Managing big data

The initiative in question is a $200 million effort the Obama administration launched to investigate uses for big data at five major agencies: the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Defense Department, the Energy Department and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Six months later, the ball has started to roll: On Oct. 3, NSF and NIH announced their first funding awards through the big data initiative. The eight awards, totaling $15 million, were granted to widely diverse projects. Among them are a collaborative effort by Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Minnesota to simulate language processing in the brain and a Brown University project that seeks to design and test algorithmic and statistical techniques for analyzing large-scale, heterogeneous and so-called noisy cancer datasets.