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Broad Institute, IBM, Among EMC’s Inaugural ‘Data Heroes’


May 12, 2011 |  

By Bio-IT World Staff | LAS VEGAS – The IT group at the Broad Institute and the IBM team that developed the Watson supercomputer, are among the winners of EMC’s inaugural Data Hero Awards, announced this week at EMC World.   

EMC says the awards recognize teams and individuals “delivering unique and innovative solutions and techniques for using Big Data to profoundly impact individuals, organizations, industries and the world.” A team of five expert judges (including Bio-IT World’s chief editor Kevin Davies) reviewed nearly 50 nominations in various categories: government, public service, media, energy, consumer services, health care, life sciences, and technology.    

The recipient of the first annual Data Hero Visionary award is Vivek Kundra, appointed by President Obama in 2009 as the first chief information officer (CIO) of the United States. Kundra said he was honored to accept the award “on behalf of the administration,” and cited the explosion of data in electronic health records and many other arenas. Kundra was cited for his efforts “to reform how the federal government manages and uses information technology . . . to lower the cost of government operations.”   

The Broad Institute IT team, led by Matthew Trunnell, was recognized in the life sciences category for its long-standing reputation as an innovator in handling the brunt of the data bonanza stemming from next-generation sequencing, as well as its efforts to research and disseminate new solutions in data management, cloud computing, and other areas.  

“There were many outstanding entries in life sciences that show extraordinary promise down the road, but the judges’ felt the Broad’s leadership role in not just generating prodigious amounts of data but honing numerous best practices for storing, managing and sharing those data are fully deserving of this award.” The Broad’s data footprint has grown by a factor of 40 to 8 petabytes this year, with a throughput that doubles every five months.   

Among other notable winners were Reid Hoffman and LinkedIn; the global viral forecasting initiative spearheaded by founder Nathan Wolfe; and the Camden Coalition in the healthcare category. 

EMC is promoting the themes of “Big Data” and cloud computing at EMC World this week. The company made two notable acquisitions in 2010 with data storage company Isilon Systems and data warehousing company Greenplum.  

The 2011 Data Hero Technology Excellence awards in full:   

Government/Public Service -- Global Viral Forecasting Initiative. (Honorable mention -- Ushahidi/Swift River.)     

Media -- Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute's CREATE Lab. (Honorable mention -- Tableau Software.)  

Energy -- Silver Spring Networks. (Honorable mention -- Moon Express.)  

Consumer Services -- LinkedIn. (Honorable mention -- Zynga.)  

Health Care -- The Camden Coalition.   

Life Sciences -- The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.  

Technology: IT Infrastructure -- Apache Foundation/Hadoop. (Honorable mention -- Data Scientist Tool Kit.)  

Technology: Application -- IBM Watson Computing System.  

The Data Hero 2011 judging panel consisted of: Tom Davenport (professor of IT and management, Babson College); Edd Dumbill (program chair, O'Reilly Media); Michael Freed (program director, AI Center, SRI); Hadley Reynolds (research VP, search and discovery technologies, IDC); and Kevin Davies. EMC was represented by Teri Elniski.  

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