University makes major investment in big data development

As news of the benefits provided by big data platforms such as Apache Hadoop spreads, more organizations are investing in the burgeoning technology. With applications that stretch across any sector, there is room for big data growth in every industry. Officials from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., for example, recently announced that they intend to build a $100 million center to pursue big data developments and research. 

According to the Times Union, school administrators stated that the facility, dubbed the Rensselaer Institute for Data Exploration and Applications (IDEA), will operate as a centralized hub for multiple departments across the university's five schools, allowing students as well as private investors to benefit from the big data advancements discovered within the state-of-the-art research facility. 

"This will maximize the ability of our researchers to harness the expanding possibilities for discovery and innovation in a data-driven, supercomputer-powered, web-enabled, globally interconnected world," said RPI president Shirley Jackson.

Officials have identified several key areas of focus for the center, including business intelligence, engineering sciences and healthcare. For instance, Jackson explained that tools designed on advanced data analytics platforms like Hadoop could leverage genomic data gathered from patients afflicted with certain ailments and help physicians and medical personnel determine the most effective course of treatment. 

With RPI's proficiency in technological research covering a variety of fields, including biotechnology, nanotechnology and energy solutions, the applications for their data-powered center are vast and the potential big data advancements could be revolutionary.

"The Rensselaer IDEA will create a collaborative space where our faculty and students can explore the intersections of different leading-edge data research, and then use what they find to jump-start new programs, products, and companies," Jackson stated. "A key focus of the IDEA is data-driven innovation, which builds on the Rensselaer legacy of pushing forward the frontiers of basic science and changing the world with outstanding inventions and applications."

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