"Demystification" is just as important as "Abstraction" in "Computer Science" (Was: Know any Fortran

ANDY HOLT andy.holt at tesco.net
Fri Oct 30 16:21:50 CDT 2015

From: "Fred Cisin" <cisin at xenosoft.com>
> They literally refused to understand that a 
> dataset could exist that would be too large to fit into memory.

In the UK, the Home Secretary wants to force all ISPs to store and
keep (reasonably) easily searchable logs of all URLs accessed by all
their customers.
This, I think, is an example of "big data" … possibly so big that backup
is impracticable.
When I did daily analysis of the urls accessed by the 2000 or so students
at a University*, that daily database was pushing what I could get into memory 
on my desktop system (well specified) … now imagine 20 million users for 365 days - I'd be doubtful
that even todays mainframes and supercomputers could do that.

* When I questioned the legality (and morality) of doing this the answer was
"we believe it is legal" (and "stop complaining and keep digging"). 


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