Libre Office turns six

On September 28th, 2010, The Document Foundation was announced. The last six months, it feels, have just passed within a short glimpse of time. Not only did we release three LibreOffice versions within three months, have created the LibreOffice-Box DVD image, and brought LibreOffice Portable on its way. We also have announced the LibreOffice Conference for October 2011 and have taken part in lots of events worldwide, with FOSDEM and CeBIT being the most prominent ones.

People follow us at Twitter,, XING, LinkedIn and a Facebook group and fan page, they discuss on our mailing lists with more than 6.000 subscriptions, collaborate in our wiki, get insight on our daily work in our blog, and post and blog themselves. From the very first day, openness, transparency and meritocracy have been shaping the framework we want to work in. Our discussions and decisions take place on a public mailing list, and regularly, we hold phone conferences for the Steering Committee and for the marketing teams, where everyone is invited to join. Our ideas and visions have made their way into our Next Decade Manifesto.

We have joined the Open Invention Network as well as the OpenDoc Society, and just last week have become an SPI-associated project, and we see a wide range of support from all over the world. Not only do Novell and Red Hat support our efforts with developers, but just recently, Canonical, creators of Ubuntu, joined as well. All major Linux distributions deliver LibreOffice with their operating systems, and more follow every day.

One of the most stunning contributions, that still leaves us speechless, is the support that we receive from the community. When we asked for 50,000 € capital stock for a German-based foundation, the community showed their support, appreciation and their power, and not only donated it in just eight days, but up to now has supported us with close to 100,000 €! Another one is that driven by our open, vendor neutral approach, combined with our easy hacks, we have included code contributions from over 150 entirely new developers to the project, alongside localisations from over 50 localizers. The community has developed itself better than we could ever dream of, and first meetings like the project’s weekend or the QA meeting of the Germanophone group are already being organized.

What we have seen now is just the beginning of something very big. The Document Foundation has a vision, and the creation of the foundation in Germany is about to happen soon. LibreOffice has been downloaded over 350,000 times within the first week, and we just counted more than 1,3 million downloads just from our download system — not counting packages directly delivered by Linux distributors, other download sites or DVDs included in magazines and newspapers — supported by 65 mirrors from all over the world, and millions already use and contribute to it worldwide. With our participation in the Google Summer of Code, we will engage more students and young developers to be part of our community. Our improved release schedule will ensure that new features and improvements will make their way to end-users soon, and for testers, we even provide daily builds.

We are so excited by what has been achieved over the last six months, and we are immensely grateful to all those who have supported the project in whatever ways they can. It is an honour to be working with you, to be part of one united community! The future as we are shaping it has just begun, and it will be bright and excellent.



List archive:

Revolution R Enterprise 4.2

Revo R gets more and more yum yum-

he following new features:

  • Direct import of SAS data sets into the native, efficient XDF file format
  • Direct import of fixed-format text data files into XDF file format
  • New commands to read subsets of rows and variables from XDF files in memory;
  • Many enhancements to the R Productivity Environment (RPE) for Windows
  • Expanded and updated user documentation
  • Added support on Linux for the big-data statistics package RevoScaleR
  • Added support on Windows for Web Services integration of predictive analytics with RevoDeployR.

Revolution R Enterprise 4.2 is available immediately for 64-bit Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems and both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows systems. Pricing starts at $1,000 per single-user workstation

And its free for academic licenses- so come on guys it is worth  atleast one download, and test.


