Big Data: Unleashing information

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Scopus citations


At present, it is projected that about 4 zettabytes (or 10**21 bytes) of digital data are being generated per year by everything from underground physics experiments to retail transactions to security cameras to global positioning systems. In the U. S., major research programs are being funded to deal with big data in all five sectors (i.e., services, manufacturing, construction, agriculture and mining) of the economy. Big Data is a term applied to data sets whose size is beyond the ability of available tools to undertake their acquisition, access, analytics and/or application in a reasonable amount of time. Whereas Tien (2003) forewarned about the data rich, information poor (DRIP) problems that have been pervasive since the advent of large-scale data collections or warehouses, the DRIP conundrum has been somewhat mitigated by the Big Data approach which has unleashed information in a manner that can support informed - yet, not necessarily defensible or valid - decisions or choices. Thus, by somewhat overcoming data quality issues with data quantity, data access restrictions with on-demand cloud computing, causative analysis with correlative data analytics, and model-driven with evidence-driven applications, appropriate actions can be undertaken with the obtained information. New acquisition, access, analytics and application technologies are being developed to further Big Data as it is being employed to help resolve the 14 grand challenges (identified by the National Academy of Engineering in 2008), underpin the 10 breakthrough technologies (compiled by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2013) and support the Third Industrial Revolution of mass customization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-151
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Systems Science and Systems Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • adaptive services
  • Big data
  • data access
  • data acquisition
  • data analytics
  • data application
  • decision informatics
  • digital manufacturing
  • mass customization
  • processes
  • products
  • third industrial revolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Control and Systems Engineering


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