Entry Date:
May 30, 2012


The Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT announced a major new initiative called bigdata@CSAIL to tackle the challenges of the burgeoning field known as “big data” -- data collections that are too big, growing too fast, or are too complex for existing information technology systems to handle.

The bigdata@CSAIL initiative will bring together leaders from academia, industry and government to develop sophisticated techniques for capturing, processing, analyzing, storing and sharing big data, with the overall goal of making it more useful for society as a whole. Experts in hardware and software development, theoretical computer science, and computer security will come together to develop new architectures capable of sorting and storing massive quantities of information, as well as the algorithms that can process them.

The goal of bigdata@csail is to identify and develop the technologies needed to solve the next generation data challenges which require the ability to scale well beyond what today's computing platforms, algorithms, and methods can provide. We want to enable people to truly leverage Big Data by developing platforms that are reusable, scalable and easy to deploy across multiple application domains.

The approach includes two key aspects. First, we will collaborate closely with industry to provide real-world applications and drive impact. Second, we view the Big Data problem as fundamentally multi-disciplinary. The team includes faculty and researchers across many related technology areas, including algorithms, architecture, data management, machine learning, privacy and security, user interfaces, and visualization, as well as domain experts in finance, medical, smart infrastructure, education and science.

Research will focus on key domains such as finance, medicine, social media and security. Intel chose CSAIL to host its new big data center after a competition involving several major universities.

The ISTC for Big Data will receive $2.5 million a year for up to five years and will be led by Madden and Michael Stonebraker, an adjunct professor at MIT and a principal investigator at CSAIL.