Governor Deval L. Patrick
MassTech / Mass Big Data Event at Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center
Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center, 100 Bigelow Street, Holyoke
Friday, April 25, 2014

Thank you, Pamela, for that warm welcome and for all of your good work at the Mass Technology Collaborative.  And thank you to Mel Bernstein and John Goodhue of the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center for hosting us this afternoon.

Mr. Mayor, Secretary Bialecki, former Secretary O’Connell, Ladies and Gentlemen, techies one and all, it’s great to be with you this afternoon.

I want to offer a few comments on our growth strategy, how it has worked for the Commonwealth, and how today's announcement fits in it.

Working together, we’ve invested time, money and ideas in education, innovation and infrastructure – playing to our strengths and promoting our advantages to investors, inventors and innovators around the world. 

That strategy is the reason we have emerged from the Great Recession faster than most other states and stronger than we were.  We are first in the Nation in student achievement, health care coverage, energy efficiency, economic competitiveness, venture funding, entrepreneurial activity and much more.  We just finished the largest single year increase in jobs in nearly 15 years and our unemployment rate is well below the national growth rate and falling.  We are rebuilding our roads, rails, bridges, housing, laboratories and other public infrastructure.  And we’re doing it responsibly, balancing the budget and achieving the highest bond rating in the Commonwealth’s history.

But our work is not done.

That’s why I filed comprehensive economic growth legislation earlier this month to reinvigorate and re-purpose some existing tools and provide a few new ones, too.

This bill has two goals – to expand opportunity more broadly into communities we have not yet reached, and to accelerate the growth of our innovation sectors. 

I’m confident that this legislation will have a meaningful impact in securing our future as an international hub for innovation and job growth, indeed for opportunity itself.  And I ask for your public support for passage of these measures before this legislative session ends in July.

Big Data is a part of that vision for growth.  I am certain it can both solve big problems and contribute to our growth.  By working together with industry, academia and government agencies -- cutting across organizational boundaries to cultivate the best talent, the most cutting-edge technology, and an environment that encourages innovation -- we can seize the competitive edge in Big Data, just as we have in the life sciences, robotics, financial services and other tech sectors.

The demand proposition is obvious.  Our residents want and deserve better, more efficient services: better roads and public transportation, better health care and education; better social services.  Most want better use of state resources itself.  Big Data can improve the way we address these needs.  The amount of data is expanding exponentially every year.  Using that data better can inform better decisions.

That is why, in May 2012, we launched the Mass Big Data Initiative.  The objective is to seize on the growing momentum of Big Data and the very real opportunity to advance the Commonwealth as a leading global hub for Big Data innovation and technology.  Doing good and doing well simultaneously – exactly our “sweet spot.”

The Commonwealth’s Big Data industry is vibrant, strong and on the move.  The "2014 Mass Big Data Report," released today by MassTech and the Mass Competitive Partnership, confirms that our Big Data cluster is already comprised of nearly 500 Big Data companies, $2.5 billion in investment, 6,000 students enrolled in computer science or related programs a year, $20 million in federal grants, and over 5,000 Big Data patents.  The industry expects to hire 3,000 new Big Data jobs in Massachusetts over the course of the next year.

We have all the components of a Big Data supercluster.  What this report tells us is that our competitive advantage lies in the collaborations within and among the universities, companies and people in our innovation sectors.

We're on the right path.

Last December, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and MassTech hosted the "MassDOT Visualizing Transportation Hackathon," a Big Data event that gave coders, data analysts, and transportation stakeholders collaborative access to data sets to visualize new insights on travel behavior, road-rail comparisons, energy use, and the social impacts of certain transportation choices.

Just last month, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, MassDOT, and MassTech opened a public competition, "The 37Billion Mile Data Challenge," designed to inspire the tech community to delve into a new trove of anonymous vehicle-use data and give us insights that can inform policy and help the Commonwealth build a more efficient and sustainable transportation system.

But we need more.

To stimulate that very kind of collaboration, I am pleased to announce today a $3 million investment into the Massachusetts Open Cloud Project.

Led by Boston University, in collaboration with Harvard University, Northeastern University, and the other university partners in this center, Massachusetts Open Cloud will be a virtual laboratory to Big Data researchers and innovators in industry, academia and government across the Commonwealth.  It will be a forum to experiment across our silos with solutions to big problems.

This is the first investment from the Collaborative Research and Development Matching Grant Fund, a fund created as part of the 2012 Jobs Bill and administered by the Innovation Institute at MassTech to expand innovation capacity.  And I am delighted to report that our $3 million investment will be matched by $16 million from sixteen industry partners and universities.  The effort will also leverage the incredible resource we are standing in today.

We have a lot of people to thank for the collaborations we are celebrating today:

John and Mel of the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center;

Pamela Goldberg, Pat Larkin and their team at Mass Tech;

Gloria Waters and Azer Bestavros of Boston University and their partners at the other participating universities; and

Our vital industry partners, especially EMC and Red Hat.

You know how strongly I believe we must govern for the next generation, not just the next election or news cycle.  That’s what our Massachusetts Big Data Initiative is about - showing what is possible with Big Data for better government and a better society.  That’s good for now but also for tomorrow.

Thank you all. 

To view the related press release, click here.