Ian Foster: Big Data

While listening to Ian Foster’s keynote address on big data today, I felt as if I was knowledgeable on much of the ideas he addressed. Foster spoke about how big data is not new to science. However, the first time I had heard this term was a couple of months ago when it was introduced in this class. We read a piece by Jim Gray about how the overload of data is making it increasingly difficult to manage, which is an idea that Foster also touched on. Foster went on to say that a primary resource to handling this data is through the use of cloud services.

While big data was a new term to me this semester, cloud services were not. I first learned about the cloud during the first experience with the cloud service iCloud and my iPhone last year. I was amazed that all of the data on my phone could be so easily backed up and stored in a safe place if anything were to happen to my phone. I was intrigued by the other examples of uses of cloud services that Foster provided us with today. For instance, I found it so interesting that cloud could be applied to the travel website, TripIt. I never considered cloud services to be applied to something less data heavy like a travel site.

I found it very cool that I was able to understand his several mentions of megabytes, gigabytes, terabytes, etc. I also thought it was awesome that he referenced Alex Szalay during his speech. Due to many of the topics that we have covered in class, I felt as if I had a good background in the ideas mentioned during Foster’s talk which enabled me to follow along better.

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One Response to Ian Foster: Big Data

  1. samargolis says:

    I suppose the CI events were meant to show academics not fully familiar with how to utilize Big Data on how to integrate these technological advances in their work. Professor Gus made a point that even an undergrad like ourselves could use Globus. In many ways, these complex seeming topics are like complex computer operations, if you give it a simple enough interface/frontend (or really good professor) it really isn’t too difficult to get the basic idea of these things.

    I should say, however, with my lifetime of miserable internet connection, I’m still anxious about using web-based services.

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