#Rstats for Business Intelligence

This is a short list of several known as well as lesser known R ( #rstats) language codes, packages and tricks to build a business intelligence application. It will be slightly Messy (and not Messi) but I hope to refine it someday when the cows come home.

It assumes that BI is basically-

a Database, a Document Database, a Report creation/Dashboard pulling software as well unique R packages for business intelligence.

What is business intelligence?

Seamless dissemination of data in the organization. In short let it flow- from raw transactional data to aggregate dashboards, to control and test experiments, to new and legacy data mining models- a business intelligence enabled organization allows information to flow easily AND capture insights and feedback for further action.

BI software has lately meant to be just reporting software- and Business Analytics has meant to be primarily predictive analytics. the terms are interchangeable in my opinion -as BI reports can also be called descriptive aggregated statistics or descriptive analytics, and predictive analytics is useless and incomplete unless you measure the effect in dashboards and summary reports.

Data Mining- is a bit more than predictive analytics- it includes pattern recognizability as well as black box machine learning algorithms. To further aggravate these divides, students mostly learn data mining in computer science, predictive analytics (if at all) in business departments and statistics, and no one teaches metrics , dashboards, reporting  in mainstream academia even though a large number of graduates will end up fiddling with spreadsheets or dashboards in real careers.

Using R with

1) Databases-

I created a short list of database connectivity with R here at https://rforanalytics.wordpress.com/odbc-databases-for-r/ but R has released 3 new versions since then.

The RODBC package remains the package of choice for connecting to SQL Databases.

http://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/RODBC/RODBC.pdf

Details on creating DSN and connecting to Databases are given at  https://rforanalytics.wordpress.com/odbc-databases-for-r/

For document databases like MongoDB and CouchDB

( what is the difference between traditional RDBMS and NoSQL if you ever need to explain it in a cocktail conversation http://dba.stackexchange.com/questions/5/what-are-the-differences-between-nosql-and-a-traditional-rdbms

Basically dispensing with the relational setup, with primary and foreign keys, and with the additional overhead involved in keeping transactional safety, often gives you extreme increases in performance

NoSQL is a kind of database that doesn’t have a fixed schema like a traditional RDBMS does. With the NoSQL databases the schema is defined by the developer at run time. They don’t write normal SQL statements against the database, but instead use an API to get the data that they need.

instead relating data in one table to another you store things as key value pairs and there is no database schema, it is handled instead in code.)

I believe any corporation with data driven decision making would need to both have atleast one RDBMS and one NoSQL for unstructured data-Ajay. This is a sweeping generic statement 😉 , and is an opinion on future technologies.

  • Use RMongo

From- http://tommy.chheng.com/2010/11/03/rmongo-accessing-mongodb-in-r/

http://plindenbaum.blogspot.com/2010/09/connecting-to-mongodb-database-from-r.html

Connecting to a MongoDB database from R using Java

http://nsaunders.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/connecting-to-a-mongodb-database-from-r-using-java/

Also see a nice basic analysis using R Mongo from

http://pseudofish.com/blog/2011/05/25/analysis-of-data-with-mongodb-and-r/

For CouchDB

please see https://github.com/wactbprot/R4CouchDB and

http://digitheadslabnotebook.blogspot.com/2010/10/couchdb-and-r.html

  • First install RCurl and RJSONIO. You’ll have to download the tar.gz’s if you’re on a Mac. For the second part, we’ll need to installR4CouchDB,

2) External Report Creating Software-

Jaspersoft- It has good integration with R and is a certified Revolution Analytics partner (who seem to be the only ones with a coherent #Rstats go to market strategy- which begs the question – why is the freest and finest stats software having only ONE vendor- if it was so great lots of companies would make exclusive products for it – (and some do -see https://rforanalytics.wordpress.com/r-business-solutions/ and https://rforanalytics.wordpress.com/using-r-from-other-software/)

