Compelling topics on analytics of big data

  • Big data is defined as high volume, high variety/complexity, and high velocity, which is known as the 3Vs (Services, 2015).
  • Depending on the goal and objectives of the problem, that should help define which theories and techniques of big data analytics to use. Fayyad, Piatetsky-Shapiro, and Smyth (1996) defined that data analytics can be divided into descriptive and predictive analytics. Vardarlier and Silaharoglu (2016) agreed with Fayyad et al. (1996) division but added prescriptive analytics. Thus, these three divisions of big data analytics are:
    • Descriptive analytics explains “What happened?”
    • Predictive analytics explains “What will happen?”
    • Prescriptive analytics explains “Why will it happen?”
  • The scientific method helps give a framework for the data analytics lifecycle (Dietrich, 2013; Services, 2015). According to Dietrich (2013), it is a cyclical life cycle that has iterative parts in each of its six steps: discovery; pre-processing data; model planning; model building; communicate results, and
  • Data-in-motion is the real-time streaming of data from a broad spectrum of technologies, which also encompasses the data transmission between systems (Katal, Wazid, & Goudar, 2013; Kishore & Sharma, 2016; Ovum, 2016; Ramachandran & Chang, 2016). Data that is stored on a database system or cloud system is considered as data-at-rest and data that is being processed and analyzed is considered as data-in-use (Ramachandran & Chang, 2016).  The analysis of real-time streaming data in a timely fashion is also known as stream reasoning and implementing solutions for stream reasoning revolve around high throughput systems and storage space with low latency (Della Valle et al., 2016).
  • Data brokers are tasked collecting data from people, building a particular type of profile on that person, and selling it to companies (Angwin, 2014; Beckett, 2014; Tsesis, 2014). The data brokers main mission is to collect data and drop down the barriers of geographic location, cognitive or cultural gaps, different professions, or parties that don’t trust each other (Long, Cunningham, & Braithwaite, 2013). The danger of collecting this data from people can raise the incidents of discrimination based on race or income directly or indirectly (Beckett, 2014).
  • Data auditing is assessing the quality and fit for the purpose of data via key metrics and properties of the data (Techopedia, n.d.). Data auditing processes and procedures are the business’ way of assessing and controlling their data quality (Eichhorn, 2014).
  • If following an agile development processes the key stakeholders should be involved in all the lifecycles. That is because the key stakeholders are known as business user, project sponsor, project manager, business intelligence analyst, database administers, data engineer, and data scientist (Services, 2015).
  • Lawyers define privacy as (Richard & King, 2014): invasions into protecting spaces, relationships or decisions, a collection of information, use of information, and disclosure of information.
  • Richard and King (2014), describe that a binary notion of data privacy does not Data is never completely private/confidential nor completely divulged, but data lies in-between these two extremes.  Privacy laws should focus on the flow of personal information, where an emphasis should be placed on a type of privacy called confidentiality, where data is agreed to flow to a certain individual or group of individuals (Richard & King, 2014).
  • Fraud is deception; fraud detection is needed because as fraud detection algorithms are improving, the rate of fraud is increasing (Minelli, Chambers, &, Dhiraj, 2013). Data mining has allowed for fraud detection via multi-attribute monitoring, where it tries to find hidden anomalies by identifying hidden patterns through the use of class description and class discrimination (Brookshear & Brylow, 2014; Minellli et al., 2013).
  • High-performance computing is where there is either a cluster or grid of servers or virtual machines that are connected by a network for a distributed storage and workflow (Bhokare et al., 2016; Connolly & Begg, 2014; Minelli et al., 2013).
  • Parallel computing environments draw on the distributed storage and workflow on the cluster and grid of servers or virtual machines for processing big data (Bhokare et al., 2016; Minelli et al., 2013).
  • NoSQL (Not only Structured Query Language) databases are databases that are used to store data in non-relational databases i.e. graphical, document store, column-oriented, key-value, and object-oriented databases (Sadalage & Fowler, 2012; Services, 2015). NoSQL databases have benefits as they provide a data model for applications that require a little code, less debugging, run on clusters, handle large scale data and evolve with time (Sadalage & Fowler, 2012).
    • Document store NoSQL databases, use a key/value pair that is the file/file itself, and it could be in JSON, BSON, or XML (Sadalage & Fowler, 2012; Services, 2015). These document files are hierarchical trees (Sadalage & Fowler, 2012). Some sample document databases consist of MongoDB and CouchDB.
    • Graph NoSQL databases are used drawing networks by showing the relationship between items in a graphical format that has been optimized for easy searching and editing (Services, 2015). Each item is considered a node and adding more nodes or relationships while traversing through them is made simpler through a graph database rather than a traditional database (Sadalage & Fowler, 2012). Some sample graph databases consist of Neo4j Pregel, etc. (Park et al., 2014).
    • Column-oriented databases are perfect for sparse datasets, ones with many null values and when columns do have data the related columns are grouped together (Services, 2015). Grouping demographic data like age, income, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, etc. are a great example for using this NoSQL database. Cassandra is an example of a column-oriented database.
  • Public cloud environments are where a supplier to a company provides a cluster or grid of servers through the internet like Spark AWS, EC2 (Connolly & Begg, 2014; Minelli et al. 2013).
  • A community cloud environment is a cloud that is shared exclusively by a set of companies that share the similar characteristics, compliance, security, jurisdiction, etc. (Connolly & Begg, 2014).
  • Private cloud environments have a similar infrastructure to a public cloud, but the infrastructure only holds the data one company exclusively, and its services are shared across the different business units of that one company (Connolly & Begg, 2014; Minelli et al., 2013).
  • Hybrid clouds are two or more cloud structures that have either a private, community or public aspect to them (Connolly & Begg, 2014).
  • Cloud computing allows for the company to purchase the services it needs, without having to purchase the infrastructure to support the services it might think it will need. This allows for hyper-scaling computing in a distributed environment, also known as hyper-scale cloud computing, where the volume and demand of data explode exponentially yet still be accommodated in public, community, private, or hybrid cloud in a cost efficiently (Mainstay, 2016; Minelli et al., 2013).
  • Building block system of big data analytics involves a few steps Burkle et al. (2001):
    • What is the purpose that the new data will and should serve
      • How many functions should it support
      • Marking which parts of that new data is needed for each function
    • Identify the tool needed to support the purpose of that new data
    • Create a top level architecture plan view
    • Building based on the plan but leaving room to pivot when needed
      • Modifications occur to allow for the final vision to be achieved given the conditions at the time of building the architecture.
      • Other modifications come under a closer inspection of certain components in the architecture



