Nevada blends environment, education, big data to drive economic development

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The Desert Research Institute wants to improve scientific research in hydrology, water efficiency, renewable energy and other fields, while the Nevada Governor's Office of Economic Development simultaneously looks to broaden that impact by creating a Center of Excellence, or COE, that will drive collaboration between public and private sector entities.

Big data to the rescue.

The groups are working with IBM (NYSE:IBM) "to evaluate the capabilities of big data analytics and advanced research applications in the state's higher education system," the Governor's office said in a statement. This will serve as a basis for a new public and private sector collaboration that will drive economic development across Nevada. IBM is supplying its PureSystems integration systems to analyze the environmental data.

Thomas Jackman, Ph.D., interim senior director of DRI's Center for Advanced Visualization, Computation and Modeling, said the collaboration and IBM tools will offer a significant shift in the higher education business model and change the way data is managed and examined, including data about climate change, real-time water monitoring and airborne infection.

The Governor's office said the COE will be available to Nevada's researchers, government agencies, faculty, students and businesses. DRI has already generated technologies for applications such as energy-use monitoring in homes and businesses, measuring windblown dust emissions and ultra-fine particles, and quantifying light scattering from large particles in the atmosphere, it added.

IBM PureSystems technology allows DRI to dramatically improve the performance of data and to help it apply the science in real world scenarios. This technology will be used along with DRI's Virtual Reality Laboratory.

"DRI faculty and students applied IBM's PureFlex System and PureApplication System in a centralized method, serving commonly used research software such as MatLab and ESRI technologies. DRI has more than 150 researchers, post-doctoral positions and graduate students--all with multiple workstations across two campuses in Las Vegas and Reno," the statement said.

For more:
- read Nevada Governor's Office statement

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