The business and science communities, also private households, produce vast quantities of data each day. Digitisation is one of the reasons for the rapid accumulation of data we have seen over recent years. But another significant cause has been the integration of digital measurement and control systems – so-called embedded systems – in everyday objects, and their communication with a ‘smart environment’. Traditional database systems, statistical applications, and visualisation systems no longer possess the capacity to process these volumes of data adequately.
The volume of data itself is not the only challenge. The variety of data formats and sources, timely processing, and the frequently substandard quality of data are additional factors. ‘Big data’ is the name given to a current trend within information and communication technology. Its purpose is to process this kind of large, non-homogeneous data volume within a reasonable timeframe and in particular to draw commercial benefits from its analysis.
The German government recognised the challenges, but also the opportunities, of big data early on and has since launched suitable funding measures. They include support for research projects, for the establishment of excellence centres, and for the execution of accompanying research. At the DLR Project Management Agency, we are firmly committed to these areas and support our clients in their efforts to develop and implement future funding programmes.