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Tag Archives: Machine learning
1) Huge variety of courses from the best professors in the world (see Gamification course from Coursera below) or Machine Learning , Human Computer Interaction
2) They are free ( is a mistake)! time is not free.
Also signature courses at Coursera now offer credible tracks for $39, and they have more support.
Why do you as a student need support? because sometimes you get stuck, and sometimes you need human interaction to stay motivated.
3) Coursera- I love these things-
Can run the course faster at 1.75 times ( because seriously I get distracted otherwise)
Can run the multiple language CC (captions) – reading is so much faster
Best feature- in video quizzes
Most number of courses
Makes learning fun
Makes easy to learn language
I wish someone could mash more of Coursera content with Codeacademy gamification and teach hacking and data sciences to the next generation of hackers!!
Rest of the websites are good, but I stick to Coursera and Codeacademy!
5) Education empowers! Every person who learns R or JMP through a free MOOC will create more value for themselves, customers, and their society, country than had they remain uneducated because they could not afford the training.
Here is an interview with Pranay Agrawal, Executive Vice President- Global Client Development, Fractal Analytics – one of India’s leading analytics services providers and one of the pioneers in analytics services delivery.
Ajay- Describe Fractal Analytics’ journey as a startup to a pioneer in the Predictive Analytics Services industry. What were some of the key turning points in the field of analytics that you have noticed during these times?
Pranay- In 2000, Fractal Analytics started as a pure-play analytics services company in India with a focus on financial services. Five years later, we spread our operation to the United States and opened new verticals. Today, we have the widest global footprint among analytics providers and have experience handling data and deep understanding of consumer behavior in over 150 counties. We have matured from an analytics service organization to a productized analytics services firm, specializing in consumer goods, retail, financial services, insurance and technology verticals.
We are on the fore-front of a massive inflection point with Big Data Analytics at the center. We have witnessed the transformation of analytics within our clients from a cost center to the most critical division that drives competitive advantage. Advances are quickly converging in computer science, artificial intelligence, machine learning and game theory, changing the way how analytics is consumed by B2B and B2C companies. Companies that use analytics well are poised to excel in innovation, customer engagement and business performance.
Ajay- What are analytical tools that you use at Fractal Analytics? Are there any trends in analytical software usage that you have observed?
Pranay- We are tools agnostic to serve our clients using whatever platforms they need to ensure they can quickly and effectively operationalize the results we deliver. We use R, SAS, SPSS, SpotFire, Tableau, Xcelsius, Webfocus, Microstrategy and Qlikview. We are seeing an increase in adoption of open source platform such as R, and specialize tools for dashboard like Tableau/Qlikview, plus an entire spectrum of emerging tools to process manage and extract information from Big Data that support Hadoop and NoSQL data structures
Ajay- What are Fractal Analytics plans for Big Data Analytics?
Pranay- We see our clients being overwhelmed by the increasing complexity of the data. While they are all excited by the possibilities of Big Data, on-the-ground struggle continues to realize its full potential. The analytics paradigm is changing in the context of Big Data. Our solutions focus on how to make it super-simple for our clients combined with analytics sophistication possible with Big Data.
Let’s take our Customer Genomics solution for retailers as an example. Retailers are collecting information about Shopper behaviors through every transaction. Retailers want to transform their business to make it more customer-centric but do not know how to go about it. Our Customer Genomics solution uses advanced machine learning algorithm to label every shopper across more than 80 different dimensions. Retailers use these to identify which products it should deep-discount depending on what price-sensitive shoppers buy. They are transforming the way they plan their assortment, planogram and targeted promotions armed with this intelligence.
We are also building harmonization engines using Concordia to enable real-time update of Customer Genomics based on every direct, social, or shopping transaction. This will further bridge the gap between marketing actions and consumer behavior to drive loyalty, market share and profitability.
Ajay- What are some of the key things that differentiate Fractal Analytics from the rest of the industry? How are you different?
Pranay- We are one of the pioneer pure-play analytics firm with over a decade of experience consulting with Fortune 500 companies. What clients most appreciate about working with us includes:
- Experience managing structured and unstructured Big Data (volume, variety) with a deep understanding of consumer behavior in more than 150 counties
- Advanced analytics leveraging supervised machine-learning platforms
- Proprietary products for example: Concordia for data harmonization, Customer Genomics for consumer insights and personalized marketing, Pincer for pricing optimization, Eavesdrop for social media listening, Medley for assortment optimization in retail industry and Known Value Item for retail stores
- Deep industry expertise enables us to leverage cross-industry knowledge to solve a wide range of marketing problems
- Lowest attrition rates in the industry and very selective hiring process makes us a great place to work
Ajay- What are some of the initiatives that you have taken to ensure employee satisfaction and happiness?
