Saturday, June 30, 2012

Letter Re "The Age of Big Data," NY Times

I was quite struck by the recent article on the advent of big data.
This is an amazing development in computational science where
people are doing calculations fundamentally based on a larger chunk of
reality than before.

However the article appears to imply that these types of big data
calculations come purely from the confluence of economic and financial
calculations with "CS algorithms." This is
off the mark. Big data or large datasets have historically been the
providence of the natural sciences and many of them have incubated for
years within climate science, genomics, and astronomy.
The ability to perform calculations on these large datasets have
fundamentally stemmed from these disciplines. It is only now, for the
first time, that one is seeing datasets of these scales in more social

Unpublished letter in response to:
The Age of Big Data
Published: February 11, 2012