“Big Data”  refers to datasets whose size is beyond the ability of typical database software tools to capture, store, manage, and analyze.
There is a convergence of communications, sensing and computing towards the objective of achieving some control. In particular, cloud computing is promising. Sensors become cheaper. A network becomes bigger. In particular, powered by Internet protocols, the Smart Grid—a huge network, much bigger than the traditional networks—becomes an “energy Internet.”
Communications are becoming more and more like “backbones” for a number of applications. Sensing is a seamless ingredient in the future Internet of Things. In particular, it is the data acquisition mechanism to support the vision of “Big Data.” Computing will become a commodity that is affordable by the common needs of everyday applications.
The economy is becoming a “digital economy,” meaning that the jobs are more and more related to “soft power.” This does not necessarily imply software programming. Rather, it implies that more and more job functions will be finished by a smart system which is driven by sophisticated mathematics. While job functions become more and more “soft,” the needs for analytical analysis become more demanding. As a result, analytical skills, which are avoided by most of us at first sight, will be most useful in the lifelong education of a typical graduate student. Most often, our students know how to do their programing ...