From

http://www.jaspersoft.com/sites/default/files/downloads/events/Analytics%20-Jaspersoft-SEP2010.pdf

we see

http://jasperforge.org/projects/rrevodeployrbyrevolutionanalytics

RevoConnectR for JasperReports Server

RevoConnectR for JasperReports Server RevoConnectR for JasperReports Server is a Java library interface between JasperReports Server and Revolution R Enterprise’s RevoDeployR, a standardized collection of web services that integrates security, APIs, scripts and libraries for R into a single server. JasperReports Server dashboards can retrieve R charts and result sets from RevoDeployR.

http://jasperforge.org/plugins/esp_frs/optional_download.php?group_id=409

 

Using R and Pentaho
Extending Pentaho with R analytics”R” is a popular open source statistical and analytical language that academics and commercial organizations alike have used for years to get maximum insight out of information using advanced analytic techniques. In this twelve-minute video, David Reinke from Pentaho Certified Partner OpenBI provides an overview of R, as well as a demonstration of integration between R and Pentaho.
and from
R and BI – Integrating R with Open Source Business
Intelligence Platforms Pentaho and Jaspersoft
David Reinke, Steve Miller
Keywords: business intelligence
Increasingly, R is becoming the tool of choice for statistical analysis, optimization, machine learning and
visualization in the business world. This trend will only escalate as more R analysts transition to business
from academia. But whereas in academia R is often the central tool for analytics, in business R must coexist
with and enhance mainstream business intelligence (BI) technologies. A modern BI portfolio already includes
relational databeses, data integration (extract, transform, load – ETL), query and reporting, online analytical
processing (OLAP), dashboards, and advanced visualization. The opportunity to extend traditional BI with
R analytics revolves on the introduction of advanced statistical modeling and visualizations native to R. The
challenge is to seamlessly integrate R capabilities within the existing BI space. This presentation will explain
and demo an initial approach to integrating R with two comprehensive open source BI (OSBI) platforms –
Pentaho and Jaspersoft. Our efforts will be successful if we stimulate additional progress, transparency and
innovation by combining the R and BI worlds.
The demonstration will show how we integrated the OSBI platforms with R through use of RServe and
its Java API. The BI platforms provide an end user web application which include application security,
data provisioning and BI functionality. Our integration will demonstrate a process by which BI components
can be created that prompt the user for parameters, acquire data from a relational database and pass into
RServer, invoke R commands for processing, and display the resulting R generated statistics and/or graphs
within the BI platform. Discussion will include concepts related to creating a reusable java class library of
commonly used processes to speed additional development.

If you know Java- try http://ramanareddyg.blog.com/2010/07/03/integrating-r-and-pentaho-data-integration/

 

and I like this list by two venerable powerhouses of the BI Open Source Movement

http://www.openbi.com/demosarticles.html

Open Source BI as disruptive technology

http://www.openbi.biz/articles/osbi_disruption_openbi.pdf

Open Source Punditry

TITLE AUTHOR COMMENTS
Commercial Open Source BI Redux Dave Reinke & Steve Miller An review and update on the predictions made in our 2007 article focused on the current state of the commercial open source BI market. Also included is a brief analysis of potential options for commercial open source business models and our take on their applicability.
Open Source BI as Disruptive Technology Dave Reinke & Steve Miller Reprint of May 2007 DM Review article explaining how and why Commercial Open Source BI (COSBI) will disrupt the traditional proprietary market.

