Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Jeff Jonas on Big Data and Geospatial Super-Food

As large collections of data come together, some very exciting and somewhat unexpected things happen. As data grows, the quality of predictions improves (less false positives, less false negatives), poor quality data starts to become helpful, and computation can actually get faster as the number of records grows.

Now, add to this, the "space-time-travel" data about how people move that is being created by billions of mobile devices, and what becomes computable is outright amazing. As it turns out, geospatial data is analytic super-food.

Join Jeff Jonas – Chief Scientist, IBM Entity Analytics Group and an IBM Distinguished Engineer – on September 28th, to hear his thoughts on hot topics such as Big Data, New Physics, and Geospatial Super-Food.

Who is this Jeff Jonas?

Jeff Jonas is a super-star IBMer; he designs next generation technology that helps organizations better leverage their enterprise-wide information assets. With particular interest in real-time "sensemaking", these innovative systems fundamentally improve enterprise intelligence, which makes organizations smarter, more efficient and highly competitive.

He also leads global think tanks, privacy advocacy groups and policy research organizations. Read more about Jeff.

Why Big Data is the Next Big Thing

Interviewing Jeff Jonas, TechCrunch's Andrew Keen imagines an entrepreneur, scratching his head and thinking "the next big thing is Big Data", yet he doesn't really know what it is.

What does someone do to understand, and not only to understand this, but to take advantage as an entrepreneur or as an investor?

Take 5 minutes to find an answer to this question and a couple others:

Jeff Jonas interviewed by TechCrunch

Personally, I feel like borrowing the concept of context accumulation from the interview, but this is just one of a set of themes woven through Jeff's work, explored on his blog, and captured in a series of evocative phrases, like:

  • perpetual analytics,
  • non-obvious relationship awareness,
  • sequence neutrality,
  • "data finds data",
  • anonymous resolution and others.

Attend Jeff's talk thanks to TOHUG

In my experience so far, the TechTALKs organized by the IBM Canada Lab were offered only to it's employees. On this occasion however, an agreement was secured to allow the Toronto Hadoop User Group (TOHUG) members to come to the Lab, listen and meet with Jeff.

So if you're in Toronto and interested to hear Jeff's thoughts on hot topics such as Big Data, New Physics, Geospatial Super-Food and more, all you have to do is to join the Toronto Hadoop User Group (if you are not a member yet) and RSVP to the event.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Extended: Hadoop Programming Challenge

October 4th update:

The Hadoop Programming Challenge just got extended
till Monday, October 10th!
Lately more and more of my interest is invested in Big Data. And the future of Big Data and Data Analytics sounds so appealing that you might be forgiven to believe it's too good to be true.
In this context, I was intrigued by Alex Popescu's reality check:
  1. Even if technology costs decreased over time, the investment in creating data startups are still high.
  2. Financial institutions are not investing (too much) into data technology companies.
  3. There are only a few companies that are able to accumulate significant amounts of useful data.
  4. There are even fewer companies that are able to use effectively the huge amounts of data.
When I read of few companies that accumulate significant amounts of useful data and even more, fewer that make effective use of the huge amounts of data, I strongly believe that the efforts made to tame huge amounts of meaningful data were far from few.

The Philosopher's Stone

Philosopher's stone - turning base metals into gold?
photo by Ahmed Mater
Speaking of effort, we all know that effort does not mean anything if it does not deliver results! Quoting Leon Katsnelson, those even fewer companies are comparable with alchemists that discovered their philosopher’s stone:
I think of the internet heavyweights like Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Yahoo! as alchemists. They figured out a way to turn massive amounts of data in to gold. Unlike alchemists of the middle ages, these modern-day wizards have found their philosopher’s stone. They call it Hadoop. Hadoop lets them crunch massive amounts of data to extract keen business insight, which, if applied properly turns data in to gold. How else can one explain these incredible valuations for such young companies?
I think there is an alchemist in everyone of us!
If the philosopher's stone is already discovered, wouldn't you like to turn base metals – Big Data – into gold – Big Insights?
What if you were able to obtain the philosopher's stone for free? You would still need to learn how to use it, right?

Choose your gold!

There are some people for whom gold means knowledge, and there are others for whom gold means money. But why pick sides when you can have both?
BigDataUniversity.com has teamed up with the IBM Big Data Team to sponsor three BigDataUniversity.com students on an all expenses paid trip to attend the Information on Demand (IOD) Conference 2011 in Las Vegas.
Vegas, baby!
Here's all you have to do for an opportunity to be selected, the rules are simple:
  1. Register with BigDataUniversity.com.
  2. Enroll and complete the free Hadoop Fundamentals I course by October 10th.
  3. You’ll receive a certificate of completion and an invitation to participate in the Hadoop Programming Challenge.
  4. On October 3rd October 12th, three participants to this challenge will be selected for a free, all expenses paid, trip to IOD 2011 in Las Vegas on October 23rd—27th.

But until you get on with the challenge, one more detail: although the course is free, and the trip has all expenses paid, if you will chose to do the course work in the cloud, do expect to incur some cloud-related usage charges! For the time it took me to complete the course, it amounted to approximately a toonie in Amazon charges.

Good luck!