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We consider large MIMO systems, where by 'large' we mean number of transmit and receive antennas of the order of tens to hundreds. Such large MIMO systems will be of immense interest because of the very high spectral efficiencies possible in such systems. We present a low-complexity detector which achieves uncoded near-exponential diversity performance for hundreds of antennas (i.e., achieves near SISO AWGN performance in a large MIMO fading environment) with an average per-bit complexity of just O(NtNr), where Nt and Nr denote the number of transmit and receive antennas, respectively. With an outer turbo code, the proposed detector achieves good coded bit error performance as well. For example, in a 600 transmit and 600 receive antennas V-BLAST system with a high spectral efficiency of 450 bps/Hz (using BPSK and rate-3/4 turbo code), our simulation results show that the proposed detector performs to within about 7 dB from capacity. This practical feasibility of the proposed high-performance, low-complexity detector could potentially trigger wide interest in the theory and implementation of large MIMO systems. We also illustrate the applicability of the proposed detector in the low-complexity detection of high-rate, non-orthogonal space-time block codes and large multicarrier CDMA (MC-CDMA) systems. In large MC-CDMA systems with hundreds of users, the proposed detector is shown to achieve near single-user performance at an average per-bit complexity linear in number of users, which is quite appealing for its use in practical CDMA systems.