The first known reference to big data (h/t Gil Press):
Michael Cox and David Ellsworth, Application-controlled demand paging for out-of-core visualization (Proceedings of the IEEE 8th conference on Visualization)
Visualization provides an interesting challenge for computer systems: data sets are generally quite large, taxing the capacities of main memory, local disk, and even remote disk. We call this the problem of big data. When data sets do not fit in main memory (in core), or when they do not fit even on local disk, the most common solution is to acquire more resources.