Analytics to Better Interpret and Use Large Amounts of Heterogeneous Data

Friday, 19 December 2014
Tiffany Joi Mathews1, Walter E Baskin1 and Pamela Livingstone Rinsland2, (1)NASA ASDC (SSAI Contractor), Hampton, VA, United States, (2)NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA, United States
Data scientists at NASA’s Atmospheric Science Data Center (ASDC) are seasoned software application developers who have worked with the creation, archival, and distribution of large datasets (multiple terabytes and larger). In order for ASDC data scientists to effectively implement the most efficient processes for cataloging and organizing data access applications, they must be intimately familiar with data contained in the datasets with which they are working. Key technologies that are critical components to the background of ASDC data scientists include: large RBMSs (relational database management systems) and NoSQL databases; web services; service-oriented architectures; structured and unstructured data access; as well as processing algorithms. However, as prices of data storage and processing decrease, sources of data increase, and technologies advance - granting more people to access to data at real or near-real time - data scientists are being pressured to accelerate their ability to identify and analyze vast amounts of data. With existing tools this is becoming exceedingly more challenging to accomplish.

For example, NASA Earth Science Data and Information System (ESDIS) alone grew from having just over 4PBs of data in 2009 to nearly 6PBs of data in 2011. This amount then increased to roughly10PBs of data in 2013. With data from at least ten new missions to be added to the ESDIS holdings by 2017, the current volume will continue to grow exponentially and drive the need to be able to analyze more data even faster. Though there are many highly efficient, off-the-shelf analytics tools available, these tools mainly cater towards business data, which is predominantly unstructured. Inadvertently, there are very few known analytics tools that interface well to archived Earth science data, which is predominantly heterogeneous and structured. This presentation will identify use cases for data analytics from an Earth science perspective in order to begin to identify specific tools that may be able to address those challenges.