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White House Big Data Initiative

Today is the big day! Look for the section about Kamusi on the Data to Knowledge to Action links Pressroom section of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

"Data to Knowledge to Action" Event Highlights Innovative Collaborations to Benefit Americans

Corporations, Universities, Philanthropies, Nonprofits, and State and Local Governments Answer President's Call for New Partnerships

Dozens of public and private organizations are meeting at a White House-sponsored event today to describe their contributions to an inspiring array of collaborations that embrace a common theme: sharing resources and drawing upon sophisticated tools to plumb the depths of huge data sets in order to derive greater value for American consumers and grow the Nation's economy.

The event, at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC, is co-sponsored by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Networking and Information Technology R&D (NITRD) program, which represents the information technology portfolios of 18 Federal agencies. It features scores of new announcements by corporations, educational institutions, professional organizations, and others that - in collaboration with Federal departments and agencies and state and local governments - are answering President Obama's call for partnerships that can enhance national priorities, including economic growth and job creation, education and health, energy and sustainability, public safety and national security, and global development.

"America is rich with institutions that are expert at generating data, but as a Nation we have not fulfilled our potential to make the most of these data by merging pre-competitive resources, partnering on analytics, and sharing lessons learned," said John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. "Today's announcements show that we are maturing in this respect, finding synergies and collaborative opportunities that will accelerate progress in a wide range of scientific, social, and economic domains."

The new commitments build on an initial platform of projects launched last year as part of the Obama Administration's $200 million "Big Data" initiative. Among the new announcements:

The Kamusi Project Aligns with Partners Around the World to Aim Toward a Dictionary of Every Word in Every Language:

Documenting the millions of words in the 7000 languages spoken around the world seems almost impossible - and yet, this is the data mission of the Kamusi Project. Kamusi, a Swahili word for dictionary, with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, has designed the Global Online Living Dictionary (GOLD), a system to capture the full range of human linguistic data and make it available for education and for technologies such as speech recognition and automatic translation. Kamusi GOLD will begin working with such partners as the Long Now Foundation of California and the Global WordNet based at Princeton to unite existing data sets and a partnership network of U.S. and global linguistic experts such as the University of Ngozi in Burundi to collect new data. With EPFL, one of the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology, Kamusi is designing a unique crowdsourcing system to gather and validate a vast array of data now only in human brains, including the many form changes that words go through when exposed to grammatical rules, the historical evolution of terms, and geo-tagging to discover the ranges of particular words and pronunciations. Users who share their knowledge will earn free access to the data, a "play-to-pay" system that will include social networking and competitive gaming elements. The data will be accessible through apps for most devices, including a lightweight offline system under development for One Laptop per Child.