Big Data redefined: 13 ways to explain big data to a five-year-old

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Published July 11, 2014   |   
Amy-jo Crowley

The definitive definition of big data from the experts for the kids (and adults, too).

Jonathan Birch, Head of Architecture at NTT DATA

“Imagine trying to finish the last page of your colouring book, but suddenly you find that you’ve got more crayons than you know what to do with. You want to use them all, but you know that if you do, you won’t be able to stay inside the lines! So, someone needs to help you manage your choices to ensure you only use the crayons you need – probably your mum or dad!”

Laurie Miles, head of Analytics at SAS UK & Ireland

“Imagine a giant toy box, filled to the brim with lego bricks, duplo blocks and your favourite characters. Sounds exciting right? You could build all sorts of things, castles, forts, fire engines and even pirate ships. But with a box as big as you are and thousands of bricks all jumbled up it could be pretty difficult to find the right pieces.

Big data is a lot like that toy box. A big jumble of numbers and words. This makes it very difficult to read and understand without lots of help.

“Say you wanted to build a fire engine. You would need some red bricks, a fireman model, wheels and the ladder for the fire engine. In that jumbled up box it would take you all day to find those bricks. It’s the same when it comes to big data. There is a lot of useful information in those huge data sets but finding it can be difficult.”

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