Big Data News – 20 Sep 2016

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Today is Talk Like A Pirate Day, the perfect day to learn R, the programming language of pirates (arrr, matey!). If you have two-and-a-bit hours to spare, Nathaniel Phillips has created a video tutorial YaRrr! The Pirate's Guide to R which will take you through the basics: installation, basic R operations, and the matrix and data frame obects. For a more in-depth study of R, there's also a 250-page e-book YaRrr! The Pirate's Guide to R which goes into the basics in more depth, and covers more advanced topics including data visualization, statistical analysis, and writing your own functions.

Top Stories
Worksoft unveils an extension to its analytics overlay for SAP environments that automates the business process discovery process.

IBM's success will be tied not only to how well it provides these tools to customers but how well it uses the tools itself.

Oracle is adding PHP development to its cloud platform, with plans to add other languages, including Ruby. Support for Oracle's open source MySQL database will be added as well. The Oracle Application Container Cloud service for building and scaling apps in the cloud is adding PHP support, including the PHP native runtime. Ruby is expected to be added in three to four months. The service also supports Java and Node.js.

Google took a shot at Facebook's chatbot-building services on Monday with its acquisition of, a company that helps developers build and improve conversational interfaces for their services. has more than 60,000 developers using its platform to create conversational user interfaces for apps like Slack, Facebook Messenger and Kik. Its tools make it easier for programs to parse human language and translate it into action. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The company offers a vast suite of capabilities for natural language understanding, including pre-defined knowledge packages known as Domains, which make it easier for assistants to understand a variety of common requests for any additional coding.

Health care organizations are increasingly open to the idea of using public cloud services, whether it be applications or infrastructure. But to do so requires thorough planning and vigilant execution of IT operations. + RELATED STORY: Why this hospital is moving to Amazon's cloud + Chris Bowen, founder and chief privacy and security officer for ClearDATA, a company that helps health care organizations use public cloud services, provides nine examples of controls that can be put in place.

Since 2012 three Texas-based health care organizations have merged to create USMD Health System. During the past four years CIO Mike Yerrid has been on a mission to centralize and consolidate IT operations. And a big part of that is moving to Amazon's cloud. Yes, as a health care organization, USMD is subject to stringent regulations for protecting patient information, and yes it's moving to the public cloud. USMD isn't alone. "Health care organizations are becoming more comfortable with cloud technology," says Lynne Dunbrack, leader of research firm IDC's Health Insights practice. +MORE AT NETWORK WORLD: 9 Keys to a HIPAA compliant cloud | From CSO: What to think about when moving to the cloud +

In this paper I explore the relationship between the production and the value of Big Data. In particular I examine the concept of social media ‘prosumption’—which has predominantly been theorized from a Marxist, political economic perspective—to consider what other forms of value Big Data have, imbricated with their often speculative economic value. I take the example of social media firms in their early stages of operation to suggest that, since these firms do not necessarily generate revenue, data collected through user contributions do not always realize economic value, at least in a Marxist sense, and that, in addition to their speculative value, these data have value beyond an economic valence.

The body of information on the Internet is becoming increasingly geographical. This is both due to the expansion of established categories of geographic information (e.g., digital maps and geospatial databases) and to the simultaneous enrichment of other types of information through geographic identifiers (e.g., geotags, check-ins, and global positioning system coordinates). As this repository of geographic information expands, it is also a key site for multiple processes of commodification transforming informational resources into market goods. Understanding the dynamics driving the integration of geographic information into the digital economy requires a comprehensive political economic analysis.

This article considers how Spatial Big Data is situated and produced through embodied spatial experiences as data processes appear and act in small moments on mobile phone applications and other digital spatial technologies. Locating Spatial Big Data in the historical and geographical contexts of Sydney and Hong Kong, it traces how situated knowledges mediate and moderate the rising potency of discourses of cartographic reason and data logics as colonial cartographic imaginations expressed in land divisions and urban planning continue on, in a world that increasingly values models of calculability, interoperability and authority.

This article turns towards the spatial life of ‘digital infrastructures’, i.e. code, protocols, standards, and data formats that are hidden from view in everyday applications of computational technologies. It does so by drawing on the version control system Git as a case study, and telling the story of its initial development in order to reconstruct the circumstances and technical considerations surrounding its conception. This account engages with computational infrastructures on their own terms by adopting the figure of the ‘stack’ to frame a technically informed analysis, and exploring its implications for a different kind of geographic inquiry.

