Sparse Data Gathering Abundant Attention

September 30, 2012

Sparse data has been gaining some attention lately, according to the article titled, “It’s Called ‘Sparse Data,’ and It Could Be a Big Deal” on Government Computer News. Sparse data is information that comes from sensors or other non-IT devices, such as temperature or how often something is used. Although this may not seem very important in the grand scheme of things, experts are taking another look at the usefulness and potential impact of sparse data. It could make an organization more efficient, according to Jerry Gentry, the vice president of IT program management at Nemertes Research.

We learn about his vision for the future of sparse data in the article:

“Government agencies, like other operations, could use this kind of data to more efficiently manage buildings, but compiling sparse data is already being used in other ways, such as monitoring traffic on bridges and roadways, or in a variety of weather monitors or tsunami prediction systems. Sensors are increasingly being deployed by agencies, which means sparse data likely will become a term you’ll hear more often.”

Although the term isn’t as big yet as, well, Big Data, it still warrants some attention. The potential to stream this data into manageable, useful information is there. Experts need to plan how to adequately harness this sparse data before it becomes unmanageable.

Andrea Hayden, September 30, 2012

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