NASA, the National Science Foundation and the Energy Department are co-sponsoring an innovation challenge aimed at harnessing the potential of big data, NASA announced Wednesday.
Through the Big Data Challenge hosted by NASA’s tournament lab, competitors will come up with new analytical techniques and software tools that use big data from discrete government information domains.
They will also need to describe how the data can be shared across agencies that transcend the limitations of individual agencies.
“The ability to create new applications and algorithms using diverse data sets is a key element for the NTL,” said Jason Crusan, director of NASA’s advanced exploration systems division. “NASA is excited to see the results that open innovation can provide to these big data applications.”
According to the space agency, potential applications of big data occur in the health, energy and Earth science fields.
“Big data is characterized not only by the enormous volume or the velocity of its generation but also by the heterogeneity, diversity and complexity of the data,” said Suzi Iacono, co-chair of the interagency Big Data Senior Steering Group. “There are enormous opportunities to extract knowledge from these large-scale diverse data sets, and to provide powerful new approaches to drive discovery and decision-making, and to make increasingly accurate predictions.
The NTL is a partnership between NASA, Harvard University and digital creator community TopCoder.
In March, the White House announced a $200 million big data research and development initiative across six agencies.