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Monday, March 30, 2015

Real Time Data Analytics at Pinterest

Short case study of the use of analytics on streaming data, using Spark.  " ... Pinterest, the company behind the visual bookmarking tool that helps you discover and save creative ideas, is using real-time data analytics for data-driven decision making purposes. It’s experimenting with MemSQL and Spark technologies for real-time user engagement ... " 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sales by Kaizen

Kaizen:  Continuous improvement in sales.  " ... It's in sales that I am most intrigued by the possibilities of a kaizen strategy. A slim majority of sales people make or exceed quota -- in recent years, 58 percent, plus or minus a little. The interesting thing about selling, for me, is that there's usually only one evaluation point: Did you close the deal? What if we used a more incremental approach to assess sales? ... " 

How will the Internet of Things Work?

SAP community on how the IOT will really work.  I like their speculation about what the killer App might be.  I think it is doing something that we are doing haphazardly today that can be systematized with segmentation analytics.

Learning to See Data as Art

In the NYT:  The art and science of data visualization.   " ... Advanced computing produces waves of abstract digital data that in many cases defy interpretation; there’s no way to discern a meaningful pattern in any intuitive way. To extract some order from this chaos, analysts need to continually reimagine the ways in which they represent their data — which is where Mr. Kohn comes in. He spent 10 years working with scientists and knows how to pose useful questions. He might ask, for instance, What if the data were turned sideways? Or upside down? Or what if you could click on a point on the plotted data and see another dimension? ... " 

I re-read this and thought: Do we really need artists to help us find subtle patterns in data?  I thought that humans were already too good at finding spurious patterns when not there..

Big Data Blurring Industry Lines

In Forbes,   Morphing of analyses and businesses. Expect more of this.   And the partnership aspects, note the book Reciprocity Advantage , by colleagues Bob Johansen and Karl Ronn  previously mentioned, on this topic

" .. By way of example, let’s examine a well-known company being driven into multiple new industries through analytics. If you asked 100 people randomly on the street what Nike does, you’d probably get 98-percent or more telling you the company makes sneakers or sportswear. That’s true enough, but Nike has also become a pioneer in smart, wearable technologies, from its Nike+ running app in 2006, to the 2012 release of its FuelBand fitness tracker and its potential wearable tech-focused partnership with Apple. Products like the FuelBand contain sensors that automatically measure things like your sleep patterns and the number of steps you take each day.  I’m among the 3.3 million Americans who use FuelBand, or other devices like it. And, while Nike has plans to discontinue that particular physical product, wearable technology is helping Nike’s business model morph in new ways.  ... "

Architecture for Self Service Analytics

Increasingly important.  Also important is the metadata required for current needs, and predicted future needs of the firm. A forecast.

Architecture for Self Service Analytics

The adoption of self-service BI and analytics tools continues to grow. But understanding how to support their use is a must -- and that starts with a solid architecture for analytics.

Consultancy Gartner Inc. expects a majority of businesses to put in place some kind of self-service business intelligence and data visualization software by the end of 2016. But simply implementing a set of self-service analytics tools isn't enough to fully realize the promise of opening up the BI process to more workers in an organization. It also requires lots of behind-the-scenes work to properly prepare data architectures so business users will be well-positioned to succeed with the new technologies.  ... " 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

On the Architecture and Why of Neural Nets

A good overview of the concepts and key characteristics of neural nets by Stuart Reid.   We used these methods in the enterprise to replace some stat methods, especially when we wanted more control of the method involved.

They were also used where we wanted direct control of nonlinear and complex methods that we knew would address some kinds of data. They worked when we needed to rapidly re-train data in time.

The article is more on the subtleties of why you might use these, rather than the how.    He also mentions some books that address application methods in specific business domains where they are can be useful.   You can build some of these yourself, we did some of that, but its better to use well tested prefabricated systems, there are many out there in R and Python and elsewhere.