With an estimated one billion smartphones producing over 5 petabytes of data a day, the spatially aware mobile device has become a near ubiquitous presence in daily life. Cogent, excellent research in a variety of fields has explored what the spatial data these devices produce can reveal of society, such as analysis of Foursquare check-ins to reveal patterns of mobility for groups through a city. In such studies, the individual intentions, motivations, and desires behind the production of said data can become lost through computational aggregation and analysis.

Google took a shot at Facebook's chatbot-building services on Monday with its acquisition of, a company that helps developers build and improve conversational interfaces for their services. has more than 60,000 developers using its platform to create conversational user interfaces for apps like Slack, Facebook Messenger and Kik. Its tools make it easier for programs to parse human language and translate it into action. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The company offers a vast suite of capabilities for natural language understanding, including pre-defined knowledge packages known as Domains, which make it easier for assistants to understand a variety of common requests any additional coding.

One of the big issues facing public cloud vendors is persuading companies to take on-premises workloads and move them to a public cloud data center.  Oracle is trying to enable that shift with a new set of products that allow customers to get the same hardware that Oracle runs in its data centers behind their own firewalls. Executive Chairman Larry Ellison unveiled the Big Data@Customer and Exadata@Customer machines on Sunday, building on the company's Cloud@Customer hardware offering. It's a move by the company to take advantage of Oracle's expertise building hardware and combining it with software to reach customers as they're in the process of migrating to the cloud. Ellison expects on-premises and cloud workloads will have to coexist for at least 10 years, he said.

IBM sold off its x86 server business two years ago to Lenovo, thinking it was exiting a cut-throat, low-margin business. But the cloud has only intensified x86 server chip sales, and IBM is paying attention. The company is adapting a new range of Power servers — which typically run powerful systems — for the cloud. The Power E870C and E880C servers, announced Monday, are flexible in handling many tasks and can scale for distributed computing and cloud integration. The new servers, which support Ubuntu Linux and Unix, sound similar to x86 servers powering internal and external clouds at companies like Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon. But IBM is packing in an extra set of features to make these systems reliable and flexible for public and private clouds.

At the IBM Edge 2016 conference today, IBM announced that it has developed new tools for analyzing workloads running on mainframes via the cloud.

The ability to persistently secure any file type across all sharing methods, devices, and storage locations is paramount.

The challenges as the head of IT for a major international law firm with 700 attorneys, 1,500 total employees and 20 separate offices around the world aren't exactly small, but Baker Donelson CIO John D. Green is up to the task — even when that task changes a little every day. Different parts of Baker Donelson's sprawling practice have different needs, said Green, who sat down with Network World Tuesday at Riverbed's Disrupt event in New York. The real estate practice, tax, and patent and trademark practices, among others, have their own software, all of which Donelson has to support. MORE: Riverbed upgrades set sights on the SD-WAN edge, cloud integration

Throughout our daily lives, we leave a trail of data wherever we go. Every social media post, purchase, online review, cell tower ping, and health record reveals information about ourselves and our decisions that, if analyzed and modeled effectively, could lead to the creation of better systems, technologies, and policies — in short, a better society. Officially launched in July 2015, the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS) spans all five schools at MIT, bringing together engineers, mathematicians, economists, social scientists, and policy experts to develop and enhance the ways data is used to derive insights and decisions around some of the most important challenges of today.

Intent on getting in on the momentum building behind the cloud, Oracle Corp. is refocusing the company to become a top cloud player. The company is making that clear at its annual customer conference, Oracle OpenWorld, in San Francisco this week. During his opening keynote, Larry Ellison, Oracle executive chairman and chief technology officer, said the company intends to take on Amazon Web Services and its top position in the cloud market.

Does software-defined storage really portend massive disruption in the data center?

In this new PSA, the FBI is urging everyone to report ransomware attacks to law enforcement.

Oracle CTO Larry Ellison ordered himself some new business cards on stage at the company's OpenWorld conference in San Francisco on Sunday, just by having a conversation.  As part of his keynote address to attendees, Ellison took the time to show off a new set of tools for creating intelligent chatbots that integrate with Oracle's software. It's aimed at making it easier for businesses to build bots that let users connect with their enterprise software, and help businesses connect with consumers. 

