Big Data

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The key challenge of the information society is to turn data into information, information into knowledge, knowledge into value. This has become increasingly complex. Data comes in larger volumes, diverse shapes, from different sources. Data is more heterogeneous and less structured than forty years ago. Nevertheless, it still needs to be processed fast, with support for complex operations.


This combination of requirements, together with the technologies that have emerged in order to address them, is typically referred to as "Big Data." This revolution has led to a completely new way to do business, e.g., develop new products and business models, but also to do science -- which is sometimes referred to as data-driven science or the "fourth paradigm".

Unfortunately, the quantity of data produced and available -- now in the Zettabyte range (that's 21 zeros) per year -- keeps growing faster than our ability to process it. Hence, new architectures and approaches for processing it were and are still needed. Harnessing them must involve a deep understanding of data not only in the large, but also in the small.

The field of databases evolves at a fast pace. In order to be prepared, to the extent possible, to the (r)evolutions that will take place in the next few decades, the emphasis of the lecture will be on the paradigms and core design ideas, while today's technologies will serve as supporting illustrations thereof.

After visiting this lecture, you should have gained an overview and understanding of the Big Data landscape, which is the basis on which one can make informed decisions, i.e., pick and orchestrate the relevant technologies together for addressing each business use case efficiently and consistently.


For the Fall 2018 iteration of this course (Course Webpage) there were mandatory readings (papers, book chapters, ...). A bunch of students were willing to share their summaries of those readings.

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