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Apache Spark has rocked the big data landscape, quickly becoming the largest open source big data community with over 750 contributors from more than 200 organizations. Spark's core tenants of speed, ease of use, and its unified programming model fit neatly with the high performance, scalable, and manageable characteristics of modern Java runtimes. In this talk we introduce the Spark programming model, and describe some unique Java runtime capabilities in the JIT, fast networking, serialization techniques, and GPU off-loading that deliver the ultimate big data platform for solving business problems. We will show how solutions, previously infeasible with regular Java programming, become possible with a high performance Spark core runtime, enabling you to solve problems smarter and faster.