China biggest threat to Indian Software in 5 years: Indian Tech CEO

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An interview with a noted Indian Software CEO, mentions China the possible biggest threat in next 5 years at  http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/2010/10/13/stories/2010101353180700.htm

 

China could be the biggest threat to India in next five years, positioning itself as the lowest-cost manpower supplier in the IT sector by 2015, according to Mr Vineet Nayar, CEO, HCL Technologies.

“I believe it (China) is the biggest threat in the next five years that we are going to face…So India will have to up its game,” he told reporters on sidelines of ‘Directions’, the company’s annual town hall.

Terming China, as both “threat and opportunity”, Mr Nayar said that India will have to find alternate “differentiators” than the ones it currently has. Despite issues of language and the purported inability to scale-up, China has sharpened its technological and innovation edge, he added.

“Look at the technology companies from China…how does that fit in with the assumption that they (China) do not understand English or technology. They are producing cutting edge technology at a price which is lower than everyone else,” he said.

Manpower

By 2015, Mr Nayar said, China will be the lowest cost manpower supplier in IT sector to the world

——————————————————————————————–

I wonder how he did his forecast. Did he do a time series analysis using a software, did he peer into his crystal ball, or did he spend a lot of time brainstorming with his strategic macro economic team on Chinese threat.

China has various advantages over India (and in fact the US)-

1) Big pool of reliable scientific manpower

2) State funded education in higher studies and STEM

3) Increasing exposure with the West-English speaking is no longer an issue. Almost 50 % of Grad Students in the US in STEM and certain sectors are Chinese and they not only retain fraternal ties with the motherland- they often remain un-assimilated with American Culture mainstream. or they have a separate interaction with fellow American Chinese and seperate with American Americans.

Chinese suffer from some disadvantages in software-

1) Communism Perception- Just because the Govt is communist and likes to confront US once a year (and India twice a month)- is no excuse for the hapless Chinese startup guy to lose out on software outsourcing contracts. unfortunately there have been reported cases where sneak codes have been inserted in code deliverables for American partners, just like American companies are forced to work with DoD (especially in software, embedded chips and telecom)

If you have 10000 lines of code delivered by your Chinese partner, how sure are you of going through each line of code for each sub routine or call procedure.

2) English- Chinese accent is like Chinese cooking. Unique- many Chinese are unable to master the different style of English even after years (derived from Latin and Indo European class of languages)

Sales jobs tend to go to American trained Chinese or to Westerners.

In Indian software companies, accent is a lesser problem.

———————————————————————————-

The biggest threat to Indian software in 5 years is actually Indian software itself- Can it evolve and mature to a product based model from a service only model.

Can Indian software partner with Chinese companies and maybe teach the Indian government why friendship is more profitable than envy and suspicion. If the US and China can trade enormously despite annual tensions, why cant Indian services do the same- if they lose this opportunity, US companies will likely bypass them and create the same GE/McKinsey style backoffices that started the Indian offshoring phenomenon.

3) Lastly- what did the poor American grad student do to deserve that even if devotes years to study STEM (and being called a Geek and Nerd) his job will get outsourced to India or China (if not now- in his 30s or worse in his 40s). Talk to any middle aged IT chap in the US who is middle class- and India and China would figure in why he still worries about his overpriced mortgage.

Unless the US wants only Twitter and Facebook as dominant technologies in the 21 st century.

Amen.

 

 

 

John M. Chambers Statistical Software Award – 2011

Write code, win cash, and the glory. Deep bow to Father John M Chambers, inventor of S ,for endowing this award for statistical software creation by grads and undergrads.

An effort to be matched by companies like SAS, SPSS which after all came from grad school work. Now back to the competition, I gotta get my homies from U Tenn in a team ( I was a grad student last year though taking this year off due to medico- financial reasons)

John M. Chambers Statistical Software Award – 2011
Statistical Computing Section
American Statistical Association

The Statistical Computing Section of the American Statistical
Association announces the competition for the John M.  Chambers
Statistical Software Award. In 1998 the Association for Computing
Machinery presented its Software System Award to John Chambers for the
design and development of S. Dr. Chambers generously donated his award
to the Statistical Computing Section to endow an annual prize for
statistical software written by an undergraduate or graduate student.
The prize carries with it a cash award of $1000, plus a substantial
allowance for travel to the annual Joint Statistical Meetings where
the award will be presented.

