Data, Datum

Ce soir, je quitte ma cabane d’ermite pour intervenir dans la conférence Big Data: Big Brother organisé au Cœur des Sciences, où un peu plus de trois cent personnes se sont inscrites en quelques heures.

On va parler de data. Et depuis, je me prépare autant que possible. Comme le rappelle l’article Data is data, or are they?,

Data emerged in 1646 as the plural of the Latin datum, which according to the Oxford English Dictionary was the past participle of dare (“give”) and meant “a thing given or granted; a thing known or assumed as a fact, and made the basis of reasoning or calculation; a fixed starting point for a series of measurements etc.” Datum remains standard and retains the general meaning of “a unit of information”, though it tends to appear mostly in academic and specialist disciplines such as philosophy, surveying, geodesy, topography, technical drawing, and cartography. The meaning of the derived plural data has changed somewhat over the centuries. The OED definition from the late 19th century (“Facts, esp. numerical facts, collected together for reference or information”) seems to testify to the broadening influence of the hard sciences. In the 20th century, the rapidly expanding fields of information technology incorporated the word into a huge variety of IT- and computer-related compound nouns, such as database, data entry, data flow, data mining, data processing, data protection, and data stream. The plural data is used in many scientific, technical, academic and other formal contexts, though different practices prevail in different places. In computing jargon, social sciences, and everyday use, data is often treated as an abstract mass noun, like information. It has the general meaning “mass of information”

Ce n’est pas dans mes habitudes de parler devant autant de monde, pour une discussion ouverte selon les termes de Sophie. J’ai quand même préparer deux images pour illustrer ce qu’est le big data, en ppt. La suite ce soir (ou dans un prochain billet si j’arrive à prendre suffisamment de notes au fur et à mesure des interventions).


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