NIST Big Data Working Group Hits Homestretch to Roadmap Draft

Published: September 04, 2013

Big DataDOCDigital Government

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Big Data Working Group kicked off this past June. Setting an ambitious timeline for a number of deliverables, the group expects to complete working drafts by the end of September 2013.

During the most recent working group session, the outlined deliverables comprised working drafts for:
·          Big Data Definitions
·          Big Data Taxonomies
·          Big Data Requirements
·          Big Data Security and Privacy Requirements
·          Big Data Architectures Survey
·          Big Data Reference Architectures
·          Big Data Security and Privacy Reference Architectures
·          Big Data Technology Roadmap
The work behind these deliverables is being addressed by five subgroups, which will all contribute to the Big Data Technology Roadmap.
Definitions and Taxonomies
The initial definition for Big Data was proposed in January 2013 at the NIST Cloud/Big Data workshop. This definition states that Big Data refers to "digital data volume, velocity and/or variety that:
• enable novel approaches to frontier questions previously inaccessible or impractical using current or conventional methods; and/or
• exceed the storage capacity or analysis capability of current or conventional methods and systems.
• differentiates by storing and analyzing population data and not sample sizes."
The group proposes a definition for Data Scientists, described as “a practitioner who has sufficient knowledge of the overlapping regimes of expertise in domain knowledge, analytical skills and programming expertise to manage the analytics process through each stage in the big data lifecycle. They handle value, veracity (quality), etc.”
Requirements and Use Cases
Use case templates are being developed to capture various aspects of requirements including:
·          Goals, Description
·          Data Characteristics, Data Types
·          Data Analytics
·          Current Solutions
·          Security & Privacy
·          Lifecycle Management and Data Quality
·          System Management and Other issues
To date, 45 use cases have been received. These use cases have been organized into seven categories are available for review on the working group’s site.  These categories and the number of uses cases are as follows: 
·          GovernmentOperation (2)
·          Commercial(8)
·          Healthcare and Life Sciences(10)
·          Deep Learning and Social Media (6)
·          Ecosystem and Research (4)
·          Astronomy and Physics(5)
·          Earth, Environmental and Polar Science (10)
Security and Privacy
The requirements scope for big data security includes infrastructure security, data privacy, data management, as well as integrity and reactive security. Uses case studied for security and privacy issues covered retail (consumer), healthcare, media (social media and communications), government (military, justice systems, etc.), and marketing scenarios.
The Technology Roadmap subgroup will incorporate input from the other subgroups (Definitions and Taxonomies, Requirements and Use Cases, Security and Privacy, and Reference Architecture). This group will also explore potential standards related to big data activities, capabilities and technology readiness, a decision framework, big data mapping and gap analysis, and strategies for adoption and implementation.
The subgroups will aim to complete and discuss their final draft on September 25th. Then, the materials will be presented and discussed at NIST’s Big Data Workshop on September 30th. Registration for the event is free; however, there is a cut-off date on September 23, 2013. More information is available on the event site.