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Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Open Source Dominates Big Data

Interesting to see this historical view of a very recent development.  The story of Hadoop.  Also adds to the increasing interest and investment in open source.  " ... The software’s “refreshingly unique approach to data management is transforming how companies store, process, analyze and share big data,” according to Forrester analyst Mike Gualtieri. “Forrester believes that Hadoop will become must-have infrastructure for large enterprises.” ...  "

Teams and Risks

Recent interactions with the compliance community have tuned me into how risks need to be managed.  In the HBR:

" ... Many companies pay lip service to the value of taking risks without actually empowering employees to do so, write Ron Ashkenas and Lisa Bodell. To break out of this innovation-killing trap, identify where employees are encouraged to take risks, and focus on performing small experiments, they write ... " 

3D Food Printer Approaches Ship Date

In GigaOM:   A look at the concept of a 3D food printer.  A whimsical idea we toyed with.  Having a hard time understanding it useful application.

" ... Structur3D’s paste extruder is looking more and more polished as the startup approaches the ship date for its Kickstarter backers. ... 

Last time I checked in with 3D printing startup Structur3D, its unusual paste-extruding machine was a mysterious white box that sat next to a 3D printer. It was capable of spitting out Nutella, cookie dough and inedible materials like silicone, but it wasn’t exactly clear how it worked. Now, the company has opened up the extruder, known as Discov3ry, to give us a more detailed view of how it works. ... " 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ohio Aerospace Hub

Was introduced to the Ohio Aerospace Hub.  Whose vision is to " ... Become the magnet for aerospace entrepreneurs, innovators and business owners seeking opportunity in a live-work-play-learn environment that fosters creativity and growth ... " 

3D Printer Startups Video

Makerbot and other low cost 3D Printer companies are examined in a Netflix video exclusive. Called 'Print the Legend'.  A familiar look at the atmosphere of startups, before and after they become successful.  If they do.  This may give you the impression that most startups are successful.  Not the case.

Mercedes Self Driving 18 Wheeler



In CWorld:  Concept Vehicle.  Impressive design.  This should have considerable influence on supply chain efficiency. Good detail in the article.

" ... Mercedes-Benz showed off an autonomous semi-trailer truck that will be available in a decade and allow long-haul drivers to relax and tend to paperwork and duties other than driving.
The Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 was displayed at the 2014 International Commercial Vehicle show this month.

"In ten years' time, trucks could be driving autonomously on motorways. Transport efficiency will increase, traffic will be safer for all road users and fuel consumption and CO2 emissions will be further reduced," Mercedes said in a blog post. "Autonomous driving is already possible at realistic speeds and in realistic motorway traffic situations." ... "  

Newspaper Goes to Virtual Reality

A curious example of how newspapers are looking at using virtual reality.  Look at the tag link below  for examples about how we experimented with this.   I have not though, been in Second Life for a number of years.  It has not led to the establishment of useful virtual spaces in VR as yet. The gaming angle in VR has not combined well with serious business applications.

" ...  Gannett (GCI), publisher of USA Today and dozens of regional publications, has released its debut report made specifically for the Oculus VR headset: an interactive view of a farm in Iowa designed to accompany a series of newspaper articles being published by the Register this week. It’s the very start of what will likely be a wave of journalistic experiments with virtual reality in the next few years, and this project shows that there’s still some thinking to be done about what news organizations should be trying to accomplish in the medium. ... " 

Research Transformation

Sounds very familiar.

Creating a research transformation agenda for 2015

The two most powerful concepts in marketing research — trends and norms — are also the biggest enemies to innovation. And research programs are falling more and more out of sync with marketing in a digital, social, mobile world. What's missing from traditional marketing research methods in the digital and social age? ... " 

Cheap Gesture Detection in Smartphones

In Technology Review:  Another one of our research areas.  In particular how you might use it for consumer interaction in retail.   " .... A research project at the University of Washington shows a way to add gesture control to phones without requiring sophisticated new sensors. It works by identifying the interference that hand gestures cause in the radio signals that are already transmitted to and from a phone. ... " 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Book Launch: A Whole New Engineer

Long time correspondent Dave Goldberg has a book coming out, and there is a party.  I plan to read and review here.