Carole-Ann’s 2011 Predictions for Decision Management

Carole-Ann’s 2011 Predictions for Decision Management

For Ajay Ohri on

What were the top 5 events in 2010 in your field?
  1. Maturity: the Decision Management space was made up of technology vendors, big and small, that typically focused on one or two aspects of this discipline.  Over the past few years, we have seen a lot of consolidation in the industry – first with Business Intelligence (BI) then Business Process Management (BPM) and lately in Business Rules Management (BRM) and Advanced Analytics.  As a result the giant Platform vendors have helped create visibility for this discipline.  Lots of tiny clues finally bubbled up in 2010 to attest of the increasing activity around Decision Management.  For example, more products than ever were named Decision Manager; companies advertised for Decision Managers as a job title in their job section; most people understand what I do when I am introduced in a social setting!
  2. Boredom: unfortunately, as the industry matures, inevitably innovation slows down…  At the main BRMS shows we heard here and there complaints that the technology was stalling.  We heard it from vendors like Red Hat (Drools) and we heard it from bored end-users hoping for some excitement at Business Rules Forum’s vendor panel.  They sadly did not get it
  3. Scrum: I am not thinking about the methodology there!  If you have ever seen a rugby game, you can probably understand why this is the term that comes to mind when I look at the messy & confusing technology landscape.  Feet blindly try to kick the ball out while superhuman forces are moving randomly the whole pack – or so it felt when I played!  Business Users in search of Business Solutions are facing more and more technology choices that feel like comparing apples to oranges.  There is value in all of them and each one addresses a specific aspect of Decision Management but I regret that the industry did not simplify the picture in 2010.  On the contrary!  Many buzzwords were created or at least made popular last year, creating even more confusion on a muddy field.  A few examples: Social CRM, Collaborative Decision Making, Adaptive Case Management, etc.  Don’t take me wrong, I *do* like the technologies.  I sympathize with the decision maker that is trying to pick the right solution though.
  4. Information: Analytics have been used for years of course but the volume of data surrounding us has been growing to unparalleled levels.  We can blame or thank (depending on our perspective) Social Media for that.  Sites like Facebook and LinkedIn have made it possible and easy to publish relevant (as well as fluffy) information in real-time.  As we all started to get the hang of it and potentially over-publish, technology evolved to enable the storage, correlation and analysis of humongous volumes of data that we could not dream of before.  25 billion tweets were posted in 2010.  Every month, over 30 billion pieces of data are shared on Facebook alone.  This is not just about vanity and marketing though.  This data can be leveraged for the greater good.  Carlos pointed to some fascinating facts about catastrophic event response team getting organized thanks to crowd-sourced information.  We are also seeing, in the Decision management world, more and more applicability for those very technology that have been developed for the needs of Big Data – I’ll name for example Hadoop that Carlos (yet again) discussed in his talks at Rules Fest end of 2009 and 2010.
  5. Self-Organization: it may be a side effect of the Social Media movement but I must admit that I was impressed by the success of self-organizing initiatives.  Granted, this last trend has nothing to do with Decision Management per se but I think it is a great evolution worth noting.  Let me point to a couple of examples.  I usually attend traditional conferences and tradeshows in which the content can be good but is sometimes terrible.  I was pleasantly surprised by the professionalism and attendance at *un-conferences* such as P-Camp (P stands for Product – an event for Product Managers).  When you think about it, it is already difficult to get a show together when people are dedicated to the tasks.  How crazy is it to have volunteers set one up with no budget and no agenda?  Well, people simply show up to do their part and everyone has fun voting on-site for what seems the most appealing content at the time.  Crowdsourcing applied to shows: it works!  Similar experience with meetups or tweetups.  I also enjoyed attending some impromptu Twitter jam sessions on a given topic.  Social Media is certainly helping people reach out and get together in person or virtually and that is wonderful!

A segment of a social network
Image via Wikipedia

What are the top three trends you see in 2011?

  1. Performance:  I might be cheating here.   I was very bullish about predicting much progress for 2010 in the area of Performance Management in your Decision Management initiatives.  I believe that progress was made but Carlos did not give me full credit for the right prediction…  Okay, I am a little optimistic on timeline…  I admit it…  If it did not fully happen in 2010, can I predict it again in 2011?  I think that companies want to better track their business performance in order to correct the trajectory of course but also to improve their projections.  I see that it is turning into reality already here and there.  I expect it to become a trend in 2011!
  2. Insight: Big Data being available all around us with new technologies and algorithms will continue to propagate in 2011 leading to more widely spread Analytics capabilities.  The buzz at Analytics shows on Social Network Analysis (SNA) is a sign that there is interest in those kinds of things.  There is tremendous information that can be leveraged for smart decision-making.  I think there will be more of that in 2011 as initiatives launches in 2010 will mature into material results.
    5 Ways to Cultivate an Active Social Network
    Image by Intersection Consulting via Flickr
  3. Collaboration:  Social Media for the Enterprise is a discipline in the making.  Social Media was initially seen for the most part as a Marketing channel.  Over the years, companies have started experimenting with external communities and ideation capabilities with moderate success.  The few strategic initiatives started in 2010 by “old fashion” companies seem to be an indication that we are past the early adopters.  This discipline may very well materialize in 2011 as a core capability, well, or at least a new trend.  I believe that capabilities such Chatter, offered by Salesforce, will transform (slowly) how people interact in the workplace and leverage the volumes of social data captured in LinkedIn and other Social Media sites.  Collaboration is of course a topic of interest for me personally.  I even signed up for Kare Anderson’s collaboration collaboration site – yes, twice the word “collaboration”: it is really about collaborating on collaboration techniques.  Even though collaboration does not require Social Media, this medium offers perspectives not available until now.

