Big Data // Big Data Analytics
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Doug Henschen
Doug Henschen
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5 Big Wishes For Big Data Deployments

Big data project leaders still hunger for some key technology ingredients. Starting with SQL analysis, we examine the top five wants and the people working to solve those problems.
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Wish 5: Network Insight
Social networks are contributing to the scale and variability of big data. The social networks themselves use graph databases and analysis tools to uncover the web of user relationships by studying "nodes" -- representing people, companies, locations and so on -- and edges, the often-complex relationships among those nodes.

Mutual fund company American Century Investments uses graph analysis to predict the performance of the companies funds invest in. The company used the open source R statistical programming language and its iGraph package, with software and support from Revolution Analytics, to build a graph-analysis application that tracks revenue flows among manufacturers and their suppliers.

Apple, for example, has suppliers of chips and screens just as car manufacturers have suppliers of components and parts. American Century combines public and proprietary data on those buying relationships, and it applies graph analyses to get a clearer understanding of the likely performance of suppliers. These forecasts are more accurate than what could be developed with forecasts based on quarters-old public financial reports, according to American Century.

Other open-source technologies supporting graph analysis include Neo4j , a graph database developed and supported by Neo Technologies. Neo4j is used in IT and telecom network scenarios to resolve secure-access challenges, in master data management applications to see changing relationships among data, and in recommendation-engine apps to figure out what people want based on the behaviors of friends and connections. Other open source graph-analysis projects include Pregel (from Google) and Apache Giraph. It's not the stampede of solutions you see around Hadoop, but there's clearly growing interest in graph analysis.


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