DJ Patil explains a visualization of a person's LinkedIn network, where different groups of contacts are illustrated by different colors. Patil developed big data projects for LinkedIn — like algorithms to determine whom you might know. He now recruits mathematicians for a venture capital firm. Joi Ito/Flickr hide caption

itoggle caption Joi Ito/Flickr

Justin Timberlake presents the Audi A1 at the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland in 2010. Timberlake stars in a viral marketing campaign for the car company aimed at a younger demographic. Audi's share of the luxury market has risen in recent years. Martin Meissner/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Martin Meissner/AP

Big data is huge in both scope and power. Yury Kuzmin/iStockPhoto.com hide caption

itoggle caption Yury Kuzmin/iStockPhoto.com

Researchers at the window testing facility at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are developing nanocrystal technology. When activated by a small electrical current, it would allow light but not heat through. Courtesy Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

District Taco employees 33 workers. Osiris Hoil/District Taco hide caption

itoggle caption Osiris Hoil/District Taco

The Predator drones flying over Afghanistan and Pakistan are variants of this MQ-9 Reaper. Lt. Col.. Leslie Pratt/U.S. Air Force via AP hide caption

itoggle caption Lt. Col.. Leslie Pratt/U.S. Air Force via AP

Some big-name tech companies are asking Congress to step in and clarify Americans' online privacy rights. Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Professor Anna Stefanopoulou (left) examines a V8 internal combustion engine with students Jacob Larimore and Xinfan Lin at the University of Michigan's Automotive Research Center. The researchers model engine performance to improve efficiency. Courtesy Automotive Research Center hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy Automotive Research Center