Brief Bio-

Carole-Ann is a renowned guru in the Decision Management space. She created the vision for Decision Management that is widely adopted now in the industry. Her claim to fame is the strategy and direction of Blaze Advisor, the then-leading BRMS product, while she also managed all the Decision Management tools at FICO (business rules, predictive analytics and optimization). She has a vision for Decision Management both as a technology and a discipline that can revolutionize the way corporations do business, and will never get tired of painting that vision for her audience. She speaks often at Industry conferences and has conducted university classes in France and Washington DC.

Leveraging her Masters degree in Applied Mathematics / Computer Science from a “Grande Ecole” in France, she started her career building advanced systems using all kinds of technologies — expert systems, rules, optimization, dashboarding and cubes, web search, and beta version of database replication – as well as conducting strategic consulting gigs around change management.

She now tweets as @CMatignon, blogs at and interacts at

She started her career building advanced systems using all kinds of technologies — expert systems, rules, optimization, dashboarding and cubes, web search, and beta version of database replication.  At Cleversys (acquired by Kurt Salmon & Associates), she also conducted strategic consulting gigs mostly around change management.

While playing with advanced software components, she found a passion for technology and joined ILOG (acquired by IBM).  She developed a growing interest in Optimization as well as Business Rules.  At ILOG, she coined the term BRMS while brainstorming with her Sales counterpart.  She led the Presales organization for Telecom in the Americas up until 2000 when she joined Blaze Software (acquired by Brokat Technologies, HNC Software and finally FICO).

Her 360-degree experience allowed her to gain appreciation for all aspects of a software company, giving her a unique perspective on the business.  Her technical background kept her very much in touch with technology as she advanced.

She also became addicted to Twitter in the process.  She is active on all kinds of social media, always looking for new digital experience!

Outside of work, Carole-Ann loves spending time with her two boys.  They grow fruits in their Northern California home and cook all together in the French tradition.

profile on LinkedIn

TwitterFollow me on Twitter

Filtering to Gain Social Network Value
Image by Intersection Consulting via Flickr
Social Networks Hype Cycle
Image by fredcavazza via Flickr

Choosing R for business – What to consider?

A composite of the GNU logo and the OSI logo, ...
Image via Wikipedia

Additional features in R over other analytical packages-

1) Source Code is given to ensure complete custom solution and embedding for a particular application. Open source code has an advantage that is extensively peer- reviewed in Journals and Scientific Literature.  This means bugs will found, shared and corrected transparently.

2) Wide literature of training material in the form of books is available for the R analytical platform.

3) Extensively the best data visualization tools in analytical software (apart from Tableau Software ‘s latest version). The extensive data visualization available in R is of the form a variety of customizable graphs, as well as animation. The principal reason third-party software initially started creating interfaces to R is because the graphical library of packages in R is more advanced as well as rapidly getting more features by the day.

4) Free in upfront license cost for academics and thus budget friendly for small and large analytical teams.

5) Flexible programming for your data environment. This includes having packages that ensure compatibility with Java, Python and C++.


6) Easy migration from other analytical platforms to R Platform. It is relatively easy for a non R platform user to migrate to R platform and there is no danger of vendor lock-in due to the GPL nature of source code and open community.

Statistics are numbers that tell (descriptive), advise ( prescriptive) or forecast (predictive). Analytics is a decision-making help tool. Analytics on which no decision is to be made or is being considered can be classified as purely statistical and non analytical. Thus ease of making a correct decision separates a good analytical platform from a not so good analytical platform. The distinction is likely to be disputed by people of either background- and business analysis requires more emphasis on how practical or actionable the results are and less emphasis on the statistical metrics in a particular data analysis task. I believe one clear reason between business analytics is different from statistical analysis is the cost of perfect information (data costs in real world) and the opportunity cost of delayed and distorted decision-making.

