Big Data on the Horizon

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) are working with Argonne National Laboratory managed by UChicago Argonne LLC, for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science

The agencies will be working together on a collaborative research effort called the “Big Data Science Initiative”. Specifically the partnership will design and develop research that will merge big data, artificial intelligence, and high performance computing to improve outcomes and reduce costs.

Ravi Madduri, Argonne Computer Scientist, reports, “This project is the perfect marriage of the VA’s enormous repository of health and genomic data and DOE’s world-class high performance computing capabilities and the ability to manage big data.”

Argonne has a successful track record dealing with big data and big computers. Argonne researchers armed with data from more than half a million veterans’ plans to build predictive tools that will be able to identify sets of risk factors for specific types of cardiovascular disease.

Argonne researchers also plan to address the issue of suicide. To do this, researchers will develop patient specific mathematical models specifically designed to help identify veterans at risk. The third focus will be on prostate cancer and how to help discern lethal and nonlethal forms of the disease.

In addition, health data will also be made available from the Department of Defense, CMS, and CDC’s National Death Index With all of this information available from the VA plus data from other collaborating laboratories, clinicians will be able to perform genome-wide association studies, develop pattern recognition techniques, and eventually develop better treatments for cardiovascular and other diseases.

There is however, another challenge on the horizon when huge amounts of data is moved that involves data security. DOE’s ESnet provides high bandwidth and reliable connections to link scientists at national laboratories, universities, and other research institutions has the capacity to solve that problem.


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