In scientific circles, “mock” is not always a four-letter word. To test that they’re interpreting their massive amounts of data correctly, astrophysicists create even more data: “mock” data. And while that may be counterintuitive at first, it actually makes a surprising amount of sense.
If Benjamin Franklin were alive today, he would likely extend his often-quoted list of life's certainties – death and taxes – to include more and more data. SLAC computer scientist Jacek Becla couldn't agree more. As founder of the Extremely Large Databases (XLDB) conference, which serves people who work with datasets too large or complex for conventional solutions, Becla is intimately aware of the information explosion.