Specific to the following domains R has the following costs and benefits

  • Business Analytics
    • R is free per license and for download
    • It is one of the few analytical platforms that work on Mac OS
    • It’s results are credibly established in both journals like Journal of Statistical Software and in the work at LinkedIn, Google and Facebook’s analytical teams.
    • It has open source code for customization as per GPL
    • It also has a flexible option for commercial vendors like Revolution Analytics (who support 64 bit windows) as well as bigger datasets
    • It has interfaces from almost all other analytical software including SAS,SPSS, JMP, Oracle Data Mining, Rapid Miner. Existing license holders can thus invoke and use R from within these software
    • Huge library of packages for regression, time series, finance and modeling
    • High quality data visualization packages
    • Data Mining
      • R as a computing platform is better suited to the needs of data mining as it has a vast array of packages covering standard regression, decision trees, association rules, cluster analysis, machine learning, neural networks as well as exotic specialized algorithms like those based on chaos models.
      • Flexibility in tweaking a standard algorithm by seeing the source code
      • The RATTLE GUI remains the standard GUI for Data Miners using R. It was created and developed in Australia.
      • Business Dashboards and Reporting
      • Business Dashboards and Reporting are an essential piece of Business Intelligence and Decision making systems in organizations. R offers data visualization through GGPLOT, and GUI like Deducer and Red-R can help even non R users create a metrics dashboard
        • For online Dashboards- R has packages like RWeb, RServe and R Apache- which in combination with data visualization packages offer powerful dashboard capabilities.
        • R can be combined with MS Excel using the R Excel package – to enable R capabilities to be imported within Excel. Thus a MS Excel user with no knowledge of R can use the GUI within the R Excel plug-in to use powerful graphical and statistical capabilities.

Additional factors to consider in your R installation-

There are some more choices awaiting you now-
1) Licensing Choices-Academic Version or Free Version or Enterprise Version of R

2) Operating System Choices-Which Operating System to choose from? Unix, Windows or Mac OS.

3) Operating system sub choice- 32- bit or 64 bit.

4) Hardware choices-Cost -benefit trade-offs for additional hardware for R. Choices between local ,cluster and cloud computing.

5) Interface choices-Command Line versus GUI? Which GUI to choose as the default start-up option?

6) Software component choice- Which packages to install? There are almost 3000 packages, some of them are complimentary, some are dependent on each other, and almost all are free.

7) Additional Software choices- Which additional software do you need to achieve maximum accuracy, robustness and speed of computing- and how to use existing legacy software and hardware for best complementary results with R.

1) Licensing Choices-
You can choose between two kinds of R installations – one is free and open source from The other R installation is commercial and is offered by many vendors including Revolution Analytics. However there are other commercial vendors too.

Commercial Vendors of R Language Products-
1) Revolution Analytics
2) XL Solutions-
3) Information Builder – Webfocus RStat -Rattle GUI
4) Blue Reference- Inference for R

  1. Choosing Operating System
      1. Windows


Windows remains the most widely used operating system on this planet. If you are experienced in Windows based computing and are active on analytical projects- it would not make sense for you to move to other operating systems. This is also based on the fact that compatibility problems are minimum for Microsoft Windows and the help is extensively documented. However there may be some R packages that would not function well under Windows- if that happens a multiple operating system is your next option.

        1. Enterprise R from Revolution Analytics- Enterprise R from Revolution Analytics has a complete R Development environment for Windows including the use of code snippets to make programming faster. Revolution is also expected to make a GUI available by 2011. Revolution Analytics claims several enhancements for it’s version of R including the use of optimized libraries for faster performance.
      1. MacOS


Reasons for choosing MacOS remains its considerable appeal in aesthetically designed software- but MacOS is not a standard Operating system for enterprise systems as well as statistical computing. However open source R claims to be quite optimized and it can be used for existing Mac users. However there seem to be no commercially available versions of R available as of now for this operating system.

