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We know that Big Data is information, but what kind of information? Is it simple, clearly put information, or a bunch of scattered information? Big Data is a big concept and deserves a more clearly defined explanation.

What is Big Data?

In it’s most organic form- nothing

Raw data is noting, it is a rock that would mean nothing to you unless you had the tools to open it up and harvest the most valuable section of the gemstone. What tools would allow you to extract the meaning from large quantities of data?

Algorithms and Analytics.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary an algorithm is, ” a step-by-step procedure for solving a problem or accomplishing some end especially by a computer”. There are many different types of algorithms that are used to solve different data sets. As no data set is the same, an algorithm must adapt to service the needs of that unique group of data.

So if algorithms are the step by step procedures that allow us to mine through data, where do analytics come in? Analytics are what allow us to draw meaning from the data. If algorithms are what transform raw data into usable data, analytics is how we study the data to draw out the useful information needed to make more educated decisions.

Raw data, algorithms and analytics are a trinity. They all need one another to form results. This isn’t to say that they don’t need other outside sources such as human intuition, but they are the three essential tools when mining data. These tools are what can turn Big Data into Smart Data.

Anyone can collect large amounts of data, but knowing how to turn it into something valuable is the tricky part. You could have terabytes of raw data, but who is to say any of it is good data? By running raw data through algorithms and analytics we can pull out the informational data and weed out the useless data. This is Smart Data, the data that is valuable, that shows the patterns needed to understand a large amount of information and discover insights from them.

When we hear about Big Data in the news, they are really talking about raw data, algorithms and analytics. The goal of Big Data is to unlock Smart Data. With Smart Data we can transform the way the world works, we can see connections never seen before and better our lives because of them.

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