Big data—on the order of zeta-bytes—was once the most daunting problem in addressing the complex challenges we face in fields as diverse as pharmaceuticals and healthcare,genomics, watershed and ecosystem safety, meteorology,oceanography, astronomy and physics, but now it is being sought as part of the solution. Data-intensive scientific research and development is an approach whose time has come, and scientists are not the only ones jumping on the big-data bandwagon. Direct-to-consumer availability of products that rely on big data (e.g., whole genome sequencing for prediction of individual health risks) has brought consumers and scientists into closer proximity. Citizen scientists also contribute to big data R&D; for example, in collecting high-granularity observations for ecosystem epidemiology where geographically distributed real-time science is crucial. Moreover, social media analysis generates volumes of data that can reveal insights into consumer behaviors, computer hacker networking traffic, or the spread of infectious diseases, to name a few.