The White House Big Data Initiative

Big Data is the term applied to the general issue of the manipulation of increasingly large and complicated data sets. We take data, process it, analyze it, and then come to a conclusion based off of the given data.  The problem that users face is that the sheer volume of data through which they need to sort is becoming impractical given traditional methodologies.

In line with this growing need for Big Data solutions, the Obama Administration has recently announced the “Big Data Research and Development Initiative.” Pumping $200M of federal funding into a field largely dominated by open source communities, this initiative is full of promise. Security Week’s article, “Obama Administration Places $200 Million Bet On Big Data,” outlines the opinions of many White House officials on the subject, as well as the effects this decision will have on military and scientific fields.  “In the same way that past Federal investments in information-technology R&D led to dramatic advances in supercomputing and the creation of the Internet,” the Big Data initiative “promises to transform our ability to use Big Data for scientific discovery, environmental and biomedical research, education, and national security,” said Dr. John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

In addition to the fields mentioned within the article, the Big Data Research and Development Initiative will also have a significant effect on commercial businesses.  Internet-based social media services and marketing groups have vast quantities of data at their disposal, but such quantities of information are difficult to process using traditional sorting methods.  Instead of having to manually sift through large quantities of complicated data to fully understand the state of your business, Big Data analytics is capable of finding patterns that common data crawling techniques seldom are able to find. Due to this increased ability to process information, companies using Big Data solutions are able to make faster and more informed business decisions than businesses that are still using traditional data processing methods; this ability to make informed decisions based on large quantities of data is an important facet of business intelligence. About 34% of organizations have reported applying Big Data analytics to large quantities of data and, in order to remain competitive, more businesses will need to begin utilizing Big Data solutions.

This overview is in response to Security Week’s article, “Obama Administration Places $200 Million Bet on Big Data“.