Spotlight on R

TITLE AUTHOR COMMENTS
R You Ready for Open Source Statistics? Steve Miller R has become the “lingua franca” for academic statistical analysis and modeling, and is now rapidly gaining exposure in the commercial world. Steve examines the R technology and community and its relevancy to mainstream BI.
R and BI (Part 1): Data Analysis with R Steve Miller An introduction to R and its myriad statistical graphing techniques.
R and BI (Part 2): A Statistical Look at Detail Data Steve Miller The usage of R’s graphical building blocks – dotplots, stripplots and xyplots – to create dashboards which require little ink yet tell a big story.
R and BI (Part 3): The Grooming of Box and Whiskers Steve Miller Boxplots and variants (e.g. Violin Plot) are explored as an essential graphical technique to summarize data distributions by categories and dimensions of other attributes.
R and BI (Part 4): Embellishing Graphs Steve Miller Lattices and logarithmic data transformations are used to illuminate data density and distribution and find patterns otherwise missed using classic charting techniques.
R and BI (Part 5): Predictive Modelling Steve Miller An introduction to basic predictive modelling terminology and techniques with graphical examples created using R.
R and BI (Part 6) :
Re-expressing Data
Steve Miller How do you deal with highly skewed data distributions? Standard charting techniques on this “deviant” data often fail to illuminate relationships. This article explains techniques to re-express skewed data so that it is more understandable.
The Stock Market, 2007 Steve Miller R-based dashboards are presented to demonstrate the return performance of various asset classes during 2007.
Bootstrapping for Portfolio Returns: The Practice of Statistical Analysis Steve Miller Steve uses the R open source stats package and Monte Carlo simulations to examine alternative investment portfolio returns…a good example of applied statistics using R.
Statistical Graphs for Portfolio Returns Steve Miller Steve uses the R open source stats package to analyze market returns by asset class with some very provocative embedded trellis charts.
Frank Harrell, Iowa State and useR!2007 Steve Miller In August, Steve attended the 2007 Internation R User conference (useR!2007). This article details his experiences, including his meeting with long-time R community expert, Frank Harrell.
An Open Source Statistical “Dashboard” for Investment Performance Steve Miller The newly launched Dashboard Insight web site is focused on the most useful of BI tools: dashboards. With this article discussing the use of R and trellis graphics, OpenBI brings the realm of open source to this forum.
Unsexy Graphics for Business Intelligence Steve Miller Utilizing Tufte’s philosophy of maximizing the data to ink ratio of graphics, Steve demonstrates the value in dot plot diagramming. The R open source statistical/analytics software is showcased.
I think that the report generation package Brew would also qualify as a BI package, but large scale implementation remains to be seen in
a commercial business environment
  • brew: Creating Repetitive Reports
 brew: Templating Framework for Report Generation

brew implements a templating framework for mixing text and R code for report generation. brew template syntax is similar to PHP, Ruby's erb module, Java Server Pages, and Python's psp module. http://bit.ly/jINmaI
  • Yarr- creating reports in R
to be continued ( when I have more time and the temperature goes down from 110F in Delhi, India)

Google Raise What

Google recently did the following-

1 Raised salaries by 1000 $ across board, and gave a 10% increase at lower levels to reportedly 30% increase at higher levels.

The surprise 1000$ cash bonus , was a simple application of expectation management, people love a surprise 1000$ raise, but hate if told they would be getting a 90$ raise in their monthly salary from next quarter.

Ex Googlers or GoogleX as the groups is called have helped create a lot of not so evil value at Facebook, and at Twitter. Even the rest of the World made more money on Map Reduce than Google itself did

And Google refuses to do simple things like sell Android )s at 10 bucks a pop, or Google Maps at 0.99 cents a pop. Not even a paid content search by integrating syndicating sources like Factiva, Bloomberg etc

The book scanning project would be out soon , hey when, but they could better get some health record scanning contracts to help cut digital costs

And the A/B experiment to move to pay per conversion rather than pay per click will hurt spamboy advertisers in Facebook or Bing more than Google.

and will someone remove the 100$ limit in Adsense minimum revenue-the internet long tail doesnt end at the round number

But Google ‘s rumors of firing the guy who leaked the raise rumor is totally deception –

seems they are just plugging the leaks for hot new features to counter Gmail killers (where did we heard this phrase before) by

Mark “Still dont have a diploma from Harvard”

speaking of which if Facebook has 500 million unique customers logging and clicking ads (right)- how many unique customers search and click ads on Google. A histogram using a Monte Carlo would be nice- 🙂

 

 

Image using png package courtesy Romain Francois at http://romainfrancois.blog.free.fr/

Cloud Computing with R

Illusion of Depth and Space (4/22) - Rotating ...
Image by Dominic's pics via Flickr

Here is a short list of resources and material I put together as starting points for R and Cloud Computing It’s a bit messy but overall should serve quite comprehensively.

Cloud computing is a commonly used expression to imply a generational change in computing from desktop-servers to remote and massive computing connections,shared computers, enabled by high bandwidth across the internet.

As per the National Institute of Standards and Technology Definition,
Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.

