Exploring the universe of big data

Since 1992, when NASA launched the Kepler space telescope, there have been 755 planets discovered that orbit their very own stars (extrasolar planets). NASA suspects there are a few thousand more lurking in the data they haven’t yet been able to analyze.

More than 90 percent of the world’s data has been generated since the Kepler mission was launched. In fact, most of it has been created within just the past few years.

There is so much data today that scientists are worried about running out of words to describe it beyond the yottabye. To put that number in perspective, imagine the state of Delaware filled with terabyte hard drives. That’s one yottabyte.

Of course, the analogy between space exploration and pushing into the frontiers of the data cosmos isn’t perfect. For one thing, those extrasolar planets existed long before we found a way to identify them. Meanwhile we never had these massive data streams until the internet and the age of webscale computing came along.

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