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Big Bang Data

Big data in astronomy: from Ancient Greece to the present day

By: Xavier Luri, Carme Jordi and Jordi Portell



To some extent, astronomers have been using big data for millennia in the form of astronomical catalogues. In every epoch, catalogues have been an exercise at the limit of available observation technology (from the human eye and telescopes to satellites), but also at the limit of data management technology (from manuscripts copied by hand and printed books to information in digital format) and at the limit of the capacity of calculation with them.

Present-day astronomy is no exception and, as the participants in this talk will be discussing, it also uses what is known today as “big data”. But what is “big” today perhaps won’t be tomorrow, as shown by the experience of the three generations of astronomers that they represent. Each has faced challenges in data management and analysis that were considered cutting edge at the time, which is not always still the case.

Participants: Xavier Luri, Jordi Portell, Carme Jordi

This activity is part of Big Bang Data,

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Presentation of issue 9 of 5W magazine