Strata Week: A new Internet data transfer speed record

Researchers hit transfer speeds of 186 Gbps. Five big data predictions for 2012.

Here are a few of the data stories that caught my attention this week:

New world record for data transfer speed

Scientists announced this week that they had broken the world record for Internet speed by transferring data at 186 Gbps.

Researchers built an optical fiber network between the University of Victoria Computing Centre in Victoria, British Columbia, and the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, Wash. According to a Caltech press release, “with a simultaneous data rate of 88 Gbps in the opposite direction, the team reached a sustained two-way data rate of 186 Gbps between two data centers, breaking the team’s previous peak-rate record of 119 Gbps set in 2009.”

The new record-breaking speed is fast enough to transfer roughly 100,000 Blu-ray disks a day. The research on faster Internet speeds is underway to better handle the data coming from the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. “More than 100 petabytes (more than four million Blu-ray disks) of data have been processed, distributed, and analyzed using a global grid of 300 computing and storage facilities located at laboratories and universities around the world,” according to Caltech, “and the data volume is expected to rise a thousand-fold as physicists crank up the collision rates and energies at the LHC.” Faster data transfer will hopefully make it possible for more researchers to be able to work with the petabyte-scale data from CERN.

The following video explains the hardware and technology behind the latest speed record:

Data predictions for 2012

This was a “coming out” year for big data and data science, according to O’Reilly’s Edd Dumbill, who posted his 2012 data predictions this week. Dumbill has identified five areas in which he thinks we’ll see more development in the next year:

  • More powerful and expressive tools for analysis. Specifically, better programming language support.
  • Development of data science workflows and tools. In other words, there will be clearer processes for how data teams work.
  • Rise of data marketplaces — the “directory” and the “delivery.”
  • Streaming data processing, as opposed to batch processing.
  • Increased understanding of and demand for visualization. “If becoming a data-driven organization is about fostering a better feel for data among all employees, visualization plays a vital role in delivering data manipulation abilities to those without direct programming or statistical skills,” Dumbill writes.
Strata 2012 — The 2012 Strata Conference, being held Feb. 28-March 1 in Santa Clara, Calif., will offer three full days of hands-on data training and information-rich sessions. Strata brings together the people, tools, and technologies you need to make data work.

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