Big Data could be a $50M boon for one university

Ohio State University (OSU) could be the next campus to see a multimillion dollar investment into gathering and analyzing mass amounts of data.

dataTwo of the university’s oldest buildings could receive $52 million in renovation funds if Ohio Gov. John Kasich and state legislators approve funding for higher-education capital improvement projects.

Those funds, according to OSU officials, would be used to make Pomerene and Oxley halls into state-of-the-art facilities that would serve as the school’s Big Data headquarters, staffed by data anayltics researchers and faculty members.

Both Oxley and Pomerene halls were built in the early-1900s. The state funding would set aside $37 million for renovation of Pomerene Hall and $15.6 million for Oxley, according to a release from the university.

The campus’s data headquarters would include research on a number of fields, including security, healthcare, food production, and energy.

“We have a new undergraduate major in data analytics, which is already generating a fair amount of attention,” interim OSU President Joseph Alutto said in an interview with The Columbus Dispatch. “It also gives us an opportunity to renovate and really retain two of the iconic buildings on this campus, but use them for a very different purpose than what they were originally designed.”

Ohio’s willingness to invest in data analytics is just the latest in a recent string of big-money promises to fund Big Data projects in higher education.

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Sloan Foundation have pledged $37.8 million to the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Washington, and New York University for Big Data collaboration over the next five years.

IBM has partnered with more than 1,000 institutions around the world to create Big Data seminars, courses, and even full masters programs.