Polinode: Leveraging Visual Enterprise Networks

Polinode was brought to my attention because we also looked at using visualized networks to understand how our company worked, and could be simulated in its adaptation to changes over time and context, both slow and rapid.   A kind of dynamic, simulation of  corporate people architecture.   The thought was to further add the interaction of people with their data.  We also used highly visual network representations.  Polinode writes:

" Polinode is a powerful and easy-to-use platform for mapping, visualizing and analyzing relationships across organizations  .... We help organizations become more Agile and Innovative ... 
Polinode is a flexible tool that helps cut through complexity. At its core is the ability to map, visualize and analyze relationships. Applications range from identifying change agents and finding critical links through to promoting diversity and improving workplace layouts....plus a lot more.... " 

Check out Polinode here, you can apply for trying a closed Beta.
You can also see a video demo here.   I am looking further.

Who Owns Big Data?

Invitation to the discussion.  Which brings us back to the value of data and its ultimate view as an asset.  Ans as an asset in particular contexts of process.  As we have also seen, it remains a risk as well.

IRI on Speed in Marketing

Speed will be key in future of CPG marketing

The future of shopper marketing lies in how fast consumer packaged good companies can act on market and consumer insights, according to Information Resources President and CEO Andrew Appel. Other important factors in future growth among CPG companies include customized offerings for local populations and expansion of digital marketing through advancing consumer technologies, he said ... " 

Unified Sensor Interface

For Windows 10:  With implications for a number of systems.  Sensors are a form of augmentation, so it is a natural step.

" ... Microsoft is building a unified sensor interface and universal driver for Windows 10 that will support a slew of environmental, biometric, proximity, health and motion sensors, the company said last week at the WinHEC trade show in Shenzhen. Microsoft is also providing the building blocks for Windows 10 to support sensors that haven't yet been released.

With support for more sensors, Microsoft hopes to bring "new functionality" to PCs, smartphones, tablets, gadgets and electronics running Windows 10, according to a slide from a presentation.

Microsoft is putting Windows 10 -- which is due for release later this year -- in PCs, tablets, smartphones, smart devices, wearables, gadgets and Internet of things devices. The company has also shown the future-looking HoloLens holographic headset working with Windows 10; together, the OS and the headset could act as a launchpad for new sensor applications. ... " 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Cisco Beacon Management System

In RFIDJournal. Includes a screen shot of how the beacons are managed.

" ... Several companies, including sports arenas, hotels and shopping areas, are piloting a new beacon-management dashboard provided by network technology company Cisco. Using Cisco's Connected Mobile Experience (CMX 10.0) software and Wi-Fi access points fitted with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) modules, the dashboard (part of the company's CMX 10.0 platform) can calculate the locations of Bluetooth beacons and place them on an indoor map. By viewing the map, users can verify the locations of beacons installed on their premises, as well as determine when the devices are moved or may be placed too close together, and thus need to be re-deployed in such a way that they do not interfere with each other's transmissions. Users can also ascertain if any beacons were installed by an unauthorized party. ... " 

DARPA Promoting New Tracking Methods

What are the broader implications of these new methods commercially?   What comes to mind are technologies that will be more precise and reliable inside buildings,  notably for retail applications and emergency response. .In CWorld:

" ... New types of self-contained instruments are under development that could better track position, time and direction of motion, which are critical aspects of GPS. DARPA is developing high-precision clocks, self-calibrating gyroscopes and accelerometers, and high-precision navigation instruments that can track position for long periods without relying on external sources.

DARPA is also researching new technologies that could make real-time tracking possible through a number of sources. DARPA is developing sensors that "use signals of opportunity" such as television, radio, cell towers, satellites, and even lightning, for real-time tracking. The effort, called ASPN (All Source Positioning and Navigation) alleviates issues related to fixing locations in buildings, deep foliage, underwater or underground, where GPS access can be limited ... "

Extracting Data from PDF Documents

Could have used this idea a number of years ago. In projects meant to gather and archive enterprise knowledge.  Data tables are often embedded in PDF documents, and extracting these systematically, in volume, sometimes ends up as a manual task with potential for error.  In CWorld:  Tabula, a free open source tool to do this.    Have not tried.