Pranay- We believe happy employees create happy customers. We are building a great place to work by taking a personal interest in grooming people. Our people are highly engaged as evidenced by 33% new hire referrals and the highest Glassdoor ratings in our industry.
We recognize the accomplishments and contributions made through many programs such as:
- FractElite – where peers nominate and defend the best of us
- Recognition board – where anyone can write a visible thank you
- Value cards – where anyone can acknowledge great role model behavior in one or more values
- Townhall – a quarterly all hands where we announce anniversaries and FractElite awards, with an open forum to ask questions
- Employee engagement surveys – to measure and report out on satisfaction programs
- Open access to managers and leadership team – to ensure we understand and appreciate each person’s unique goals and ambitions, coach for high performance, and laud their success
Ajay- How happy are Fractal Analytics customers quantitatively? What is your retention rate- and what plans do you have for 2013?
Pranay- As consultants, delivering value with great service is critical to our growth, which has nearly doubled in the last year. Most of our clients have been with us for over five years and we are typically considered a strategic partner.
We conduct client satisfaction surveys during and after each project to measure our performance and identify opportunities to serve our clients better. In 2013, we will continue partnering with our clients to define additional process improvements from applying best practice in engagement management to building more advanced analytics and automated services to put high-impact decisions into our clients’ hands faster.
Pranay Agrawal -Pranay co-founded Fractal Analytics in 2000 and heads client engagement worldwide. He has a MBA from India Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad, Bachelors in Accounting from Bangalore University, and Certified Financial Risk Manager from GARP. He is is also available online on http://www.linkedin.com/in/pranayfractal
Fractal Analytics is a provider of predictive analytics and decision sciences to financial services, insurance, consumer goods, retail, technology, pharma and telecommunication industries. Fractal Analytics helps companies compete on analytics and in understanding, predicting and influencing consumer behavior. Over 20 fortune 500 financial services, consumer packaged goods, retail and insurance companies partner with Fractal to make better data driven decisions and institutionalize analytics inside their organizations.
Fractal sets up analytical centers of excellence for its clients to tackle tough big data challenges, improve decision management, help understand, predict & influence consumer behavior, increase marketing effectiveness, reduce risk and optimize business results.
Google Translate has been a pioneer in using machine learning for translating various languages (and so is the awesome Google Transliterate)
I wonder if they can expand it to programming languages and not just human languages.
converting translating programming language code
1) Paths referred for stored objects
2) Object Names should remain the same and not translated
3) Multiple Functions have multiple uses , sometimes function translate is not straightforward
I think all these issues are doable, solveable and more importantly profitable.
I look forward to the day a iOS developer can convert his code to Android app code by simple upload and download.
Amazon gets some competition, and customers should see some relief, unless Google withdraws commitment on these products after a few years of trying (like it often does now!)
|Machine Type Pricing|
|Configuration||Virtual Cores||Memory||GCEU *||Local disk||Price/Hour||$/GCEU/hour|
|n1-standard-1-d||1||3.75GB ***||2.75||420GB ***||$0.145||0.053|
|n1-standard-8-d||8||30GB||22||2 x 1770GB||$1.16||0.053|
|Egress to the same Zone.||Free|
|Egress to a different Cloud service within the same Region.||Free|
|Egress to a different Zone in the same Region (per GB)||$0.01|
|Egress to a different Region within the US||$0.01 ****|
|Inter-continental Egress||At Internet Egress Rate|
|Internet Egress (Americas/EMEA destination) per GB|
|0-1 TB in a month||$0.12|
|Internet Egress (APAC destination) per GB|
|0-1 TB in a month||$0.21|
|Persistent Disk Pricing|
|Provisioned space||$0.10 GB/month|
|Snapshot storage**||$0.125 GB/month|
|IO Operations||$0.10 per million|
|IP Address Pricing|
|Static IP address (assigned but unused)||$0.01 per hour|
|Ephemeral IP address (attached to instance)||Free|
** coming soon
*** 1GB is defined as 2^30 bytes
**** promotional pricing; eventually will be charged at internet download rates
Google Prediction API
Tap into Google’s machine learning algorithms to analyze data and predict future outcomes.
