(A visualization by the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility utilizing real patient MRI data displays blood flow of a brain aneurysm.)

Joseph Insley, principal software development specialist at Argonne National Laboratory, gave a presentation about how the lab is using its supercomputer Mira to create visualizations that crunch data at a galactic size and monstrous computation speeds.

Insley works with the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF), which allows outside groups to apply for time to use the facilities. (It’s really competitive! 

The ALCF uses Mira, said to be the 4th fastest computer in the world, an IBM Blue Gene/Q Supercomputer operating with 768 terabytes of memory 10 petaFLOPS. Insley said this means  it can handle 10 quadrillion floating-point operations per second.

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(Dr. Bala Hota of Cook County Heath and Hospitals System, and Lydia Murray CIO of Cook County)

Patient records is one of the largest pillars of Big Data to be tackled.

While the politics of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often dubbed ObamaCare, are far from over, there were several key provisions that mandated a switch to electronic records.

The integration of patient records into broader federal government reforms has been a big task, which has strained rural hospitals, but jump started larger ones to cut costs.

In Illinois, the task of getting Cook County’s records on the grid falls on Dr. Bala Hota.

Hota heads up the effort to digitize medical records and streamline workflows at Cook County Health and Hospitals System.

He has a masters in public health and specializes in infectious diseases having done a residency at Rush University Medical Center.

He and Lydia Murray, Cook County’s chief information officer, made a presentation and took online questions for Big Data Week.

Murray was recently appointed to that position by county President Toni Preckwinkle last July. She was a former deputy chief of staff under Mayor Richard M. Daley.

In an odd role reversal, Murray actually interviewed Hota, with host Steve Boyce occasionally popping in with questions.

Though the interview was heavily controlled and on message, there were some takeaways that Hota made regarding the use of county data.

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By Elliott Ramos

Does your site use Google Analytics, but you have no idea what the results mean?

Larry Adams (@larryadams) Vice President of Product for Narrative Science is hoping Quill can help deal with the Big Data of websites: metrics.

While news sites and big sales sites such as Amazon regularly employ analytics experts who parse site performance, find out how readers and customers are using their site, many businesses and even smaller governments don’t know what their users need.

Roughly speaking, this is about figuring out “user experience,” and what content is performing well on a homepage or via social media.

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By Elliott Ramos

"A lot of companies have been using big data for years and years, but we just didn’t call it that."

That’s what Russell Lankenau (@RussLankenau) outline in his online presentation “Beyond Social Media. Big Data for Business.

Lankenau is a Central Solutions Architect for MapR Solutions.

His company helps other firms take existing infrastructure and make them more adaptable.

When it comes to businesses and Big Data, the issue of storing the billions of records, such as inventory, customer purchases, etc. become logistical headaches.

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Horton(works) hears a who… in Chicago.

Big Data week is here. And in Chicago, there are two events to kick off the event.  The first is Hortonworks, who are all about speeding things up.

The second is very Earth Day friendly. Culture, bikes and city brass will come together to discuss sustainability, climate and data.

—Elliott Ramos