South Big Data Hub

South Big Data Regional Innovation Hub
Srinivas Aluru, Lead Investigator
Renata Rawlings-Goss, Co-Executive Director

Georgia Tech, along with the University of North Carolina’s Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI), co-directs the South Big Data Regional Innovation Hub that serves 16 Southern states and the District of Columbia. It is part of the National Science Foundation’s four Regional Innovation Hubs, created to build innovative public-private partnerships addressing regional challenges through big data analysis.

The South Big Data Hub is designed to facilitate collaboration among its more than 400 members in academia, industry and the nonprofit sectors, to tackle large-scale challenges facing many Southern states. Each hub engages businesses and research organizations in their region to develop common big data goals that would be impossible for individual members to achieve alone. The hubs operate using community-driven governance structures as well as “spoke projects” based on regional priorities and partnerships.

The areas of emphasis match the important problems of our time—from solving disparities in health care to understanding the risks of coastal storms and floods. Such big problems involve making sense of massive amounts of data. The hubs also promote access and the use of open data for the public good.

The South BD Hub serves the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

Initial emphais areas of the South BD Hub aim to apply big data analysis to scientific and social issues in five areas:

  • Health Care, including disparities in health, access to health care, and health outcomes, precision medicine, and health analytics.
  • Coastal Hazards, including understanding and mitigating the consequences of natural and manmade disasters.
  • Industrial Big Data, including cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things, data-driven management of physical infrastructure, and power generation, transmission, and distribution from a variety of sources.
  • Materials and Manufacturing, including data-driven contributions to the materials genome initiative and bridging the gap between materials science and manufacturing practice.
  • Smart Cities and other habitat planning, including urban infrastructure, transportation, rural-urban infrastructure, and wildlife habitat and conservation.

Georgia Tech is hosting national data repositories and providing big data transfer capabilities through Southern Crossroads (SoX), a non-profit founded by Georgia Tech and partners and recognized as one the highest-bandwidth Internet gateways in the South—connecting 21 member institutions and universities. 

Initial NSF funding for the South BD Hub is $1.5 million over three years. In addition to the South BD Hub, the NSF has funded Hubs in the Northeast, Midwest, and Western U.S., which are managed by universities in those regions.