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Government Boost for Data Technology Research

As companies become more high-tech, generate larger quantities of data, seek ever larger banks of storage facilities and turn to innovations like the cloud, it seems clear that the future belongs to those who can use this technology best.

This appears to be the view of the government, which has announced an investment package of ÂŁ186 million to boost scientific and technological development in eight key areas. One of these is a ÂŁ34 million spend on the creation of a new data research network and four administrative data research centres, which ministers believe will help the UK gain a lead over its rivals in the global technological race. Other projects supported cover areas such as meteorology, synthetic biology, cancer research in London, clinical research in Glasgow, engineering and the transfer of new technology and products to developing countries.

Science minister David Willetts said: "The British scientific and technological revolution is something to be proud of. By investing in these eight great technologies I firmly believe that the UK will continue to be at the forefront of the global technology race. "We are one of the most efficient research nations, and we get the best returns on our investment. We are investing to help translate our excellent science into commercially successful technologies which in turn boosts our businesses, creates jobs and drives economic growth."

The focus of the development of new data usage will be on the University of Southampton and will run in parallel with its work in engineering and geotechnology. The institution will be seeking to help the UK expand its role in the maritime, marine, aerospace, rail and structural engineering sectors. The Higher Education Funding Council for England, through which the government grants are being channelled, said this will be "underpinned and complemented by computational and data handling facilities." Indeed, the issue of how to handle big data has been growing. As long as technology can increasingly create more information at faster speeds and in ever increasing volumes, so the capacity to store it and analyse it rises accordingly.

For this reason, IBM has just launched its Accelerated Discovery Lab, which it describes as a new collaborative system that is designed to enable its users "find unknown relationships from disparate data sets". Listing areas of research such as biology, medicine, finance, weather modelling, mathematics, computer science and information technology among those it is designed to serve, IBM said the new workspace will enable analytic models to be used to process data faster than the "traditional pace of discovery".

Director for strategy and programme development at the IBM Research Accelerated Discovery Lab Jeff Welser commented: “If we think about big data today, we mostly use it to find answers and correlations to ideas that are already known. Increasingly what we need to do is figure out ways to find things that aren’t known within that data." He explained this in terms of Moore's law on big data, which is that what matters is not how much this is growing, but what uses can be made of it.

The use of more data storage and analytical facilities is, therefore, something that new scientific and other research can benefit from. An outstanding case of this is Cern, the organisation whose huge laboratory under the Alps consists of the huge Hadron Collider and a vast bank of computers analysing the immense quantities of data produced. Having discovered evidence for the existence of the Higgs Boson, the collider his currently out of action as it cools down before being brought back into use for more research in 2015. Cern's head of infrastructure Tim Bell recently told the Structure Europe conference that with 100 megapixel cameras taking 40 million pictures per second each time a particle collision is conducted, huge amounts of extra capacity will be needed.

As a result, Cloudpro reported in September, when the collider comes back into action it will be making use of a new data storage facility near Budapest that can offer another 5.5 petabytes of space for the new data generated at Cern.

Storetec News/Blogs. " ". Government Boost for Data Technology Research. October 11,2013. Storetec.

Government boost for data technology research