(Citation: The NIST Definition of Cloud Computing

Authors: Peter Mell and Tim Grance
Version 15, 10-7-09
National Institute of Standards and Technology, Information Technology Laboratory
http://csrc.nist.gov/groups/SNS/cloud-computing/cloud-def-v15.doc)

R is an integrated suite of software facilities for data manipulation, calculation and graphical display.

From http://cran.r-project.org/doc/FAQ/R-FAQ.html#R-Web-Interfaces

R Web Interfaces

Rweb is developed and maintained by Jeff Banfield. The Rweb Home Page provides access to all three versions of Rweb—a simple text entry form that returns output and graphs, a more sophisticated JavaScript version that provides a multiple window environment, and a set of point and click modules that are useful for introductory statistics courses and require no knowledge of the R language. All of the Rweb versions can analyze Web accessible datasets if a URL is provided.
The paper “Rweb: Web-based Statistical Analysis”, providing a detailed explanation of the different versions of Rweb and an overview of how Rweb works, was published in the Journal of Statistical Software (http://www.jstatsoft.org/v04/i01/).

Ulf Bartel has developed R-Online, a simple on-line programming environment for R which intends to make the first steps in statistical programming with R (especially with time series) as easy as possible. There is no need for a local installation since the only requirement for the user is a JavaScript capable browser. See http://osvisions.com/r-online/ for more information.

Rcgi is a CGI WWW interface to R by MJ Ray. It had the ability to use “embedded code”: you could mix user input and code, allowing the HTMLauthor to do anything from load in data sets to enter most of the commands for users without writing CGI scripts. Graphical output was possible in PostScript or GIF formats and the executed code was presented to the user for revision. However, it is not clear if the project is still active.

Currently, a modified version of Rcgi by Mai Zhou (actually, two versions: one with (bitmap) graphics and one without) as well as the original code are available from http://www.ms.uky.edu/~statweb/.

CGI-based web access to R is also provided at http://hermes.sdu.dk/cgi-bin/go/. There are many additional examples of web interfaces to R which basically allow to submit R code to a remote server, see for example the collection of links available from http://biostat.mc.vanderbilt.edu/twiki/bin/view/Main/StatCompCourse.

David Firth has written CGIwithR, an R add-on package available from CRAN. It provides some simple extensions to R to facilitate running R scripts through the CGI interface to a web server, and allows submission of data using both GET and POST methods. It is easily installed using Apache under Linux and in principle should run on any platform that supports R and a web server provided that the installer has the necessary security permissions. David’s paper “CGIwithR: Facilities for Processing Web Forms Using R” was published in the Journal of Statistical Software (http://www.jstatsoft.org/v08/i10/). The package is now maintained by Duncan Temple Lang and has a web page athttp://www.omegahat.org/CGIwithR/.

Rpad, developed and actively maintained by Tom Short, provides a sophisticated environment which combines some of the features of the previous approaches with quite a bit of JavaScript, allowing for a GUI-like behavior (with sortable tables, clickable graphics, editable output), etc.
Jeff Horner is working on the R/Apache Integration Project which embeds the R interpreter inside Apache 2 (and beyond). A tutorial and presentation are available from the project web page at http://biostat.mc.vanderbilt.edu/twiki/bin/view/Main/RApacheProject.

Rserve is a project actively developed by Simon Urbanek. It implements a TCP/IP server which allows other programs to use facilities of R. Clients are available from the web site for Java and C++ (and could be written for other languages that support TCP/IP sockets).

OpenStatServer is being developed by a team lead by Greg Warnes; it aims “to provide clean access to computational modules defined in a variety of computational environments (R, SAS, Matlab, etc) via a single well-defined client interface” and to turn computational services into web services.

Two projects use PHP to provide a web interface to R. R_PHP_Online by Steve Chen (though it is unclear if this project is still active) is somewhat similar to the above Rcgi and Rweb. R-php is actively developed by Alfredo Pontillo and Angelo Mineo and provides both a web interface to R and a set of pre-specified analyses that need no R code input.

webbioc is “an integrated web interface for doing microarray analysis using several of the Bioconductor packages” and is designed to be installed at local sites as a shared computing resource.

