Archive for the ‘big science’ category


New NIH Data Science Blog!

January 12th, 2015


Ever wondered what was going on in the data science community with relation to biomedical research? Ever wish to share your own knowledge about the field? No need to worry any longer!

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has a new data science blog which “is the beginning of a more coordinated and push-oriented communication strategy.” The purpose is to distribute information to the data science community “to foster an ecosystem that enables biomedical research to be conducted as a digital enterprise that enhances health, lengthens life, and reduces illness and disability.”

The Associate Director for Data Science (ADDS) Phil E. Bourne, contributed the blog’s first post with his 2014 review of data science at NIH. The Computing Community Consortium (CCC) recently met with Dr. Bourne and discussed grand challenges in the computer science and data science fields. More information about this meeting is forthcoming.

The data science blog will cover big topics, but it is also intended to be a community-wide endeavor as they welcome guest posts and topic suggestions.

Feel free to contact if you wish to contribute a post.

New NIH Big Data to Knowledge Funding Opportunities

December 17th, 2014

NIHThe National Institutes of Health (NIH) Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) program has announced two new funding opportunities for FY15 funding.

  • NIH Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) Initiative Research Education: Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Data Management for Biomedical Big Data (R25) RFA-LM-15-001
    • This FOA will support the creation of a massive open online course (MOOC) that can be used by librarians, faculty, students and others to learn concepts, approaches and best practices in the area of data management, and also used in conjunction with local training activities about the management of biomedical Big Data.
    • One award is expected.
    • Application receipt date is March 17, 2015.
  • NIH Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) Initiative Research Education: Open Educational Resources for Sharing, Annotating and Curating Biomedical Big Data (R25) RFA-LM-15-002 
    • This FOA will support development of open educational resources that cover concepts, approaches, relevant use cases and requirements for sharing, annotating and curating biomedical Big Data research resources, for use by librarians and other instructors to train researchers and graduate students for active roles in the connected biomedical enterprise.
    • Four to six awards are expected.
    • Application receipt date is March 17, 2015.

For more information, see the DB2K program website.

Big Data in the Classroom

October 23rd, 2014
"Five Reasons 'Big Data' is a Big Deal" [image courtesy Mobiledia].

Data sets are growing rapidly. Yahoo, Google, and Amazon, work with data sets that consist of billions of items. The size and scale of data, which can be overwhelming today, will only increase as the Internet of Things matures. Data sets are also increasingly complex.  It is becoming more important to increase the pool of qualified scientists and engineers who can find the value from the large amount of big data.

The National Academies released a report on training students to extract value from big data based on a Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics (CATS) workshop that occurred in April 2014.

From the report:

Training students to be capable in exploiting big data requires experience with statistical analysis, machine learning, and computational infrastructure that permits the real problems associated with massive data to be revealed and, ultimately, addressed. Analysis of big data requires cross-disciplinary skills, including the ability to make modeling decisions while balancing trade-offs between optimization and approximation, all while being attentive to useful metrics and system robustness. To develop those skills in students, it is important to identify whom to teach, that is, the educational background, experience, and characteristics of a prospective data science student; what to teach, that is, the technical and practical content that should be taught to the student; and how to teach, that is, the structure and organization of a data science program.

Click here to see The National Academies report.

Ebola-Fighting Robots

October 22nd, 2014

Credit: Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Could robots really aid in the Ebola fight?

On November 7th, robotics researchers from around the country will come together to try to answer that question. They will see if robots can prevent the spread of Ebola by possibly decontaminating infected equipment and or even burying victims.

Robin Murphy, a professor of computer science and engineering at Texas A&M University and former CCC council member, is helping to set up this Safety Robotics for Ebola Workers workshop. The workshop will bring together health care workers, relief workers and roboticists. It is co-hosted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Texas A&M, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the University of California, Berkeley.

The goal of the workshop is for the roboticists to hear directly from those who have been working on the outbreak. That way they can learn what is needed to help patients, prevent the spread of the virus, and protect aid workers from infection.

Click here to learn more and see the Computerworld article.

NIST Global City Teams Challenge Report

October 20th, 2014

smart america global city teams

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) launched their Global City Teams Challenge with a great deal of energy and enthusiasm last month.  The workshop ended with more than a dozen presentations by potential Global City Team Challenge teams and provided an opportunity for interested parties to discuss Internet-of-Things deployments in a smart city environment.

From the workshop report:

The US Ignite website now contains materials related to 20+ potential Global City Teams projects or Action Clusters.

  1. If you would like to learn more about one of the listed projects or if you are interested in becoming associated with one of the projects, please email and
  2. If you have an existing or new smart city project that you would like to add to conduct under the auspices of the Global City Teams Challenge, please email and
  3. If you have contributed to a project on the list, but have not yet been contacted by a team leader, please email

If you are interested in the Challenge, and were not able to attend the kick-off workshop, there is a webinar scheduled for Wednesday, October 22 at 10:00am (US Eastern Time). Please use this link for the upcoming webinar: To call into the webinar, please use phone: 1 (408) 650-3131 and passcode: 832557933#. The webinar will be no more than 1-hour and will include status updates from NIST and Q&A session.

For more information, see the Global City Team Challenge website and the Smart America Global City Team website.


Accelerating the Big Data Innovation Ecosystem

September 4th, 2014


In March 2012, the Obama Administration announced the “Big Data Research and Development Initiative.” The goal is to help solve some of the Nation’s most pressing challenges by improving our ability to extract knowledge from large and complex collections of digital data. The Administration encouraged multiple stakeholders including federal agencies, private industry, academia, state and local government, non-profits, and foundations, to develop and participate in Big Data innovation projects across the country.

National Science Foundation is exploring the establishment of a national network of “Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs.” These Hubs will help to sustain new regional and grassroots partnerships around Big Data. Potential roles for Hubs include, but are not limited to:

  • Accelerate the ideation and development Big Data solutions to specific global and societal challenges by convening stakeholders across sectors to partner in results-driven programs and projects.
  • Act as a matchmaker between the various academic, industry, and community stakeholders to help drive successful pilot programs for emerging Big Data technology.
  • Coordinate across multiple regions of the country, based on shared interests and industry sector engagement to enable dialogue and share best practices.
  • Aim to increase the speed and volume of technology transfer between universities, public and private research centers and laboratories, large enterprises, and SMB’s.
  • Facilitate engagement with opinion and thought leaders on the societal impact of Big Data technologies as to maximize positive outcomes of adoption while reducing unwanted consequences.
  • Support the education and training of the entire Big Data workforce, from data scientists to managers to data end-users.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) seeks input from stakeholders across academia, state and local government, industry, and non-profits across all parts of the Big Data innovation ecosystem on the formation of Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs. Please submit a response of no more than two-pages to outlining:

  1. The goals of interest for a Big Data Regional Hub, with metrics for evaluating the success or failure of the Hub to meet that goal;
  2. The multiple stakeholders that would participate in the Hub and their respective roles and responsibilities;
  3. Plans for initial and long-term financial and in-kind resources that the stakeholders would need to commit to this hub; and
  4. A principal point of contact.

Please submit responses no later than Nov 1, 2014. For more information see the NSF announcement.