Teams of up to 3 people can participate in the competition, with the
cash award being split among team members. The travel allowance will
be given to just one individual in the team, who will be presented the
award at JSM.  To be eligible, the team must have designed and
implemented a piece of statistical software.
The individual within
the team indicated to receive the travel allowance must have begun the
development while a student, and must either currently be a student,
or have completed all requirements for her/his last degree after
January 1, 2009.  To apply for the award, teams must provide the
following materials:

Current CV’s of all team members.

A letter from a faculty mentor at the academic institution of the
individual indicated to receive the travel award.  The letter
should confirm that the individual had substantial participation in
the development of the software, certify her/his student status
when the software began to be developed (and either the current
student status or the date of degree completion), and briefly
discuss the importance of the software to statistical practice.

A brief, one to two page description of the software, summarizing
what it does, how it does it, and why it is an important
contribution.  If the team member competing for the travel
allowance has continued developing the software after finishing
her/his studies, the description should indicate what was developed
when the individual was a student and what has been added since.

An installable software package with its source code for use by the
award committee. It should be accompanied by enough information to allow
the judges to effectively use and evaluate the software (including
its design considerations.)  This information can be provided in a
variety of ways, including but not limited to a user manual (paper
or electronic), a paper, a URL, and online help to the system.

All materials must be in English.  We prefer that electronic text be
submitted in Postscript or PDF.  The entries will be judged on a
variety of dimensions, including the importance and relevance for
statistical practice of the tasks performed by the software, ease of
use, clarity of description, elegance and availability for use by the
statistical community. Preference will be given to those entries that
are grounded in software design rather than calculation.  The decision
of the award committee is final.

All application materials must be received by 5:00pm EST, Monday,
February 21, 2011 at the address below.  The winner will be announced
in May and the award will be given at the 2011 Joint Statistical
Meetings.

Information on the competition can also be accessed on the website of
the Statistical Computing Section (www.statcomputing.org or see the
ASA website, www.amstat.org for a pointer), including the names and
contributions of previous winners.  Inquiries and application
materials should be emailed or mailed to:

Chambers Software Award
c/o Fei Chen
Avaya Labs
233 Mt Airy Rd.
Basking Ridge, NJ 07920
feic@avaya.com

Trrrouble in land of R…and Open Source Suggestions

Recently some comments by Ross Ihake , founder of R Statistical Software on Revolution Analytics, leading commercial vendor of R….. came to my attention-

http://www.stat.auckland.ac.nz/mail/archive/r-downunder/2010-May/000529.html

[R-downunder] Article on Revolution Analytics

Ross Ihaka ihaka at stat.auckland.ac.nz
Mon May 10 14:27:42 NZST 2010


On 09/05/10 09:52, Murray Jorgensen wrote:
> Perhaps of interest:
>
> http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/05/06/revolution_commercial_r/

Please note that R is "free software" not "open source".  These guys
are selling a GPLed work without disclosing the source to their part
of the work. I have complained to them and so far they have given me
the brush off. I am now considering my options.

Don't support these guys by buying their product. The are not feeding
back to the rights holders (the University of Auckland and I are rights
holders and they didn't even have the courtesy to contact us).

--
Ross Ihaka                         Email:  ihaka at stat.auckland.ac.nz
Department of Statistics           Phone:  (64-9) 373-7599 x 85054
University of Auckland             Fax:    (64-9) 373-7018
Private Bag 92019, Auckland
New Zealand
and from http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/05/06/revolution_commercial_r/
Open source purists probably won't be all too happy to learn that Revolution is going to be employing an "open core" strategy, which means the core R programs will remain open source and be given tech support under a license model, but the key add-ons that make R more scalable will be closed source and sold under a separate license fee. Because most of those 2,500 add-ons for R were built by academics and Revolution wants to supplant SPSS and SAS as the tools used by students, Revolution will be giving the full single-user version of the R Enterprise stack away for free to academics. 
Conclusion-
So one co-founder of R is advocating not to buy from Revolution Analytics , which has the other co-founder of R, Gentleman on its board. 
Source- http://www.revolutionanalytics.com/aboutus/leadership.php

2) If Revolution Analytics is using 2500 packages for free but insisting on getting paid AND closing source of it’s packages (which is a technical point- how exactly can you prevent source code of a R package from being seen)

Maybe there can be a PACKAGE marketplace just like Android Apps, Facebook Apps, and Salesforce.com Apps – so atleast some of the thousands of R package developers can earn – sorry but email lists do not pay mortgages and no one is disputing the NEED for commercializing R or rewarding developers.

Though Barr created SAS, he gave up control to Goodnight and Sall https://decisionstats.wordpress.com/2010/06/02/sas-early-days/

and Goodnight and Sall do pay their developers well- to the envy of not so well paid counterparts.