Misunderstanding Social Media

Via Knowledge@Wharton, Podcast and text by Nancy Rothbard and Amanda Gailey

When Using Social Media, Beware the Invisible Audience
Social media has augmented our ability to communicate, but it has also made it easier to misunderstand and misread our audience — or to be misunderstood. ...   Just one post to a social media site has the power to reach millions. But when we post, most of us are just thinking of, and writing for, a few people — a small audience of family, friends or the people we regularly interact with on each platform.   ... " 

Future of Learning Assessment: Sero!

Brian Moon is a collaborator,  he writes:

Our company is currently competing in Destination Innovation, a program hosted by the Northern Virginia Technology Council and Capital Business @ The Washington Post. 

Next week, from Monday, March 30 through April 2, anyone can vote for us. We need to finish in the top 4 from our group of 8 in order to advance. 

I’ll send out the voting details as soon as they become available. I want to give you this preliminary notice in hopes that you’ll consider how you might share the request with your networks. 

For now, our corporate and project description has been posted:
http://www.nvtc.org/events/Destination_Innovation_2015_CoBios.php#Perigean

You can also learn about our project at:
serolearn.com 

Thanks in advance,

Brian Moon
Chief Technology Office, Perigean Technologies LLC

Sero! is a learning assessment platform that uses Concept Maps to assess higher order thinking skills. Sero! will enable teachers and assessors to design, administer and analyze summative and formative assessments of any topic.

Visualizing Sets

Interesting example of a novel data visualization.  From Microsoft Labs.  " .... Computing and visualizing sets of elements and their relationships is one of the most common tasks one performs when analyzing and organizing large amounts of data. Common representations of sets such as convex or concave geometries can become cluttered and difficult to parse when these sets overlap in multiple or complex ways, e.g., when multiple elements belong to multiple sets. In this paper, we present a design study of a novel set visual representation, LineSets, consisting of a curve connecting all of the setʼs elements. ... " 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Gamification at SAP in May 2015

First example I had heard of a major software company being involved seriously in gamification.   With mention of the key analytcs involved. Available soon.    Will be fun to see that the pilots are,  You can sign up at the link:

" ... The SAP HCP Gamification Service will be publicly available at SAPPHIRE (May 2015). You will then be able to try out the new gamification platform as service in your SAP HANA Cloud Platform Trial account. The service comes with a web-based gamification workbench for modelling game mechanics and arbitrary complex rules. The underlying gamification engine is designed for real-time processing of sophisticated gamification concepts, e.g. involving time constraints and cooperation.

Since the service relies on SAP HANA Cloud Platform it comes with built-in runtime game analytics for continuous improvement of game designs. The integration into your application works simply via Web APIs. Comprehensive code examples will demonstrate how to integrate your application, including the implementation of widgets based on SAP UI5 for the representation of your achievements. The SAP Cloud Identity Service allows you to support Single-Sign-On (SSO) .... "

This led me to the SAP Community Network, and then to the Jive Gamification Module, discussion devoted to gamification applications.  Would like to get more descriptions of applications and how successful this has been in delivery.  Or propose a pilot yourself.

See the gamification tag below for mention of some of our enterprise experiences.

Tackling Wicked Problems

This week’s presenter for the ISSIP SIG Education & Research Service Evangelist Series is Professor Gerald Midgley, Associate Dean for Research and Enterprise, Hull University Business School, University of Hull.    In the enterprise we had teams devoted to the concept of wicked problems.

Title of his presentation is:
Introduction to Systems Thinking for Tackling Wicked Problems.  Slides Here.

TIBCO BPM Systems

TIBCO BPM Offerings: Brought to my attention and attended an introductory seminar:   Nimbus and ActiveMatrix.

