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Mass. governor, MIT announce big data initiative

By Shannon Young
Associated Press / May 30, 2012
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BOSTON—The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Gov. Deval Patrick and industry officials announced Wednesday that they will be tackling big data research in an effort to add jobs and increase innovation in the state.

MIT President Susan Hockfield joined Patrick, Intel Corp.'s chief technology officer and others to discuss three major big data initiatives.

Chief among the initiatives is MIT's new big data research center, known as bigdata(at)CSAIL, which will be run out of the school's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. The center will focus on data collections that are too big for current information technology systems and will call on industry, government and academic leaders to develop techniques to process, share, store and manage the large amount of data.

Sam Madden, the director of the research center, said the program will aim to solve the next generation of data processing challenges.

The center will also conduct big data research for the Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel, said Justin Rattner, the company's chief technology officer.

In addition to the research at MIT, Patrick announced a new statewide plan to make Massachusetts well-known for big data research through establishing the Massachusetts Big Data initiative.

Under the initiative, the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and the newly formed Massachusetts Big Data Consortium will create a matching grant program for big data research, among other things.

"The hour of big data has arrived in Massachusetts, and it's a very, very exciting time," Patrick said.

The Democratic governor added that he believes that investing in big data research will help the state add jobs and boost its economy.

Big data is fueled by companies seeking to store, organize and make sense of torrents of information pouring into their computers from data on work, shopping and socializing that occurs online. Development of cloud computing services which offer remote access to storage and processing centers helped the trend.

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