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RevoDeployR and commercial BI using R and R based cloud computing using Open CPU

Revolution Analytics has of course had RevoDeployR, and in a  webinar strive to bring it back to center spotlight.

BI is a good lucrative market, and visualization is a strength in R, so it is matter of time before we have more R based BI solutions. I really liked the two slides below for explaining RevoDeployR better to newbies like me (and many others!)

Integrating R into 3rd party and Web applications using RevoDeployR

Please click here to download the PDF.

Here are some additional links that may be of interest to you:

 

( I still think someone should make a commercial version of Jeroen Oom’s web interfaces and Jeff Horner’s web infrastructure (see below) for making customized Business Intelligence (BI) /Data Visualization solutions , UCLA and Vanderbilt are not exactly Stanford when it comes to deploying great academic solutions in the startup-tech world). I kind of think Google or someone at Revolution  should atleast dekko OpenCPU as a credible cloud solution in R.

I still cant figure out whether Revolution Analytics has a cloud computing strategy and Google seems to be working mysteriously as usual in broadening access to the Google Compute Cloud to the rest of R Community.

Open CPU  provides a free and open platform for statistical computing in the cloud. It is meant as an open, social analysis environment where people can share and run R functions and objects. For more details, visit the websit: www.opencpu.org

and esp see

https://public.opencpu.org/userapps/opencpu/opencpu.demo/runcode/

Jeff Horner’s

http://rapache.net/

Jerooen Oom’s

Interview Alain Chesnais Chief Scientist Trendspottr.com

Here is a brief interview with Alain Chesnais ,Chief Scientist  Trendspottr.com. It is a big honor to interview such a legend in computer science, and I am grateful to both him and Mark Zohar for taking time to write these down.
alain_chesnais2.jpg

Ajay-  Describe your career from your student days to being the President of ACM (Association of Computing Machinery http://www.acm.org/ ). How can we increase  the interest of students in STEM education, particularly in view of the shortage of data scientists.
 
Alain- I’m trying to sum up a career of over 35 years. This may be a bit long winded…
I started my career in CS when I was in high school in the early 70′s. I was accepted in the National Science Foundation’s Science Honors Program in 9th grade and the first course I took was a Fortran programming course at Columbia University. This was on an IBM 360 using punch cards.
The next year my high school got a donation from DEC of a PDP-8E mini computer. I ended up spending a lot of time in the machine room all through high school at a time when access to computers wasn’t all that common. I went to college in Paris and ended up at l’Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan in the newly created Computer Science department.
My first job after finishing my graduate studies was as a research assistant at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique where I focused my efforts on modelling the behaviour of distributed database systems in the presence of locking. When François Mitterand was elected president of France in 1981, he invited Nicholas Negroponte and Seymour Papert to come to France to set up the Centre Mondial Informatique. I was hired as a researcher there and continued on to become director of software development until it was closed down in 1986. I then started up my own company focusing on distributed computer graphics. We sold the company to Abvent in the early 90′s.
After that, I was hired by Thomson Digital Image to lead their rendering team. We were acquired by Wavefront Technologies in 1993 then by SGI in 1995 and merged with Alias Research. In the merged company: Alias|wavefront, I was director of engineering on the Maya project. Our team received an Oscar in 2003 for the creation of the Maya software system.
Since then I’ve worked at various companies, most recently focusing on social media and Big Data issues associated with it. Mark Zohar and I worked together at SceneCaster in 2007 where we developed a Facebook app that allowed users to create their own 3D scenes and share them with friends via Facebook without requiring a proprietary plugin. In December 2007 it was the most popular app in its category on Facebook.
Recently Mark approached me with a concept related to mining the content of public tweets to determine what was trending in real time. Using math similar to what I had developed during my graduate studies to model the performance of distributed databases in the presence of locking, we built up a real time analytics engine that ranks the content of tweets as they stream in. The math is designed to scale linearly in complexity with the volume of data that we analyze. That is the basis for what we have created for TrendSpottr.
In parallel to my professional career, I have been a very active volunteer at ACM. I started out as a member of the Paris ACM SIGGRAPH chapter in 1985 and volunteered to help do our mailings (snail mail at the time). After taking on more responsibilities with the chapter, I was elected chair of the chapter in 1991. I was first appointed to the SIGGRAPH Local Groups Steering Committee, then became ACM Director for Chapters. Later I was successively elected SIGGRAPH Vice Chair, ACM SIG Governing Board (SGB) Vice Chair for Operations, SGB Chair, ACM SIGGRAPH President, ACM Secretary/Treasurer, ACM Vice President, and finally, in 2010, I was elected ACM President. My term as ACM President has just ended on July 1st. Vint Cerf is our new President. I continue to serve on the ACM Executive Committee in my role as immediate Past President.
(Note- About ACM
ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery www.acm.org, is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges. )
Ajay- What sets Trendspotter apart from other startups out there in terms of vision in trying to achieve a more coherent experience on the web.
 
