Boston Digs Big Data

Patrick speaks, and Rus (CSAIL Director), Hockfield (MIT President), Rattner (Intel CTO), and Madden (bigdata@CSAIL Director) listenning

As first reported by Xconomy’s Greg Huang, three Boston-based big data initiatives were announced today at MIT: 1. Intel’s newest Intel Science and Technology Center (ISTC) for Big Data will be hosted by MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). “With MIT as its hub school, the ISTC for Big Data will include faculty research collaborators from six U.S. universities, the others being the University of California at Santa Barbara, Portland State University, Brown University, University of Washington and Stanford University…. The ISTC for Big Data is co-led by MIT professors Michael Stonebreaker and Sam Madden as the university principal investigators, and Intel Fellow Pradeep Dubey as the industry principal investigator.” Justin Rattner, Intel’s CTO, said a the evnet that the center will be an integral part of Intel Labs and that the center will receive $12.5 million from the company over the next five years.

2. MIT to launch a bigdata@CSAIL initiative with initial support from Intel, AIG, EMC, SAP, and Thomson Reuters.  Speaking at the event, Sam Madden said the initiative will cover four areas of research: Scalable database platform, algorithms, privacy/security,  and visualization.  He said that there is a big opportunity in putting people with interest and expertise in all four areas on the same team. The initiative will focus on developing specific big data applications and “a dialog with industry.”

3. Massachusetts governor Duval Patrick has announced that “the hour of big data has arrived” and a number of initiatives based on the state’s leading position in big data. Massachusetts is currently home to more than 100 companies that focus on big data technologies and will add more than 15,000 big data jobs by 2018. The newly formed Massachusetts big data consortium, combining forces from academia, industry, and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative will take four steps to advance the state of big data: Awarding grants, offering internships, applying big data to make state government more efficient, and supporting Hack/Reduce, Boston’s big data hack space. In addition, the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center in Holyoke, scheduled to be completed by the end of 2012, will provide computing resources for big data research.

Answering a question about the possible benefits of big data, Patrick said that right now policy decisions are based on “a lot of thoughtful hunches.” In the future, he hopes that big data will provide “more sophistication” to the state’s decision-making process.

Update: NECN Coverage