You have probably been seeing the term big data popping up in many places. It has entered the business vernacular.  

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine used data from Google Flu Trends to predict increases in flu-related emergency room visits well before Centers for Disease Control issued its warning. Twitter updates tracked the spread of cholera in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake as accurately and weeks earlier than official reports.

Ford Motor Co. opened a Silicon Valley office in 2012 focused on big data, innovation and the user experience. Walmart records well over 1 million customer transactions every hour, saving them to databases estimated to have over 200 times the information in all of the books in the Library of Congress.

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