Leverage machine learning without the complexity
Use the familiar RESTful interface
Enter input in any format – numeric or text
Build smart apps
Learn how you can use Prediction API to build customer sentiment analysis, spam detection or document and email classification.
Google Translation API
Use Google Translate API to build multilingual apps and programmatically translate text in your webpage or application.
Translate text into other languages programmatically
Use the familiar RESTful interface
Take advantage of Google’s powerful translation algorithms
Build multilingual apps
Learn how you can use Translate API to build apps that can programmatically translate text in your applications or websites.
Analyze Big Data in the cloud using SQL and get real-time business insights in seconds using Google BigQuery. Use a fully-managed data analysis service with no servers to install or maintain.
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You can store up to hundreds of terabytes, paying only for what you use.
Run ad hoc SQL queries on
multi-terabyte datasets in seconds.
Google App Engine
Create apps on Google’s platform that are easy to manage and scale. Benefit from the same systems and infrastructure that power Google’s applications.
Focus on your apps
Let us worry about the underlying infrastructure and systems.
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Here is an interview with Charlie Parker, head of large scale online algorithms at http://bigml.com
Ajay- Describe your own personal background in scientific computing, and how you came to be involved with machine learning, cloud computing and BigML.com
Charlie- I am a machine learning Ph.D. from Oregon State University. Francisco Martin (our founder and CEO), Adam Ashenfelter (the lead developer on the tree algorithm), and myself were all studying machine learning at OSU around the same time. We all went our separate ways after that.
Francisco started Strands and turned it into a 100+ million dollar company building recommender systems. Adam worked for CleverSet, a probabilistic modeling company that was eventually sold to Cisco, I believe. I worked for several years in the research labs at Eastman Kodak on data mining, text analysis, and computer vision.
When Francisco left Strands to start BigML, he brought in Justin Donaldson who is a brilliant visualization guy from Indiana, and an ex-Googler named Jose Ortega who is responsible for most of our data infrastructure. They pulled in Adam and I a few months later. We also have Poul Petersen, a former Strands employee, who manages our herd of servers. He is a wizard and makes everyone else’s life much easier.
Ajay- You use clojure for the back end of BigML.com .Are there any other languages and packages you are considering? What makes clojure such a good fit for cloud computing ?
Charlie- Clojure is a great language because it offers you all of the benefits of Java (extensive libraries, cross-platform compatibility, easy integration with things like Hadoop, etc.) but has the syntactical elegance of a functional language. This makes our code base small and easy to read as well as powerful.
We’ve had occasional issues with speed, but that just means writing the occasional function or library in Java. As we build towards processing data at the Terabyte level, we’re hoping to create a framework that is language-agnostic to some extent. So if we have some great machine learning code in C, for example, we’ll use Clojure to tie everything together, but the code that does the heavy lifting will still be in C. For the API and Web layers, we use Python and Django, and Justin is a huge fan of HaXe for our visualizations.
Ajay- Current support is for Decision Trees. When can we see SVM, K Means Clustering and Logit Regression?
Charlie- Right now we’re focused on perfecting our infrastructure and giving you new ways to put data in the system, but expect to see more algorithms appearing in the next few months. We want to make sure they are as beautiful and easy to use as the trees are. Without giving too much away, the first new thing we will probably introduce is an ensemble method of some sort (such as Boosting or Bagging). Clustering is a little further away but we’ll get there soon!
Ajay- How can we use the BigML.com API using R and Python.
Charlie- We have a public github repo for the language bindings. https://github.com/bigmlcom/io Right now, there there are only bash scripts but that should change very soon. The python bindings should be there in a matter of days, and the R bindings in probably a week or two. Clojure and Java bindings should follow shortly after that. We’ll have a blog post about it each time we release a new language binding. http://blog.bigml.com/
Ajay- How can we predict large numbers of observations using a Model that has been built and pruned (model scoring)?
Charlie- We are in the process of refactoring our backend right now for better support for batch prediction and model evaluation. This is something that is probably only a few weeks away. Keep your eye on our blog for updates!
Ajay- How can we export models built in BigML.com for scoring data locally.
Charlie- This is as simple as a call to our API. https://bigml.com/developers/models The call gives you a JSON object representing the tree that is roughly equivalent to a PMML-style representation.
You can read about Charlie Parker at http://www.linkedin.com/pub/charles-parker/11/85b/4b5 and the rest of the BigML team at