Saturday, July 31, 2010

Eight Data Mining Social Networking Groups

Visit AnalyticBridge

Networking is an essential part of career management for any professional.  The relationships we develop can have great impact on our career direction and growth.  I tell young professionals all the time that their best asset in career growth is their professional network.  I tell them to start early and maintain the network continually.  The advent of LinkedIn and other internet social networking sites has made that task easier.

Vincent Granville at has compiled a list of 8 data mining social networking groups with more than 2000 members.  These groups are easy to become as member as all of them are associated with LinkedIn.  If anyone is finding anyone in the data mining community more than likely they will be a member in these groups.

I have found a couple of different jobs through LinkedIn in the past.  I have found hiring managers as well as peers that I would be potentially working with closely.  I found that to be a great benefit before the interview process.  In fact I even would contact some of the peers in the group to get a pre-interview idea of where I was working and the idiosyncrasies of the organization.  The important thing is using your professional network to maximize your career productivity.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Audio of Richard Stallman keynote at useR2010

useR 2010 Conference
The topic of open source and free software licensing can be a very confusing topic.  In the Operations Research world it is no different.  There are a lot of players in the mathematical programming software world that are vying for attention that include both proprietary and free software.  Insight into the world of free software really requires immersion into using the free software products and finding how it can apply to daily application.  Another good way to understand free software is to get it from the founders of the movement.  Richard Stallman is considered the father of the free software movement and you can find a lot of good material online based on his work.  The useR2010 conference, the annual conference for R project for statistical computing, just completed this past week and the final keynote was given by Richard Stallman.

The R-statistics blog was kind enough to post an audio of the keynote address by Richard Stallman at useR2010.  Richard is not your typical stereotype of a computer geek.  He may look the part but Richard does not pull any punches in his presentation of the free software movement and it's ideology.  Richard's talk discusses the history of the free software movement, the Gnu Public License, and his history of dealing with free software. 

Why was Richard giving the keynote address when he doesn't have a statistics background?  Well the R statistical computing software platform is licensed under the GPL, Gnu Public License.  R is free to use, distrubute, modify and improve as long as it's code is given credit to it's creator.  This is much of what the GPL represents.  Listen to the audio by Richard to really understand his passion for free software and what it means to him and the software world.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Podcast with Revloutions Analytics CEO Norman Nie

Through the Revolutions blog there is a really interesting podcast about R by Internet Evolution Radio interviewing Norman Nie.  Norman Nie is the CEO of Revolutions Analytics which I posted about in the past on how Revelotion Analytics is going to take R commercial.

In this podcast Norman is asked a lot of interesting questions about R and the statistical modeling enterprise in general.  They discuss his past with SPSS.  They also discuss the advantages of using an Open Source software versus a proprietary platform.  The interview gets really interesting when they discuss how statistical data is important to enterprise business and how a lot of organizations get it wrong.

If you are new to R and want to know more about its capabilities this is a great podcast.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

OpenGamma startup claims Open Source Financial Analytics

According to a new startup firm, OpenGamma, is preparing to launch its Open Source Financial Analytics solutions.  OpenGamma is a London based firm that will specialize in risk management and financial markets by providing software architecture.  From the article, this is a quote from the CEO Kyle Wylie

"Our goal in building OpenGamma isn't just to build an open source technology" said Wylie, "Our goal is to build the best platform for financial analytics and risk management possible". The platform will be made available under a "commercial friendly open source licence"
OpenGamma is going to provide several solutions based on its Open Architecture software platform.  According to their website they will be providing batch risk systems, commercial trading, bespoke trading, and event-driven alert systems.  The companies main moniker and selling point is that all of their software code with be Open.  This means that companies will have the flexibility to not only debug but potential contribute back to the project, in theory.

This sounds like a brave yet prudent business venture.  I think OpenGamma could be wildly successful with their Open Architecture platform.  They can be especially successful if they allow the financial analytics community to contribute back to their software platforms.  I believe we will be seeing more companies and startups like this in the future in Analytics.  Perhaps there is an Open Source Operations Research platform on the horizon.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Open source solver for Excel

Thanks to a post by Michael Trick we find that the open source solver community has an new platform with Excel.  Although its not a replacement for Solver the OpenSolver does offer a lot of benefits that the existing Excel optimization platform does not perform.  OpenSolver is an extender of the existing Solver.  You will still need to use Solver to develop the model.  Yet OpenSolver can take over from there.  Some of the benefits include
  • COIN-OR CBC optimization engine to perform the calculations
  • Compatible to existing Solver models
  • No artificial limits to the size of the problem (huge win here!)
Some of the disadvantages are that it does not solve non-linear models.  Also it does not run as a stand-alone plug-in as the current Solver.  I believe that OpenSolver is only developed for the Excel 2007 platform.  OpenSolver was developed by Andrew Mason and is licensed under GPL.  OpenSolver is free to distribute and download.

I'm hoping to give this a try soon.  I'm really encouraged by OpenSolver because I always thought the current Solver was very limited.  Looking forward to great things from OpenSolver.  For other ideas about Open Source solvers with spreadsheets be sure to look at Open Office Calc.