Monday, October 12, 2009

Big Data

Today's New York Times article "Training to Climb an Everest of Digital Data" offers insight into the challenges of Big Data in a world where home users have 1 terabyte disk drives for their pictures and music, and Facebook is managing 40 billion photos for is users. Universites are attempting to teach their students how to work with massive amounts of data. Lots of talk about data. Not a lot of talk about information. Soon there will be so much data that it will obfuscate the information it contains.

Search paralysis will be alive and well. Big data demands tools for creating information. Just organizing the data into bit (byte?) sized chunks isn't going to cut it. Users need ways to navigate through the data and see what it means.

Here's some of the best visualizations of big data from Hans Rosling's presentations at TED. The first is from June 2007. The second is from 2006. Enjoy.

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