Monthly Archives: March 2014

BBC Big Data Month

“Big data” is the coming thing in buisness computing. Big data is also what Edward Snowden exposed the NSA to be gathering about you. It’s all in the three V’s:

Volume (the sheer amount of information retained by businesses and governments from their dealings with people),

Velocity (the speed with which information arrives, changes and can be moved around) and

Variety (of information sources, formats, and structure – if any),

a formulation that can be traced back to a 2001 report by Douglas Laney, Research Vice President at Gartner, a technology consulting firm.

The BBC website is presenting a month-long series of reports on the technical, social, legal and political challenges of living with big data. The first installment is here,

Check in through the month for what promises to be a painless introduction to an especially far-reaching technological development. Extra credit for working out how many zeroes appear in the number of bytes in a yottabyte.

Update: The March-April 2014 issue of Harvard Magazine also has a applications-oriented article on Big Data, from a university perspective, including public health, business and humanities projects. The article is “Why ‘Big Data’ is a big deal,” by Jonathan Show. It’s online here:

Click on the “continue reading” link for an index of the BBC stories, with direct links to each of them. Continue reading


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