3) I really liked the innovation of Revolution Analytics RevoScalar, and I wish that the default R dataset be converted to XDF dataset so that it basically kills

off the R criticism of being slow on bigger datasets. But I also realize the need for creating an analytics marketplace for R developers and R students- so academic version of R being free and Revolution R being paid seems like a trade off.

Note- You can still get a job faster as a stats student if you mention SAS and not R as a statistical skill- not all stats students go into academics.

4) There can be more elegant ways of handling this than calling for ignoring each other as REVOLUTION and Ihake seem to be doing to each other.

I can almost hear people in Cary, NC chuckling at Norman Nie, long time SPSS opponent and now REVOLUTION CEO, and his antagonizing R’s academicians within 1 year of taking over- so I hope this ends well for all. The road to hell is paved with good intentions- so if REVOLUTION can share some source code with say R Core members (even Microsoft shares source code with partners)- and R Core and Revolution agree on a licensing royalty from each other, they can actually speed up R package creation rather than allow this 2 decade effort to end up like S and S plus and TIBCO did.

Maybe Richard Stallman can help-or maybe Ihaka has a better sense of where things will go down in a couple of years-he must know something-he invented it, didnt he

On 09/05/10 09:52, Murray Jorgensen wrote:
> Perhaps of interest:
>
> http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/05/06/revolution_commercial_r/

Please note that R is "free software" not "open source".  These guys
are selling a GPLed work without disclosing the source to their part
of the work. I have complained to them and so far they have given me
the brush off. I am now considering my options.

Don't support these guys by buying their product. The are not feeding
back to the rights holders (the University of Auckland and I are rights
holders and they didn't even have the courtesy to contact us).

--
Ross Ihaka                         Email:  ihaka at stat.auckland.ac.nz
Department of Statistics           Phone:  (64-9) 373-7599 x 85054
University of Auckland             Fax:    (64-9) 373-7018
Private Bag 92019, Auckland
New Zealand

IPSUR – A Free R Textbook

Here is a free R textbook called IPSUR-

http://ipsur.r-forge.r-project.org/book/index.php

IPSUR stands for Introduction to Probability and Statistics Using R, ISBN: 978-0-557-24979-4, which is a textbook written for an undergraduate course in probability and statistics. The approximate prerequisites are two or three semesters of calculus and some linear algebra in a few places. Attendees of the class include mathematics, engineering, and computer science majors.

IPSUR is FREE, in the GNU sense of the word. Hard copies are available for purchase here from Lulu and will be available (coming soon) from the other standard online retailers worldwide. The price of the book is exactly the manufacturing cost plus the retailers’ markup. You may be able to get it even cheaper by downloading an electronic copy and printing it yourself, but if you elect this route then be sure to get the publisher-quality PDF from theDownloads page. And double check the price. It was cheaper for my students to buy a perfect-bound paperback from Lulu and have it shipped to their door than it was to upload the PDF to Fed-Ex Kinkos and Xerox a coil-bound copy (and on top of that go pick it up at the store).

If you are going to buy from anywhere other than Lulu then be sure to check the time-stamp on the copyright page. There is a 6 to 8 week delay from Lulu to Amazon and you may not be getting the absolute latest version available.

Refer to the Installation page for instructions to install an electronic copy of IPSUR on your personal computer. See the Feedback page for guidance about questions or comments you may have about IPSUR.

Also see http://ipsur.r-forge.r-project.org/rcmdrplugin/index.php for the R Cmdr Plugin

This plugin for the R Commander accompanies the text Introduction to Probability and Statistics Using R by G. Jay Kerns. The plugin contributes functions unique to the book as well as specific configuration and functionality to R Commander, the pioneering work by John Fox of McMaster University.

RcmdrPlugin.IPSUR’s primary goal is to provide a user-friendly graphical user interface (GUI) to the open-source and freely available R statistical computing environment. RcmdrPlugin.IPSUR is equipped to handle many of the statistical analyses and graphical displays usually encountered by upper division undergraduate mathematics, statistics, and engineering majors. Available features are comparable to many expensive commercial packages such as Minitab, SPSS, and JMP-IN.

Since the audience of RcmdrPlugin.IPSUR is slightly different than Rcmdr’s, certain functionality has been added and selected error-checks have been disabled to permit the student to explore alternative regions of the statistical landscape. The resulting benefit of increased flexibility is balanced by somewhat increased vulnerability to syntax errors and misuse; the instructor should keep this and the academic audience in mind when usingRcmdrPlugin.IPSUR in the classroom

Towards better analytical software

Here are some thoughts on using existing statistical software for better analytics and/or business intelligence (reporting)-

1) User Interface Design Matters- Most stats software have a legacy approach to user interface design. While the Graphical User Interfaces need to more business friendly and user friendly- example you can call a button T Test or You can call it Compare > Means of Samples (with a highlight called T Test). You can call a button Chi Square Test or Call it Compare> Counts Data. Also excessive reliance on drop down ignores the next generation advances in OS- namely touchscreen instead of mouse click and point.

