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Big Data Revolution by Patrick McSharry, Rob Thomas

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Prologue

BERKELEY, 1930s

George Dantzig sat in his dorm room, contemplating the next 24 hours and what it would mean for his future. He came to the University of California, Berkeley, with many aspirations, but as often happens, life got in the way, and his best laid plans turned into dreams for another day. As he gazed over the building immediately in the foreground, he could see Sather Tower on Berkeley’s campus, known for resembling Campanile di San Marco in Venice. George reassured himself that one of his major goals was still in his grasp; he could still earn a position on the faculty, providing an opportunity to teach the next group of eager students.

It was 3 p.m., and George had until 8 a.m. the next morning to prepare for what would become his defining exam at Berkeley. A passing grade virtually guaranteed his spot on the faculty. Anything less than his best, and his future would be once again uncertain. This was the kind of motivator that got him to reopen the books and apply himself throughout the night. The last time George looked up from his book, he saw 3 a.m. on the clock and decided he should get some rest.

As the sunrise slowly emanated around his room, George opened one eye and then the other, immediately wondering why he had not heard his alarm yet. He figured it must be an exceptionally clear day for that type of light to be coming through his eyelids before the 7:15 a.m. alarm that he set. Suddenly, George felt like something was not right, sat straight up ...

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