We are experiencing a data revolution. Projections alone for the volume of data speak of 40 zettabyte, or over 5 terabyte per person, by 2020. Data is everywhere: vendor-driven buzzwords like 'big data' dominate the private sector, the general public is more aware of metadata in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations, and we see a positive uptake of data in our daily lives in the form of, for example, transportation apps based on open data and tools for the quantification of fitness activities. Like the internet, data is here to stay.
Research suggests science graduates are struggling with essential quantitative skills and science degree programs are to blame. Quantitative skills are the bread and butter of science. More than calculating right answers, quantitative skills are defined by applying mathematical and statistical reasoning to scientific and everyday problems.
Last week, Facebook announced its new online targeted ad platform called Atlas. If you browse the web while logged into Facebook, and chances are that you probably do considering the number of websites that use Facebook for logins and comments. The ads you encounter around the web will be carefully chosen based on information provided to Facebook. While at its launch Atlas will only serve ads targeted towards age and gender, Facebook has a myriad of personal information on their users.
Much has been made in recent years of the rise of open data and the possibilities it offers. Whilst achieving much less fame than big data, its more glamorous cousin, open data has begun to revolutionise the way we can understand the world. In particular, it has been seized upon by experts in urban data visualisation in ways that would not have been possible only five years ago.