Alain- The Basic difference with other approaches that we are aware of is that we have developed an incremental solution that calculates the results on the fly as the data streams in. Our evaluators are based on solid mathematical foundations that have proven their usefulness over time. One way to describe what we do is to think of it as signal processing where the tweets are the signal and our evaluators are like triggers that tell you what elements of the signal have the characteristics that we are filtering for (velocity and acceleration). One key result of using this approach is that our unit cost per tweet analyzed does not go up with increased volume. Using more traditional data analysis approaches involving an implicit sort would imply a complexity of N*log(N), where N is the volume of tweets being analyzed. That would imply that the cost per tweet analyzed would go up with the volume of tweets. Our approach was designed to avoid that, so that we can maintain a cap on our unit costs of analysis, no matter what volume of data we analyze.
Ajay- What do you think is the future of big data visualization going to look like? What are some of the technologies that you are currently bullish on?
Alain- I see several trends that would have deep impact on Big Data visualization. I firmly believe that with large amounts of data, visualization is key tool for understanding both the structure and the relationships that exist between data elements. Let’s focus on some of the key things that are pushing in this direction:
  • the volume of data that is available is growing at a rate we have never seen before. Cisco has measured an 8 fold increase in the volume of IP traffic over the last 5 years and predicts that we will reach the zettabyte of data over IP in 2016
  • more of the data is becoming publicly available. This isn’t only on social networks such as Facebook and twitter, but joins a more general trend involving open research initiatives and open government programs
  • the desired time to get meaningful results is going down dramatically. In the past 5 years we have seen the half life of data on Facebook, defined as the amount of time that half of the public reactions to any given post (likes, shares., comments) take place, go from about 12 hours to under 3 hours currently
  • our access to the net is always on via mobile device. You are always connected.
  • the CPU and GPU capabilities of mobile devices is huge (an iPhone has 10 times the compute power of a Cray-1 and more graphics capabilities than early SGI workstations)
Put all of these observations together and you quickly come up with a massive opportunity to analyze data visually on the go as it happens no matter where you are. We can’t afford to have to wait for results. When something of interest occurs we need to be aware of it immediately.
Ajay- What are some of the applications we could use Trendspottr. Could we predict events like Arab Spring, or even the next viral thing.
 
Alain- TrendSpottr won’t predict what will happen next. What it *will* do is alert you immediately when it happens. You can think of it like a smoke detector. It doesn’t tell that a fire will take place, but it will save your life when a fire does break out.
Typical uses for TrendSpottr are
  • thought leadership by tracking content that your readership is interested in via TrendSpottr you can be seen as a thought leader on the subject by being one of the first to share trending content on a given subject. I personally do this on my Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/alain.chesnais) and have seen my klout score go up dramatically as a result
  • brand marketing to be able to know when something is trending about your brand and take advantage of it as it happens.
  • competitive analysis to see what is being said about two competing elements. For instance, searching TrendSpottr for “Obama OR Romney” gives you a very good understanding about how social networks are reacting to each politician. You can also do searches like “$aapl OR $msft OR $goog” to get a sense of what is the current buzz for certain hi tech stocks.
  • understanding your impact in real time to be able to see which of the content that you are posting is trending the most on social media so that you can highlight it on your main page. So if all of your content is hosted on common domain name (ourbrand.com), searching for ourbrand.com will show you the most active of your site’s content. That can easily be set up by putting a TrendSpottr widget on your front page

Ajay- What are some of the privacy guidelines that you keep in  mind- given the fact that you collect individual information but also have government agencies as potential users.

