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White House shares $200 million big data plan

The Obama administration on Thursday announced plans to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a new "big data initiative" for research and development into technology to "access, store, visualize, and analyze" massive and complicated data sets.

The initiative comes as volumes of data used by government and the private sector expand exponentially. It includes commitments from several federal agencies to develop new technologies to manipulate and manage big quantities of data and use those technologies in science, national security, and education. John Holdren, director of the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy, compared the effort to federal research that led to breakthroughs in supercomputing and to the development of the Internet.

"While the private sector will take the lead on big data, we believe that the government can play an important role, funding big data research, launching a big data workforce, and using big data approaches to make progress on key national challenges," Holdren said in a press conference to announce the effort. The government is also helping to set big data standards.

The federal agencies working on the initiative will be the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, and the U.S. Geological Survey.

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