Science and Technology News

Friday, November 2, 2012

Forum spawns 'big data' collaboration

by Chuck Paone
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs


10/26/2012 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Enhanced information sharing and partnership are among the benefits expected to stem from an early-October forum co-sponsored by Hanscom Air Force Base and the Department of Transportation's Volpe Transportation Center.

The forum held at the Volpe Center brought together a number of experts from various organizations. All were on hand to discuss a topic known as "big data analytics."

The term "big data" is used to describe the exponential growth, availability and use of information, both structured and unstructured, according to Dr. Tim Rudolph, chief technology officer for the Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks program executive office here. Rudolph organized and co-sponsored the event with Robert John, director of The Volpe Center.

Discussion focused on the ever-increasing use of information in organizations, especially in digitized processes and operations, and the role of information technology in supporting that use. Forum organizers sought to heighten participants' understanding of the challenges and opportunities related to big data.

"Events such as this, which foster collaboration and leveraging of resources among government agencies in tackling cross-cutting issues, demonstrate that system development and support should not be accomplished in a vacuum," said Rudolph.

Ongoing dialogue and follow-on action should help ensure more inter-agency partnership. In addition to the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Hanscom and the Volpe Center, other participants, including Air Force Research Laboratory, academic institutions such as MIT, and various industrial entities, are now already on that path.

"This event better positioned our respective federal and state organizations to consider how we may better leverage our collective resources for improved and timelier decision making among the agencies," Rudolph said. "Participants engaged in dialogue detailing their specific use-case environments, challenges and solutions."

The forum was considered so successful that a follow-on event is already being scheduled. That one will focus on human factors issues in command and control environments relevant to multiple modes of transportation and to defense situations. It will take place here in March 2013.

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