It can be easy to write off “big data” as an empty buzz word and the hype around it as a cynical marketing ploy, especially because the talk about big data often lacks an explanation of what it really is in real world terms. For a quick-and-dirty definition, this will do: Computers today can store, read, compare and draw conclusions from vast amounts of information — and they can do it really fast. But it’s not just more information and modern processor speeds that blow folks’ hair back when it comes to big data.

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