Meeting of 'big data' alliance

5 December 2016

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Government, business and academia gather in Cardiff for launch of international research alliance

Computer science experts from the UK and US gathered in Cardiff for the first meeting of a new international alliance set up to unlock the potential of “big data” in front line situations.

Cardiff University’s Crime and Security Research Institute will form a key part of the alliance, which is led by IBM, along with leading universities in the UK and the US and major international businesses, such as Airbus Group and BAE Systems.

The alliance has been established by the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) and the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).

The aim of the collaboration, called the Distributed Analytics and Information Science International Technology Alliance (DAIS ITA), will be to perform fundamental research on how people and computing devices can work together in rapidly changing situations, such as major disasters, to make people safer.

The DAIS ITA will look to bring in up to $80m (£63m) in funding to address this challenge over the next 10 years.

The research at Cardiff will be led by Professor Alun Preece, Co-Director of the Crime and Security Research Institute, together with Professor Roger Whitaker and Dr Ian Taylor from the School of Computer Science and Informatics.

Ahead of the meeting Professor Preece said: “When we think of big data we usually think of collections of computer servers in huge data centres that we access via the cloud. In this project we’re trying to turn the data centre inside out by collecting and processing data near the edges of the network, for example in front-line situations when a major disaster occurs.

“Our overall aim is to enable people and computing devices to work together to manage rapidly-changing situations by creating dynamic, virtual data centres surrounding teams of front line responders.

“We are extremely excited to welcome our collaborators from the alliance to Cardiff to put the wheels in motion and set out how we can address these major challenges over the next five years.”

In addition to Cardiff University, academic and industry partners include Airbus Group, BAE Systems, IBM, Imperial College London, Pennsylvania State University, Purdue University, Raytheon/BBN Technologies, Stanford University, University College London, University of California at Los Angeles, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, University of Southampton and Yale University.