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Big data is data that exceeds the processing capacity of traditional databases. The data is too big to be processed by a single machine. New and innovative methods are required to process and store such large volumes of data. Also big data might refer to methods that help to gain new kinds of insight, that traditional small data methods couldn't provide.

References:

Gupta, Richa, Sunny Gupta, and Anuradha Singhal. “Big Data: Overview.” arXiv preprint arXiv:1404.4136 (2014).

Jacobs, Adam. “The pathologies of big data.” Communications of the ACM 52.8 (2009): 36-44.

Cuzzocrea, Alfredo, Il-Yeol Song, and Karen C. Davis. “Analytics over large-scale multidimensional data: the big data revolution!.” Proceedings of the ACM 14th international workshop on Data Warehousing and OLAP. ACM, 2011.