Interview Alvaro Tejada Galindo, SAP Labs Montreal, Using SAP Hana with #Rstats

Here is a brief interview with Alvaro Tejada Galindo aka Blag who is a developer working with SAP Hana and R at SAP Labs, Montreal. SAP Hana is SAP’s latest offering in BI , it’s also a database and a computing environment , and using R and HANA together on the cloud can give major productivity gains in terms of both speed and analytical ability, as per preliminary use cases.

Ajay- Describe how you got involved with databases and R language.
Blag-  I used to work as an ABAP Consultant for 11 years, but also been involved with programming since the last 13 years, so I was in touch with SQLServer, Oracle, MySQL and SQLite. When I joined SAP, I heard that SAP HANA was going to use an statistical programming language called “R”. The next day I started my “R” learning.

Ajay- What made the R language a fit for SAP HANA. Did you consider other languages? What is your view on Julia/Python/SPSS/SAS/Matlab languages

Blag- I think “R” is a must for SAP HANA. As the fastest database in the market, we needed a language that could help us shape the data in the best possible way. “R” filled that purpose very well. Right now, “R” is not the only language as “L” can be used as well (http://wiki.tcl.tk/17068) …not forgetting “SQLScript” which is our own version of SQL (http://goo.gl/x3bwh) . I have to admit that I tried Julia, but couldn’t manage to make it work. Regarding Python, it’s an interesting question as I’m going to blog about Python and SAP HANA soon. About Matlab, SPSS and SAS I haven’t used them, so I got nothing to say there.

Ajay- What is your view on some of the limitations of R that can be overcome with using it with SAP HANA.

Blag-  I think mostly the ability of SAP HANA to work with big data. Again, SAP HANA and “R” can work very nicely together and achieve things that weren’t possible before.

Ajay-  Have you considered other vendors of R including working with RStudio, Revolution Analytics, and even Oracle R Enterprise.

Blag-  I’m not really part of the SAP HANA or the R groups inside SAP, so I can’t really comment on that. I can only say that I use RStudio every time I need to do something with R. Regarding Oracle…I don’t think so…but they can use any of our products whenever they want.

Ajay- Do you have a case study on an actual usage of R with SAP HANA that led to great results.

Blag-   Right now the use of “R” and SAP HANA is very preliminary, I don’t think many people has start working on it…but as an example that it works, you can check this awesome blog entry from my friend Jitender Aswani “Big Data, R and HANA: Analyze 200 Million Data Points and Later Visualize Using Google Maps “ (http://allthingsr.blogspot.com/#!/2012/04/big-data-r-and-hana-analyze-200-million.html)

Ajay- Does your group in SAP plan to give to the R ecosystem by attending conferences like UseR 2012, sponsoring meets, or package development etc

Blag- My group is in charge of everything developers, so sure, we’re planning to get more in touch with R developers and their ecosystem. Not sure how we’re going to deal with it, but at least I’m going to get myself involved in the Montreal R Group.

 

About-

http://scn.sap.com/people/alvaro.tejadagalindo3

Name: Alvaro Tejada Galindo
Email: a.tejada.galindo@sap.com
Profession: Development
Company: SAP Canada Labs-Montreal
Town/City: Montreal
Country: Canada
Instant Messaging Type: Twitter
Instant Messaging ID: Blag
Personal URL: http://blagrants.blogspot.com
Professional Blog URL: http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/scn/weblogs?blog=/pub/u/252210910
My Relation to SAP: employee
Short Bio: Development Expert for the Technology Innovation and Developer Experience team.Used to be an ABAP Consultant for the last 11 years. Addicted to programming since 1997.

http://www.sap.com/solutions/technology/in-memory-computing-platform/hana/overview/index.epx

and from

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAP_HANA

SAP HANA is SAP AG’s implementation of in-memory database technology. There are four components within the software group:[1]

  • SAP HANA DB (or HANA DB) refers to the database technology itself,
  • SAP HANA Studio refers to the suite of tools provided by SAP for modeling,
  • SAP HANA Appliance refers to HANA DB as delivered on partner certified hardware (see below) as anappliance. It also includes the modeling tools from HANA Studio as well replication and data transformation tools to move data into HANA DB,[2]
  • SAP HANA Application Cloud refers to the cloud based infrastructure for delivery of applications (typically existing SAP applications rewritten to run on HANA).