      1. Linux


        1. Ubuntu
        2. Red Hat Enterprise Linux
        3. Other versions of Linux


Linux is considered a preferred operating system by R users due to it having the same open source credentials-much better fit for all R packages and it’s customizability for big data analytics.

Ubuntu Linux is recommended for people making the transition to Linux for the first time. Ubuntu Linux had an marketing agreement with revolution Analytics for an earlier version of Ubuntu- and many R packages can  installed in a straightforward way as Ubuntu/Debian packages are available. Red Hat Enterprise Linux is officially supported by Revolution Analytics for it’s enterprise module. Other versions of Linux popular are Open SUSE.

      1. Multiple operating systems-
        1. Virtualization vs Dual Boot-


You can also choose between having a VMware VM Player for a virtual partition on your computers that is dedicated to R based computing or having operating system choice at the startup or booting of your computer. A software program called wubi helps with the dual installation of Linux and Windows.

  1. 64 bit vs 32 bit – Given a choice between 32 bit versus 64 bit versions of the same operating system like Linux Ubuntu, the 64 bit version would speed up processing by an approximate factor of 2. However you need to check whether your current hardware can support 64 bit operating systems and if so- you may want to ask your Information Technology manager to upgrade atleast some operating systems in your analytics work environment to 64 bit operating systems.


  1. Hardware choices- At the time of writing this book, the dominant computing paradigm is workstation computing followed by server-client computing. However with the introduction of cloud computing, netbooks, tablet PCs, hardware choices are much more flexible in 2011 than just a couple of years back.

Hardware costs are a significant cost to an analytics environment and are also  remarkably depreciated over a short period of time. You may thus examine your legacy hardware, and your future analytical computing needs- and accordingly decide between the various hardware options available for R.
Unlike other analytical software which can charge by number of processors, or server pricing being higher than workstation pricing and grid computing pricing extremely high if available- R is well suited for all kinds of hardware environment with flexible costs. Given the fact that R is memory intensive (it limits the size of data analyzed to the RAM size of the machine unless special formats and /or chunking is used)- it depends on size of datasets used and number of concurrent users analyzing the dataset. Thus the defining issue is not R but size of the data being analyzed.

    1. Local Computing- This is meant to denote when the software is installed locally. For big data the data to be analyzed would be stored in the form of databases.
      1. Server version- Revolution Analytics has differential pricing for server -client versions but for the open source version it is free and the same for Server or Workstation versions.
      2. Workstation
    2. Cloud Computing- Cloud computing is defined as the delivery of data, processing, systems via remote computers. It is similar to server-client computing but the remote server (also called cloud) has flexible computing in terms of number of processors, memory, and data storage. Cloud computing in the form of public cloud enables people to do analytical tasks on massive datasets without investing in permanent hardware or software as most public clouds are priced on pay per usage. The biggest cloud computing provider is Amazon and many other vendors provide services on top of it. Google is also coming for data storage in the form of clouds (Google Storage), as well as using machine learning in the form of API (Google Prediction API)
      1. Amazon
      2. Google
      3. Cluster-Grid Computing/Parallel processing- In order to build a cluster, you would need the RMpi and the SNOW packages, among other packages that help with parallel processing.
    3. How much resources
      1. RAM-Hard Disk-Processors- for workstation computing
      2. Instances or API calls for cloud computing
  1. Interface Choices
    1. Command Line
    2. GUI
    3. Web Interfaces
  2. Software Component Choices
    1. R dependencies
    2. Packages to install
    3. Recommended Packages
  3. Additional software choices
    1. Additional legacy software
    2. Optimizing your R based computing
    3. Code Editors
      1. Code Analyzers
      2. Libraries to speed up R

citation-  R Development Core Team (2010). R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing,Vienna, Austria. ISBN 3-900051-07-0, URL

(Note- this is a draft in progress)

Revolution R for Linux

Screenshot of the Redhat Enterprise Linux Desktop
Image via Wikipedia

New software just released from the guys in California (@RevolutionR) so if you are a Linux user and have academic credentials you can download it for free  (@Cmastication doesnt), you can test it to see what the big fuss is all about (also see –

Revolution Analytics has just released Revolution R Enterprise 4.0.1 for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, a significant step forward in enterprise data analytics. Revolution R Enterprise 4.0.1 is built on R 2.11.1, the latest release of the open-source environment for data analysis and graphics. Also available is the initial release of our deployment server solution, RevoDeployR 1.0, designed to help you deliver R analytics via the Web. And coming soon to Linux: RevoScaleR, a new package for fast and efficient multi-core processing of large data sets.

