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Managing the data deluge: Johns Hopkins professor leads effort to create expansive data network for scientists

A Johns Hopkins University professor of astrophysics will head up an effort to develop what could become the word’s largest network for scientists to store and analyze huge caches of data.

The National Science Foundation announced Thursday that it awarded a $1.8 million grant to a nationwide team, led by Alex Szalay, the Hopkins professor and director of its Institute for Data Intensive Engineering and Science.

Szalay said the Open Storage Network could change the big data landscape by managing huge data sets more cheaply. The grant will be used by the researchers to make sure the system is easy to use, performs well and is can be accessed efficiently, reliably and securely. It will be available through universities across the United States.

Szalay’s work as an astrophysicist studying galaxies led his interest in how to manage what he and others call the “data deluge” in all of science.

The network is expected to eventually cost $20 million to $30 million for hardware and software. The project received $1 million in seed grant in 2017 by Schmidt Futures, an initiative by former Google chairman and Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt.

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