In This Chapter
Understanding what big data is all about
Seeing how data may be analyzed using Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA)
Gaining insight into some of the key statistical techniques used to analyze big data
Big data refers to sets of data that are far too massive to be handled with traditional hardware. Big data is also problematic for software such as database systems, statistical packages, and so forth. In recent years, data-gathering capabilities have experienced explosive growth, so that storing and analyzing the resulting data has become progressively more challenging.
Many fields have been affected by the increasing availability of data, including finance, marketing, and e-commerce. Big data has also revolutionized more traditional fields such as law and medicine. Of course, big data is gathered on a massive scale by search engines such as Google and social media sites such as Facebook. These developments have led to the evolution of an entirely new profession: the data scientist, someone who can combine the fields of statistics, math, computer science, and engineering with knowledge of a specific application.