Using Rapid Miner and R for Sports Analytics #rstats

Rapid Miner has been one of the oldest open source analytics software, long long before open source or even analytics was considered a fashion buzzword. The Rapid Miner software has been a pioneer in many areas (like establishing a marketplace for Rapid Miner Extensions) and the Rapid Miner -R extension was one of the most promising enablers of using R in an enterprise setting.
The following interview was taken with a manager of analytics for a sports organization. The sports organization considers analytics as a strategic differentiator , hence the name is confidential. No part of the interview has been edited or manipulated.

Ajay- Why did you choose Rapid Miner and R? What were the other software alternatives you considered and discarded?

Analyst- We considered most of the other major players in statistics/data mining or enterprise BI.  However, we found that the value proposition for an open source solution was too compelling to justify the premium pricing that the commercial solutions would have required.  The widespread adoption of R and the variety of packages and algorithms available for it, made it an easy choice.  We liked RapidMiner as a way to design structured, repeatable processes, and the ability to optimize learner parameters in a systematic way.  It also handled large data sets better than R on 32-bit Windows did.  The GUI, particularly when 5.0 was released, made it more usable than R for analysts who weren’t experienced programmers.

Ajay- What analytics do you do think Rapid Miner and R are best suited for?

 Analyst- We use RM+R mainly for sports analysis so far, rather than for more traditional business applications.  It has been quite suitable for that, and I can easily see how it would be used for other types of applications.

 Ajay- Any experiences as an enterprise customer? How was the installation process? How good is the enterprise level support?

Analyst- Rapid-I has been one of the most responsive tech companies I’ve dealt with, either in my current role or with previous employers.  They are small enough to be able to respond quickly to requests, and in more than one case, have fixed a problem, or added a small feature we needed within a matter of days.  In other cases, we have contracted with them to add larger pieces of specific functionality we needed at reasonable consulting rates.  Those features are added to the mainline product, and become fully supported through regular channels.  The longer consulting projects have typically had a turnaround of just a few weeks.

 Ajay- What challenges if any did you face in executing a pure open source analytics bundle ?

Analyst- As Rapid-I is a smaller company based in Europe, the availability of training and consulting in the USA isn’t as extensive as for the major enterprise software players, and the time zone differences sometimes slow down the communications cycle.  There were times where we were the first customer to attempt a specific integration point in our technical environment, and with no prior experiences to fall back on, we had to work with Rapid-I to figure out how to do it.  Compared to the what traditional software vendors provide, both R and RM tend to have sparse, terse, occasionally incomplete documentation.  The situation is getting better, but still lags behind what the traditional enterprise software vendors provide.

 Ajay- What are the things you can do in R ,and what are the things you prefer to do in Rapid Miner (comparison for technical synergies)

Analyst- Our experience has been that RM is superior to R at writing and maintaining structured processes, better at handling larger amounts of data, and more flexible at fine-tuning model parameters automatically.  The biggest limitation we’ve had with RM compared to R is that R has a larger library of user-contributed packages for additional data mining algorithms.  Sometimes we opted to use R because RM hadn’t yet implemented a specific algorithm.  The introduction the R extension has allowed us to combine the strengths of both tools in a very logical and productive way.

In particular, extending RapidMiner with R helped address RM’s weakness in the breadth of algorithms, because it brings the entire R ecosystem into RM (similar to how Rapid-I implemented much of the Weka library early on in RM’s development).  Further, because the R user community releases packages that implement new techniques faster than the enterprise vendors can, this helps turn a potential weakness into a potential strength.  However, R packages tend to be of varying quality, and are more prone to go stale due to lack of support/bug fixes.  This depends heavily on the package’s maintainer and its prevalence of use in the R community.  So when RapidMiner has a learner with a native implementation, it’s usually better to use it than the R equivalent.

RCOMM 2012 goes live in August

An awesome conference by an awesome software Rapid Miner remains one of the leading enterprise grade open source software , that can help you do a lot of things including flow driven data modeling ,web mining ,web crawling etc which even other software cant.