R is integrated in HANA DB via TCP/IP. HANA uses SQL-SHM, a shared memory-based data exchange to incorporate R’s vertical data structure. HANA also introduces R scripts equivalent to native database operations like join or aggregation.[20] HANA developers can write R scripts in SQL and the types are automatically converted in HANA. R scripts can be invoked with HANA tables as both input and output in the SQLScript. R environments need to be deployed to use R within SQLScript

More blog posts on using SAP and R together

Dealing with R and HANA

http://scn.sap.com/community/in-memory-business-data-management/blog/2011/11/28/dealing-with-r-and-hana
R meets HANA

http://scn.sap.com/community/in-memory-business-data-management/blog/2012/01/29/r-meets-hana

HANA meets R

http://scn.sap.com/community/in-memory-business-data-management/blog/2012/01/26/hana-meets-r
When SAP HANA met R – First kiss

http://scn.sap.com/community/developer-center/hana/blog/2012/05/21/when-sap-hana-met-r–first-kiss

 

Using RODBC with SAP HANA DB-

SAP HANA: My experiences on using SAP HANA with R

http://scn.sap.com/community/in-memory-business-data-management/blog/2012/02/21/sap-hana-my-experiences-on-using-sap-hana-with-r

and of course the blog that started it all-

Jitender Aswani’s http://allthingsr.blogspot.in/

 

 

What is a White Paper?

Christine and Jimmy Wales
Image via Wikipedia

As per Jimmy Wales and his merry band at Wiki (pedia not leaky-ah)- The emphasis is mine

What is the best white paper you have read in the past 15 years.

Categories are-

  • Business benefits: Makes a business case for a certain technology or methodology.
  • Technical: Describes how a certain technology works.
  • Hybrid: Combines business benefits with technical details in a single document.
  • Policy: Makes a case for a certain political solution to a societal or economic challenge.
——————————————————————————————————————————————————



white paper is an authoritative report or guide that helps solve a problem. White papers are used to educate readers and help people make decisions, and are often requested and used in politics, policy, business, and technical fields. In commercial use, the term has also come to refer to documents used by businesses as a marketing or sales tool. Policy makers frequently request white papers from universities or academic personnel to inform policy developments with expert opinions or relevant research.

Government white papers

In the Commonwealth of Nations, “white paper” is an informal name for a parliamentary paper enunciating government policy; in the United Kingdom these are mostly issued as “Command papers“. White papers are issued by the government and lay out policy, or proposed action, on a topic of current concern. Although a white paper may on occasion be a consultation as to the details of new legislation, it does signify a clear intention on the part of a government to pass new law. White Papers are a “…. tool of participatory democracy … not [an] unalterable policy commitment.[1] “White Papers have tried to perform the dual role of presenting firm government policies while at the same time inviting opinions upon them.” [2]

In Canada, a white paper “is considered to be a policy document, approved by Cabinet, tabled in the House of Commons and made available to the general public.”[3] A Canadian author notes that the “provision of policy information through the use of white and green papers can help to create an awareness of policy issues among parliamentarians and the public and to encourage an exchange of information and analysis. They can also serve as educational techniques”.[4]

“White Papers are used as a means of presenting government policy preferences prior to the introduction of legislation”; as such, the “publication of a White Paper serves to test the climate of public opinion regarding a controversial policy issue and enables the government to gauge its probable impact”.[5]

By contrast, green papers, which are issued much more frequently, are more open ended. These green papers, also known as consultation documents, may merely propose a strategy to be implemented in the details of other legislation or they may set out proposals on which the government wishes to obtain public views and opinion.

