Welcome to week 2 of LAK11!
Big data is a fairly new concept and one that has more buzz than practical implications for most people today. However, as data quantities increase and existing tools and approaches to data management reveal their shortcomings, managing, querying, and making sense of big data will be critical for universities, business, government, and organizations. (a good introduction to the limitations of existing approaches to data and the influence of Google's MapReduce and the growing importance of Hadoop can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9xnYBVqLws
The readings and videos this week are an interesting mix - actually, an expression of how unsettled big data is as a concept. Some of the readings focus on the conceptual challenges of abundant data. Others focus on theoretical implementations. Still others offer practical illustrations of what large amounts of data can offer in terms of new ways of conducting research and solving complex problems. We've tried not to make the week too technical...but if you find that some of the readings are more technical than you'd like, feel free to move along to the next resource. Important ideas have a way of resurfacing :).