Later today the federal government will announce a research initiative that will funnel $200 million into figuring out how to navigate, crunch, monetize, quantify, and hopefully help people using all the data that computers are collecting. The New York Times reports:

Big data refers to the rising flood of digital data from many sources, including the Web, biological and industrial sensors, video, e-mail and social network communications. The emerging opportunity arises from combining these diverse data sources with improving computing tools to pinpoint profit-making opportunities, make scientific discoveries and predict crime waves, for example.

The research will span across many governmental departments such as: the National Science Foundation, the Defense Department, and the Energy Department among others. Personally, my money is on what kind of data the United States Geological Survey will bring us. I’m hoping for some big rocks and a new mountain.
Until now, most of the data number crunching that has been in the limelight has come from corporations like Google and Facebook, and more so their advertisers, but this Administration wants to change that.Again from the Times:

there is an important complementary role for the government to play where the incentives for private investment are lacking, according to administration officials and computer scientists. Such areas, they say, include scientific discovery in fields like astronomy and physics, research into policy issues like privacy, and funding for research at universities, where the high-technology work force of the future is educated.