Rwui is a web application to create user-friendly web interfaces for R scripts. All code for the web interface is created automatically. There is no need for the user to do any extra scripting or learn any new scripting techniques. Rwui can also be found at http://rwui.cryst.bbk.ac.uk.

Finally, the R.rsp package by Henrik Bengtsson introduces “R Server Pages”. Analogous to Java Server Pages, an R server page is typically HTMLwith embedded R code that gets evaluated when the page is requested. The package includes an internal cross-platform HTTP server implemented in Tcl, so provides a good framework for including web-based user interfaces in packages. The approach is similar to the use of the brew package withRapache with the advantage of cross-platform support and easy installation.

Also additional R Cloud Computing Use Cases
http://wwwdev.ebi.ac.uk/Tools/rcloud/

ArrayExpress R/Bioconductor Workbench

Remote access to R/Bioconductor on EBI’s 64-bit Linux Cluster

Start the workbench by downloading the package for your operating system (Macintosh or Windows), or via Java Web Start, and you will get access to an instance of R running on one of EBI’s powerful machines. You can install additional packages, upload your own data, work with graphics and collaborate with colleagues, all as if you are running R locally, but unlimited by your machine’s memory, processor or data storage capacity.

  • Most up-to-date R version built for multicore CPUs
  • Access to all Bioconductor packages
  • Access to our computing infrastructure
  • Fast access to data stored in EBI’s repositories (e.g., public microarray data in ArrayExpress)

Using R Google Docs
http://www.omegahat.org/RGoogleDocs/run.pdf
It uses the XML and RCurl packages and illustrates that it is relatively quick and easy
to use their primitives to interact with Web services.

Using R with Amazon
Citation
http://rgrossman.com/2009/05/17/running-r-on-amazons-ec2/

Amazon’s EC2 is a type of cloud that provides on demand computing infrastructures called an Amazon Machine Images or AMIs. In general, these types of cloud provide several benefits:

  • Simple and convenient to use. An AMI contains your applications, libraries, data and all associated configuration settings. You simply access it. You don’t need to configure it. This applies not only to applications like R, but also can include any third-party data that you require.
  • On-demand availability. AMIs are available over the Internet whenever you need them. You can configure the AMIs yourself without involving the service provider. You don’t need to order any hardware and set it up.
  • Elastic access. With elastic access, you can rapidly provision and access the additional resources you need. Again, no human intervention from the service provider is required. This type of elastic capacity can be used to handle surge requirements when you might need many machines for a short time in order to complete a computation.
  • Pay per use. The cost of 1 AMI for 100 hours and 100 AMI for 1 hour is the same. With pay per use pricing, which is sometimes called utility pricing, you simply pay for the resources that you use.

Connecting to R on Amazon EC2- Detailed tutorials
Ubuntu Linux version
https://decisionstats.com/2010/09/25/running-r-on-amazon-ec2/
and Windows R version
https://decisionstats.com/2010/10/02/running-r-on-amazon-ec2-windows/

Connecting R to Data on Google Storage and Computing on Google Prediction API
https://github.com/onertipaday/predictionapirwrapper
R wrapper for working with Google Prediction API

This package consists in a bunch of functions allowing the user to test Google Prediction API from R.
It requires the user to have access to both Google Storage for Developers and Google Prediction API:
see
http://code.google.com/apis/storage/ and http://code.google.com/apis/predict/ for details.

Example usage:

#This example requires you had previously created a bucket named data_language on your Google Storage and you had uploaded a CSV file named language_id.txt (your data) into this bucket – see for details
library(predictionapirwrapper)

and Elastic R for Cloud Computing
http://user2010.org/tutorials/Chine.html

Abstract

Elastic-R is a new portal built using the Biocep-R platform. It enables statisticians, computational scientists, financial analysts, educators and students to use cloud resources seamlessly; to work with R engines and use their full capabilities from within simple browsers; to collaborate, share and reuse functions, algorithms, user interfaces, R sessions, servers; and to perform elastic distributed computing with any number of virtual machines to solve computationally intensive problems.
Also see Karim Chine’s http://biocep-distrib.r-forge.r-project.org/

R for Salesforce.com

At the point of writing this, there seem to be zero R based apps on Salesforce.com This could be a big opportunity for developers as both Apex and R have similar structures Developers could write free code in R and charge for their translated version in Apex on Salesforce.com

Force.com and Salesforce have many (1009) apps at
http://sites.force.com/appexchange/home for cloud computing for
businesses, but very few forecasting and statistical simulation apps.