 
Alain- We take privacy very seriously and anonymize all of the data that we collect. We don’t keep explicit records of the data we collected through the various incoming streams and only store the aggregate results of our analysis.
About-
Alain Chesnais is immediate Past President of ACM, elected for the two-year term beginning July 1, 2010.Chesnais studied at l’Ecole Normale Supérieure de l’Enseignement Technique and l’Université de Paris where he earned a Maîtrise de Mathematiques, a Maitrise de Structure Mathématique de l’Informatique, and a Diplôme d’Etudes Approfondies in Compuer Science. He was a high school student at the United Nations International School in New York, where, along with preparing his International Baccalaureate with a focus on Math, Physics and Chemistry, he also studied Mandarin Chinese.Chesnais recently founded Visual Transitions, which specializes in helping companies move to HTML 5, the newest standard for structuring and presenting content on the World Wide Web. He was the CTO of SceneCaster.com from June 2007 until April 2010, and was Vice President of Product Development at Tucows Inc. from July 2005 – May 2007. He also served as director of engineering at Alias|Wavefront on the team that received an Oscar from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for developing the Maya 3D software package.

Prior to his election as ACM president, Chesnais was vice president from July 2008 – June 2010 as well as secretary/treasurer from July 2006 – June 2008. He also served as president of ACM SIGGRAPH from July 2002 – June 2005 and as SIG Governing Board Chair from July 2000 – June 2002.

As a French citizen now residing in Canada, he has more than 20 years of management experience in the software industry. He joined the local SIGGRAPH Chapter in Paris some 20 years ago as a volunteer and has continued his involvement with ACM in a variety of leadership capacities since then.

About Trendspottr.com

TrendSpottr is a real-time viral search and predictive analytics service that identifies the most timely and trending information for any topic or keyword. Our core technology analyzes real-time data streams and spots emerging trends at their earliest acceleration point — hours or days before they have become “popular” and reached mainstream awareness.

TrendSpottr serves as a predictive early warning system for news and media organizations, brands, government agencies and Fortune 500 companies and helps them to identify emerging news, events and issues that have high viral potential and market impact. TrendSpottr has partnered with HootSuite, DataSift and other leading social and big data companies.

Data Mining Music

AA classic paper by Donald E Knuth (creator  of Tex) on the information complexity of songs can help listeners of music with an interest in analytics. This paper is a classic and dates from 1985 but is pertinent even today.

 

New Economics Theories for the new Tech World

When I was doing my MBA (a decade ago), one of the principal theories on why corporations exist was 1) Shareholder Value creation (grow wealth for investors) and a notable second was 2) Stakeholder Value creation- creating jobs for societies, providing tax to countries, providing employees with stable employment and incentives,  and of course creating monetary value for shareholders.

There were two ways you could raise money- debt or equity. Debt had the advantage of interest payments being tax deductible. Debt payments had to be met regularly. Equity had the advantage that equity holders were the last ones to be paid in case of closing the company down, which justified that rate of return on equity is generally higher than cost of debt.  Dividend payouts to stockholders could be deferred in a low revenue year or due to planning reasons.

Or in plain English, over the long term borrowing money from share holders in lieu of stocks was more expensive than selling bonds or borrowing from the banks.

Hybrid combinations of debt and equity were warrants and debentures that started off as one form of instrument and over a period of time gave much more flexibility and risk safety nets to both issuers and subscribers of capital. Another hybrid was stock options (now considered as a default option of rewarding employees in technology companies, but this was not always the case).

The use of call and put options in debentures, and the idea of vesting period in stock options was to promote lone term stability and minimize fluctuations in stock prices, employee attrition, besides of course to minimize the weighted average cost of capital. Venture capital was another class of capital known for both huge rates of return and risk taking (?)

But in today’s world where a Google has three classes of shares, companies trade shares before IPOs, and valuations of technology companies sink and rise by huge % over weeks (especially as they near IPO dates)- I wonder if traditional theories in finance need a much stronger overhaul.

or do markets need a regulatory overhaul, that would enable stock exchanges to have once more the credibility they had as the primary sources of raising capital.

 

Who will guard the guardians? Their conscience- the regulators or the news media?

There are ways of raising money that are not evil.

But they are not perfectly fair as well.

Facebook Search- The fall of the machines

Increasingly I am beginning to search more and more on Facebook. This is for the following reasons-

1) Facebook is walled off to Google (mostly). While within Facebook , I get both people results and content results (from Bing).

Bing is an okay alternative , though not as fast as Google Instant.

2) Cleaner Web Results When Facebook increases the number of results from 3 top links to say 10 top links, there should be more outbound traffic from FB search to websites.For some reason Google continues to show 14 pages of results… Why? Why not limit to just one page.

3) Better People Search than  Pipl and Google. But not much (or any) image search. This is curious and I am hoping the Instagram results would be added to search results.

4) I am hoping for any company Facebook or Microsoft to challenge Adsense . Adwords already has rivals. Adsense is a de facto monopoly and my experiences in advertising show that content creators can make much more money from a better Adsense (especially ) if Adsense and Adwords do not have a conflict of interest from same advertisers.

