UK chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne, has announced £42m funding to establish the Alan Turing Institute, which will am to establish the country as a world leader in big data and algorithm research.
The planned new Institute was at the centre of a £220m investment by the UK government in developing big data centres across the country in partnership with universities.
Taking its name from the famous British mathematician who led codebreaking work during the second world war at Bletchley Park, the Alan Turing Institute’s remit will be to help UK companies by bringing together expertise and experience in tackling problems requiring huge computational power.
A spokesman for the UK Treasury said that a tender to house the institute will be produced this year, which could either be a brand-new facility or use existing space in a university. Funding over a five year period will come from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and its chief executive (CEO), whose name has yet to be announced, will report to the science minister, David Willetts.
Mark Wilkinson, managing director at SAS UK & Ireland, commented: “Big data has become the unexpected darling of Osborne’s speech, and the significant investment in the Alan Turing software research institute should be applauded as recognition of the vital role that this will play, when combined with analytics, in giving organisations the power to know so that they can make better decisions based on evidence rather than gut instinct.
“Crucially, the UK has the opportunity to take the lead here in the global efforts to deliver real financial benefits from big data, the raw material of the information economy which has been referred to by analysts as the ‘new oil’. To do this, it is vital that government, academia and businesses in the UK work together to nurture development in the big data analytics skills now being demanded, so the next generation can prosper.”
In his annual Budget, Osborne also announced that an additional £3bn of lending will be made available to UK exporters. He said that the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) has raised its forecast for UK economic growth in 2014 to 2.7 % from 2.4%. It has also upgraded forecasts for 2015 from 2.2% to 2.3%, while the projection for 2016 remains unchanged at 2.6%.
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