NIST Conducts Big Data Workshop

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Infosec Island Admin


The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is hosting a workshop on the use of "big data" - a term referring to massive amounts of stored and streaming digital information - at its Gaithersburg, Md., campus's Green Auditorium, June 13-14, 2012.

In the March 2012 unveiling of the BIG DATA Initiative,  Dr. John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, indicated that this new initiative promises to transform our ability to use BIG DATA for scientific discovery, environmental and biomedical research, education, and national security.

In response, NIST, in collaboration with the NSF Center for Hybrid Multicore Productivity Research (CHMPR) is convening a BIG DATA workshop, aimed at exploring:

  • State-of-the-art core technologies needed to collect, store, preserve, manage, analyze, and share BIG DATA that could benefit from standardization

  • Potential measurements to ensure the accuracy and robustness of methods that harness these technologies

In this first workshop, key national priority topics will be explored, including examples from science, health, disaster management, security, and finance. At the same time, topics in emerging technology areas, including analytics and architectures will also be discussed.

The Big Data Workshop should interest everyone, from medical professionals to marketing firms, who must mine large data sets for specific information.

Computers can sift through huge amounts of data to find relevant information, but both the programs used – called algorithms – and the underlying infrastructure on which they run, frequently have limitations that analysts would like to minimize.

"Over the years, companies have mined large data sets to, for example, identify trends in consumer shopping," says NIST computer scientist Mary Brady.

"But more and more, it's being explored for quantitative use—to aid a surgeon in detecting abnormalities through real-time analysis of video captured during a surgical procedure, for instance. In this other type of situation, the accuracy of the analysis is very important."

NIST is holding the workshop to explore issues in processing and analyzing big data, and then discuss what can be done to address it from a measurement science and standards perspective.

Key national priority topics will be explored, including examples from science, health, disaster management, security and finance.

The workshop, sponsored by NIST and the University of Maryland – Baltimore County, is free and open to the public, but attendees must register online.

For additional information, including the workshop agenda, please visit


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