Week 2: Rise of “Big Data” and Data Scientists

What is BIG Data?

What is BIG Data?

by Viplav Baxi -
Number of replies: 2

I am sorry but I don't get what BIG data is. Is the BIG-ness due to the higher availability of data, its huge volume, it's implication (as Chris A. says) on overturning the model-led approach to science, its ability to help make businesses become better at building products and delivering services, its ability to help us see the big picture (as IBM's Jeff Jonas says)...or all of the above?

In reply to Viplav Baxi

Re: What is BIG Data?

by George Siemens -
Hi Viplav - most discussion about big data centres on quantity. Chris Anderson considers the implication of big data (new methods of science). Marissa Meyers talk (video next week) is focused on what is driving data abundance (computing speed, scale, and new data sources - i.e. sensors). Social media obviously increases quantity as well with twitter, facebook, flickr, youtube all contributing more data.

The other elements you mention - implication, new models, new decision making approaches - all flow from this abundance of data. I intentionally selected PW Anderson article "More is Different" as our opening article this week. Increased data quantity requires new approaches (and Hadoop and MapReduce evidence this).

I'd like to hear thoughts from others - do you agree with data quantity as the defining attribute of big data?
In reply to George Siemens

Re: What is BIG Data?

by Ryan Baker -
I agree with George -- it's the change in quantity that is leading to all the other changes. The most interesting LAK and EDM research (to me, anyways) all stems from exploiting data's scope to look at student trajectories and differences in ways that weren't possible with smaller-scale data.