Given the fact that base statistical procedures are the same across softwares, a more thoughtfully designed user interface (or revamped interface) can give softwares an edge over legacy designs.

2) Branding of Software Matters- One notable whine against SAS Institite products is a premier price. But really that software is actually inexpensive if you see other reporting software. What separates a Cognos from a Crystal Reports to a SAS BI is often branding (and user interface design). This plays a role in branding events – social media is often the least expensive branding and marketing channel. Same for WPS and Revolution Analytics.

3) Alliances matter- The alliances of parent companies are reflected in the sales of bundled software. For a complete solution , you need a database plus reporting plus analytical software. If you are not making all three of the above, you need to partner and cross sell. Technically this means that software (either DB, or Reporting or Analytics) needs to talk to as many different kinds of other softwares and formats. This is why ODBC in R is important, and alliances for small companies like Revolution Analytics, WPS and Netezza are just as important as bigger companies like IBM SPSS, SAS Institute or SAP. Also tie-ins with Hadoop (like R and Netezza appliance)  or  Teradata and SAS help create better usage.

4) Cloud Computing Interfaces could be the edge- Maybe cloud computing is all hot air. Prudent business planing demands that any software maker in analytics or business intelligence have an extremely easy to load interface ( whether it is a dedicated on demand website) or an Amazon EC2 image. Easier interfaces win and with the cloud still in early stages can help create an early lead. For R software makers this is critical since R is bad in PC usage for larger sets of data in comparison to counterparts. On the cloud that disadvantage vanishes. An easy to understand cloud interface framework is here ( its 2 years old but still should be okay) http://knol.google.com/k/data-mining-through-cloud-computing#

5) Platforms matter- Softwares should either natively embrace all possible platforms or bundle in middle ware themselves.

Here is a case study SAS stopped supporting Apple OS after Base SAS 7. Today Apple OS is strong  ( 3.47 million Macs during the most recent quarter ) and the only way to use SAS on a Mac is to do either

http://goo.gl/QAs2

or do a install of Ubuntu on the Mac ( https://help.ubuntu.com/community/MacBook ) and do this

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1494027

Why does this matter? Well SAS is free to academics and students  from this year, but Mac is a preferred computer there. Well WPS can be run straight away on the Mac (though they are curiously not been able to provide academics or discounted student copies 😉 ) as per

http://goo.gl/aVKu

Does this give a disadvantage based on platform. Yes. However JMP continues to be supported on Mac. This is also noteworthy given the upcoming Chromium OS by Google, Windows Azure platform for cloud computing.

Student Statement: The Right to Research

An initiative by Student Government at U Tenn ( I am a slight pat of Student govt but not of the following ———as  a member of the University of Tennessee Technology, Fee Advisory Board. My current role involves increasing funding for bears like koala 😉  )

Scholarly knowledge is part of the common wealth of humanity.

Unfortunately, not everyone has access to the scholarly literature, despite advances in communications technology.  The high cost of academic journals restricts access to knowledge; in some fields, prices can reach $20,000 for a single journal subscription1 or $30 for an individual article.2 Despite these high prices, authors of scholarly articles are not paid for their work. The profits from these publications go solely to the publishers of the journals.  A vast amount of research is funded from public sources – yet taxpayers are locked out by the cost of access.

Screenshot

I suppose companies like SAS Institute ( with a nice SAS Publishing arm- I got a SAS Enterprise Guide book for predictive analytics from them) Aster Data ( which needs all the BIG DATA programmers and researchers including students), SPSS ( with IBM’s backing and pedigree of R and D) , and SAP (with University Network) and even the dropout* founded Oracle

can help by sponsoring journal articles so as to

1) Increase pool of developers who remain loyal to that platform for life ( similar to companies offering student credit cards)

2) Increase visibility as a low cost advertising medium.

 

( *Amazing- Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Trilogy, Aster (partly) , JMP (partly) it seems to get really really rich- one has to go to Grad School, make a tech company and drop out.

Maybe I do a research paper on this hypothesis using some kind of ANOVA, T tests)

If you believe students have Right to Research and you can help by stepping in to help both article authors and students come closer AND makes good sense for your business

– HONK YOUR HORN.

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