December 5, 2013
The article titled IBM Introduces Watson to the Public Sector Cloud on GCN explores the potential for Watson now that IBM has opened it up to developers. IBM Watson Solutions recently won the 2013 North America New Product Innovation award for its combination of communication skills and evaluation abilities. Even more recently, IBM gave up on its competition with Amazon Web Services for a CIA contract for 10 years and $600M. But the loss has not rained out the parade, as the article explains:
“The initial target market for IBM Watson Developers Cloud is the private sector, with IBM touting third-party applications in such areas as retail and health care. But analysts say the offering will impact big data problems in the public sector, too. McCarthy sees potential for Watson-powered apps in such areas as fraud analysis, which the White House is ramping up due to worries about scammers taking advantage of consumers signing up for its new health care plans. “
Sounds like there is a job for Watson at Healthcare.gov, what with the massive potential for fraud issues. Another possibility is putting Watson to work on entity analytics for Homeland Security, looking for patterns in data. Entity analytics is mainly about comparing huge amounts of data and who could be better at that than IBM’s supercomputer?
Chelsea Kerwin, December 05, 2013
December 3, 2013
A new application of mathematical modeling reminds us how versatile the approach to data can be. Phys.org reports that “Mathematical Modeling Provides Insights Into Evolution of Folk Tales.” Anthropologist Jamie Tehrani at England’s Durham University approaches folk-tale development with methods used to examine biological evolution.
The article tells us that his study:
“… resolves a long-running debate by demonstrating that Little Red Riding Hood shares a common but ancient root with another popular international folk tale The Wolf and the Kids, although the two are now distinct stories. ‘This is rather like a biologist showing that humans and other apes share a common ancestor but have evolved into distinct species,’ explained Dr Tehrani.”
Other stories share this literary ancestor, like the Tiger Grandmother tale found in Japan, China, and Korea. Dr. Tehrani performed his phylogenetic analysis on 58 variations of the story, focusing on 72 specific plot variables. He made a branching map of the variants (an illustration is included in the article).
Of the results, he states:
“This exemplifies a process biologists call convergent evolution, in which species independently evolve similar adaptations. The fact that Little Red Riding Hood ‘evolved twice’ from the same starting point suggests it holds a powerful appeal that attracts our imaginations.
“‘There is a popular theory that an archaic, ancestral version of Little Red Riding Hood originated in Chinese oral tradition…. My analysis demonstrates that in fact the Chinese version is derived from European oral traditions, and not vice versa.’”
Tehrani notes that this research could do a good deal more than satisfy literary curiosity. He hopes that it will help clarify migration patterns of ancient humans by tracing where and when certain stories, and story variants, appeared. It is always nice to see someone successfully using an established tool in a new way.
Cynthia Murrell, December 03, 2013
November 25, 2013
The promotional article on HP Autonomy titled IDOL, The OS For Human Information touts the abilities of the HP IDOL, (even including a fancy diagram.) The amount of data that HP IDOL can manage seems to be of central importance, but also its versatility in sorting and collecting data from different types of sources, be it social media, cloud, on premise, image, audio, and structured data. The article explains,
“With HP IDOL, you can access, analyze, understand, and act on large amounts of human information from virtually any source… These capabilities make IDOL the OS for human information. With IDOL’s exploratory analytics, you can unlock key ideas, patterns, and concepts in your structured and unstructured data with streamlined processing, tuned for optimal performance. Uncover new opportunities, spot new trends, automate processes, break down silos, mitigate risks, and cut costs to elevate your organizational efficiency and effectiveness by enabling your data to tell you the answers.”
White papers are also available, such as Transitioning to a New Era of Human Information, but first you must register. The article also exclaims over IDOL’s 360-degree viewing platform, ensuring that the information from social media is just as understandable and viewable as anything from a spreadsheet. Unfortunately, this mass-data handling might cause a sluggish system.
Chelsea Kerwin, November 25, 2013
November 22, 2013
Basis Technology, a multilingual search and text analytics company, and The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) partnered up not too long ago. Global News Wire updates us on where the partnership has taken the three organizations in the article, “Basis Technology Releases Highlight 6.0 In Continued Partnership With ODNi And DIA.” Basis Technology has added key enhancements to Highlight, its flagship tool for Intelligence Community (IC) linguists and analysts to standardize named entities in documents. The DIA and ODNI will use Highlight to overcome issues related to transliterating foreign names and places into IC standards.
