Big data had a big week, with updates from Hadoop distribution companies Hortonworks and MapR, plus one from Confluent, whose founders are the engineers behind Apache Kafka. Plus we've got news about an Amazon executive who has joined the board of directors at MongoDB and information about a new report that illuminates some of the tactics that data-driven companies use to ensure they have top analytics talent on staff. Finally, if you are looking to apply game theory to your secret Santa or other holiday gift exchange, we've got you covered.
Let's start with the analytics recruitment conundrum. Everybody wants to hire the best data scientists, but there aren't many of these professionals to go around. A new report shows that companies that are at the top of their games in using analytics to drive business are more likely to recruit top talent right out of college or train existing employees than are other companies.
That's because it's hard to find these "trilingual" professionals -- ones proficient in business knowledge, data modeling, and technology. The report recommends three specific tactics that will help train your data scientists in the skills that they lack.
[Think the boss doesn't care when you do online holiday shopping at work? Read What CIOs Think About Online Holiday Shopping at Work.]
Big Data Real-Time Streaming
Lots of news on the open source big data front this week. Let's start with Confluent. This is the company founded a year ago by the engineers behind the open source real-time messaging project for big data, Apache Kafka. The technology was incubated within LinkedIn, which is one of many digital-native companies that currently use it.
Others include Uber, Pinterest, and Netflix. Confluent has issued an update to its real-time system for messaging and analytics with Confluent Platform 2.0, based on the Apache Kafka 0.9 core. The new release enhances security and also provides an easier non-coding way for developers to add data sources and offers support for more development languages.
Also this week one of the big three Hadoop distribution companies, MapR (the others being Cloudera and Hortonworks), announced plans to release its own real-time streaming technology. MapR Streams connects and tracks multiple data streams among multiple sources. It's part of the value that MapR is adding to the next version of its Converged Data Platform, which rolls Hadoop and other technologies together for a more complete package of big data tools. The new version is slated to hit in early 2016.
Hortonworks, another one of the big three Hadoop distribution companies, was also talking about streaming this week. But Hortonworks' announcement focused on Apache Spark Streaming technology. Spark has been described as the operating system for big data, and it offers a real-time data streaming component. The new Hortonworks announcement updates the Hortonworks Data Platform with the in-memory analytics capabilities of Spark. Hortonworks said the update will help with data science acceleration and provide more seamless data access.
That's a lot of tools, but what about the companies that are actually using big data to save the world? Google this week announced that it was rebranding its Google Life Sciences effort as "Verily" under the Alphabet umbrella company. This company defines its mission as bringing together life sciences and technology to uncover new truths about health and disease.
Data Quality Tools, in Time for the Holidays
Analytics based on bad-quality data makes for bad-quality decisions. Gartner recently put together a new Gartner Magic Quadrant report on tools for improving data quality. This includes a wide range of tools in a few different categories, and it's something that many organizations rely on.
MongoDB Gets a New Director
And NoSQL database company MongoDB has landed a big fish for its board of directors. Tom Killalea spent 16 years at Amazon as the company's first chief information security officer. He led the infrastructure and distributed systems team that worked on what later became a key part of the AWS platform. He will serve as an independent director at MongoDB.
Gaming the Office Gift Exchange
You've stuck with us a long time here so you could hear about game theory as applied to your white elephant office gift exchange, right? In a traditional office gift exchange, each person brings a wrapped gift and gets a wrapped gift. Numbers are drawn and each person chooses and opens a gift when their number is called. With the white elephant twist, the next gift recipient can either choose one of the wrapped gifts or steal one of the gifts that someone else has already opened.
Of course, you want to win the best gift, don't you? Before you head over to that holiday party, check out this strategy for nabbing the most sought-after gift of all. If you try this experiment, come back and let us know how it went in the comments section below.
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