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. March 3:

Big Data: Are you ready for blast off?
by Matthew Wall
As Technology of Business begins a month-long series of features on the theme of Big Data, we kick off with a Q&A backgrounder answering some of those basic questions you were too afraid to ask.

March 6:

Bad guys v the data defenders: Let battle commence
by Mark Ward
Big data analytics is making it easier to spot the bad guys looking to infiltrate business defences.

March 10:

Can big data crunching help feed the world?
By Paul Rubens
The analysis of large volumes of data collected from fields, warehouses, trucks – and even animals’ stomachs – may be key to preventing widespread hunger in the coming decades.

March 13:

Health data boom heralds new era of personalised medicine
By Matthew Wall
We are moving from a world where we treat illnesses to one where we predict and prevent them, advised by mobile doctors in our pockets.

March 18:

Crime fighting with big data weapons
By Mark Ward
In the 19th Century, Italian physician Cesare Lombroso won fame for claiming to be able to identify criminals by their looks.

March 20:

Big data retailing offers tailor-made shopping for all
By Matthew Wall
magine everything being known about you the minute you walk in to a department store – your name, measurements, purchase history in-store and online, even your views on life, the universe and everything.

March 24:

Is big data dating the key to long-lasting romance?
By Paul Rubens
If you want to know if a prospective date is relationship material, just ask them three questions, says Christian Rudder, one of the founders of US internet dating site OKCupid.

March 27:

Big Data: Would number geeks make better football managers?
By Dave Lee
Charles Reep was a retired RAF Wing Commander who loved football.


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