Adwords should have been a special case of Adsense for Google.com but it is not.

5) Machine learning can only get you from tau to delta tau. When ad click behavior is inherently dependent on humans who behave mostly on chaotic , or genetic models than linear CPC models. I find FB has an inherent advantage in the quantity and quality of data collected on people behavior rather than click behavior. They are also more aggressive and less apologetic about behavorially targeted  ads.

Additional point- Analytics for Google Analytics is not as rich as analytics from Facebook pages in terms of demographic variables. This can be tested by anyone.

 

Teradata Analytics

A recent announcement showing Teradata partnering with KXEN and Revolution Analytics for Teradata Analytics.

http://www.teradata.com/News-Releases/2012/Teradata-Expands-Integrated-Analytics-Portfolio/

The Latest in Open Source Emerging Software Technologies
Teradata provides customers with two additional open source technologies – “R” technology from Revolution Analytics for analytics and GeoServer technology for spatial data offered by the OpenGeo organization – both of which are able to leverage the power of Teradata in-database processing for faster, smarter answers to business questions.

In addition to the existing world-class analytic partners, Teradata supports the use of the evolving “R” technology, an open source language for statistical computing and graphics. “R” technology is gaining popularity with data scientists who are exploiting its new and innovative capabilities, which are not readily available. The enhanced “R add-on for Teradata” has a 50 percent performance improvement, it is easier to use, and its capabilities support large data analytics. Users can quickly profile, explore, and analyze larger quantities of data directly in the Teradata Database to deliver faster answers by leveraging embedded analytics.

Teradata has partnered with Revolution Analytics, the leading commercial provider of “R” technology, because of customer interest in high-performing R applications that deliver superior performance for large-scale data. “Our innovative customers understand that big data analytics takes a smart approach to the entire infrastructure and we will enable them to differentiate their business in a cost-effective way,” said David Rich, chief executive officer, Revolution Analytics. “We are excited to partner with Teradata, because we see great affinity between Teradata and Revolution Analytics – we embrace parallel computing and the high performance offered by multi-core and multi-processor hardware.”

and

The Teradata Data Lab empowers business users and leading analytic partners to start building new analytics in less than five minutes, as compared to waiting several weeks for the IT department’s assistance.

“The Data Lab within the Teradata database provides the perfect foundation to enable self-service predictive analytics with KXEN InfiniteInsight,” said John Ball, chief executive officer, KXEN. “Teradata technologies, combined with KXEN’s automated modeling capabilities and in-database scoring, put the power of predictive analytics and data mining directly into the hands of business users. This powerful combination helps our joint customers accelerate insight by delivering top-quality models in orders of magnitude faster than traditional approaches.”

Read more at

http://www.sacbee.com/2012/03/06/4315500/teradata-expands-integrated-analytics.html

Why the West needs China to start moving towards cyber conflict

Hypothesis-

Western countries are running out of people to fight their wars. This is even more acute given the traditional and current demographic trends in both armed forces and general populations.

A shift to cyber conflict can help the West maintain parity over Eastern methods of assymetrical warfare (by human attrition /cyber conflict).

Declining resources will lead to converging conflicts of interest and dynamics in balance of power in the 21 st century.

Assumed Facts-

The launch of Sputnik by USSR led to the moon shot rush by the US.1960s

The proposed announcement of StarWars by USA led to unsustainable defence expenditure by USSR.1980s

The threat of cyber conflict and espionage by China (and Russian cyber actions in war with Georgia) has led to increasing budgets for cyber conflict research and defense in USA. -2010s

Assumptions-

If we do not learn from history, we are condemned to repeat it.

Declining Populations in the West and Rising Populations in the East in the 21 st century. The difference in military age personnel would be even more severe, due to more rapid aging in the west.

Economic output will be proportional to number of people employed as economies reach similar stages of maturity (Factor-Manufacturing-Services-Innovation)

Data-

http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/unpp/panel_population.htm

http://www.census.gov/population/international/

GDP projections to 2050 graphicView larger picture

GDP projections to 2050:
Summary-
Western defence forces would not be able to afford a human attrition intensive war by 2030 given current demographic trends  (both growth and aging). Existing balance of power could be maintained if resources are either shared or warfare is moved to cyber space. Technological advances can help augment resources reducing case for conflict scenarios.
Will the Internet be used by US against China in the 21 st century as Opium was used by GB in the 19th? Time will tell :)
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