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Beyond Just 'big' Data

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A new view of big data.

Computer scientists probably will need new vocabulary to describe trends associated with the advance of new big data technologies and the challenges of finding meaning in massive data sets.

Credit: Greg Mably

As new big data technologies advance and the challenges of extracting meaning from these massive data sets shift, it seems likely computer scientists will need an entirely new vocabulary to define these various trends.

For example, big data enthusiasts sometimes categorize storage units as "brontobytes," each of which adds up to 1,000 trillion terabytes. A unit of 1,000 brontobytes is called a "geobyte."

Accompanying the new lexicon of big data storage units are new terms for data professionals, which include specialists in building data models, or data architects; managers of data sources, or data stewards/custodians; translators of data into visual form, or data visualizers; and those who change how a company does business based on analyzing company data, or data change agents.

Moreover, a new kind of journalism, data journalism or data-driven journalism, is emerging to apply statistics, programming, and other digital data and tools to generate or mold news stories.

In addition, big data is being sub-categorized into finer definitions such as thick data, which refers to data combining quantitative and qualitative analysis. There also is long data--which extends back in time centuries or millennia---and hot data, which is used constantly and therefore must be easily and quickly accessible. Meanwhile, cold data can be less readily available, as its use is relatively infrequent.

From IEEE Spectrum
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