Big week for Big Data in Boston

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Earlier this week, hack/reduce announced a Big Data-focused college ambassador program, a joint effort with the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. It was part of a bigger initiative this week that puts organizations working in the Big Data space, like hack/reduce, Microsoft, and Thomson Reuters, among others, in the spotlight.

Big Data, which is a big buzzword in the tech and business worlds these days, is the management of large amounts of data using new technological advancements to generate insight and understanding from previously too-big-to-grasp information, in healthcare, government, finance, and other sectors.

The MassBigData Tech Trek, a series of events that wrapped up today, featured leaders from companies like Bridj, ThreatStack, Paradigm4, Sqrrl, and Nutonian; as well as Big Data thought leaders like Andy Palmer of Tamr, Atlas Venture’s Chris Lynch, former Endeca chief executive Steve Papa, Microsoft’s Cathy Wissink, and Thomson Reuters’ Mona Vernon.

The series, which had a goal of creating a pipeline between local technology companies and future Big Data employees coming out of Massachusetts colleges, had over 200 attendees at three days of meetups throughout Boston and Cambridge.

MassTech Collaborative director Patrick Larkin, who was at the first event at Thomson Reuters, was excited by the turnout of what he called, “the future players in this sector” but thinks so much more can be done in the space.

“The region and the state cannot do enough to penetrate the psyche of this rich influx of students we have in this state,” Larkin said.

He added, “When I look at what we had at Thomson Reuters the other night, other regions would be falling all over themselves to have access to [that type of talent].”

Larkin said the idea for the events came from a need to connect Big Data companies with prospective employees after one local chief executive complained that he had to “go all the way to California” to meet the students who are in his “own backyard.”

The “Tech Treks” are part of the larger Massachusetts Big Data Initiative, which was launched by Governor Deval Patrick in 2012.

“The whole thing is an effort to allow students at our colleges and universities to meet with the founders, the CEOs, and the influencers who are driving Big Data,” Larkin added.

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