As a registered user of the Academic version of Revolution R Enterprise for Linux, you can take advantage of these improvements by downloading and installing Revolution R Enterprise 4.0.1 today. You can install Revolution R Enterprise 4.0.1 side-by-side with your existing Revolution R Enterprise installations; there is no need to uninstall previous versions.

Download Information

The following information is all you will need to download and install the Academic Edition.

Supported Platforms:

Revolution R Enterprise Academic edition and RevoDeployR are supported on Red Hat® Enterprise Linux® 5.4 or greater (64-bit processors).

Approximately 300MB free disk space is required for a full install of Revolution R Enterprise. We recommend at least 1GB of RAM to use Revolution R Enterprise.

For the full list of system requirements for RevoDeployR, refer to the RevoDeployR™ Installation Guide for Red Hat® Enterprise Linux®.

Download Links:

You will first need to download the Revolution R Enterprise installer.

Installation Instructions for Revolution R Enterprise Academic Edition

After downloading the installer, do the following to install the software:

  • Log in as root if you have not already.
  • Change directory to the directory containing the downloaded installer.
  • Unpack the installer using the following command:
    tar -xzf Revo-Ent-4.0.1-RHEL5-desktop.tar.gz
  • Change directory to the RevolutionR_4.0.1 directory created.
  • Run the installer by typing ./ and following the on-screen prompts.

Getting Started with the Revolution R Enterprise

After you have installed the software, launch Revolution R Enterprise by typing Revo64 at the shell prompt.

Documentation is available in the form of PDF documents installed as part of the Revolution R Enterprise distribution. Type Revo.home(“doc”) at the R prompt to locate the directory containing the manuals Getting Started with Revolution R (RevoMan.pdf) and the ParallelR User’s Guide(parRman.pdf).

Installation Instructions for RevoDeployR (and RServe)

After downloading the RevoDeployR distribution, use the following steps to install the software:

Note: These instructions are for an automatic install.  For more details or for manual install instructions, refer to RevoDeployR_Installation_Instructions_for_RedHat.pdf.

  1. Log into the operating system as root.
    su –
  2. Change directory to the directory containing the downloaded distribution for RevoDeployR and RServe.
  3. Unzip the contents of the RevoDeployR tar file. At prompt, type:
    tar -xzf deployrRedHat.tar.gz
  4. Change directories. At the prompt, type:
    cd installFiles
  5. Launch the automated installation script and follow the on-screen prompts. At the prompt, type:
    Note: Red Hat installs MySQL without a password.

Getting Started with RevoDeployR

After installing RevoDeployR, you will be directed to the RevoDeployR landing page. The landing page has links to documentation, the RevoDeployR management console, the API Explorer development tool, and sample code.


For help installing this Academic Edition, please email

Also interestingly some benchmarks on Revolution R vs R.

R-25 Benchmarks

The simple R-benchmark-25.R test script is a quick-running survey of general R performance. The Community-developed test consists of three sets of small benchmarks, referred to in the script as Matrix Calculation, Matrix Functions, and Program Control.

R-25 Matrix Calculation R-25 Matrix Functions R-Matrix Program Control
R-25 Benchmarks Base R 2.9.2 Revolution R (1-core) Revolution R (4-core) Speedup (4 core)
Matrix Calculation 34 sec 6.6 sec 4.4 sec 7.7x
Matrix Functions 20 sec 4.4 sec 2.1 sec 9.5x
Program Control 4.7 sec 4 sec 4.2 sec Not Appreciable

Speedup = Slower time / Faster Time – 1   Test descriptions available at

Additional Benchmarks

Revolution Analytics has created its own tests to simulate common real-world computations.  Their descriptions are explained below.