White papers published by the European Commission are documents containing proposals for European Union action in a specific area. They sometimes follow a green paper released to launch a public consultation process.

For examples see the following:

 Commercial white papers

Since the early 1990s, the term white paper has also come to refer to documents used by businesses and so-called think tanks as marketing or sales tools. White papers of this sort argue that the benefits of a particular technologyproduct or policy are superior for solving a specific problem.

These types of white papers are almost always marketing communications documents designed to promote a specific company’s or group’s solutions or products. As a marketing tool, these papers will highlight information favorable to the company authorizing or sponsoring the paper. Such white papers are often used to generate sales leads, establish thought leadership, make a business case, or to educate customers or voters.

There are four main types of commercial white papers:

  • Business benefits: Makes a business case for a certain technology or methodology.
  • Technical: Describes how a certain technology works.
  • Hybrid: Combines business benefits with technical details in a single document.
  • Policy: Makes a case for a certain political solution to a societal or economic challenge.

Resources

  • Stelzner, Michael (2007). Writing White Papers: How to capture readers and keep them engaged. Poway, California: WhitePaperSource Publishing. pp. 214. ISBN 9780977716937.
  • Bly, Robert W. (2006). The White Paper Marketing Handbook. Florence, Kentucky: South-Western Educational Publishing. pp. 256. ISBN 9780324300826.
  • Kantor, Jonathan (2009). Crafting White Paper 2.0: Designing Information for Today’s Time and Attention Challenged Business Reader. Denver,Colorado: Lulu Publishing. pp. 167.ISBN 9780557163243.

Computer Education grants from Google

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

message from the official google blog-

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/01/supporting-computer-science-education.html

With programs like Computer Science for High School (CS4HS), we hope to increase the number of CS majors —and therefore the number of people entering into careers in CS—by promoting computer science curriculum at the high school level.

For the fourth consecutive year, we’re funding CS4HS to invest in the next generation of computer scientists and engineers. CS4HS is a workshop for high school and middle school computer science teachers that introduces new and emerging concepts in computing and provides tips, tools and guidance on how to teach them. The ultimate goals are to “train the trainer,” develop a thriving community of high school CS teachers and spread the word about the awe and beauty of computing.

If you’re a university, community college, or technical School in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Middle East or Africa and are interested in hosting a workshop at your institution, please visit www.cs4hs.com to submit an application for grant funding.Applications will be accepted between January 18, 2011 and February 18, 2011.

In addition to submitting your application, on the CS4HS website you’ll find info on how to organize a workshop, as well as websites and agendas from last year’s participants to give you an idea of how the workshops were structured in the past. There’s also a collection ofCS4HS curriculum modules that previous participating schools have shared for future organizers to use in their own program.

Interview Karen Lopez Data Modeling Expert

Zachman Framework
Image via Wikipedia

Here is an interview with Karen Lopez who has worked in data modeling for almost three decades and is a renowned data management expert in her field.

Data professionals need to know about the data domain in addition to the data structure domain – Karen Lopez

Ajay- Describe your career in science. How would you persuade younger students to take more science courses.

Karen- I’ve always had an interest in science and I attribute that to the great science teachers I had. I studied information systems at Purdue University though a unique program that focuses on systems analysis and computer technologies. I’m one of the few who studied data and process modeling in an undergraduate program 25+ years ago.

I believe that it is very important that we find a way of attracting more scientists to teach. In both the natural and computer sciences, it’s difficult for institutions to tempt scientists away from professional positions that offer much greater compensation. So I support programs that find ways to make that happen.

Ajay- If you had to give advice to a young person starting their career in BI and had to give them advice in just three points – what would they be?

Karen- Wow. It’s tough to think of just three things, but these are recommendations that I make often:

– Remember that every design decision should be made based on cost, benefit, and risk. If you can’t clearly describe these for every side of a decision, then you aren’t doing design; you are guessing.