Small differences in names and places leads to thousands of errors and IC personnel need to eliminate them to save time and resources. Highlight simplifies the process and reduces the number of mistakes and inconsistencies.
The article states:
” ‘The increased data collection of both domestic and foreign information has created a very critical need for quick and accurate text analysis,’ said Carl Hoffman, CEO of Basis Technology. ‘Our ongoing work with the ODNI and DIA has uniquely positioned us to provide the Intelligence Community with a proven solution that takes the guesswork out of translators jobs and provides the end user with the actionable intelligence to meet their mission critical needs. We look forward to continuing this relationship and providing our customers with the innovative text analytics and linguistic solutions they have come to expect from Basis Technology.’ “
Is this a form of predictive analytics? Highlight must really come in handy when translating Japanese and Chinese characters when the slightest difference in the wording or tonality of a sentence can change a word’s entire meaning.
Whitney Grace, November 22, 2013
November 21, 2013
Directions Magazine notes that “Tableau Continues Its Visual Analytics Revolution” by using location analytics to improve business processes. How is Tableau making this possible? The company’s visual analytics software is the main key to advancing how users access and understand information.
“Tableau represents a new class of business intelligence (BI) software that is designed for business analytics allowing users to visualize and interact on data in new ways and does not mandate that relationships in the data be predefined. This business analytics focus is critical as it is the top ranked technology innovation in business today as identified by 39 percent of organizations as found in our research.”
Tableau wants data usage and understanding to be seamless without having to configure it to preset niches. The problem is that Tableau’s software is a dream for data scientists, but there is still a barrier for average user interaction. Tableau is making analytics software the equivalent of Microsoft Office, however. Business analysts are noting that Tableau’s software is a business intelligence solution that curb’s IT’s involvement by keeping it down to a minimum as well as demonstrating the quick value of data.
Tableau is making data software for the average user akin to what Microsoft did with Windows 95. What the company is doing needs to be monitored, not because it is alarming, but because it is going to be big.
Whitney Grace, November 21, 2013
November 19, 2013
Sad to say, we have heard rumblings about severe disappointment with Attensity-type and Lexalytics-type sentiment applications. If you want to kick some tires in this interesting search niche, look instead to the open source application TextBlob. OpenShift points out this resource in, “Day 9: TextBlog—Finding Sentiments in Text.” The article is one in an ambitious series by writer Shekhar Gulati, who challenged himself to master one technology a day for a month. Very admirable, sir!
Gulati begins with his experience with sentiment analysis:
“My interest in sentiment analysis is few years old when I wanted to write an application which will process a stream of tweets about a movie, and then output the overall sentiment about the movie. Having this information would help me decide if I wanted to watch a particular movie or not.
“I googled around, and found that Naive Bayes classifier can be used to solve this problem. The only programming language that I knew at the time was Java, so I wrote a custom implementation and used the application for some time. I was lazy to commit the code, so when my machine crashed, I lost the code and application. Now I commit all my code to github, and I have close to 200 public repositories
“In this blog, I will talk about a Python package called TextBlob which can help developers solve this problem. We will first cover some basics, and then we will develop a simple Flask application which will use the TextBlob API.”
The post does indeed cover the basics, including the installation of Python and virtualenv before we can get going with TextBlob. It then takes us through writing an example application and deploying to the cloud. As he notes above, Gulati has his code safe and sound at Github; the code for this example are posted here, and the js and css files can be found here.
Cynthia Murrell, November 19, 2013
November 19, 2013
Oracle is on a mission to empower its clients with self-service discovery capabilities for enterprise systems. The recent announcement came to us via Market Wired in, “Oracle Democratizes Data Discovery With Oracle Endeca Information Discovery 3.1.” The new Endeca software allows users to maintain enterprise features, while offering high-end collaboration that does not pose a security risk.
The new data discovery platform comes enabled with analytics features that incorporate more information varieties and support better decision-making. The new features that enhance better decision-making are self-service data mashup and discovery dashboards, deep unstructured analysis, enterprise class self-service discovery, enhanced integration with Oracle business intelligence, and Web content integration.
