I'm not a fan of obscure acronyms in blog post titles, but by the end of this month I'm hoping HPA won't be obscure to anyone who reads this blog. It stands for high-performance analytics, and I'm challenging myself to blog about it once a day for the next month. Why? Because I'm editing two new print publications about HPA, so I know I'll be coming across a lot of interesting information that will be worth sharing.
Plus, I've been neglecting this blog for a while now and I need a challenge to get myself back into the habit of writing here. I have the same excuses as every other lapsed blogger: other projects, other priorities, other distractions. So, I need the same cure: practice, repetition and habit.
Enough about me. What do I have to share today about HPA? This morning, Twitter friend and SAS user @vboykis pointed me to "The Age of Big Data" from The New York Times Sunday Review. More than a surface read about the trendy big data theme, the piece by Steve Lohr gets into the technology needed to find answers in big data right from the start:
Data is not only becoming more available but also more understandable to computers. Most of the Big Data surge is data in the wild — unruly stuff like words, images and video on the Web and those streams of sensor data. It is called unstructured data and is not typically grist for traditional databases.
But the computer tools for gleaning knowledge and insights from the Internet era’s vast trove of unstructured data are fast gaining ground. At the forefront are the rapidly advancing techniques of artificial intelligence like natural-language processing, pattern recognition and machine learning.
The article also gives some great examples of how data is being analyzed today by governments, non-profits and businesses alike - and how it will likely affect the future. There are some great topics here worth understanding in more detail: from weak ties and false discoveries to robot cars and poverty prevention.
If you want to know more about the technologies behind those interesting topics, download the new paper, "SAS High-Performance Analytics: What Could You Do with Faster, Better Answers?" And come back tomorrow when I'll talk more about those technologies and that white paper. Or maybe we'll talk instead about Twitter and its role in this big data world.