Presentations include:

  • Mining Machine 2 Machine Data (Katharina Morik, TU Dortmund University)
  • Handling Big Data (Andras Benczur, MTA SZTAKI)
  • Introduction of RapidAnalytics at Telenor (Telenor and United Consult)
  • and more

Here is a list of complete program

 

Program

 

Time
Slot
Tuesday
Training / Workshop 1
Wednesday
Conference 1
Thursday
Conference 2
Friday
Training / Workshop 2
09:00 – 10:30
Introductory Speech
Ingo Mierswa (Rapid-I)Resource-aware Data Mining or M2M Mining (Invited Talk)

Katharina Morik (TU Dortmund University)

More information

 

Data Analysis

 

NeurophRM: Integration of the Neuroph framework into RapidMiner
Miloš Jovanović, Jelena Stojanović, Milan Vukićević, Vera Stojanović, Boris Delibašić (University of Belgrade)

To be announced (Invited Talk)
Andras Benczur 

Recommender Systems

 

Extending RapidMiner with Recommender Systems Algorithms
Matej Mihelčić, Nino Antulov-Fantulin, Matko Bošnjak, Tomislav Šmuc (Ruđer Bošković Institute)

Implementation of User Based Collaborative Filtering in RapidMiner
Sérgio Morais, Carlos Soares (Universidade do Porto)

Parallel Training / Workshop Session

Advanced Data Mining and Data Transformations

or

Development Workshop Part 2

10:30 – 11:00
Coffee Break
Coffee Break
Coffee Break
11:00 – 12:30
Data Analysis

Nearest-Neighbor and Clustering based Anomaly Detection Algorithms for RapidMiner
Mennatallah Amer, Markus Goldstein (DFKI)

Customers’ LifeStyle Targeting on Big Data using Rapid Miner
Maksim Drobyshev (LifeStyle Marketing Ltd)

Robust GPGPU Plugin Development for RapidMiner
Andor Kovács, Zoltán Prekopcsák (Budapest University of Technology and Economics)

Extensions

 

Optimization Plugin For RapidMiner
Venkatesh Umaashankar, Sangkyun Lee (TU Dortmund University; presented by Hendrik Blom)

 

Image Mining Extension – Year After
Radim Burget, Václav Uher, Jan Mašek (Brno University of Technology)

Incorporating R Plots into RapidMiner Reports
Peter Jeszenszky (University of Debrecen)

12:30 – 13:30
Lunch
Lunch
Lunch
13:30 – 15:30
Parallel Training / Workshop Session

Basic Data Mining and Data Transformations

or

Development Workshop Part 1

Applications

 

Introduction of RapidAnalyticy Enterprise Edition at Telenor Hungary
t.b.a. (Telenor Hungary and United Consult)

 

Application of RapidMiner in Steel Industry Research and Development
Bengt-Henning Maas, Hakan Koc, Martin Bretschneider (Salzgitter Mannesmann Forschung)

A Comparison of Data-driven Models for Forecast River Flow
Milan Cisty, Juraj Bezak (Slovak University of Technology)

Portfolio Optimization Using Local Linear Regression Ensembles in Rapid Miner
Gábor Nagy, Tamás Henk, Gergő Barta (Budapest University of Technology and Economics)

Extensions

 

An Octave Extension for RapidMiner
Sylvain Marié (Schneider Electric)

 

Unstructured Data

 

Processing Data Streams with the RapidMiner Streams-Plugin
Christian Bockermann, Hendrik Blom (TU Dortmund)

Automated Creation of Corpuses for the Needs of Sentiment Analysis
Peter Koncz, Jan Paralic (Technical University of Kosice)

 

Demonstration: News from the Rapid-I Labs
Simon Fischer; Rapid-I

This short session demonstrates the latest developments from the Rapid-I lab and will let you how you can build powerful analysis processes and routines by using those RapidMiner tools.

Certification Exam
15:30 – 16:00
Coffee Break
Coffee Break
Coffee Break
16:00 – 18:00
Book Presentation and Game Show

Data Mining for the Masses: A New Textbook on Data Mining for Everyone
Matthew North (Washington & Jefferson College)

Matthew North presents his new book “Data Mining for the Masses” introducing data mining to a broader audience and making use of RapidMiner for practical data mining problems.

 

Game Show
Did you miss last years’ game show “Who wants to be a data miner?”? Use RapidMiner for problems it was never created for and beat the time and other contestants!

