In 1997, an IBM supercomputer called “Deep Blue” beat chess world champion, Garry Kasparov. To better appreciate that feat, it may help to know that the device had a unique edge over its opponent—it could evaluate a billion possible moves every five seconds. Astronomical figures, for sure, to any person even by today’s standards. But then consider that Google’s self-driving car can process a million environmental readings per second.
Fantastic stories like these are made possible by big data—that enigmatic buzzword that’s caused quite a stir these past several years because of its tremendous impact on people’s lives and the largely untapped potential it still holds.