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Big Data

Let’s explore Big Data from different perspectives over time, not between organizations today. The evolution of the definition should paint an interesting picture of the accessibility (proliferation) and application of Big Data.


According to Gil Press, a contributor to Forbes, “The first documented use of the term “big data” appeared in a 1997 paper by scientists at NASA, describing the problem they had with visualization (i.e. computer graphics) which ‘provides an interesting challenge for computer systems: data sets are generally quite large, taxing the capacities of main memory, local disk, and even remote disk. We call this the problem of big data. When data sets do not fit in main memory (in core), or when they do not fit even on local disk, the most common solution is to acquire more resources.’”1 This description focuses on the processing of similar data (data sets) and the difficulties translating the resulting information into graphic format. This makes sense for the time period and organization in which it was introduced.