Example of Monte Carlo based app is here
http://sites.force.com/appexchange/listingDetail?listingId=a0N300000016cT9EAI#

These are like iPhone apps except meant for business purposes (I am
unaware if any university is offering salesforce.com integration
though google apps and amazon related research seems to be on)

Force.com uses a language called Apex  and you can see
http://wiki.developerforce.com/index.php/App_Logic and
http://wiki.developerforce.com/index.php/An_Introduction_to_Formulas
Apex is similar to R in that is OOPs

SAS Institute has an existing product for taking in Salesforce.com data.

A new SAS data surveyor is
available to access data from the Customer Relationship Management
(CRM) software vendor Salesforce.com. at
http://support.sas.com/documentation/cdl/en/whatsnew/62580/HTML/default/viewer.htm#datasurveyorwhatsnew902.htm)

Personal Note-Mentioning SAS in an email to a R list is a big no-no in terms of getting a response and love. Same for being careless about which R help list to email (like R devel or R packages or R help)

For python based cloud see http://pi-cloud.com

Interview Stephanie McReynolds Director Product Marketing, AsterData

Here is an interview with Stephanie McReynolds who works as as Director of Product Marketing with AsterData. I asked her a couple of questions about the new product releases from AsterData in analytics and MapReduce.

Ajay – How does the new Eclipse Plugin help people who are already working with huge datasets but are new to AsterData’s platform?

Stephanie- Aster Data Developer Express, our new SQL-MapReduce development plug-in for Eclipse, makes MapReduce applications easy to develop. With Aster Data Developer Express, developers can develop, test and deploy a complete SQL-MapReduce application in under an hour. This is a significant increase in productivity over the traditional analytic application development process for Big Data applications, which requires significant time coding applications in low-level code and testing applications on sample data.

Ajay – What are the various analytical functions that are introduced by you recently- list say the top 10.

Stephanie- At Aster Data, we have an intense focus on making the development process easier for SQL-MapReduce applications. Aster Developer Express is a part of this initiative, as is the release of pre-defined analytic functions. We recently launched both a suite of analytic modules and a partnership program dedicated to delivering pre-defined analytic functions for the Aster Data nCluster platform. Pre-defined analytic functions delivered by Aster Data’s engineering team are delivered as modules within the Aster Data Analytic Foundation offering and include analytics in the areas of pattern matching, clustering, statistics, and text analysis– just to name a few areas. Partners like Fuzzy Logix and Cobi Systems are extending this library by delivering industry-focused analytics like Monte Carlo Simulations for Financial Services and geospatial analytics for Public Sector– to give you a few examples.

Ajay – So okay I want to do a K Means Cluster on say a million rows (and say 200 columns) using the Aster method. How do I go about it using the new plug-in as well as your product.

Stephanie- The power of the Aster Data environment for analytic application development is in SQL-MapReduce. SQL is a powerful analytic query standard because it is a declarative language. MapReduce is a powerful programming framework because it can support high performance parallel processing of Big Data and extreme expressiveness, by supporting a wide variety of programming languages, including Java, C/C#/C++, .Net, Python, etc. Aster Data has taken the performance and expressiveness of MapReduce and combined it with the familiar declarativeness of SQL. This unique combination ensures that anyone who knows standard SQL can access advanced analytic functions programmed for Big Data analysis using MapReduce techniques.

kMeans is a good example of an analytic function that we pre-package for developers as part of the Aster Data Analytic Foundation. What does that mean? It means that the MapReduce portion of the development cycle has been completed for you. Each pre-packaged Aster Data function can be called using standard SQL, and executes the defined analytic in a fully parallelized manner in the Aster Data database using MapReduce techniques. The result? High performance analytics with the expressiveness of low-level languages accessed through declarative SQL.

Ajay – I see an an increasing focus on Analytics. Is this part of your product strategy and how do you see yourself competing with pure analytics vendors.