Matrix Multiply Cholesky Factorization
Singular Value Decomposition Principal Component Analysis Linear Discriminant Analysis
Linear Algebra Computation Base R 2.9.2 Revolution R (1-core) Revolution R (4-core) Speedup (4 core)
Matrix Multiply 243 sec 22 sec 5.9 sec 41x
Cholesky Factorization 23 sec 3.8 sec 1.1 sec 21x
Singular Value Decomposition 62 sec 13 sec 4.9 sec 12.6x
Principal Components Analysis 237 sec 41 sec 15.6 sec 15.2x
Linear Discriminant Analysis 142 sec 49 sec 32.0 sec 4.4x

Speedup = Slower time / Faster Time – 1

Matrix Multiply

This routine creates a random uniform 10,000 x 5,000 matrix A, and then times the computation of the matrix product transpose(A) * A.

set.seed (1)
m <- 10000
n <-  5000
A <- matrix (runif (m*n),m,n)
system.time (B <- crossprod(A))

The system will respond with a message in this format:

User   system elapsed
37.22    0.40   9.68

The “elapsed” times indicate total wall-clock time to run the timed code.

The table above reflects the elapsed time for this and the other benchmark tests. The test system was an INTEL® Xeon® 8-core CPU (model X55600) at 2.5 GHz with 18 GB system RAM running Windows Server 2008 operating system. For the Revolution R benchmarks, the computations were limited to 1 core and 4 cores by calling setMKLthreads(1) and setMKLthreads(4) respectively. Note that Revolution R performs very well even in single-threaded tests: this is a result of the optimized algorithms in the Intel MKL library linked to Revolution R. The slight greater than linear speedup may be due to the greater total cache available to all CPU cores, or simply better OS CPU scheduling–no attempt was made to pin execution threads to physical cores. Consult Revolution R’s documentation to learn how to run benchmarks that use less cores than your hardware offers.

Cholesky Factorization

The Cholesky matrix factorization may be used to compute the solution of linear systems of equations with a symmetric positive definite coefficient matrix, to compute correlated sets of pseudo-random numbers, and other tasks. We re-use the matrix B computed in the example above:

system.time (C <- chol(B))

Singular Value Decomposition with Applications

The Singular Value Decomposition (SVD) is a numerically-stable and very useful matrix decompisition. The SVD is often used to compute Principal Components and Linear Discriminant Analysis.

# Singular Value Deomposition
m <- 10000
n <- 2000
A <- matrix (runif (m*n),m,n)
system.time (S <- svd (A,nu=0,nv=0))

# Principal Components Analysis
m <- 10000
n <- 2000
A <- matrix (runif (m*n),m,n)
system.time (P <- prcomp(A))

# Linear Discriminant Analysis
require (‘MASS’)
g <- 5
k <- round (m/2)
A <- data.frame (A, fac=sample (LETTERS[1:g],m,replace=TRUE))
train <- sample(1:m, k)
system.time (L <- lda(fac ~., data=A, prior=rep(1,g)/g, subset=train))

Why Cloud?

Here are some reasons why cloud computing is very helpful to small business owners like me- and can be very helpful to even bigger people.

1) Infrastructure Overhead becomes zero

– I need NOT invest in secure powerbackups (like a big battery for electricity power-outs-true in India), data disaster management (read raid), software licensing compliance.

All this is done for me by infrastructure providers like Google and Amazon.

For simple office productivity, I type on Google Docs that auto-saves my data,writing on cloud. I need not backup- Google does it for me.  Ditto for presentations and spreadsheets. Amazon gets me the latest Window software installed whenever I logon- I need not be  bothered by software contracts (read bug fixes and patches) any more.

2) Renting Hardware by the hour- A small business owner cannot invest too much in computing hardware (or software). The pay as you use makes sense for them. I could never afford a 8 cores desktop with 25 gb RAM- but I sure can rent and use it to bid for heavier data projects that I would have had to let go in the past.

3) Renting software by the hour- You may have bought your last PC for all time

An example- A windows micro instance costs you 3 cents per hour on Amazon. If you take a mathematical look at upgrading your PC to latest Windows, buying more and more upgraded desktops just to keep up, those costs would exceed 3 cents per hour. For Unix, it is 2 cents per hour, and those softwares (like Red Hat Linux and Ubuntu have increasingly been design friendly even for non techie users)

Some other software companies especially in enterprise software plan to and already offer paid machine images that basically adds their software layer on top of the OS and you can rent software for the hour.