User Support

Get some Coffee for free – Writing Operators with RapidMiner Beans
Christian Bockermann, Hendrik Blom (TU Dortmund)

Meta-Modeling Execution Times of RapidMiner operators
Matija Piškorec, Matko Bošnjak, Tomislav Šmuc (Ruđer Bošković Institute)

Conference day ends at ca. 17:00.

19:30
Social Event (Conference Dinner)
Social Event (Visit of Bar District)

 

and you should have a look at https://rapid-i.com/rcomm2012f/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=65

Conference is in Budapest, Hungary,Europe.

( Disclaimer- Rapid Miner is an advertising sponsor of Decisionstats.com in case you didnot notice the two banner sized ads.)

 

Rapid Miner User Conference 2012

One of those cool conferences that is on my bucket list- this time in Hungary (That’s a nice place)

But I am especially interested in seeing how far Radoop has come along !

Disclaimer- Rapid Miner has been a Decisionstats.com sponsor  for many years. It is also a very cool software but I like the R Extension facility even more!

—————————————————————

and not very expensive too compared to other User Conferences in Europe!-

http://rcomm2012.org/index.php/registration/prices

Information about Registration

  • Early Bird registration until July 20th, 2012.
  • Normal registration from July 21st, 2012 until August 13th, 2012.
  • Latest registration from August 14th, 2012 until August 24th, 2012.
  • Students have to provide a valid Student ID during registration.
  • The Dinner is included in the All Days and in the Conference packages.
  • All prices below are net prices. Value added tax (VAT) has to be added if applicable.

Prices for Regular Visitors

Days and Event
Early Bird Rate
Normal Rate
Latest Registration
Tuesday

(Training / Development 1)

190 Euro 230 Euro 280 Euro
Wednesday + Thursday

(Conference)

290 Euro 350 Euro 420 Euro
Friday

(Training / Development 2 and Exam)

190 Euro 230 Euro 280 Euro
All Days

(Full Package)

610 Euro 740 Euro 900 Euro

Prices for Authors and Students

In case of students, please note that you will have to provide a valid student ID during registration.

Days and Event
Early Bird Rate
Normal Rate
Latest Registration
Tuesday

(Training / Development 1)

90 Euro 110 Euro 140 Euro
Wednesday + Thursday

(Conference)

140 Euro 170 Euro 210 Euro
Friday

(Training / Development 2 and Exam)

90 Euro 110 Euro 140 Euro
All Days

(Full Package)

290 Euro 350 Euro 450 Euro
Time
Slot
Tuesday
Training / Workshop 1
Wednesday
Conference 1
Thursday
Conference 2
Friday
Training / Workshop 2
09:00 – 10:30
Introductory Speech
Ingo Mierswa; Rapid-I 

Data Analysis

 

NeurophRM: Integration of the Neuroph framework into RapidMiner
Miloš Jovanović, Jelena Stojanović, Milan Vukićević, Vera Stojanović, Boris Delibašić (University of Belgrade)

To be announced (Invited Talk)
To be announced

 

Recommender Systems

 

Extending RapidMiner with Recommender Systems Algorithms
Matej Mihelčić, Nino Antulov-Fantulin, Matko Bošnjak, Tomislav Šmuc (Ruđer Bošković Institute)

Implementation of User Based Collaborative Filtering in RapidMiner
Sérgio Morais, Carlos Soares (Universidade do Porto)

Parallel Training / Workshop Session

Advanced Data Mining and Data Transformations

or

Development Workshop Part 2

10:30 – 12:30
Data Analysis

Nearest-Neighbor and Clustering based Anomaly Detection Algorithms for RapidMiner
Mennatallah Amer, Markus Goldstein (DFKI)

Customers’ LifeStyle Targeting on Big Data using Rapid Miner
Maksim Drobyshev (LifeStyle Marketing Ltd)

Robust GPGPU Plugin Development for RapidMiner
Andor Kovács, Zoltán Prekopcsák (Budapest University of Technology and Economics)

Extensions

Image Mining Extension – Year After
Radim Burget, Václav Uher, Jan Mašek (Brno University of Technology)

Incorporating R Plots into RapidMiner Reports
Peter Jeszenszky (University of Debrecen)

