Twenty years ago electronic health records were nascent, digital music was mostly a fantasy, Twitter was what birds did, and Google cofounder Sergey Brin was a summer intern at Wolfram Research. The past two decades have seen a nuclear explosion in the collection and storage of digital information.
In 2012, 2.8 zettabytes—that’s 1 sextillion bytes, or the equivalent of 24 quintillion tweets—were created or replicated, according to the research firm IDC. There are hundreds or thousands of petabyte-scale databases today, and we’d compare their size to what existed two decades ago, only every time the basis of comparison would be zero.
Here’s a look at some of the world’s largest and most interesting data sets
Click headline to see the legend that explains the type of data the size and color of dots represents--