Explainer: Understanding the size of data

How big is big? A handy guide to understanding large quantities of information

By Stephen Ornes, 15:21 PM December 11, 2013

Scientific reports on big data seem to borrow terms from an alien language. Consider the large amount of data generated when experiments are running at the Large Hadron Collider. This enormous scientific instrument in Geneva, Switzerland, can generate 42 terabytes of data a day. The National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., stores more than 6 petabytes of climate data from ships, buoys, weather balloons, radars, satellites and computer models. (By 2020, the center expects to have 20 p...

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