funding organizations to move challenges and visions toward funding initiatives. The purpose of this blog is to provide a more immediate, online mechanism for dissemination of visioning concepts and community discussion/debate about them.

Microsoft Research and NSF Big Data Hubs Collaboration Passes the One-Year Mark

June 23rd, 2017 / in Announcements / by Khari Douglas

Big Data Regional Hub LogoThe cloud computing partnership between the Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs (BD Hubs) and Microsoft Research has just passed the one-year anniversary mark. In June 2016, Microsoft dedicated $3 million in cloud computing credits to support the BD Hubs and the associated Big Data Spokes (BD Spokes) projects.

The four Big Data Hubs – split by region into Microsoft Research logoNortheastSouthMidwest, and West – apply data science resources to address regional challenges like agriculture, healthcare, and smart cities. Each Hub is partnered with a set of Spokes, multi-sector teams that focus on research themes with real world impact.

The cloud computing credits were given to the hubs as part of the Microsoft Azure for Research program, an effort that engages research and funding agencies through Azure grants and training worldwide. The BD Hubs and Spokes used the cloud computing credits to support their research projects – uses that include the aggregation and analysis of medical data, communication between cyber-physical systems as part of precision agriculture, and the publication of datasets for data science training exercises. The projects sponsored during this first year are listed in the following table[1]:

Project Vertical Partner PI name Institution
Cloud computing for neuroscience research Health Midwest Franco Pestilli, assistant professor Indiana University
SEADTrain: Cloud-based, hands-on environment for online data science training Education Midwest Beth Plale, director Indiana University
Cloud infrastructure for vision-based yield mapping Agriculture Midwest Volkan Isler, associate professor University of Minnesota
Comprehensive and large-scale analysis of 10,000 microbiomes to better understand human disease Health Northeast Chirag Patel, assistant professor Harvard Medical School
Accelerating analytical workloads using GPU-CPU coprocessing Data Sharing / Computer Science Northeast Sam Madden, professor
Anil Shanbhag, PhD student
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Crowdsourcing platform for generating gold standard labels for medical data Health South Gari Clifford, professor Emory University
Proteogenomic applications of genetic variations Genomics West Eric Deutsch, senior research scientist Institute for Systems Biology, Seattle
Metroinsight: Smart cities as a system Smart Cities West Bharathan Balaji, postdoctoral scholar University of California, Los Angeles


Jim Kurose, Assistant Director of the NSF Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) directorate at the National Science Foundation (NSF) said, “This partnership in big data and data science with Microsoft is bringing together the expertise from academia, leading-edge infrastructure and technologies from industry, and interesting datasets from the government sector to solve important problems. Microsoft’s significant contribution of cloud resources to the Big Data Hubs and Spokes effort has provided a major boost to the various Spokes projects. We are delighted to have Microsoft as a continued partner in this endeavor, and look forward to working with them, and with all of our industry partners.”

In 2016, the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) collaborated with the BD Hubs on a program to support Industry-Academic Collaboration, which led to a number of successful workshops, internships, and hackathons. Stay tuned to the cccblog for information on future collaborations.

Learn more about the partnership between the BD Hubs and Microsoft and the projects it supports on the Microsoft blog.

[1] Mandava, Vani. Microsoft Research Blog. Web. 21 June 2017

Microsoft Research and NSF Big Data Hubs Collaboration Passes the One-Year Mark

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