” ‘Data Discovery has been a sea change in the analytics market, driven by a desire to make information more accessible to a broader range of users at all levels of the business. With Oracle’s release of Oracle Endeca Information Discovery 3.1, we anticipate an even more improved ability to spur adoption and improved time to value with enterprise-class self-service discovery,’ said Mark Rittman, chief technical officer, Rittman Mead.”
Oracle will reel in more clients with this platform. There are not any details on how much the licensing fee for “democratized data” will cost. It is easy to surmise that is more expensive than open source alternatives.
Whitney Grace, November 19, 2013
November 18, 2013
HP Autonomy is searching for ways (pun intended) to redeem itself after the fiasco from earlier this year. How is the company doing it? HP Autonomy, according to the Silicon Angle article “HP Autonomy Expands Analytics Lineup With Qfiniti 10,” is tapping into the mobile market. The company has expanded its Qfiniti analytics software to now analyze video and social media along with basic and voice and text messaging. The Qfiniti upgrade has a lot more options that make it an attractive solution for customer relations personnel. The IDOL search tool helps users identify patterns in audio, text, and video and the ability to search through old and new unstructured/structured data are tempting to try. The former rather than the latter, of course. The article also mentions how it can be used to keep track of workflows and front and back office processes—something that any enterprise based software usually does.
HP Autonomy is really proud of the new analytics angle and how it can help their clients:
“Rafiq Mohammadi, the general manager of marketing optimization at HP Autonomy, noted that ‘HP Qfiniti 10 closes the loop for the customer contact center, providing a full set of functions to match all requirements. Because HP Qfiniti is a modular platform, customers can cut their total cost of ownership by getting a solution that best fits their needs.’”
We believe that HP Autonomy is moving in the right direction to overcome past obstacles. While reading the article, commercials for the new Nissan Infiniti came to mind. A project manager probably fell asleep while listening to a Nissan commercial and was inspired by the luxury brand. HP Autonomy and Nissan can team up to design the first Big Data compliant car: it drives, saves gas mileage, and provides professional grade analytics as you go.
Whitney Grace, November 18, 2013
November 15, 2013
TechCrunch makes a big deal about this headline: “ClearStory Data Designs An Analytics Platform That Is About The Experience As Much As The Technology.” ClearStory Data is one of the first companies to launch an analytics platform that can offer rich visuals and sharing capabilities. The graphics and sharing come out on the user interface, but behind the pretty graphics and social media graces there is something else.
The article states:
“On the back-end, ClearStory has a platform for integrating a company’s internal and external data using an in-memory database technology, said CEO Sharmila Shahani-Mulligan in a phone interview this week. This can be relational or NoSQL data, point-of-sale information or demographic statistics from external sources. Its advantage is in the ability to process multiple types of data on the fly and then combine that with a modern user interface.”
Not a bad new way to use analytics, especially when the idea behind it is that users will be able to manipulate their data like a story rather than a boring data report. Think about it. What would you rather do, read a griping novel or the latest user agreement for iTunes? Turning shopping or Internet browsing into a story. Maybe this could be a new form of writing or even blogging where social media turns into a giant events catalog of how people shop.
Whitney Grace, November 15, 2013
November 15, 2013
Hadoop was named after a toy elephant, so it is only appropriate that as a form of charity the company is donating money to saving elephants from poachers. nature and technology have often been perceived to be at odds with one another, constantly battling for dominance over the planet. Technology can save nature and analytical data techniques have been used to solve problems according to the recent Gigaom article, “Buy Datameer’s Hadoop Application, Save An Elephant.”
The article states:
“We’ve written before about applying big data techniques to help solve societal problems, and now we have a case of applying the revenue from big data software sales directly to a cause. In this case Datameer, a startup that applies a spreadsheet interface to Hadoop, is selling a “charity edition” of its product for $49 and donating all the proceeds during the month of November to a conservation charity called Pro Wildlife.”
Some cynics may view this gesture as a marketing ploy to buy a product that meant to solve the big data problem. (Actually, it only allows users to download to a single desktop and analysis 10 GB, so it is more like big data for the single data-obsessed user). On the bright side, you get to help save the largest, living land mammal. Who does not like elephants?
Whitney Grace, November 15, 2013