What is Big Data?


“Big data is an evolving term that describes any voluminous amount of structured, semi-structured and unstructured data that has the potential to be mined for information. Big data can be characterized by 3Vs: the extreme volume of data, the wide variety of types of data and the velocity at which the data must be must processed. Although big data doesn't refer to any specific quantity, the term is often used when speaking about petabytes and exabytes of data, much of which cannot be integrated easily. Because big data takes too much time and costs too much money to load into a traditional relational database for analysis, new approaches to storing and analyzing data have emerged that rely less on data schema and data quality. Instead, raw data with extended metadata is aggregated in a data lake and machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) programs use complex algorithms to look for repeatable patterns. Big data analytics is often associated with cloud computing because the analysis of large data sets in real-time requires a platform like Hadoop to store large data sets across a distributed cluster and MapReduce to coordinate, combine and process data from multiple sources. Although the demand for big data analytics is high, there is currently a shortage of data scientists and other analysts who have experience working with big data in a distributed, open source environment. In the enterprise, vendors have responded to this shortage by creating Hadoop appliances to help companies take advantage of the semi-structured and unstructured data they own.” --TechTarget

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Integrated models that apply to the real world problems. I think this applies to both cloud computing, big data, and possibly others listed in the Horizon Topics. As more climate data, farming practices, phenotypic crop information, etc. is gathered, it will be used to form models of that can lead to best practices either in the field or in experiments. - jreich jreich Jun 3, 2016 [Editor's Note: Added here from RQ2.]
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(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on higher education?

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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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