Google On Air Hangout to Celebrate Launch of a New Book - Kindle Edition:
A Whole New Engineer: The Coming Revolution in Engineering Education 
by Dave Goldberg and Mark Somerville

Wednesday, October 1, 2014, 7:30-8:00 pm Eastern

The party starts with a Google On Air Hangout at the link: http://bit.ly/1paU558 at 7:30-8:00 pm (Eastern).  Listen in as the writing team talks about the making of the book and the surprises, twists, and turns of bringing the book to fruition. Live tweeting of the video conversation will take place on Twitter at hashtag #BigBeacon.  Send your comments to other partygoers or send questions to the Google Hangout using twitter with the hashtag #BigBeacon.  Use http://tchat.io to automate the #BigBeacon hashtag and listen to all the tweeters. .....

Join the Big Beacon twitter chat from 8:00-9:00 pm Eastern (Hashtag #BigBeacon) as Meagan Pollock (@MeaganPollock) and Erica Lee Garcia (@EngineerYrLife) pose thought-provoking questions for an open discussion arising from The Making of A Whole New Engineer.  What do you think?  Share your opinion with others .... 

Write to Dave Goldberg, deg@wholenewengineer.org with any questions you have about this invitation.

Steven Pinker on Academic Writing

He complains about the quality of academic writing.  As usual, he writes well.  An example:  " .... The other major contributor to academese is a cognitive blind spot called the Curse of Knowledge: a difficulty in imagining what it is like for someone else not to know something that you know. The term comes from economics, but the general inability to set aside something that you know but someone else does not know is such a pervasive affliction of the human mind that psychologists keep discovering related versions of it and giving it new names: egocentrism, hindsight bias, false consensus, illusory transparency, mind-blindness, failure to mentalize, and lack of a theory of mind. ... "

Amelia Thinks like You

Emergence of more companies in the conversational advisory space.  IPsoft gets publicity in the WSJ today with their cognitive offering:  Amelia, a Machine, Thinks Like You ... She Can Solve Problems if Answer Is in Data She Gets....  With some interesting comparisions to Watson.  Includes a transcript of a conversation with Amelia.

"  .... incubated for the past decade at a privately owned, relatively obscure IT services firm called IPSoft—is different. She learns from textbooks, transcriptions of conversations, email chains and just about any other text. As long as the answer appears in the data she gets, she can solve problems.

IPSoft's main product is another bit of artificial intelligence, a software suite known for automatically resolving IT infrastructure issues known as IPcenter. A Gartner analyst wrote that IPSoft is a "stealthy newcomer," competing with the likes of IBM. IPSoft was founded in 1998 and has offices in nine countries ... "

Competing in a Digital Age

How do you compete in a digital age?  In McKinsey.   " ...  Digitization is rewriting the rules of competition, with incumbent companies most at risk of being left behind. Here are six critical decisions CEOs must make to address the strategic challenge posed by the digital revolution. ... " 

Sankey Diagrams in Google Charts

Notes on elements of advanced visualizations.  Sankey diagrams including multilevel forms, are available in Google Charts.   " ... A sankey diagram is a visualization used to depict a flow from one set of values to another. The things being connected are called nodes and the connections are called links. Sankeys are best used when you want to show a many-to-many mapping between two domains (e.g., universities and majors) or multiple paths through a set of stages (for instance, Google Analytics uses sankeys to show how traffic flows from pages to other pages on your web site). ...  "

Kroger Tests Customer Pick-Up

In the Local Paper: Extending their supply chain in a very natural way. Without the expense and complexity of delivery. What will the uptake be?  Plan to try this service myself.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Common Language for Innovation

In Innovation Excellence:  Interesting points about how to outline a common language for innovation.  Like the idea, but implementing them in a cultural context can be tough.

