Sunday, October 11, 2009

Teaching Students to Sift Mountains of Data

Teaching Students to Sift Mountains of Data -

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — It is a rare criticism of elite American university students that they do not think big enough. But that is exactly the complaint from some of the largest technology companies and the federal government.

At the heart of this criticism is data. Researchers and workers in fields as diverse as bio-technology, astronomy and computer science will soon find themselves overwhelmed with information. Better telescopes and genome sequencers are as much to blame for this data glut as are faster computers and bigger hard drives.

Political science doesn't yet have this problem, but there is no reason we can't or shouldn't go there. Every campaign contribution, every precinct vote return, every roll call vote. Every international conflict event. Every foreign investment. Every word of political news coverage. Every blog post. For all time.

And if you want to get teched up for graduate school in any field, or you want to move to silicon valley and make a billion, learn to handle large data.

For Twitter fans, search #hadoop to find fellow travelers who you can follow and who will point to you events and resources. Take a look at #mapreduce as well.

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