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Integrating Big Data, Software and Communities for Addressing Europe’s Societal Challenges

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BigDataEurope (Integrating Big Data, Software and Communities for Addressing Europe’s Societal Challenges)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2016-06-30

The BigDataEurope project’s mission is to empower communities aligned with the seven societal challenges of the H2020 framework programme with big data technologies to support various applications and use-cases. The project’s base objective is to lower the barriers to entry for the use and combination of existing big data technology towards such real-world applications.

The project is aiming to achieve these goals by providing a free-to-use integrated stack of tools to manipulate, publish and use large-scale data resources in customised data processing chains with minimal knowledge of the technologies involved. To this end, the technical team in the consortium has integrated key open-source Big Data technologies into a Big Data Integrator Platform. This ecosystem of specifications has been instantiated by seven reference implementations for each societal challenge, the value of each of which is being demonstrated by seven real-world pilots.

As a coordination and support action, the activities of the consortium remain centered around two measures:

Coordination: Engagement with a diverse range of stakeholder groups aligned to the seven H2020 societal challenges: (1) Health & Wellbeing; (2) Food Security, Agriculture, Water Research & Bioeconomy; (3) Energy; (4) Transport; (5) Climate, Environment, Resources & Materials; (6) Social Sciences and (7) Security.

Support: Designing, realizing and evaluating the Big Data Aggregator platform infrastructure that meets requirements, minimises the disruption to current workflows, and maximises the opportunities to take advantage of the latest developments in data harvesting, analytics, visualisation, etc.

Seven stakeholder communities have been created around the seven societal challenges. The ever-growing communities have currently each around 150-300 members. Stakeholders exhibit different levels of engagement, ranging from regular project following (newsletter, etc.) to playing a central role in pilot execution. Within the consortium, each of the seven communities is supported by a domain representative and a technical representative, ensuring that the relevant technical project proceedings are delivered to the community where they have the highest impact

One of the main reasons for setting up the communities was to gather requirements to guide the design of the BigDataEurope platform architecture, which is the basis for the seven societal challenge instances and their pilot demonstrations. Community-driven data requirements were collected following various engagement strategies and included surveys, workshops and face-to-face interviews. Quantitave and qualitative methods were used to elicit the requirements. The BigDataEurope consortium has so far organised various physical and online events, including seven Societal Challenge-oriented workshops and 14 online hangouts. In addition to these events the consortium has also introduced technical webinars, the first of which was carried out in early 2016.

Project results are frequently disseminated through various channels, most importantly the project website and our newsletter, but also the social media. Material and presentations from our events (slides and also recordings) are openly accessible. To date, the project has issued four newsletters, and current subscribers exceed 800.


An in-depth survey of the state-of-the-art in big data technology was conducted in search of the most suitable existing open-source components that can fit into the BigDataEurope platform. Rather than short listing the options, through the chosen deployment strategy the architecture can easily support plug-and-play of alternative components, thus retaining flexibility while recommending various setups for different Big Data requirements.

Results include the deployment, testing and documentation of the first platform prototype, as well as the preparation of the first pilot deployment. The architecture was defined for each societal domain and includes a list of components necessary for that domain.

In parallel, seven pilots were identified and defined for each societal challenge. Each pilot is grounded in practical use-cases that have been identified in the respective community by a selected stakeholder, and consume one or more data sources to solve a real-world problem. In three out of the seven pilots efforts have progressed to a state that can already be demonstrated.
Throught the most advanced pilots, it can already be demonstrated how the BigDataEurope platform and its reference implementations are able to ingest data from a variety of sources, and how the offered technology can be flexibly tailored to target innovative applications in various domains, based on real-world needs.

The design of the platform architecture took into account the state-of-the-art in Big Data open-source technology. Rather than reinventing the wheel, the project has facilitated the custom integration (plug-and-play) of existing components for different applications.
As a result, the project results can already enable market players of any size to apply technology which was previously out-of-reach due to a lack of in-house necessary skills or budget to setup similar customised solutions.

The project’s technical contributions are comprehensively documented and material to support the easy deployment of a local platform instance is being provided. The workshops, hangouts and technical webinars are addressed both to the seven societal communities, with the aim of further reducing the barrier to the deployment and use of the project’s technologies; as well as to a domain-independent technical audience, with the aim of also contributing to the state-of-the-art amongst European Big Data specialists.

To maximise impact, the project consortium has established partnerships and participated in joint activities with other H2020 CSAs, such as EuDEco, and other notable projects such as the European Science Academy, and initiatives like the Big Data Value PPP and the related Association. Other notable partnerships include the collaboration with which will provide the cloud infrastructure to deploy one of the pilots.
BigDataEurope Platform