While 2011-2012 was the breakout timeframe for the term Big Data, New York Times reporter Steve Lohr researched the etymology of the word Big Data to find out who first coined it. He considered between two good sources: Francis X. Diebold, an economist at the University of Pennsylvania, for his paper on “Big Data Dynamic Factor Models for Macroeconomic Measurement and Forecasting,” (2000) or John Mashey, who was the chief scientist at Silicon Graphics in the 1990s, who gave a talk “Big Data and the Next Wave of Infrastress” in 1998. The two-year headstart would be reason enough to give the coinage to Mashey – but Lohr considered the total context. Silicon Graphics in the ’90s was known for its ability to handle video special effects and surveillance video. It was a new machine for new types of data. And according to lore, Mashey had water-coolered the term for years to tout the need for a new type of computing.
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