The answer is science. This topic was of particular interest to me because I've visited Brookhaven, one of the institutions involved in the partnership, multiple times. It's on Long Island, which, surprising, as that may be, actually has quite a history in connection with science as engineering, including the space program.
Their goal is to extend the PanDA system for more general applications. Brookhaven and UT Arlington originally developed the workload management system to process the massive quantities of data involved in a component of the research of the Large Hadron Collider, or LHC.
Read more: Project aims to improve big data processing for science and engineering - FierceBigData http://www.fiercebigdata.com/story/project-aims-improve-big-data-processing-science-and-engineering/2012-09-11#ixzz26BQk146W