Digital Colleagues for Smarter Aging

Presentation today from Cognitive Systems Institute on the idea of a 'Digital Colleague', by Polly Tremoulet, of Drexel University - Starting with a use case of  "Digital Colleagues for Smart Aging". This uses simplified sensors to aid a aging population to remain effective.  Of course these same methods could augment and thus make any age  population more effective.  Not dissimilar to some of our own work in the idea of automatically getting the right data to people as needed.  Good background history and overview of work underway.

Fujitsu Thin Solar Powered IOT Beacon

Solar powering in particular is interesting. We will continue to see developments of this type.

Fujitsu develops thin, solar-powered IoT beacon
In a move that could help spread IoT (Internet of Things) devices, Fujitsu has developed a thin, flexible IoT beacon that can send out location and ID information to smartphones and other mobile devices.

Measuring 2.5 millimeters thick and weighing 3 grams, the beacon is mounted on an elastic silicone substrate and can be rolled up and attached to curved surfaces as well as corners or even clothing. It uses a Bluetooth Low Energy module to send out pings at regular intervals.... " 

Social Graphs for Business

Starting to think more rigorously about the definition and delivery of occupations.   It is natural to think about work that has already been done to understand the formal work and social interactions of people in their jobs.  In the HBR:

" .... If you’re a savvy social media user then you’ve already figured out that the knowledge a tool like Facebook is able to gather about your social connections is not only valuable to you. For you, Facebook’s ability to depict your network of friends and the varying strengths of those relationships supports all your mutual information sharing. For others — third parties — this “social graph” makes it possible to make personalized recommendations to you, and everyone else. For example, TripAdvisor leverages Facebook’s social graph to ensure that, when you are looking for reviews of hotels, restaurants, and so forth, any reviews posted by people you know appear right at the top.

For the social network companies, it didn’t take long to realize that the latter form of value creation should be the real focus of their business models. Early ventures like MySpace primarily focused on the social activity among their account holders, working to provide better tools to help them manage their relationships. Today’s social networks see social tools not as their end product but as a means for acquiring data. Facebook, in particular, saw the big opportunity in the “information exhaust” produced by all that user activity to produce a higher-level intelligence layer that would be useful to other businesses. Having graphed its users’ relationships and interactions, it could offer anyone else interested in those users the insight to reach them with highly targeted services. ... " 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Customizing Project Management

A change by Oracle.  A natural idea to change project management by business line.  I would like to see the same done by business process.

BPM lntegrating IBM Watson, A Starting point for Modeling and Improvement

Integrate IBM BPM with IBM Watson, Part 1 ... by Raj Mehra, IBM Senior Architect. ... Improve decision making in process applications with the Question .... and Answer service on IBM Bluemix.  

  I am taking a closer look in  conversations with reearchers and practitioners. .  We developed many business process models, anc considered such a model would be an ideal place to start to create advsory models in business,

In general these models can be hard to build, and sometimes difficult to reconcile with reality but once built they can be an excellent starting point for improvements.  They can also be a means for understanding how data can be retrieved or inserted to create analytical solutions.  They are an ideal way to engage those that are curators of the real process to engineer the insertion of solutions.   Do you have some BPM models to use as starting points?  This does NOT have to be using IBM BPM models.

Twitter Services on BlueMix Creating Collective Intelligence

Results from the collaborative work between IBM and Twitter.  Relates to other things I have posted here recently on User Modeling.    To what degree does Twitter act as 'Collective intelligence'?    will continue to follow.

  " ... Last October, IBM and Twitter announced that they were combining forces to integrate Twitter data with IBM analytics services on the cloud that will help transform how businesses understand their customers, markets and trends – and inform every business decision.

