Press Release - November 12, 2010

Europe launches new effort in large-scale data management

On October 11, 2010, representatives from nine expert organizations from seven different European countries met to launch a four year research initiative focused on large-scale data management under the name of PlanetData. The PlanetData project - tagged as "a European Network of Excellence on Large-Scale Data Management" - is supported by the European Commission with a 3 million Euro contribution under the seventh framework programme. The overall aim of the project is to ensure the creation of a durable community made up of academic and industrial partners conducting research in large-scale data management through the provision of data sets and access to tailored data management technology. Over the next four years, this will be accomplished through a comprehensive program of training, dissemination, standardization, and networking activities, intended to strengthen existing collaborations and establish new ones, to educate organizations in key questions related to open data exposure, and to transfer research results towards industry.

The PlanetData project is lead by the Semantic Technology Institute (STI) Innsbruck at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, a renowned research institute specializing in enabling semantic technologies. The consortium consists of the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica, the Dutch national research institute for mathematics and computer science; the Distributed Information Systems Laboratory (LSIR) of EPFL's School of Computer and Communication Sciences in Switzerland; the Information Systems Laboratory at the Foundation for Research and Technology ­Hellas (FORTH) in Greece; the Web‐based Systems Group at the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany; the Department of Knowledge Technologies at the Jozef Stefan Institute (IJS), Slovenia; the Institute of Applied Informatics and Formal Description Methods (AIFB) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany; the Ontology Engineering Group (OEG) at Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Spain; and Semantic Technology Institute (STI) International, a global association ensuring the success and sustainability of semantic technology based in Vienna, Austria. Although the PlanetData project is still in its infancy, it has already acquired support from the following associated partners: the Mathematics and Computer Science Department at Universitat de les Illes Balears, Spain; the Department of Artificial Intelligence at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands; the Montpellier Laboratory of Computer Science and Microelectronics, at the University of Montpellier, France; and the Department of Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Trento, Italy. In summary, the diverse group comprises a powerhouse of leading experts in the areas of databases, large-­scale stream processing, Web and data mining, and semantic technologies; and it is their combined expertise that will lead to the creation of a stronger network of excellence in the field of large-scale data management over the next four years.

For the PlanetData project, large-scale data management encompasses efficiently utilizing petabytes of structured and unstructured data distributed in storage centers, billions of events coming from sensor networks, news feeds, the Blogosphere, or Twitter, hundreds of billions of RDF triples leveraged from different sources across the Internet, and comparable amounts of data produced by scientific experiments. In this context, the question of how to facilitate a purposeful, widely accessible, and interoperable exposure of this enormous data volume, taking into account the size, representation, evolution, quality, and provenance of the data, will become of critical importance for organizations attempting to extract as much useful knowledge as possible from it. To meet this challenge, PlanetData will carry out research in well-chosen areas of large-scale data management, supporting data owners in publishing their data using cutting edge techniques and representations that exploit the benefits of efficient stream transmission and processing, database management, and machine-understandable annotations.

Unique to the contract under which the PlanetData project is funded - in comparison to other ICT research funding schemes supported by the European Commission - there lies an opportunity for additional expert organizations to actively participant by officially becoming associated partners or applying to the open PlanetData Program calls for research funding at the beginning of next year. Or for those who are simply interested in tracking the results as the network grows, the PlanetData website is now online, as well as the facebook and twitter sites. Sign on today and find out more about the ambitious plans for the next four years in strengthening the large-scale data management community throughout Europe.

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