Analytics Linked with Business Process Modeling

Re examining business process modeling (BPM) and in particular how it can connect with new methods of analytics and data sources.   We used BPM extensively in the enterprise.  And examined how it would link to intelligent, cognitive applications.  Was pointed to Emericon.  They offer a free basic introduction to Operational Decision Management, with registration.

Humans and Automation

Good You Tube video: Humans Need not Apply. On the continued progress of automation, and what it means to jobs.  It not only about replacing humans, it is also about making them much more efficient and extending that efficiency with pervasive networks.  An issue we are contending with now.

Is Your Content Compelling?

Could be quite valuable for a number of areas.  This is being experimented with every day in advertising and online.  The data to confirm or deny it is considerable.  Have not read as yet.

  In Fastcocreate:   " ... RivetedA book from cognitive science professor Jim Davies, presents a unified theory of compellingness. ....  What makes for compelling art? Any creator who has given half a thought to paying the rent, or achieving immortality, has considered what makes art sell. We know that the notion of quality--the idea that "the best" art and marketing and media reaches the most people--is insufficient to explain what gives some creations mass appeal. So why do people--large number of people--find books, ads, movies and art works compelling? How can we know, ahead of time, what will pique our curiosity and sustain our interest?   ... " 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Feature Engineering as the Basis of Analytics

Very good informal and non technical look at feature engineering.   It is part of any analytic process, sometimes obvious, but also sometimes subtle. My definition:  It's adjusting the data and decision problem you have to the tools available,  that can then create a useful and accurate solution.  Or as the article suggests:  " ... Feature engineering is the process of transforming raw data into features that better represent the underlying problem to the predictive models, resulting in improved model accuracy on unseen data. ... " .  I never called it 'feature engineering',  but rather 'Modeling' but it was always a key aspect of any analytics effort we did.

Tweeting Code

To my still enthusiastic Wolfram network, a clever marketing idea.  Not sure how practical.  What I see are more clever than practical.

" ... With Tweet-a-Program, anyone can compose a tweet-length Wolfram Language program and tweet it to @WolframTaP. We'll run the code in the Wolfram Cloud and tweet back the result, whether it's a simple evaluation, a dynamic graphic, or a full application. Please tell your readers--we're excited to see what they create!

For more information on Tweet-a-Program, read Stephen Wolfram's launch post ...  Follow Tweet-a-Program on Twitter:    ... " 

Watson in the Organization

In the 90s, during the last rise in the use of artificial intelligence in business, we were also impressed with how the basic capabilities could improve and extend expertise.  We built dozens of advisory systems that saved millions.  Management was planning some very impressive next steps.  Now we are back to where we were then, we have tools, but will they consistently deliver  practical applications in business?  A look at the current state of progress.

My view of key challenges:  Linking strongly to the decision process.  Acceptance by management.   Strong connections to required data and sensors.   Supporting maintenance of knowledge in given context.  Integration of analytical methods.

Cloaking Lenses

Ordinary lenses produce cloaking.  Fascinating application that at one level is very easy to understand. Everyday applications?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Evolution of Computer Languages

In the CACM:  A view of common computing languages.  Interesting, but most likely for those that have used several.  Non technical in that it deals with a view of the evolution of languages and their use. Includes video.

Seeking Assumption Free Data Science

Steve Miller on 'Freak Data Science', where freak means roughly assumption-free, understandable and useful.  Always like that approach, and he has much to say on the topic, like:

" ... in agreement with this need to view data science through the lenses of both “what” and “how”. The what provides the conceptual foundation; the how articulates the tools and skills needed to progress toward that foundation – to “create meaning”. .... 

