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Who actually coined the term Big Data

Published on 18 February 14
Big Data as we speak, may be part of many Business leaders day to day conversations and thousands of professionals researching on extracting value from data from millions of records.

But one question that crossed my mind while reading an article on Big Data today morning is, who actually coined this term. We get to read about Andy Rubin (Android), Doug Cutting (Hadoop) and Satoshi Nakamoto (Bitcoin), but haven't come across the name of the person behind the Top 10 most tweeted Technology term on Twitter in 2013.

After a research for 4 long hours and reading through thousands of kilo bytes of data, I am writing this to share my findings with you.

Below are few references for the term

In 1989, Erik Larson (author of bestselling books The Devil in the White City and In The Garden of Beasts) wrote a piece for Harper’s Magazine, which was reprinted in The Washington Post. The article begins with the author wondering how all that junk mail arrives in his mailbox and moves on to the direct-marketing industry. The article includes these two sentences:
The keepers of big data say they do it for the consumer’s benefit. But data have a way of being used for purposes other than originally intended.
In 1990s, John Mashey, the chief scientist at Silicon Graphics gave hundreds of talks to small groups in the middle and late 1990s to explain the concept for pitching Silicon Graphics products. A copy of his presentation on "Big Data and the next wave of Infrastress" dated April 25, 1998 is available here.

All Mr. John has to say regarding the simple term and his role in poplularising the term among the high-tech community is,
I was using one label for a range of issues, and I wanted the simplest, shortest phrase to convey that the boundaries of computing keep advancing.
Roger Magoulas from O'Reilly media is also much credited for coining/popularizing the term through his books, videos and blogs.

For what I assume, the term dates early 1990s but it being a simple term that used in a common parlance and associating a person for coining it would be a difficult choice.

References: Nytimes, Quora
Who actually coined the term Big Data - Image 1
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  1. 18 February 14

    Hi Bharath thank you for taking time research the origins of the word Big Data. Did not realise it went way back to 90s.

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