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Bryan Yurcan
Bryan Yurcan
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What Can Banks Learn from the U.S. Government’s Big Data Initiatives?

Several federal agencies are currently involved in big data research and design projects.

It's not just banks that have a pressing need to tackle the big data issue. The federal government, arguably even more so than financial services, has amassed massive amounts of data and continues to do so on a daily basis. To that end, the U.S. government has been working on a big data R&D initiative for the past year, with $200 million invested in projects at several different federal agencies. Bank Systems & Technology takes a closer look at some of the more notable of these projects.

1. Department of Defense

The Department of Defense is "placing a big bet on big data," according to a White House statement, investing in programs that will "Harness and utilize massive data in new ways and bring together sensing, perception and decision support to make truly autonomous systems that can maneuver and make decisions on their own."


The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), perhaps best known as the agency developing a flying car, has embarked on the XDATA program, which will invest approximately $25 million annually for four years to develop computational techniques and software tools for analyzing large volumes of data, both semi-structured and unstructured.

The XDATA program will support open source software toolkits to enable flexible software development for users to process large volumes of data in timelines commensurate with mission workflows of targeted defense applications, according to the agency.

3. Department of Energy

The Department of Energy is providing $25 million in funding to establish the "Scalable Data Management, Analysis and Visualization (SDAV) Institute."

The SDAV Institute will bring together the expertise of six national laboratories and seven universities to develop new tools to help scientists manage and visualize data on the Department's supercomputers, which will further streamline the processes that lead to discoveries made by scientists using the Department's research facilities. The government says the need for these new tools has grown as the simulations running on the Department's supercomputers have increased in size and complexity.

4. U.S. Geological Survey

Through its John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis, the USGS is pursuing big data projects it claims will improve understanding of issues such as species response to climate change, earthquake recurrence rates, and the next generation of ecological indicators.

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Bryan Yurcan is associate editor for Bank Systems and Technology. He has worked in various editorial capacities for newspapers and magazines for the past 8 years. After beginning his career as a municipal and courts reporter for daily newspapers in upstate New York, Bryan has ... View Full Bio

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