.... Author Malcolm Gladwell's  .... opining “Think Like a Freak is … about the attitude we need to take towards the tricks and the problems that the world throws at us. Dubner and Levitt have a set of prescriptions about what that attitude comes down to.” In short, the authors are scientific methodologists par excellence. ....  "

Learning or Cloning

Cognitive requires learning. At very least an intelligent system needs to be updated as its context changes. There are many kinds of learning.  Passive, active, statistical, inductive, example based … If I buy a book and put it on my shelf, have I learned? I am connected to the Web, so as it changes, am I more knowledgeable?

Do Cognitive systems know what they don't know?

Do I know what other people in my network know? How much effort will it take to update my cognitive system to keep it up to date? How do I know it’s up to date?

Those two last questions were major breaking points for our own use of advisory cognitive systems.

Alternatively, you could learn from cloning (or at least mimicking) your best decision makers, assuming they would know where to get the best and most current data needed. An 'expert system' style learning method. Using biological methods at their grandest. Which was recently discussed here.

UXMag and Psychology

Of interest, on psych and design, in user experience:

" ... UX Magazine is a central, one-stop resource for everything related to user experience. We provide a steady stream of current, informative, and credible information about UX and related fields to enhance the professional and creative lives of UX practitioners and those exploring the field. Our content is driven and created by an impressive roster of experienced professionals who work in all areas of UX and cover the field from diverse angles and perspectives. ... " 

Specifically on psychology and design.

An Online Right to be Forgotten

In the New Yorker, a non technical, very readable article about the 'right to be forgotten' on the Internet, which is being exercised now in Europe.   Examples and exploration of implications.  The selective and accurate redaction of the internet would be a very difficult cognitive problem.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Tracking Data Use Online

From MIT, with possible use to understand data use and valuation.   " ... Researchers in the Decentralized Information Group (DIG) at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) believe the solution may be transparency rather than obscurity. To that end, they’re developing a protocol they call “HTTP with Accountability,” or HTTPA, which will automatically monitor the transmission of private data and allow the data owner to examine how it’s being used. ... " 

Computer Learning Neighborhoods from Images

An example of the ability to make a classification of an image by subtle attributes.  Images are a form of unstructured data increasingly being found in large databases.  Medical imagery is close behind.  In Engadget.   " ... Us humans are normally good at making quick judgments about neighborhoods. We can figure out whether we're safe, or if we're likely to find a certain store. Computers haven't had such an easy time of it, but that's changing now that MIT researchers have created a deep learning algorithm that sizes up neighborhoods roughly as well as humans. The code correlates what it sees in millions of Google Street View images with crime rates and points of interest; it can tell what a sketchy part of town looks like, or what you're likely to see near a McDonald's (taxis and police vans, apparently). ... " 

Cyber Security Lab Game

A laboratory for teaching online security concepts in the form of a simulation game.  We created similar simulation games for teaching and option evaluation for in store sensor applications. Includes a basic introduction to computer programming. Mentioned in the recent Nova program: Rise of the Hackers.  Also, Nova Labs is doing other similar things I had not noticed before, worth a look.   Might be inspiring to young students interested in how computing technology supports science.

Company Gets Rid of Email

In FastCompany.  I saw this direction proposed some time ago.  At that time it was suggested that a wiki like structure would be set up, and any communication would be placed in its appropriate knowledge position.  So you would also get knowledge management as well.  Course you would still need email for external communications.  Will have to see if I can find my writing then to see if that example has survived.

Service Design and Journey Mapping

Via the Service Innovation group, a video on Service design and journey mapping. Mulling how such systems differ from advisory applications.   Is it a matter of who is assumed to be in control?  See also the ISSIP site.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Enterprise Thinking Blog

See Computing Now's Enterprise Thinking Blog.  Part of the IEEE Computing Now effort.  Nicely done, by Joshua Greenbaum, Principal, Enterprise Applications Consulting

Kraft and Data Integration for Analytics

I note in particular here the use of third party data to integrate with their own.  Good case study for CPG.   It is becoming common to understand and utilize free and syndicated data to apply with your own.  This requires understanding the parameters for useful integration.   This also speaks to the increasing value of internal data in this integration.  How do we understand the value of these data assets?  An Opportunity for a cognitive advisor?  Used with specific analytic solutions?  More thoughts on that to follow.