An Octave Extension for RapidMiner
Sylvain Marié (Schneider Electric)

12:30 – 13:30
Lunch
Lunch
Lunch
13:30 – 15:00
Parallel Training / Workshop Session

Basic Data Mining and Data Transformations

or

Development Workshop Part 1

Applications

Application of RapidMiner in Steel Industry Research and Development
Bengt-Henning Maas, Hakan Koc, Martin Bretschneider (Salzgitter Mannesmann Forschung)

A Comparison of Data-driven Models for Forecast River Flow
Milan Cisty, Juraj Bezak (Slovak University of Technology)

Portfolio Optimization Using Local Linear Regression Ensembles in Rapid Miner
Gábor Nagy, Tamás Henk, Gergő Barta (Budapest University of Technology and Economics)

Unstructured Data


Processing Data Streams with the RapidMiner Streams-Plugin
Christian Bockermann, Hendrik Blom (TU Dortmund)

Automated Creation of Corpuses for the Needs of Sentiment Analysis
Peter Koncz, Jan Paralic (Technical University of Kosice)

 

Demonstration

 

News from the Rapid-I Labs
Simon Fischer; Rapid-I

This short session demonstrates the latest developments from the Rapid-I lab and will let you how you can build powerful analysis processes and routines by using those RapidMiner tools.

Certification Exam
15:00 – 17:00
Book Presentation and Game Show

Data Mining for the Masses: A New Textbook on Data Mining for Everyone
Matthew North (Washington & Jefferson College)

Matthew North presents his new book “Data Mining for the Masses” introducing data mining to a broader audience and making use of RapidMiner for practical data mining problems.

 

Game Show
Did you miss last years’ game show “Who wants to be a data miner?”? Use RapidMiner for problems it was never created for and beat the time and other contestants!

User Support

Get some Coffee for free – Writing Operators with RapidMiner Beans
Christian Bockermann, Hendrik Blom (TU Dortmund)

Meta-Modeling Execution Times of RapidMiner operators
Matija Piškorec, Matko Bošnjak, Tomislav Šmuc (Ruđer Bošković Institute) 

19:00
Social Event (Conference Dinner)
Social Event (Visit of Bar District)

 

Training: Basic Data Mining and Data Transformations

This is a short introductory training course for users who are not yet familiar with RapidMiner or only have a few experiences with RapidMiner so far. The topics of this training session include

  • Basic Usage
    • User Interface
    • Creating and handling RapidMiner repositories
    • Starting a new RapidMiner project
    • Operators and processes
    • Loading data from flat files
    • Storing data, processes, and results
  • Predictive Models
    • Linear Regression
    • Naïve Bayes
    • Decision Trees
  • Basic Data Transformations
    • Changing names and roles
    • Handling missing values
    • Changing value types by discretization and dichotimization
    • Normalization and standardization
    • Filtering examples and attributes
  • Scoring and Model Evaluation
    • Applying models
    • Splitting data
    • Evaluation methods
    • Performance criteria
    • Visualizing Model Performance

 

Training: Advanced Data Mining and Data Transformations

This is a short introductory training course for users who already know some basic concepts of RapidMiner and data mining and have already used the software before, for example in the first training on Tuesday. The topics of this training session include

  • Advanced Data Handling
    • Sampling
    • Balancing data
    • Joins and Aggregations
    • Detection and removal of outliers
    • Dimensionality reduction
  • Control process execution
    • Remember process results
    • Recall process results
    • Loops
    • Using branches and conditions
    • Exception handling
    • Definition of macros
    • Usage of macros
    • Definition of log values
    • Clearing log tables
    • Transforming log tables to data

 

Development Workshop Part 1 and Part 2

Want to exchange ideas with the developers of RapidMiner? Or learn more tricks for developing own operators and extensions? During our development workshops on Tuesday and Friday, we will build small groups of developers each working on a small development project around RapidMiner. Beginners will get a comprehensive overview of the architecture of RapidMiner before making the first steps and learn how to write own operators. Advanced developers will form groups with our experienced developers, identify shortcomings of RapidMiner and develop a new extension which might be presented during the conference already. Unfinished work can be continued in the second workshop on Friday before results might be published on the Marketplace or can be taken home as a starting point for new custom operators.