Data to Knowledge to Action: Building New Partnerships

The emergence of "Big Data" provides us with some of the biggest challenges and opportunities. The challenges include the capture, storage, sharing, search, visualization, analysis, understanding, and processing of massive amounts of data that are complex and heterogeneous and are being gathered at rates that exceed our current capacity for handling such data. The opportunities stem from the potential for extracting useful knowledge from Big Data for more informed decisions, helping accelerate discovery and innovation, and supporting their transition into practice to benefit society.

To address the challenges and opportunities of Big Data, the U.S. government has launched, in March 2012, the National Big Data Research and Development Initiative (, which included over $200 million in research and development support from six Federal departments and agencies. But making the most of Big Data requires a joint effort from all the stakeholders: federal government, local governments, industry, universities, and non-profits. To help achieve this goal, the White House has sponsored the event “Data to Knowledge to Action: Building New Partnerships” on November 12, 2013 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC. The event was co-sponsored by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Networking and Information Technology R&D (NITRD) program, which represents the information technology portfolios of 18 Federal agencies. It was also supported by an NSF grant to George Mason University (

The "Data to Knowledge to Action" event was attended by the key Big Data stakeholders: representatives of the many federal agencies that support Big Data projects, leading academics engaged in Big Data research, leading Big Data innovators from industry, as well as participants from the state and local governments, non-profits, foundations and other organizations engaged in Big Data research, applications, workforce development, and technology transfer activities. The participants presented high-impact collaborations and identified additional areas for possible collaboration between the public and private sectors, including projects and initiatives that: advance technologies that support Big Data and data analytics; educate and expand the Big Data workforce; develop, demonstrate and evaluate applications of Big Data that improve key outcomes in economic growth, job creation, education, health, energy, sustainability, public safety, advanced manufacturing, science and engineering, and global development; demonstrate the role that prizes and challenges can play in deriving new insights from Big Data; and foster regional innovation.

This event has led to: a better recognition and appreciation of the current high-impact collaborations; increased collaborations among the multiple Big Data stakeholders to facilitate transformative advances in the core Big Data technologies of capturing, storing, sharing, searching, visualizing, analyzing, understanding, and processing of huge, diverse, complex, and distributed data sets; and fostering of innovation in science, engineering, and education necessary for advancing national goals and priorities in economic growth, education, health, clean energy, and security.

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