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  • Beckett, L. (2014). Everything we know about what data brokers know about you. Pro Publica. Retrieved from
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  • Brookshear, G., & Brylow, D. (2014). Computer Science: An Overview, (12th). Pearson Learning Solutions. VitalBook file.
  • Burkle, T., Hain, T., Hossain, H., Dudeck, J., & Domann, E. (2001). Bioinformatics in medical practice: what is necessary for a hospital?. Studies in health technology and informatics, (2), 951-955.
  • Connolly, T., Begg, C. (2014). Database Systems: A Practical Approach to Design, Implementation, and Management, (6th). Pearson Learning Solutions. [Bookshelf Online].
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  • Dietrich, D. (2013). The genesis of EMC’s data analytics lifecycle. Retrieved from
  • Eichhorn, G. (2014). Why exactly is data auditing important? Retrieved from
  • Fayyad, U., Piatetsky-Shapiro, G., & Smyth, P. (1996). From data mining to knowledge discovery in databases. AI Magazine, 17(3), 37. Retrieved from:
  • Katal, A., Wazid, M., & Goudar, R. H. (2013, August). Big data: issues, challenges, tools and good practices. InContemporary Computing (IC3), 2013 Sixth International Conference on (pp. 404-409). IEEE.
  • Kishore, N. & Sharma, S. (2016). Secure data migration from enterprise to cloud storage – analytical survey. BIJIT-BVICAM’s Internal Journal of Information Technology. Retrieved from
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Diagnosis of illness via big data

Big data is defined as high volume, high variety/complexity, and high velocity, which is known as the 3Vs (Services, 2015). Using Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, they do well at analyzing patterns from frequent and voluminous amounts of data at faster speeds than humans, but they fail to recognize patterns in infrequent and small amounts of data (Goldbloom, 2016). Thus, the use of data analytic theories and techniques on big data rather than novel situations in healthcare is vital to understand.

Fayyad, Piatetsky-Shapiro, and Smyth (1996) defined that data analytics can be divided into descriptive and predictive analytics. Vardarlier and Silaharoglu (2016) agreed with Fayyad et al. (1996) division but added prescriptive analytics.  Thus, these three divisions of big data analytics are:

  • Descriptive analytics explains “What happened?”
  • Predictive analytics explains “What will happen?”
  • Prescriptive analytics explains “Why will it happen?”

(Fayyad et al., 1996; Vardarlier & Silahtaroglu, 2016). Depending on the goal of diagnosing illnesses with the use of big data analytics should depend on the theory/division one should choose.  Raghupathi & Raghupathi (2014), stated some common examples of big data in the healthcare field to be: personal medical records, radiology images, clinical trial data, 3D imaging, human genomic data, population genomic data, biometric sensor reading, x-ray films, scripts, and traditional paper files.

The use of big data analytics to understand the 23 pairs of chromosomes that are the building blocks for people. Healthcare professionals are using the big data generated from our genomic code to help predict which illnesses a person could get (Services, 2013). Thus, using predictive analytics tools and algorithms like decision trees would be of some use.  Another use of predictive analytics and machine learning can be applied to diagnosing an eye disease like diabetic retinopathy from an image by using classification algorithms (Goldbloom, 2016).

The study of epigenetics, which are what parts of the genetic code is turned on versus turned off, can help explain why will certain illnesses are more probable to occur in the future (What is epigenetics, n.d.).  Thus, the use of prescriptive analytics could be of some use in the study of epigenetics. Currently, clinical trials use descriptive analytics to help calculate true positives, false positives, true negatives, and false negatives of a drug treatment versus a placebo are commonly used.  Thus, depending on the goal of diagnosing illnesses and the problem, that should help define which theories and techniques of big data analytics to use. The use of different data analytics techniques and theories based on the problem and data can change how healthcare jobs in the next 30 years from today (Goldbloom, 2016; McAfee, 2013).