Whether you’re entirely new to the field of big data, or looking to expand your machine learning knowledge; whether you have 3 hours or 3 minutes; whether you want you want to know more about the technology, or the high-level applications- this list is a sample of the best Youtube has to offer on big data. Hit play, and enjoy a time- and cost-effective way to continue your big data exploration.

(A note on selecting the videos: we took the most viewed videos in the “Science and Tech” and “Education” categories on Youtube on the subjects of big data, data science, machine learning and analytics. We then used a formulae that weighs up rates of engagement (likes and dislikes) with views. Got a great video that you think is missing from the list below? Let us know in the comments.)

1. Kenneth Cukier: Big Data is Better Data

It’s no surprise that a video from the ludicrously popular TED Talks has topped our list. This high-level talk on the nature of big data was filmed in Dataconomy’s hometown of Berlin, and explains why big data is better. As Cukier says, “More data allows us to see new. It allows us to see better. It allows us to see different”. It also introduces some applications, such as cancer cell detection and predictive policing- a compelling and easily digestible introduction for the uninitiated.

2. The Future of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (Andrew Ng, Stanford University, STAN 2011)

Machine learning expert, Stanford Professor and Coursera Founder Andrew Ng discusses his research in robotics, covering fields of research from computer vision, reinforcement learning (including an autonomous helicopter), and the dream of building a robot who could clean your house.

3. Google I/O 2012 – SQL vs NoSQL: Battle of the Backends

In this video, Google employees Ken Ashcraft and Alfred Fuller battle it out to decide whether SQL or NoSQL is better for your application. Topics battled out include: queries, transactions, consistencz, scalability, management schema. Recommended viewing if you’re unsure whether relational or non-relational models would be better for your application.

4. Introduction to NoSQL by Martin Fowler

Still intrigued by the prospect of NoSQL databases? This 50-minute talk by Martin Fowler of ThoughtWorks offers a rapid and comprehensive overview of NoSQL. This talk takes us through where NoSQL databases came from, why you should consider using them, and why SQL vs. NoSQL is not a ‘death or glory’ battle.

5. Big Data and Hadoop- Hadoop Tutorial for Beginners

This video is a free recording of a tutorial from a monetised, interactive course by Edureka! If you’re looking to delve a bit deeper beyond the high-level talks and into actually learning about the mechanisms of Hadoop, this video’s a pretty good place to start. You’ll learn about nodes in Hadoop, how to read and write and HDFS and data replication. If you like what you see, Edureka! have hours of free Hadoop tutorials available here.

6. Explaining Big Data Lecture 1 | Machine Learning (Stanford)

This video is the first part in Stanford’s incredibly popular machine learning video lecture course. These lectures formed the basis of Andrew Ng’s Coursera course on machine learning, and feature extra content which was omitted from the 10-week Coursera tutorial for the same of brevity. If you want to look into machine learning without spending a penny, this is the video series for you.

7. Brains, Sex, and Machine Learning

Co-inventor of Boltzmann machines, backpropagation, and contrastive divergence and all-round machine learning god Geoffrey Hinton is one of the best people in the world to guide you through the world of neural networks. This talk focuses on how machine learning provides explanations for puzzling phenomena in biology- including the field of sexual reproduction, hence the intriguing title.

8. What is Hadoop?

Intricity attempt to answer in three minutes a question which has made people outside the realm of data science tremble in fear for years- what exactly is Hadoop? If you this video enlightening, you may want to check out their other short videos which demystify terms such as “data governance”, “OLAP” and “Metadata Management”.

9. Big Ideas: How Big is Big Data?

This list is certainly dominated by clips for beginners- and it doesn’t get more back-to-basics than this video from EMC. If you think “big data” is defined by size, hit play and prepare to be enlightened.

10. Big Data Analytics: The Revolution Has Just Begun

SAS presents a talk from Dr. Will Hakes of Link Analytics, giving an extensive, high-level talk on the way big data analytics is changing- and will continue to change- the business intelligence landscape.

If you have another great big data video tip, be sure to let us know in the comments!

(Featured image credit: TED)

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