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Transforming Big Data into Big Knowledge

As technology allows us to tackle mind-boggling tasks like sequencing an entire human genome (or ten) in a few hours, or recording thousands of neurons chattering in the brain, or imaging an entire organ or body in super high-resolution, we are generating enormous quantities of data. I’m talking enormous quantities—think tera-, peta-, and even exa-bytes. The challenge presented by this revolution is the need to develop and implement hardware and software that can store, retrieve, and analyze this mountain of complex data—and transform it into knowledge that can improve our understanding of human health and disease.

To remedy this NIH has launched the Big Data to Knowledge (or BD2K) initiative. The goal is to develop new tools to analyze, organize, and standardize all this data, so that it is easy for scientists to share and access.

There are new funding opportunities for creative minds to create these new tools, and plans to support workshops and training sessions to prepare our scientific workforce for this new era of high-volume biomedical data. We will establish hubs for this research—Centers of Excellence—that will be chosen based on peer-review, and based at universities and institutions around the country.

I have no doubt that the tools and methods we develop through BD2K with enrich and permeate all fields of science.

The following post is cross-posted from the NIH Director's Blog.