Big Data in the August Issue of Significance Magazine

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  • Date: 20 July 2012

How much data is there in the world and how do we deal with it?

thumbnail image: Big Data in the August Issue of Significance Magazine

Big Data is in the news everywhere. Scarcely a day passes without a story about Big Data in the media.
Next month's issue of Significance, the magazine of the Royal Statistical Society and the American Statistical Association, will be devoted to the hot topic of Big Data and will consider just how plentiful data is, its impact on all of us and what we need to do to be able to utilize it effectively.

In his editorial, editor Julian Champkin states that, "statisticians should lay claim, now, to the expertise that extracts truths from big data. They should stake out and prove the claim that analysis of big data is a statistical skill. They should make sure that those skills are part of statistical training; should grab the people who have or who want to acquire those skills, and grab them young and, in the process of giving them those skills, give them also the belief that what they are becoming is statisticians and that what they are doing is statistics. It is a brave new world out there, and it is a very large chunk of the future."

Articles from this issue include the following:

  • Big data and city living – what can it do for us?
  • How much information is there in the “information society?
  • A statistical journey to the centre of the earth: using big data from seismographs to map the earth's core
  • Big data in astronomy

In addition, the theme of next week's Joint Statistical Meetings is "Statistics: Growing to Serve a Data Dependent Society". 6000 statisticians will be descending on San Diego to attend hundreds of sessions at JSM and discuss various aspects of Big Data, from how to provide relevant education and job training to how the amount of data benefits and challenges statistics and other professions.

“As data proliferate, the work of statisticians becomes more and more critical to all aspects of society,” said Ron Wasserstein, ASA executive director. “The 2012 Joint Statistical Meetings will provide a forum for the world’s statisticians to discuss the ways in which data direct our focus on the problems of analyzing and utilizing Big Data and how statisticians can contribute to this evolving trend.”

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