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Quick notes from Strata NYC 2012

The O'Reilly Strata conferences are always great fun to attend, and this latest installment in New York City is no exception. This one is super-busy though; the conference has been sold out for weeks -- and not just marketing-sold-out, it's fire-department-sold out. It's non-stop conversations and presentations, and it's tough to move through the hallways in between. Nonetheless, I thought I'd pause for a couple of minutes and share some of the highlights for me so far. Ed Kohlwey and Stephanie Beben gave a three-hour tutorial on the RHadoop project, showing the packed room how to crunch big data. They shared how consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton uses R and Hadoop for data exploration; to run many tasks in parallel; and to sort, sample and join data. They've also create a very handy VirtualBox VM including R, Hadoop, RHadoop and RStudio (along with demonstration script files) which I hope to be able to post a download link for soon. Stan Humphries from Zillow gave a presentation on how data and statistical analysis drives Zillow's home valuation service. One fascinating tidbit: while Zillow has long used R to fit their valuation model, until recently they recoded the model scoring algorithm in C++ for use on the production site. The process of re-implementing a new version of the model, validating it, and deploying it used to take 9 months. But now that they run R in production via the Amazon cloud, without the need to recode the model in another language, the deployment time for new valuation models is just four weeks. Mike Driscoll from Metamarkets shared the technology behind their data stack: node.js and D3 for visualization; R and Scala for analytics; Druid as the data store; and Hadoop and Kafka for ETL. Druid is MetaMarket's home-grown high-performance, which they announced today is now available as open source software. In a similar vein, Cloudera announced the release of Impala, an open-source project two years in the making to bring high-performance real-time analytics to Hadoop. And there were even more announcements: Kaggle launched a partnership with EMC to give Greenplum users direct access to the roster of Kaggle data scientists competitors. It's been a great conference so far, and this is only day one! Looking forward to more great talks and conversations tomorrow.

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More Stories By David Smith

David Smith is Vice President of Marketing and Community at Revolution Analytics. He has a long history with the R and statistics communities. After graduating with a degree in Statistics from the University of Adelaide, South Australia, he spent four years researching statistical methodology at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom, where he also developed a number of packages for the S-PLUS statistical modeling environment. He continued his association with S-PLUS at Insightful (now TIBCO Spotfire) overseeing the product management of S-PLUS and other statistical and data mining products.<

David smith is the co-author (with Bill Venables) of the popular tutorial manual, An Introduction to R, and one of the originating developers of the ESS: Emacs Speaks Statistics project. Today, he leads marketing for REvolution R, supports R communities worldwide, and is responsible for the Revolutions blog. Prior to joining Revolution Analytics, he served as vice president of product management at Zynchros, Inc. Follow him on twitter at @RevoDavid