– No one beside you is responsible for advancing your skills and keeping an eye on emerging practices. Don’t expect your employer to lay out a career plan that is in your best interest. That’s not their job. Data professionals need to know about the data domain in addition to the data structure domain. The best database or data warehouse design in the world is worse than uses useless if the how the data is processed is wrong. Remember to expand your knowledge about data, not just the data structures and tools.

– All real-world work involves collaboration and negotiation. There is no one right answer that works for every situation. Building your skills in these areas will pay off significantly.

Ajay- What do you think is the best way for a technical consultant and client to be on the same page regarding requirements. Which methodology or template have you used, and which has given you the most success.

Karen- While I’m a huge fan of modeling (data modeling and other modeling), I still think that giving clients a prototype or mockup of something that looks real to them goes a long way. We need to build tools and competencies to develop these prototypes quickly. It’s a lost art in the data world.

Ajay- What are the special incentives that make Canada a great place for tech entrepreneurs rather than say go to the United States. ( Note- Disclaimer I have family in Canada and study in the US)

Karen- I prefer not to think of this as an either-or decision. I immigrated to Canada from the US about 15 years ago, but most of our business is outside of Canada. I have enjoyed special incentives here in Canada for small businesses as well as special programs that allowed me to work in Canada as a technical professional before I moved here permanently.

Overall, I have found Canadian employers more open to sponsoring foreign workers and it is easier for them to do so than what my US clients experience. Having said that, a significant portion of my work over the last few years has been on global projects where we leverage online collaboration tools to meet our goals. The advent of these tools has made it much easier to work from wherever I am and to work with others regardless of their visa statuses.

Where a company forms is less tied to where one lives or works these days.

Ajay- Could you tell us more about the Zachman framework (apart from the wikipedia reference)? A practical example on how you used it on an actual project would be great.

Karen- Of course the best resource for finding out about the Zachman framework is from John Zachman himself http://www.zachmaninternational.com/index.php/home-article/13 . He offers some excellent courses and does a great deal of public speaking at government and DAMA events. I highly recommend anyone interested in the Framework to hear about it directly from him.

There are many misunderstandings about John’s intent, such as the myth that he requires big upfront modeling (he doesn’t), that the Framework is a methodology (it isn’t), or that it can only be used to build computer systems (it can be used for more than that).

I have used the Zachman Framework to develop a joint Business-IT Strategic Information Systems Plan as well as to inventory and track progress of multi-project programs. One interesting use was a paper I authored for the Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS) on how various educational programs, specializations, and certifications map to the Zachman Framework. I later developed a presentation about this mapping for a Zachman conference.

For a specific project, the Zachman Framework allows business to understand where their enterprise assets are being managed – and how well they are managed. It’s not an IT thing; it’s an enterprise architecture thing.

Ajay- What does Karen Lopez do for fun when not at work, traveling, speaking or blogging.

Karen- Sometimes it seems that’s all I do. I enjoy volunteering for IT-related organizations such as DAMA and CIPS. I participate in the accreditation of college and university educational programs in Canada and abroad. As a member of data-related standards bodies, namely the Association for Retail Technology Standards and the American Dental Association, I help develop industry standard data models. I’ve also been a spokesperson for a CIPS program to encourage girls to take more math and science courses throughout their student careers so that they may have access to great opportunities in the future.

I like to think of myself as a runner; last year I completed my first half marathon, which I’d never thought was possible. I am studying Hindi and Sanskrit. I’m also a addicted to reading and am thankful that some of it I actually get paid to do.

Biography

Karen López is a Senior Project Manager at InfoAdvisors, Inc. Karen is a frequent speaker at DAMA conferences and DAMA Chapters. She has 20+ years of experience in project and data management on large, multi-project programs. Karen specializes in the practical application of data management principles. Karen is also the ListMistress and moderator of the InfoAdvisors Discussion Groups at http://www.infoadvisors.com. You can reach her at www.twitter.com/datachick