Big data is a relatively new concept in information technology. It is very large sets of data that are analysed in the hope of revealing patterns, more specifically patterns related to human behaviour. If this sounds complicated, it may help you to understand that much of this big data analysis is done to find out what people do on the internet.
The Enormity of the Task and the Tools That Can Be Used for Analysis
Today, with billions of internet users, and just as many machine to machine connections, data is growing faster than it can be analysed. It takes more to put this data to use than the traditional information technology processing applications, so new ways are being developed by many companies to do a more effective job of this task.
Why is it so important to so many people? The data has a wide variety of important uses to many different people and companies. This data can be used to spot consumer trends, data that is crucial to businesses who want to stay ahead of the curve, and have the right products that consumers want at the right time.
Big data can also be used to prevent diseases, and right now scientists all over the world are using big data to combat influenza outbreaks and other diseases that have the potential to spread quickly. Law enforcement officials use big data to combat crime. The uses of big data are just now being realized, and more uses for this data are popping up on almost a daily basis.
The US Government and Big Data
Big data has certainly got the attention of the federal government in the United States. In 2012, the Obama Administration made public the Big Data Research and Development Initiative. This initiative spans six government departments and is composed of 84 different big data programs.
It also also widely reported that big data had a rather large role in the successful presidential campaign of Obama in 2012. That being said, you can count on future candidates making use of big data in their campaigns.
The United States government is uniquely positioned to make use of big data since it is the owner of six of the largest supercomputers that exist today, and this data is used for a variety of applications, and is part of the effort to keep the country safe from cyber-terrorists, and more conventional terrorists in the wake of the 911 attacks in 2001.
The Power of Big Data Applications
Want to get a feel for how powerful some of these new applications are and what they can be used for? Several years ago when the human genome was decoded, it took close to 10 years to do the job. Now with big data and new applications and super computers, that same task can be done in less than one day.
With the promise of this kind of big power, expect large corporations and large governments to begin to harness the power of big data more and more.