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Big Data A term used to describe data sets so large that they become awkward to work with using standard database management tools. (Source: Wikipedia) The 40 billion photos handled by Facebook and the 1 million customer transactions logged by Walmart every hour are examples.

Cloud computing Location-independent computing in which shared servers provide resources, software and data to computers and other devices on demand. Typical cloud computing providers deliver common business applications that are accessed from another web service or software like a web browser. (Source: Google’s online suite of office productivity tools and webmail (Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, Gmail) are examples.

Data Factual information (as measurements or statistics) used as a basis for reasoning, discussion or calculation; information, typically in numerical form, that can be digitally transmitted or processed. (Source:

Database A comprehensive collection of related data organized for convenient access, generally in and through a computer. (Source:’s recommendation system and the Foundation Center’s Foundation Directory Online are examples.

Data analysis
The process of studying and summarizing data with the intent to extract useful information and develop conclusions. (Source: Wikipedia)

Data mining
The automatic or semi-automatic analysis of large quantities of data to discover and extract previously unknown patterns. (Source: Wikipedia) The classic, oft-cited example involves Walmart, which through data mining discovered that a significant number of men were coming into their stores in the late afternoon and buying just diapers and beer.[1]

Data visualization Any technology that communicates data clearly and effectively through graphical means. (Source: Wikipedia) Click here for links to sites that offer wonderful examples of state-of-the-art data visualizations.

Open data
The idea that certain data should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control. (Source: Wikipedia.), an initiative launched by the Clinton administration to increase the ability of the public to find, download and use datasets generated by the US government, is probably the best-known example.


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