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News Release 16-116

Connecting data scientists with regional challenges

NSF awards $11 million to Big Data Spokes projects and associated planning activities

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The image shows two brain connectomes identified in a human brain using different methods for mapping human white matter in vivo. Colors show major white matter tracts. These tracts are the most prominent edges of the human connectome -- highways of communication that allows distant parts of the brain to communicate. The image exemplifies modern computational methods and technologies for mapping the human brain. Modern neuroscience methods can study the human brain at unprecedented resolution and generate large and diverse datasets with the potential to enrich our understanding of the most basic functioning of the human brain. The most modern methods are allowing investigators to generate petabytes of brain mapping data like the ones in the figure. Future challenges for the community involve moving neuroscience toward big data and data science and developing methods to capture, harmonize and make all these data available to communities of researchers. To approach this challenge the community of scientists will need to bridge the infrastructure gaps between the multiple centers where data are collected across the nation and provide means of communication between the data and the national high-performance computing resources.

Credit: Franco Pestilli, Indiana Unversity in collaboration with Mike Jackson Indiana University


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Uses of Big Data in smart grids.

Credit: TEES Smart Grid Center at Texas A&M University


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Researchers collecting data from aging infrastructure. The team checks the details of steel reinforcement non-invasively to conduct further analysis of the bridge health.

Credit: Chungwook Sim, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


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big data

The Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs cover all 50 states and include commitments from more than 250 organizations -- from universities and cities to foundations and Fortune 500 corporations -- with the ability to expand further over time.

Credit: NSF


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