Adam Gartenberg's Blog

Business Analytics and Optimization, IBM and Social Marketing

NY Times: How Big Data Became So Big


I'm not sure how, but it looks like I missed this article on Big Data from The New York Times last month (How Big Data Became So Big).

The article does a good job describing the rise of Big Data as a concept, as a set of technology and as a marketing buzzword, as well as highlighting the key players on the field (including IBM).

Some excerpts:

First, here are a few, well, data points: Big Data was a featured topic this year at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, with a report titled “Big Data, Big Impact.” In March, the federal government announced $200 million in research programs for Big Data computing.
Rick Smolan, creator of the “Day in the Life” photography series, has a new project in the works, called “The Human Face of Big Data.” The New York Times has adopted the term in headlines like “The Age of Big Data” and “Big Data on Campus.” And a sure sign that Big Data has arrived came just last month, when it became grist for satire in the “Dilbert” comic strip by Scott Adams. “It comes from everywhere. It knows all,” one frame reads, and the next concludes that “its name is Big Data.”
...
Rod A. Smith, an I.B.M. technical fellow and vice president for emerging Internet technologies, says he likes the term because it nudges people’s thinking up from the machinery of data-handling or precise measures of the volume of data.
“Big Data is really about new uses and new insights, not so much the data itself,” Mr. Smith says.
I.B.M. adopted Big Data in its marketing, especially after it resonated with customers. In 2008, Mr. Smith’s team put up a Web site to explain the Big Data theme, and the site has since been greatly expanded. In 2011, the company introduced a Twitter hashtag, #IBMbigdata. I.B.M. has a Big Data newsletter, and in January it published an e-book, “Understanding Big Data.”


Here's a link to the "Understanding Big Data" book referenced above (registration required).

You can read the full NY Times article here: How Big Data Became So Big