Saturday, March 31, 2012

Perspective on Big Data

The Government Big Data Forum was held in Washington, D.C., on March 6, 2012. The conference brought together government thought leaders and industry experts to discuss best practices around Big Data technology, trends and issues, and focus on lessons learned regarding the successful implementation of Big Data analysis for mission needs. The keynote by Gus Hunt, the CTO of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) "Perspectives on Big Data Mission Needs" was spectacular and worth taking the time to watch.

Mr. Hunt is responsible for setting the strategic technology direction to enable CIA's missions, for driving the rapid insertion and adoption of new capabilities to keep pace with technology change in the commercial sector, and for engaging actively across the Intelligence Community (IC) to share and communicate IT solutions. After discussing their approach and mission, Mr. Hunt outlined the four big bets the CIA is making in technology:
  • Big Data 
  • Operational Excellence
  • Serving CIA by serving entire IC
  • Managing Talent
These big bets are backed by their Key Technology Enablers:
  • Advanced Mission Analytics
  • Enterprise Widgets and Services
  • Security as a Service 
  • Enterprise Data Management – the Data Harbor
  • Cloud Computing
The presentation is below:


  1. Thanks Brian this was great. I have been telling people about the Data steam roller for years. It is an exciting and a bit of a scary time in science.

    1. Thanks Jeff. We are approaching a big wave of data, and success will determine how well we ride that wave...

  2. Thanks, Brian. An excellent post. It seems that Big Data has definitely reached a tipping point. The slide "Our Problem: 5K" really resonated from a healthcare data perspective. While we've come far with administrative data, we're still in infancy with clinical data....the data which will really help us connect the dots of the care we're providing. He hits the nail on the head with "The old collect, winnow, dissem model fails spectacularly in the Big Data world. The few cannot know the needs of the many." How true! Thanks for posting!

    1. Thank you Dwight. You may also be interested in post on Radar "Big Data is the Next Big Thing in Health IT"

    2. This was excellent as well. Thanks for suggesting! My observation within my own organization is that we are still thinking small data. The push is to ready for Meaningful Use. People are so far in the weeds scrambling to be able to generate usable data that few are coming up in altitude enough to survey the landscape and start thinking about "What can we/are we going to do with all the bits and bytes we'll be generating?" The possibilities are endless and hopefully our patients will be the primary beneficiaries of all this great work.