Stephanie – Aster Data is an infrastructure provider. Our core product is a massively parallel processing database called nCluster that performs at or beyond the capabilities of any other analytic database in the market today. We developed our analytics strategy as a response to demand from our customers who were looking beyond the price/performance wars being fought today and wanted support for richer analytics from their database provider. Aster Data analytics are delivered in nCluster to enable analytic applications that are not possible in more traditional database architectures.

Ajay – Name some recent case studies in Analytics of implementation of MR-SQL with Analytical functions

Stephanie – There are three new classes of applications that Aster Data Express and Aster Analytic Foundation support: iterative analytics, prediction and optimization, and ad hoc analysis.

Aster Data customers are uncovering critical business patterns in Big Data by performing hypothesis-driven, iterative analytics. They are exploring interactively massive volumes of data—terabytes to petabytes—in a top-down deductive manner. ComScore, an Aster Data customer that performs website experience analysis is a good example of an Aster Data customer performing this type of analysis.

Other Aster Data customers are building applications for prediction and optimization that discover trends, patterns, and outliers in data sets. Examples of these types of applications are propensity to churn in telecommunications, proactive product and service recommendations in retail, and pricing and retention strategies in financial services. Full Tilt Poker, who is using Aster Data for fraud prevention is a good example of a customer in this space.

The final class of application that I would like to highlight is ad hoc analysis. Examples of ad hoc analysis that can be performed includes social network analysis, advanced click stream analysis, graph analysis, cluster analysis and a wide variety of mathematical, trigonometry, and statistical functions. LinkedIn, whose analysts and data scientists have access to all of their customer data in Aster Data are a good example of a customer using the system in this manner.

While Aster Data customers are using nCluster in a number of other ways, these three new classes of applications are areas in which we are seeing particularly innovative application development.

Biography-

Stephanie McReynolds is Director of Product Marketing at Aster Data, where she is an evangelist for Aster Data’s massively parallel data-analytics server product. Stephanie has over a decade of experience in product management and marketing for business intelligence, data warehouse, and complex event processing products at companies such as Oracle, Peoplesoft, and Business Objects. She holds both a master’s and undergraduate degree from Stanford University.

Online Analytics: Monte Carlo Simulation

Do your eyes glaze over when ever you hear the words simulation ? Simulation refers to trying to predict actual events , usually in a controlled atmosphere. Monte Carlo simulation is a type of simulation that draws on repeated random sampling to hit the result, and it is usually computed using computers (unless you are Enrico Fermi who did it in 1942.)

The classical definition as per the most peer reviewed online statistical journal (called www.wikipedia.org )

“the term describes a large and widely-used class of approaches. However, these approaches tend to follow a particular pattern:

  1. Define a domain of possible inputs.
  2. Generate inputs randomly from the domain, and perform a deterministic computation on them.
  3. Aggregate the results of the individual computations into the final result.”

and ”

Monte Carlo simulation methods are especially useful in studying systems with a large number of coupled degrees of freedom, such as liquids, disordered materials, strongly coupled solids, and cellular structures (see cellular Potts model). More broadly, Monte Carlo methods are useful for modeling phenomena with significant uncertainty in inputs, such as the calculation of risk in business (for its use in the insurance industry, see stochastic modelling). A classic use is for the evaluation of definite integrals, particularly multidimensional integrals with complicated boundary conditions.

Monte Carlo methods in finance are often used to calculate the value of companies, to evaluate investments in projects at corporate level or to evaluate financial derivatives. The Monte Carlo method is intended for financial analysts who want to construct stochastic or probabilistic financial models as opposed to the traditional static and deterministic models.”

Here is a very good example of using the simulation to calculate distribution of leads to a website and the resultant conversion rate and probabilities. The down loadable excel sheet is great for learning both this class of simulation as well , maybe adding more robust mathematics in your online estimation efforts. The site is also great for excel related stuff.mc.GIF http://www.vertex42.com/ExcelArticles/mc/SalesForecast.html 

Use it if you think estimating Online Profitabilty is more complex than :

conversion ratio *number of leads *profit per conversion-number of leads*cost per lead.