Today, we’re excited to announce the availability of IBM Insights for Twitter service on Bluemix. Developers can now take advantage of the collective intelligence of hundreds of millions of people to create unique, social media applications quickly and easily, directly in the IBM Bluemix environment. The service enriches tweets, based on deep natural language processing algorithms from IBM Social Media Analytics. Real-time processing of Twitter data streams is fully supported; configurable through a rich set of query parameters and keywords. ... " 

Schemes to Revolutize Nuclear Power

A favorite topic.  A good summary from the IEEE to improve the options.  " ... Three Schemes to Revolutionize Nuclear Power ... The future of nuclear energy could lie with supersmall reactors and alternative technologies ... " 

Open Data Center Steering Group

The Open Data Center Alliance Welcomes The Coca-Cola Company And Intel To Steering Group  by Priya Rana
The Open Data Center Alliance (ODCA), the global organization where members work together to advance the deployment of enterprise cloud solutions and services that are interoperable, secure and free of vendor lock-in, today announced The Coca-Cola Company as the newest member of its Steering Group. Intel Corporation, which previously served as a technical advisor to the ODCA, has transitioned its role to Steering Group member.     "

P&G on Digital Marketing

P&G Chief Brand Officer Talks Digital Marketing  By Nicole Giannopoulos

While speaking at the Association of National Advertisers' Media Leadership Conference yesterday (5 March), Pritchard said that the use of digital technology for creativity marks one of the most important moments the advertising industry has ever seen.

However, this comes with both benefits and downturns. Pritchard says: "We are only at the beginning of mastering this amazing new creative canvas, and the media machine behind it."

Brands should be careful of becoming obsessed with technology when it comes at the cost of creating a better customer experience according to Pritchard. ... " 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tools for the Data Scientist

A look at the Data Science ecosystem.  Nice to see it all in one place.  By Lukas Biewald.   Would like further to see what all the competing claims are.   Though simply stating the claims will be controversial.   And what the relative costs are.   Reviewing,    More articles are coming.  I do like this description:

" ... Since data science is so inherently cross-functional, many of these companies and tools are hard to categorize. But at the very highest level, they break down into the three main parts of a data scientist's work flow. Namely: getting data, wrangling data and analyzing data. I'll be covering them in that real-world order, starting first with getting data, or data sources. ... " 

Device Fingerprint Tracking in Europe

It is well known that all devices have their own fingerprint.    Europe plans increased use.  " ... Europe’s next privacy war is with websites silently tracking users.  .... European data protection watchdogs publish guidance on web tracking using device fingerprinting that could result in more ‘I agree’ forms  ... " 

Juji: Behavior-based Individuality Analysis

Michelle Zhou brought to my attention their new personality analysis startup that creates people profiles from Twitter and Facebook streams.  I  gave it a try and was impressed by its ease of use.     The idea of this kind of user modeling has been around for a long time, we tested related ideas with text analyses of 800 line calls.  This example is one of the first that uses new sources of social data effectively.  Consider if you combined results of this system with streams of IOT data, you could provide an analysis of people in context.

Juji has similarities to and in part derives from work done at IBM, that I have reported on previously, but it is now a unconnected startup.  It provides both profiles and alternative use case scenarios.  Give it a try, they need a critical mass of testers, and are providing incentives for students to participate.

Sign up and test the system.

They write about their goals:

Our Vision
Juji's mission is to discover the world’s people by their individuality, and to enable individualization at scale. Our notion of individualization includes two aspects. One is self individuation, a concept proposed by the renowned Psychologist Carl Jung: one should be aware of and realize one's true self. The other is for individuals to obtain hyper-personalized experiences that suit their true nature, including their personality, physical and emotional needs, values and beliefs, and taste and style.

As the first step toward fulfilling our mission, we empower our users, individuals and businesses alike, to automatically derive deep insights about people of interest from opt-in or public data (e.g., public blogs and web pages). Such insights characterize a person's or a group's individuality from multiple aspects, encompassing their professional and personal lives. Our users can then use the derived insights to develop and improve their own brand personality, and create individualized engagements at scale (e.g., interacting with hundreds or thousands of customers in an personalized way).  ....    "

Monday, March 23, 2015

Computational Thinking With Wolfram Language

An excellent transcript (with pictures) of the talk and detailed demonstration given by Stephen Wolfram at the recent SXSW on their Wolfram Language.    We looked at Wolfram Alpha when it was released, but I have not looked at their generalized computation language for some time.   Looks impressive, deserves a look.  

