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2015 Report


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Overall, the Mass Big Data ecosystem has grown significantly since 2013. A quarter of the companies launched since 2013 are pure play big data companies and they make up the largest share of new companies, which is crucial to the Mass Big Data ecosystem. These companies facilitate big data processing, ensuring that other companies and organizations can make the most of their data. It is the development of big data technologies that allow for the analysis of big data sets across a variety of verticals. Data-driven companies across the Commonwealth focus on determining the best questions through which to explore datasets. Both pure play and data-driven companies are coming up with new approaches to working with big data: the former focuses on algorithms and the latter focuses on innovative ways to use these algorithms.

New big data technologies and research centers are driving innovation throughout the Commonwealth. The number of patents awarded to data-related technologies has continued to increase in Massachusetts, and the state continues to exceed the country average in most data-related categories. It is no surprise that Massachusetts is a leader in data-related patents, as employees of big data companies are often the ones who develop new technologies. The number of federally funded research projects using data-driven techniques continues to grow as well. These projects speak to the Commonwealth’s strength in the life sciences, energy, and health, as many of the grants are awarded to projects that apply big data to these verticals in which Massachusetts leads the country. Big data can further our understanding of such complex fields as cancer research and energy, proving its importance to both society and the economy.

This growth of the big data ecosystem, through industry and innovation, has created a demand for employees who are trained in data science and data-driven analysis. Universities and colleges in Massachusetts have rapidly responded to this demand for data science, not only through the creation of degree programs, but also by building data science research centers. These research centers work to build connections between academia and industry, a crucial part of growing the big data sector of the economy, in addition to training students for the increasingly data-driven workforce. Massachusetts is now seen as a hub for big data, attracting top talent from schools outside of the Commonwealth, in addition to students who graduate from regional institutions.

It is clear that big data’s role in the Massachusetts economy will only continue to grow, as its impact continues to reach more and more industries and research areas. The three ways in which we observe how big data impacts the Massachusetts economy — industry, innovation, and talent — work together to solidify Massachusetts as a global leader in big data.