In the 2013 BBC Horizon science documentary The Age of Big Data narrated by English actress Helen McCrory we explore the forefront of the big data technological revolution.
What is "big data"? It is a large database or "dataset" which typically contains millions if not billions of rows of facts. A dataset of people could consist of location, hair-colour, BMI, age etc. Looking at a few rows of those people would not tell you much, but in looking at millions of people there will be patterns that you can spot. This is done using algorithms which are designed to look for specific patterns and extract information.
As we watch this documentary we see how big data is being used by the Los Angeles Police Department who are using their vast databases to help predict crimes before they even happen. And In South Africa, a team are are attempting to catalogue the entire universe, a very different endeavour but one which is using data in the same way.
With quantum computing on the horizon, what we are going to be able to do with big data in the future is certainly exciting.