" ... From an intellectual point of view, the goal of the Wolfram Language is basically to express as much as possible computationally—to provide a very broad way to encapsulate computation and knowledge, and to automate, as much as possible, what can be done with them. ... " .  

All that being said, as a practitioner and leader of computational competencies in the enterprise, who interviewed many students, I saw relatively few students trained in Wolfram methods.  What we saw were typically those trained in the languages of the big computer software companies, or were open source methods now being used in schools,  like R or Python.   Wolfram seems to make a good case that their methods are better, now how can they show that to schools?   Is it better enough to make the case?

Perhaps better for generalized problem solving courses, but such courses are not common, rather than programming or machine learning courses.  This may well be the fault of CS curricula today, companies like mine now do little low-level programming, but need to do lots of problem solving.

Check out the examples in the demonstration above, these are things that would be very difficult to do readily with general purpose programming, or R or Python.

Leading with Strategic Thinking at Gillette

Via José Ignacio Sordo Galarza:

I hope this note finds you in good health and spirits!  If you recall right, almost 10 years ago, in early 2005 P&G agreed to acquire Gillette in an effort to combine many of the world’s top brands and broaden P&G’s portfolio of consumer products. P&G set a goal of generating more than $1 billion annually in combined revenue and savings within three years of merging with Gillette. ... 

Time pass by.  Last year I was blessed to meet a couple of Northwestern University Professors (Olson and Simerson) and while talking about business strategy and best in class cases, we all agree to write down about the case of the LA P&G merger with Gillette and integrate it as part of a Business Strategy book.  

As of April 13, 2015, our book will be available .  The title is “Leading with Strategic Thinking” and “our” chapter is “Driving Strategy through Structure and Process”.  This is a really nice testament of what Jorge Montoya used to say about the Latino 4F’s:   Focus, Force, Frugality and Foresee Crisis.    Here is a link to the teaser about our work.   .... " 

Future of Data Visualization

In Flowingdata:  A short talk on Data visualization.  Speaker is Jeffrey Heer, founder of Trifacta. Mentions keeping people in the loop.  Also quotes Edward Tufte's statement that we should make sure we include data variation as well as design variation in visualizations.   Which leads to including better interaction methods.   Promotes automation of alternative  design aspects of visualization  Well done.   Key further is the direct connection to other basic forms of analytics

Personal Blogs

Despite many people running off to simpler models like Twitter and Tumblr, I still like personal blog. I can even to be said to collect them.  Here is an example just brought to my attention:

A Blog by Edward B. Rockower, Ph.D. Research Professor at The Naval Postgraduate School  - One man's ruminations, explanations, pontifications ... "

Oceans of Data Institute

Brought to my attention, the Oceans of Data Institute.   " ... The Oceans of Data Institute (ODI) is dedicated to raising a generation equipped to unlock the potential of big data. From identifying the skills needed in the modern big-data workplace to exploring innovative technology and interface design that accelerate the big data learning process, ODI is changing the conversation about big data and education. ... " 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Large Scale Graphics Visualization


Just noticed this new system.  I have been working with GePhi:

An interview with Leo Meyerovich:

Who is behind Graphistry?
Graphistry spun out of UC Berkeley’s Parallel Computing lab last year. It stems from my Ph.D. on the first parallel web browser (Mozilla etc. are building new browsers around those ideas) and from Matt Torok (my RA), who built Superconductor, a GPU scripting language for big interactive data visualizations. 

What does Graphistry do?
Graphistry scales and streamlines visual analysis of big graphs.  Think answering questions about people (intelligence, sales, marketing), about things (data centers, sensors), and combinations of them (e.g., financial transactions). For example, we used it to crack a 70K+ node botnet a couple days ago. Our tool immediately revealed the accounts involved, their different roles, especially key accounts, and, after 30min of interactive analysis & googling, the credit card & passport theft operation it funneled to. Most tools can only sensibly show hundreds of nodes,  and a couple open source ones handle tens of thousands, but we’re already pushing 100X more than that. ... " 

Vinimaya Visual Marketplace Discovery

Mentioned last week in conjunction with delivering visual Marketplaces.  Can you understand your market visually through search?  Impressive approach.

