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Big Data Is Not Always The Defining Factor

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Although we hear the term ‘big data’ frequently now, the true definition of big data does not seem to have a singular, agreed upon definition. Depending on who you ask, big data can mean many different things. What would seem to be the most intuitive definition of ‘big’ data is not necessarily the correct one. Though the size of the data is an important aspect, it is not always the defining factor. According to Dell EMC’s video, Big Ideas: How Big is Big Data, big data is “any attribute that challenges the constraints of system capability or business need.”1 Will Hakes, Co-Founder and CEO of Link Analytics, claims that big data cannot be defined in precise terms and is, effectively, a “rallying cry.”2 Hakes does, however, agree that any…show more content…
A very simple, but elegant example of this was given succinctly both by Ng and by Cukier in their respective lectures. They both recounted the story of IBM computer scientist Arthur Samuel programming a computer to understand what a legal checkers move was, but to also note which board configurations were most likely to result in a winning board. Leaving the computer to play itself over time, the computer collected more and more data and was eventually able to surpass Samuel in the game that he taught it to play.3, 4 Of course, the implications today are much more impactful to society than a game of checkers. Machine learning is being used to develop the technology for self-driving cars3, voice recognition software5, robotics5, and even disease detection. 3, 4
Yet with all the gobs of data that exist, it is useless to us if we aren’t able to obtain and harness the information and to put it in a format that is both functional and meaningful. Typically, when most of us think of a database, we think of information organized neatly into columns and rows. This is an example of a relational database, which is how a majority of databases in the past – and still today – were structured.6 Relational databases are accessed and manipulated by a query language, most often Structured Query Language (SQL). 7 SQL is
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