Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 28

set is considered big if it contains a few terabytes to many
petabytes of data.
Before addressing its benefits and concerns, it is helpful
to compare the Big Data approach with the traditional dataprocessing approach. There are major differences between
the two approaches, especially in regard to the four steps
or components of data processing: 1) acquisition (including
data capture), 2) access (including data indexing, storage,
sharing, and archiving), 3) analytics (including data analysis
and manipulation), and 4) application (including data publication). In particular, in contrast to the traditional, mostly
statistical, approach, Big Data seeks to unleash information
in a manner that can support informed decisions-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. This somewhat
expedient-but not necessarily valid-approach can result
in a corresponding set of potential
pathologies or concerns, which are
further discussed in a later section.
On the other hand, the feasibilThe DRIP conundrum
ity-or "good enough"-focus of Big
has been somewhat
Data is usually more realistic than
What Is Big Data?
the optimality focus of traditional,
It is helpful to first define data.
mitigated by the Big
operations research methods; in
They are the values of qualitative
Data approach.
fact, the steady-state assumption
or quantitative variables belongthat underpins optimality is, for the
ing to a set of items. Data are
most part, unrealistic, especially
typically the result of measurein real-time environments, where
ments and are considered to be
values are changing and agentraw before they are processed. In
negotiated solutions are messy and, at best, only feasible.
fact, the processed data from one stage may be considNevertheless, no matter what the purpose is for the proered to be the raw data for the next stage. Metadata,
cessing or the analysis of the data, it is critical that the data
sometimes referred to as "data about data," describe the
contain the insights or answers being sought; otherwise, we
content and context of a set or file of data; for example,
have a case of garbage in and garbage out. As a consequence,
a photo file's metadata would identify the photographer,
the aforementioned metadata can play an important role in
the camera settings, the date taken, and so on. For our
ascertaining the scope, validity, and viability of the data.
purposes, data would include measurements, raw values,
processed values, and metavalues. More specifically, the
Big Data Benefits
focus is on digital or electronic data, of which a basic unit
In regard to benefits, Big Data allows for
of measurement is a bit (b), an abbreviation for the binary
digits that can be stored in a device having two possible
◆ better integration or fusion and subsequent analysis of
distinct values or levels (say, 0 and 1). A byte is a basic
quantitative and qualitative data
unit of information containing 8 b, which can include 28
◆ better observation of rare but great impact events or
or 256 values (say, 0-255). Digital data can range from
"black swans" [3]
kilobytes (10 3 B), to megabytes (10 6 B), to gigabytes
◆ greater system and system-of-systems efficiency and
(109 B), to terabytes (1012 B), to petabytes (1015 B), to exaeffectiveness
bytes (1018 B), to zettabytes (1021 B), and to yottabytes
◆ better ev idence-ba sed- data r ich infor mation
(1024 B).
unleashed-decisions that can overcome the prejudices of the unconscious mind
Big Data, according to the current version of Wikipedia, "is a term applied to data sets whose size is beyond
◆ more messy findings, yet with results good enough to
the ability of commonly used software tools to capture,
support informed SMC decisions.
manage, and process the data within a tolerable elapsed
time." Obviously, the definition of what constitutes Big
Big Data Concerns
Data is shifting as software tools become more powerful;
In regard to concerns, they can be stated in terms of the
today, depending on the nature and mix of the data, a data
four data-processing components:
be employed to carry out the SMC approach. Big Data is
poised to
◆ add greater value to businesses, which can leverage
their own transactional data to detect patterns suggesting the effectiveness of their pricing, marketing,
and supply-chain strategies
◆ help us understand planet Earth, which is being
extensively monitored on the ground, in the air, and
in the water
◆ solve science and engineering problems, which have
become more data dependent or empirical
◆ support modern medicine, which is collecting and mining large amounts of image scans and genetic markers
◆ enhance the World Wide Web, which is amassing terabytes of textual, audio, and visual material that is
becoming widely available through search engines like
Google, Yahoo, and Bing
◆ aid national security agencies, which are collecting
and mining satellite and thermal imagery, audio intercepts,
and other readily available
information.

28

IEEE Systems, Man, & Cybernetics Magazine A pr il 2015 	



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015

Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - Cover1
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - Cover2
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 1
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 2
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 3
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 4
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 5
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 6
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 7
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 8
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Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 11
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 12
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 13
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Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 16
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Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 18
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 19
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 20
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 21
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 22
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Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 25
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 26
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 27
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 28
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 29
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 30
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 31
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Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 38
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Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 40
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 41
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 42
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 43
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 44
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 45
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 46
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 47
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 48
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - Cover3
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - Cover4
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