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Massachusetts joins MIT, Intel to tackle big data

With several big-data initiatives announced at MIT recently, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said he wants to make his state a hub for research into that emerging field.

"We'll organize the resources at MIT to advance research and train the next generation of data scientists," Patrick said.

In one big-data-related move at the Cambridge, Mass.-based university, the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory ( CSAIL) announced a program called BigData@CSAIL, whose goal will be to make sense of vast amounts of data generated in industries such as financial services, healthcare and social media.

In another, Intel said it plans to establish a big-data research center at MIT. The chip maker will provide $2.5 million per year in funding for up to five years for the new facility, known as the Intel Science and Technology Center (ISTC) at CSAIL.

The ISTC will be headed by MIT adjunct professor Samuel Madden, who said the program's goal is to "build software tools that scale beyond what conventional software programs, like relational databases, can do."

In a big-data project of his own, Madden developed technology called CarTel that uses sensors in cars to capture information about road conditions and traffic. One system uses accelerometers in mobile phones to record the location of potholes and then geotags and maps the sites.

Patrick said the Massachusetts big-data push will be a multistep process that includes a matching grants program and internships.

This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from an article that appeared earlier on Computerworld.com.

Read more about applications in Computerworld's Applications Topic Center.


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