What is Big Data
Big Data comprises of two words : “Big” & “Data” .
One thing is quite obvious from the name itself : Big data deals with ‘data’ that is quite big.
Now the question arises, how big actually is this data. Well, it is big enough to bring about revolution.
Let me explain you this with the help of a real-life example.
A new flu virus was spreading at a great speed in 2009. This virus was named H1N1. Government feared that is its spread was not contained then it would jeopardize the lives of millions of people.
However, there was one big problem. One can not stop such a flu from spreading without knowing its current position.
Government was collecting data by traditional methods which was resulting in a delay of 2 weeks. A delay of 2 weeks is catastrophic in such cases, because by that time the data would be obsolete & no practical steps could be taken to stop it.
It was during this time, that the engineers at Google, built a method, based on Big Data, that could provide real time statistics about the spread of the virus. And Google, could do this not just on the national level, but also on the regional level and states as well.
How did Google do it?
Google gets more than 3 billion search queries per day & saves all of it.
Google collected data from CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) on the spread of seasonal flu for the period 2003-2008. Then it compared this data with, the most common, 50 million search terms that Americans type.
Google ran around 450 algorithms to find correlations between the search terms and the spread of the virus.
As a result of this Google discovered that there were 45 search terms which when used together could provide real time data about the spread of the virus.
In short, Google could now tell about the spread of the virus based on what people were typing on Google search engine.
What took government agencies 2 weeks was now being provided by Google on real time basis. All because of big data .
How Big is Big Data
Initially the term was being used to denote data that was too big for the existing computers to store and process.
Just to get a glimpse consider the following realities:
- Google needs to save more than 3 billion search it receives per day
- Facebook needs to store more than 10 million photo that users upload per hour
- Twitter needs to store the 400 million tweets per day.
Any of the above activities was not possible earlier. But now we have computers that far larger storage and processing capacities.
Processing data this bid has helped Google to predict the spread of disease in real time.
Hedge funds are processing the twitter data for trading purpose.
Now, with big data, you can do things that were impossible earlier.
Now we can see things that were hidden earlier.
What Can We Do With Big Data
The main purpose of big data is to predict things.
Public heath, finance & e-commerce are some of the areas where big data is already showing awesome results.
- Google can detect the spread of diseases
- Farecast could predict the price of flight tickets
- Twitter data is used to predict stock market movements
Not only that, big data has helped :
- Reduce crime in certain states by increasing patrolling in suspected areas
- Reduce fire cases
- Reduce bad loans
Future of Big Data
Big data is the future. It is going to be used enormously both in government & corporate agencies.
It has its won advantages & disadvantages.
I have already mentioned about the advantages, now let us have a look over the disadvantages as well.
- In the name of security, big data will be used to zero in people. It may be used to punish people even before the crime is committed.
- Bit data will be used by banks and insurance companies to charge higher loan interests & premiums on certain people.
- Big data may cause people to see correlations where correlations do not exist – the fooled by randomness phenomena.
The future holds both the benefits of bid data. One thing is for sure – the world will never be the same again. Most of the things in future, will be done on big data predictions.