How Kraft uses data integration to boost ROI 
Kraft's focus on data integration following its split from Mondelez allowed the company to leverage consumer information to optimize the effectiveness of its data, infrastructure and content and increase its return on investment, Kraft Vice President of Media and Consumer Engagement Bob Rupczynski said. For example, Kraft used first- and third-party data to find that its Planters brand could be marketed to female consumers seeking healthy nighttime snack options, he said ... "

Kroger Looks to Digital for Shopper Experience

Another example of increasing use of data to understand and anticipate shopper experience.

Kroger looks to digital to improve shopping experience 
Kroger's recent acquisitions of Harris Teeter and Vitacost.com are part of its experimentation with improving the shopping experience through offering more digital options to help customers save time and money, according to the retailer's Director of Digital and E-Commerce Matt Thompson. Currently, about 20% of shoppers prepare for a grocery trip online, and 60% of all consumers consider grocery shopping their least favorite chore, he said  ... " 

Mining Your Medical Data

On mining medical data.  " .... Your Doctor Knows You're Killing Yourself. The Data Brokers Told Her - in Bloomberg  ... "

"  .... You may soon get a call from your doctor if you’ve let your gym membership lapse, made a habit of picking up candy bars at the check-out counter or begin shopping at plus-sized stores. ... 
That’s because some hospitals are starting to use detailed consumer data to create profiles on current and potential patients to identify those most likely to get sick, so the hospitals can intervene before they do. ... " 

On Rewards for Motivation

An overview of motivational rewards as used in gamification.  In particular a comparison of instrinsic and extrinsic methods.   What works in which conditions.  Which leads to the typical methods of Points, Badges and Leaderboards (or PBLs).  Good introduction to the basic methods behind gamification.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Buildings and Innovation

How much do buildings influence creativity?  Apparently they have at MIT.  An interesting study of a particular building that provided a locus for innovation for 55 years.  Chance or not?    There was hope for this at our innovation centers.  Only partially successful.   I believed in formative context, but not sure everyone did.

Google Balloons will Ring the Globe

In Tech Review:  Though I heard of it, its progress was new to me.  " .... The boss of the Google X research lab, Astro Teller, says his company’s experimental wireless Internet balloons will deliver Internet access throughout the Southern Hemisphere next year. ... " 

Future of Data Science

In the NYT: A look at the future of Data Science.   " ... “Current knowledge bases are full of facts,” Mr. Etzioni observed, “but they are surprisingly knowledge poor.” ...  the long-range goal is computer systems that can reason rather than merely recognize patterns and correlations and make predictions. But Mr. Horvitz chose a different emphasis. “I think we can have a huge impact in so many fields, in the shorter term, along the way to deeper machine intelligences.” Mr. Horvitz said. ... " 

Anticipating Value of Analytic Oracles and Advisors

In ClickZ:  Thoughts on analytics advisory and automating functions:

" ... Could the "Analytics Oracle" Be the Next Evolution of Convergence Analytics?  ... A new ascendance of smart platforms that clean and converge data sets, while also answering questions, could change the convergence analytics landscape as we know it. ... "   by Marshall Sponder .  ... " 

Mentions of Watson Analytics and a to be announced Salesforce 'Analytics Cloud'.   Where does the advisory action end and the business decision depth begin?   Key element of how such systems will be used.

