Nine New Jersey universities have banded together to form an alliance to share and disseminate so-called "Big Data," the constant ebb and flow of information that all of us experience daily.

It's called the New Jersey Big Data Alliance. Kristin Lepping, assistant director of The Office of Advanced Research Computing at Rutgers, says "data is being collected all around, and there is so much opportunity to learn from it."

She says they started in 2013 with seven universities and they are expanding their outlook to include as many contributors and participants as possible.

"We focus on big data in things such as government and education, and we are trying now to include an industry affiliation, and to sort of like build that industry affiliation."

Lepping says they work with industry, including NJEDge, and the state government, including The New Jersey Office of Information Technology.

"Really, the NJBDA is really a forum for policymakers, academia and industry to collaborate around the big data challenges and opportunities that we have at this time."

Lepping defines Big Data as something that many people are speaking about, in particular in industry and in higher education.

"There is so much data that is being collected, all over the universe. It is in front of all of us. It is in our smart phones, it is in our televisions, in our smart TVs, it is in our computers. It is in just about everything that we do. We need ways to process that data, so that we know what we are looking for, and can learn from it."

The New Jersey Big Data Alliance began in 2013.

"At that time we had seven higher education partners working together, and we have grown since then and continue to grow.

The NJBDA will hold its 4th annual symposium this spring.

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5