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TACC Computing Technologies Workshop for Data Enabled Science

May 23 & 24, 2012
ACES Building, UT Austin Campus

Big Data at TACC

The explosive growth in the generation and collection of digital data--fueled by new generations of instruments and sensor networks, as well as more capable computing and storage technologies--is transforming science and society. We are at the dawn of what NSF calls data enabled science, in which data analysis techniques--informatics, data mining, visual analytics, etc.--are complementing traditional computational techniques (modeling and simulation, scientific visualization). Scientific fields such as biology and medicine, observational astronomy, and environmental sciences are often at the forefront of these new techniques, but dealing effectively with large scale data is increasingly an issue across scientific domains--as well as in business, government, and education.

While TACC supports many data enabled science projects and UT Austin has many researchers developing and using data intensive computing techniques and technologies, two recent events--one national and one local--highlight the strategic importance of leadership and innovation in data enabled science. On March 29, the Obama administration held a "Big Data" event to articulate a multi-agency initiative to stimulate US leadership in data enabled science. This $200M initiative presents many scientific and strategic opportunities: Big Data is a Big Deal.

In addition, TACC recently received a commitment from the O'Donnell Foundation of $10M to evaluate and deploy new data intensive computing technologies. This donation was provided to accelerate TACC's growth in this area and thereby stimulate new science impacts at UT and abroad. It will help TACC and UT prepare to respond to the new "Big Data" initiatives as well. This comes on top of TACC being awarded an NSF award to deploy Stampede--a massive computing system for both simulation-based and data-enabled science, to be ready in 2013--and the upgrade of the Corral data collections management system to 5 petabytes, effective immediately.

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