It does not make sense for customers to effectively subsidize golf tournaments, rock concerts, conference networks by their own money- as they can rent software by the hour and switch to pay per use.

People especially SME consultants, academics and students and cost conscious customers – in Analytics would love to see a world where they could say run SAS Enterprise Miner for 10 dollars a hour for two hours to build a data mining model on 25 gb RAM, rather than hurt their pockets and profitability in Annual license models. Ditto for SPSS, JMP, KXEN, Revolution R, Oracle Data Mining (already available on Amazon) , SAP (??), WPS ( on cloud ???? ) . It’s the economy, stupid.

Corporates have realized that cutting down on Hardware and software expenses is more preferable to cutting down people. Would you rather fire people in your own team to buy that big HP or Dell or IBM Server (effectively subsidizing jobs in those companies). IF you had to choose between an annual license renewal for your analytics software TO renting software by the hour and using those savings for better benefits for your employees, what makes business sense for you to invest in.

Goodbye annual license fees.  Welcome brave new world.

Red Hat worth 7.8 Billion now

I was searching for a Linux install of Revolution’s latest enterprise version, but it seems version 4 will be available on Red Hat Enterprise Linux only by Decemebr 2010. Also even though Revolution once opted for co branding with Canonical’s Karmic Koala, they seem to have ignored Ubuntu from the Enterprise version of Revolution R.

Base R Revolution R Community Revolution R Enterprise
Buy Now
Target Use Open Source Product Evaluation & Simple Prototyping Business, Research & Academics
100% Compatible with R language X X X
Certified for Stability X X
Command-Line Programming X X X
Getting Started Guide X X
Performance & Scalability
Analyze larger data sets with 64-bit RAM X X
Optimized for Multi-processor workstations X X
Multi-threaded Math libraries X X
Parallel Programming (Single Workstation) X X
Out-of-the-Box Cluster-Ready X
“Big Data” Analysis
Terabyte-Class File Structures X
Specialized “Big Data” Algorithms X
Integrated Web Services
Scalable Web Services Platform X*
User Interface
Visual IDE X
Comprehensive Data Analysis GUI X*
Technical Support
Discussion Forums X X X
Online Support Mailing List Forum X
Email Support X
Phone Support X
Support for Base & Recommended R Packages X X X
Authorized Training & Consulting X
Single User X X X
Multi-User Server X X
32-bit Windows X X X
64-bit Windows X X
Mac OS X X X
Ubuntu Linux X X
Red Hat Enterprise Linux X
Cloud-Ready X

and though the page on RED HAT’s Partner page for Revolution seems old/not so updated;#productId=188

, I was still curious to see what the buzz about Red Hat is all about.

And one of the answers is Red Hat is now a 7.8 Billion Dollar Company.

Red Hat Reports Second Quarter Results

  • Revenue of $220 million, up 20% from the prior year
  • GAAP operating income up 24%, non-GAAP operating income up 25% from the prior year
  • Deferred revenue of $650 million, up 12% from the prior year

RALEIGH, NC – Sept 22, 2010 – Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced financial results for its fiscal year 2011 second quarter ended August 31, 2010.

Total revenue for the quarter was $219.8 million, an increase of 20% from the year ago quarter. Subscription revenue for the quarter was $186.2 million, up 19% year-over-year.

and the stock goes zoom 48 % up for the year;NASDAQ:ORCL;NASDAQ:MSFT;NYSE:IBM&cmptdms=0;0;0;0&q=NYSE:RHT&ntsp=0

(Note to Google- please put the URL shortener on Google Finance as well)

The software is also reasonably priced starting from 80$ onwards.

Basic Subscription

Web support, 2 business day response, unlimited incidents
1 Year
Multi-OS with Basic SubscriptionWeb support, 2 business day response, unlimited incidents
1 Year
Workstation with Basic Subscription
Web support, 2 business day response, unlimited incidents
1 Year
Workstation and Multi-OS with Basic Subscription
Web support, 2 business day response, unlimited incidents
1 Year
Workstation with Standard Subscription
Business Hours phone support, web support, unlimited incidents
1 Year
Workstation and Multi-OS with Standard Subscription
Business Hours phone support, web support, unlimited incidents
1 Year
That should be a good enough case for open source as a business model.