A Word About Big Data, Debt, and Science, via Data.Gov
Where does Big Data go to die? With the increasing politicization of the topics of debt, economic growth, and what really spurs innovation, as you may have heard via the recent U.S. Presidential address on the United States debt, the recent (in geopolitical timeframes) government programs that have built and maintain Data.Gov (visit it!) and its open data initiatives (help keep it!) have entered the political football fray.
However, in an age when sensors, ubiquitous and powerful microcontrollers, functional and concurrent programming languages (ala erlang/OPT etc), distributed storage and processing, and realtime data are colliding with advanced material sciences, many students and individuals outside of the standard high-profile academic institutions have been relying on the massive data stores made available through these government initiatives to engage and explore the software and algorithmic aspects of many of these new technologies as they are discovered, invented, and implemented. Just check out the data.gov app and metric sections for just a small subset of whats out there: data.gov metrics.
Example Arduino Deulimove, one of many available hardware platforms for DIY Realtime Data Sensing (via wikimedia commons)
Independent of any politicized notions of financial transparency, or worrying about possible socialist tax thievery to support science, the data itself is a welcome variation on standard commercial based api’s, such as amazon, google, and other adocracy supported economically (biased?) focused datasets. From Health Data to radiation monitoring [ data.gov radnet data ], data.gov has been a great influence on many young people getting into the new world of big, realtime data, and its integration into hardware, software, private company (like hps CENSE [link]) and other similar sensor initiatives, and the Internet of Things.
However, as The Sunlight Foundation and others have reported last week, these initiatives are in the list of things to be cut, as the big pool of money shrinks in the latest 112th CONGRESS, 1st Session, H. R. 1473 [xml of actual bill (large file.. use xml compliant browser, pls!)]. Along those lines, the Sunlight Foundation has set up an auto-congressperson-letterwriting bot-thinglike-tool-assist to SAVE THE DATA. So do what you will, Save The Data or not. If you worry about the whole peer kind of thing, review the push over on twitter via #savethedata or #opendata.
Now back to the science.