A happy quack to the reader who alerted us to “”What Is Big Data?” The write up consists of 43 definitions provided by luminaries in a variety of fields. If you are in search of enlightenment with regard to Big Data, navigate to the story and dig in.
I found a couple of definitions interesting. Let me highlight Daniel Gillick’s and Hal Varian’s. Both are hooked up with Google, one of the big time big data outfits.
Mr. Gillick says:
Historically, most decisions — political, military, business, and personal — have been made by brains [that] have unpredictable logic and operate on subjective experiential evidence. “Big data” represents a cultural shift in which more and more decisions are made by algorithms with transparent logic, operating on documented immutable evidence. I think “big” refers more to the pervasive nature of this change than to any particular amount of data.
Mr. Varian says:
Big data means data that cannot fit easily into a standard relational database.
There you have it: A cultural shift and anything that won’t fit in a Codd-style data management system. Are the other 41 definitions superfluous?
Stephen E Arnold, October 21, 2014
Phi Beta Iota: Those who tout algorithms are a major part of the problem. Certainly it is helpful to have machines do what machines do best — massive simply calculations and aggregations — but machines — and algorithms –are totally lacking in intelligence with integrity properly understood.