Denning - Title

Peter J. Denning

Distinguished Professor
Chair, Department of Computer Science    
Director, Cebrowski Institute
More info on Peter J. Denning

 Peter J. Denning





The research here talks about the growth and rate of growth of Big data and the Data Science Paradox. 
It is all too easy to associate Big Data with the machines and their interconnection networks. Is Big Data simply data at higher volume, velocity, and variety than ever before? Is it the never-ending quest for more storage and compute power? Is it a sigh of frustration over the reality of exabytes of data in systems designed for terabytes? Is it new search algorithms to find "needles in haystacks of needles?" I think Big Data is the manifestation of the emergence of the organism at the right. That organism is growing, in pace with the exploding exponential acceleration of digital technologies. Everything is being digitized - sensors for every signal and representations for every object using video, sound, text, and other bit patterns. Every machine and person is a source of data. Everyone and everything is becoming part of the organism. Tools implemented as software apps can be produced cheaply, replicated perfectly, and distributed globally at near - zero cost. Everything is part of this organism. Digital makes for a world of abundance, not scarcity. Therefore, I would say that, for us, Big Data means mastering military operations in the Internet organism
In the near future we will need to be masters of many new things with which we now have little experience: large scale situational awareness, command and control of networks with a million devices and personnel, discovery of suspicious activities such as terrorist cells, encryption that hides content but not actions, swarming of many small units, platforms made from many ships, automated weapon control, and cyber operations. Data science is searching for mastery of these areas in algorithms, architectures, and applications. The new digital world confronts us with a paradox. On the one hand, our new data science seems to promise great powers to discover and manage much about the world. On the other hand, our experience already tells us the new world has increasing uncertainty, unpredictability, and disruption. Who must we become to master the new world?
Super Computer
Super ComputerConnection Graph

The first picture is the IBM Blue Gene/P supercomputer at Argonne Labs. It holds 250,000 processors in 72 cabinets connected by an optical network. It can perform around 1015 operations per second - a million times faster than the chip in your smartphone. It can solve giant mathematical models and can mine very large data sets for faint connections.

The second picture is an Internet connection graph showing connections and their densities between sites.  It is also a supercomputer connecting a billion machines and several billion people.

Although a transition is underway, the organic system is not replacing the machine. It is a new system built on machines, mobile devices, their connections, and their interactions with humans. The network of machines is the infrastructure supporting the organic system.

The phenomenon we call Big Data is happening as part of the transition from the world of machines at the left to the world of organism at the right.