Big Data Defined 43 Ways

October 21, 2014

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


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