Hortonworks DataFlow (HDF) 2.0 is now available! HDF is powered by Apache NiFi 1.0.0, which recently underwent a major redesign. Whether you're a current user or just now planning to try it out, this is exciting news. A lot of new feature content went into this release such as multi-tenancy and zero-master clustering. The purpose…

China is starting to adopt and contribute to open source projects, especially around big data infrastructure, and tech companies should pay attention.

You wouldn't think IT service management (ITSM) could serve as the lingua franca for 15 different organizations in a corporation but it's played a key role in unifying technology for Oshkosh Corp., a maker of military vehicles, postal trucks and fire trucks. Wisconsin-based Oshkosh's technology had become siloed since acquiring 15 companies between 1996 and 2006, says CIO Dave Schecklman. Oshkosh had long let the organizations govern their own IT services but this is no longer tenable as the company seeks to simplify operations under new CEO Wilson Jones. Shecklman is centralizing IT across the organizations, instilling one corporate chokepoint for technology acquisition and management. This endeavor is as much as political and cultural transformation as it is a large technology project for a conglomerate like Oshkosh, which has 12,000 employees located in in the U.S., France, Hong Kong, Romania, Belgium and a few other countries.

Last week I had a unique opportunity to present to a group of C-level retail industry leaders. Here are five stories I heard that you might find interesting. These are leaders in Merchandising, Marketing, Infrastructure and IT in top European companies.  The common link was dinner and retail. I spoke briefly about my experience in retail and adoption of…

Few enterprise IT transformations can match the importance of today's long migration from on-premises, client-server computing to cloud computing. This week at Oracle's mammoth OpenWorld conference in San Francisco, Oracle will make it abundantly clear that it intends to become a leader in all three flavors of cloud — not only SaaS, where the company has already demonstrated strength, but also in PaaS and IaaS, where Oracle is a new player. Last Friday, in advance of OpenWorld, IDG chief content officer John Gallant and InfoWorld editor in chief Eric Knorr interviewed Oracle co-CEO Mark Hurd to get his take on Oracle's cloud growth strategy, its new cloud initiatives, and Hurd's take on what customers want from the cloud. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

The collaboration will help to create the market.

It has been another exciting week on Hortonworks Community Connection HCC. We continue to see great activity and recommend the following assets from last week. How to pull data from Twitter and push data to Elasticsearch using Apache NiFi.

In Louisville, KY, city leaders meet weekly to share data from different departments. Maria Koetter, director of sustainability for the city, explains how data can help reduce the urban heat island.

Open data science initiatives can be a revolutionary force for innovation that spans diverse industries. And that force comes from the people in different roles and with various skill sets who use open source data science tools to develop and deploy new designs for working and living. Discover why open data science collaboration is essential for unlocking creativity in data science initiatives.

Teradici unveils Cloud Access Software and a Cloud Access Platform designed primarily to make it simpler to move applications into the cloud.

At the SAP TechEd 2016 conference today, SAP unveiled a strategic initiative.

Aiming to make it simpler to experiment with SAP HANA, and to prototype and build applications on the platform, SAP Monday announced a new SAP HANA, express edition, of its in-memory platform that developers can download for free to their desktops or laptops, or use in the cloud. "It is a streamlined, smaller version of SAP HANA," says Marie Goodell, vice president, SAP HANA Platform Marketing. "This is exciting for us. It allows a developer to bring this down to a personal computer that he or she feels comfortable with."

Can I just put this out there? Everyone can benefit from technology innovation. Faster, more innovative technology is going to make your employees more efficient and speed up business and customer service delivery. It's not debatable, it's an absolute fact. With faster, more efficient technology, the job gets done more efficiently as well.

SAP has made no secret of the fact that its bets for the future rest largely on its Hana in-memory computing platform. But broad adoption is a critical part of making those bets pay off. Aiming to make Hana more accessible to companies of all shapes and sizes, the enterprise software giant on Monday unveiled a downloadable Express edition that developers can use for free. [ Find out how to get ahead with our career development guide for developers. | The art of programming is changing rapidly.

The worlds of Finance and EPM are rapidly changing. Finance teams are shifting their focus from counting and scorekeeping to adding strategic value to the business, They are freeing up time to help managers consider the possibilities and make better decisions that can impact future results. To gain a b

Hadoop for Health Insurance: The future of the healthcare industry rests in the promise of collecting, analyzing and taking action on the output of larger amounts of information. Through the advancements in big data, machine learning and advanced analytics, healthcare organizations can leverage and manipulate data to improve overall member health, reduce costs, improve quality…

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