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Another poster already replied with a decent refutation of this claim, but a single pass over a TB of data is often not enough for 'big data' use cases and at tens of minutes per pass, it may very well be infeasible to operate on such at dataset with only 64GB of memory.

In the machine learning world, some of the algorithms that are industrial workhorses will require you to have your dataset in memory (ie: all the common GBM libraries), and will walk over it lots of times.

You may be able to perform some gymnastics and allow the OS to swap your terabyte+ dataset around inside your 64GB of RAM, but the algorithms are now going to take forever to complete as you thrash your swap constantly while the training algorithm is running.

tl;dr - a terabyte dataset in the machine learning context may very well need that much RAM plus some overhead in terms of memory available to be able to train a model on the dataset.

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