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2013 Big Data Foresight Forum Navigates Taiwan to New Opportunities

2013/09/16

Big data has become the hottest topic in global technological development. On September 13th, 2013, the National Center for High-performance Computing (NCHC) held the “Big Data Foresight Forum” to explore potential big data applications and approaches, so as to lay out strategies for Taiwan’s big data development. Technology leaders from industry, government, academic, and research sectors were invited to discuss Taiwan’s technological advantages and strategies for big data from the perspective of policy, application, and technology.

The photo of Mr. Ching-Hua Lo, President of the NARLabs
― President Ching-Hua Lo of the National Applied Research Laboratories

During the meeting, Mr. Ching-Hua Lo, President of the National Applied Research Laboratories (NARLabs), said, “The NARLabs has always been devoted to the establishment and development of R&D platforms, supporting academic research, and conducting advanced research. The NARLabs will continue to establish a scientific research environment and build a technology R&D platform for big data so that Taiwan can enter a new "blue sea" in this emerging field.” Director Ce-Kuen Shieh of the NCHC also said, “In response to global technological developmental trends, the NCHC will transform its core technologies and abilities accumulated over the past two decades into research and development capabilities for big data, and will establish a big data analysis and processing platform so as to build Taiwan’s technological capabilities and seize the opportunity to become a world leader in big data.”

This summit forum featured three topics: “Challenges and Strategies,” “Analysis and Applications,” and “Platforms and Framework.” The gathering featured renowned guests from various domestic academic circles including the Executive Yuan Board of Science and Technology (BOST), the Institute for Information Industry (III), Academia Sinica, Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), and numerous domestic universities. Also included were guests from domestic industry including IBM, Intel, Trend Micro, and UDN Digital.

At the event, the Minister without Portfolio, San-Cheng Chang, and CEO, Ruey-Beei Wu, of the III, described the development of future applications and the direction of big data in terms of governmental policy, as well as the development and opportunities of big data from the perspective of local industry.

The photo of the Minister without Portfolio, San-Cheng Chang
Minister without Portfolio, San-Cheng Chang

Minister without Portfolio, San-Cheng Chang, the founder of the NCHC, pointed out that technological development must be viewed from its applications, and that big data has great potential for application. He went on saying that the government should actively promote the “government cloud” and “government open data” for the private sector to develop value-added applications and, in return, create new value.

Mr. San-Cheng Chang also indicated that all government agencies were required to provide at least five types of open data in the first stage by the end of March this year. Most government agencies will be required to provide at least 50 types of open data in the second stage by the end of this year. The Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) will provide subsidies for Open Data creative applications, especially to Soho workers for their creativity, in hopes of developing good applications.

In terms of strategy, San-Cheng Chang believes that a new national program is not necessary for big data, but successful examples are needed as catalysts. Although the main focus is applications supported by technologies, technologies are the key to success or failure. In the case of the retail and publishing industries, they have a thorough understanding of how to apply data, but need support from the industrial and academic sectors to make the application technically possible. He encouraged academia to foster an atmosphere for multi-disciplinary research, so that successful big data applications in different fields can be developed and served as examples. The government will prioritize high potential medical applications, such as medical cloud and long-term care applications, and then expand to financial big data applications.

the photo of Dr. Ruey-Beei Wu
CEO of the III, Dr. Ruey-Beei Wu

CEO Ruey-Beei Wu of the III stressed that the key to big data is not the volume, but what kinds of benefits it can create and which types of market opportunities it brings. He used the example of Angelina Jolie getting a mastectomy to prevent breast cancer to explain how genetic sequence analysis, which involves big data, can prevent cancer, and projected that genetic sequencing will create a market exceeding US$25 billion in the next decade. This example shows that big data is truly important in vertical integration, and enables industries to gain insight, optimize, and create new market opportunities.

For the industrial development strategy, Ruey-Beei Wu believes that Taiwan should avoid markets where multinational companies have already gained an advantage, and should utilize advantages in manufacturing, the region, and Chinese language to develop big data applications for manufacturing, services, tourism, climate, and geographic information system (GIS). Furthermore, he also recommended the small-scale deployment of technologies and applications during the initial stage because most enterprises in Taiwan are small-to-medium enterprises, first elevating their capabilities to apply data. Also, he suggested the flexible use of government open data for developing applications and services. The III used thoughtful travel in commercial districts of Taipei City and New Taipei City as an example for enterprises to experience big data applications.

Ruey-Beei Wu also proposed several corresponding strategies, such as collaborating with domestic major technology companies in developing intelligent devices, establishing the discipline of smart data science, and establishing a Chinese digital behavior database, so that Taiwan can become the hinge of smart applications and so that “Whenever people think of Taiwan, they think of Intelligence.” Talent cultivation, international conferences, or smart headquarters can be arranged for big data to create a non-stop flow of value, realizing infinite possibilities in this new field.

Subsequent sessions were divided into expert discussions on “Big Data Analysis and Applications” and “Platforms and Frameworks.” Professor Jan-Ming Ho of the Institute of Information Science, Academia Sinica, Vice-President Huey-Jen Su of National Cheng Kung University, Director Fei-Pei Lai of the Graduate Institute of Biomedical Electronics and Bioinformatics, National Taiwan University, General Director Shiaw-Shian Yu of the ITRI’s Computational Intelligence Technology Center, and General Manager Ming-Chieh Ho of UDN Digital, discussed applications of big data in finance, medicine, Chinese medicine, manufacturing and retail, and news media.

On the technology side, Associate Researcher Yao-Tsung Wang of the NCHC, Chen-Hsiu Huang of Trend Micro, Senior Technical Consultant Dr. Rich Lee of IBM, and Associate General Manager Alex Cheng of Intel Taiwan Branch, shared their expert opinions on the platform and framework of big data. Finally, Professor Yeh-Ching Chung of National Tsing Hua University, Mr. Yun Wang of the ITRI’s Computational Intelligence Technology Center, Senior Technology Manager Vincent Chen of TCloud Computing, and Vice President and Director General Grace Lin of the III, discussed trends and opportunities of Taiwan in big data developments. All attendees agreed that big data will continue to develop and can help resolve issues impossible with human intelligence alone. Data already exist in various forms, but the key is to highlight their use. It is believed that big data will have even more applications in food, clothing, housing, transportation, education, and entertainment. Among these applications, the NCHC will be a big data platform developer, utilizing its technologies to help different sectors face severe challenges in a big data era and, thus, create new opportunities for Taiwan industries to develop big data applications.

the group photo of the panel
― From right to left: Professor Yeh-Ching Chung, Technology Manager Vincent Chen, Director Grace Lin, and Mr. Yun Wang

 

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