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.

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

SAS Sentiment Analysis wins Award

From Business Wire, the new Sentiment Analysis product by SAS Institute (created by acquisition Teragram ) wins an award. As per wikipedia

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

Sentiment analysis or opinion mining refers to a broad (definitionally challenged) area of natural language processingcomputational linguistics and text mining. Generally speaking, it aims to determine the attitude of a speaker or a writer with respect to some topic. The attitude may be their judgment or evaluation (see appraisal theory), their affective state (that is to say, the emotional state of the author when writing) or the intended emotional communication (that is to say, the emotional effect the author wishes to have on the reader).

It was developed by Teragram. Here is another Sentiment Analysis tool from Stanford Grad school at http://twittersentiment.appspot.com/search?query=sas

See-

Sentiment analysis for sas

Image Citation-

http://threeminds.organic.com/2009/09/five_reasons_sentiment_analysi.html

Read an article on sentiment analysis here at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/24/technology/internet/24emotion.html

And the complete press release at http://goo.gl/iVzf`

SAS Sentiment Analysis delivers insights on customer, competitor and organizational opinions to a degree never before possible via manual review of electronic text. As a result, SAS, the leader in business analytics software and services, has earned the prestigious Communications Solutions Product of the Year Award fromTechnology Marketing Corporation (TMC).

“SAS has automated the time-consuming process of reading individual documents and manually extracting relevant information”

“SAS Sentiment Analysis has shown benefits for its customers and it provides ROI for the companies that use it,” said Rich Tehrani, CEO, TMC. “Congratulations to the entire team at SAS, a company distinguished by its dedication to software quality and superiority to address marketplace needs.”

Derive positive and negative opinions, evaluations and emotions

SAS Sentiment Analysis’ high-performance crawler locates and extracts sentiment from digital content sources, including mainstream websites, social media outlets, internal servers and incoming news feeds. SAS’ unique hybrid approach combines powerful statistical techniques with linguistics rules to improve accuracy to the detailed feature level. It summarizes the sentiment expressed in all available text collections – identifying trends and creating graphical reports that describe the expressed feelings of consumers, partners, employees and competitors in real time. Output from SAS Sentiment Analysis can be stored in document repositories, surfaced in corporate portals and used as input to additional SAS Text Analytics software or search engines to help decision makers evaluate trends, predict future outcomes, minimize risks and capitalize on opportunities.

“SAS has automated the time-consuming process of reading individual documents and manually extracting relevant information,” said Fiona McNeill, Global Analytics Product Marketing Manager at SAS. “Our integrated analytics framework helps organizations maximize the value of information to improve their effectiveness.”

SAS Sentiment Analysis is included in the SAS Text Analytics suite, which helps organizations discover insights from electronic text materials, associate them for delivery to the right person or place, and provide intelligence to select the best course of action. Whether answering complex search-and-retrieval questions, ensuring appropriate content is presented to internal or external constituencies, or predicting which activity or channel will produce the best effect on existing sentiments, SAS Text Analytics provides exceptional real-time processing speeds for large volumes of text.

SAS Text Analytics solutions are part of the SAS Business Analytics Framework, backed by the industry’s most comprehensive range of consulting, training and support services, ensuring customers maximum return from their IT investments.

Recognizing vision

The Communications Solutions Product of the Year Award recognizes vision, leadership and thoroughness. The most innovative products and services brought to the market from March 2008 through March 2009 were chosen as winners of this Product of the Year Award and are published on the INTERNET TELEPHONY and Customer Interaction Solutions websites.

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