Presentations on the Future of AI

On the Future of AI, In GigaOM.  " .... Gigaom recently hosted a meetup featuring thought leaders and entrepreneurs in the world of artificial intelligence and deep learning. Watch the videos of their presentations here. ... ".   Interesting set of presentations.  Nice view of whats going on, without a mention of Watson.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Kroger Private Label Growth

Continued growth of retail private label, statistics:

How Kroger's private-label brands fuel growth 
Kroger's Simple Truth natural private-label brand is on track to reach $1 billion in annual sales, and its Kroger brand is the top-selling brand in its stores. The retailer's private-label brands have grown to account for 25% of grocery sales, company executives said, and Kroger has also added a range of lower-priced private labels for shoppers with smaller budgets, including P$$t for nonperishable items, Check this Out for household goods and Heritage Farm for fresh foods .... " 

Lean Innovation at Amazon

In Innovation Excellence:  Fascinating piece.  Reporting on a piece in the McKinsey Quarterly.    " ... The company’s information technology was always very good at understanding what the customer wanted and passing the right signal down. For example, the selection of the transportation method for a given package is driven, first, by the promised delivery date to the customer. Lower-cost options enter the equation only if they provide an equal probability of on-time delivery. That’s basically a Lean Principle  ... " 

Apple Pay vs the Wallet

In Adage:   A long time examination.  In particular, what are the retail implications of having an easy to use,  location aware system for payment and information access.

Google Goes Darpa

More on innovation strategies.

" ... The famously innovative search company has taken a page from the Pentagon’s radical ideas factory. Here’s what’s brewing in Silicon Valley’s coolest skunkworks.

Today Dugan is leading a cadre of big-idea special forces—called Advanced Technology and Projects group, or ATAP for short—on an even grander mission for parent Google, where the unit is slated to remain after the sale of Motorola to Lenovo is completed later this year. ... The challenge? Bringing to fruition a slew of next-generation mobile wonders—not in a generation’s time, mind you, but in a handful of years instead. And though the group is still in its early days, it appears on track to deliver some jaw-dropping technological leaps that would help cement the 51-year-old Dugan’s cachet in Silicon Valley and beyond. ....

So what’s the ATAP playbook? It starts with identifying a project that demands a quantum leap in both scientific understanding and engineering capability to pull off (more on that soon). Once that is done, Dugan works to assemble a core team of experts at Google. But that team quickly casts a much wider net, tapping what are often a huge number of outside collaborators from across a mix of disciplines in industry and academia. That allows ATAP, with a staff of just 75 full-time members, to be far smaller and scrappier than traditional research labs. ....  "

Cincinnati Business Intelligence Symposium


BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE SYMPOSIUM

The 11th Cincinnati Business Intelligence Symposium on October 9, 2014 will showcase presentations from thought leaders in business analytics. Each presenter will discuss how big-data analytics can be used to give companies a competitive advantage. The event will also include opportunities for networking with other leading analytics professionals. Attendees will receive continental breakfast, box lunch and free parking.

Business Intelligence Speakers

Andy Kriebel: Data Visualization Guru, Facebook    "From Insights to Actions - Using Big Data to Drive Market Changing Decisions"

Jude Schramm: Chief Information Officer, Digital: GE Aviation   "The Industrial Internet: How GE is Optimizing Assets and Operations with Big Data and Analytics"

Steven Pino, National Vice President of Business Analytics Services North America SAP  "Reimagining Sports and Business with Big Data"

Jeff Ficke: Senior Vice President, Payments Strategy & Innovation, Fifth Third Bancorp "TBA"

DETAILS AND REGISTRATION INFORMATION HERE

@UCBusAnalytics

World Bank Data Visualization Tool

Visualization at the World Bank ...  in particular integrating visualization into communications and decision process is a good direction.

" ... The World Bank has launched a new website that allows users to track progress toward 12 of the institution’s key targets, including process simplification, citizen engagement and knowledge sharing with clients. ....

The World Bank chief suggested that the next step will be to turn the real-time tracking tool into an information platform for the way the financial institution does business every day. How that may affect bank employees, partners, contractors and clients, however, remains to be seen. ... "