 Vinimaya’s Visual Discovery capabilities provides users of MarketPlace an experience beyond  “Amazon-like” shopping. 
 vMarketPlace Procurement Shopping Experience Enhanced Through Visual Discovery To achieve success with any eProcurement system, it is essential that organizations overcome the challenges of user adoption and content enablement – getting quality catalog content from suppliers quickly into a user-friendly digital format. Employee buy-in and adoption are key to driving spend under management using eProcurement systems.  .... "

Providing App Development Services for the Enterprise

In CWorld:  Which then makes me ask the question, what is the portfolio of services that are most important?  Again, I suggest that a form of business process modeling could be key.

" ... IBM has built a team of experts on "devops," a hot, emerging approach to fast enterprise application development, and developed a collection of tools for deploying IT operations to the cloud. Devops is a set of practices for accelerating the development and release cycle of software applications by pairing the development team with the operations teams, tightening the feedback loop so the software can be updated more quickly. Often, large, highly competitive Web-facing services, such as Pinterest or Facebook, will update their services many times in a single day in a devops approach.... " 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Tibco Spotfire Review

We were early users of Spotfire, and ultimately it became the standard for BI and analytics on our delivered Business Sphere systems.   Was always impressed with the ease of use of their systems. Also how easily the analytics could be integrated into a system.  Here an extensive review of the latest version.

Introduction: Neural Networks in Machine Learning

We used neural networks for some classical needs in understanding customer data.  Now they have expanded in use, via advanced hardware, to provide much 'deeper' results.   Here an introduction, quite technical beyond the first few pages. Has some Python code implementation of the underlying concepts. Worth examining for practitioners.

Artificial Neurons and Single-Layer Neural Networks
- How Machine Learning Algorithms Work Part 1
-- written by Sebastian Raschka on March 14, 2015
  
This article offers a brief glimpse of the history and basic concepts of machine learning. We will take a look at the first algorithmically described neural network and the gradient descent algorithm in context of adaptive linear neurons, which will not only introduce the principles of machine learning but also serve as the basis for modern multilayer neural networks in future articles.... " 

Memory Implants for the Brain via Advisory Systems

I think we are some ways from being able to do this, at least in the sense it can be connected directly to the brain. Perhaps sooner as an external interface that forms a 'remembrance engine'.  Search engines by themselves already do this to a degree.  Perhaps they can be augmented to do it better.   Beyond the military, It has also been suggested for Alzheimer therapy.  Essentially it can be seen as an advisory system based on context.    In Military.com: 

" ... Now, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) wants to expand on that cutting-edge work to build other potential breakthrough medical technologies, including a pacemaker-sized device that might someday improve the memory of troops who suffered a traumatic brain injury. Think of it as a hard drive of sorts for the brain.  ... "

Building User Models with Twitter

Have recently had to look at how user models can be built from a Twitter stream.  In particular for retail interactions.  Took a look at some of IBM's Watson influenced services in Bluemix.  Here a non technical piece in the New Yorker on the topic. The question remains if you can create a user model that has some clear value.  Good piece.

Big Data Paying Off

In Innovation Excellence: The payoff from big data.  More clearly, it is the payoff from understanding your data and they using analytics to improve your process.

A Strange New Look at Time

New, more accurate clock makes us revisit the concept of time

"We can measure time much better than the weight of something or an electrical current," he says, "but what time really is, is a question that I can't answer for you."

Maybe its because we don't understand time, that we keep trying to measure it more accurately. But that desire to pin down the elusive ticking of the clock may soon be the undoing of time as we know it: The next generation of clocks will not tell time in a way that most people understand. ... " 

And after you have ingested that, more about the arrow-of-time from an even broader perspective.