Don’t use a hammer to screw in a nail: Alternatives to REGEX in SPARQL

In the past I've talked about some tips for tuning SPARQL performance, but one interesting type of query that I didn't touch on comes up time and again as a SPARQL performance problem. In fact, more often than not, it is actually user naiveté that is the real cause. So what does this horrible query look like? Strangely, it is quite innocuous, and I bet a good number of you have written exactly this at some point in the past: SELECT * WHERE { ?s <http://some/predicate> ?o . FILTER (REGEX(?o, "search")) } While this looks like a perfectly sane query, the fact of the matter is that it is really anything but.  Any kind of FILTER in SPARQL involves iterating over all the possible solutions found at the point where the filter … [Read more...]

Making Big Data (Centers) More Energy-Efficient


In all this talk about big data, it doesn’t seem like much of it is focused on the centers around the world which house this technology. Data centers are getting bigger and bigger, as companies need more servers, infrastructure, storage and cooling equipment than ever before. This, of course, means the rise of energy costs, which are already at an all-time high: The LA Times reported that in California alone, residential electricity prices rose 30% between 2006 and 2012, so it’s easy to imagine data centers under a similar level of duress. But, according to The New York Times, the real problem is that data centers can waste 90% or more of the electricity they draw! This level of inefficiency is damaging both the environment and the … [Read more...]

Data Discovery: The Road Not Taken


I feel lucky knowing that I’ve spent my life all over the map…literally. I was born in the Northeast, lived 13 years in Atlanta, and am now entering my second year in the San Francisco bay area. Thanks to these moves, I've driven across the United States four times. And if I know one thing for certain after spending time on these road trips, is that I’m much happier on my mountain bike than stuck in my car. Most of my riding experience has been on the eastern seaboard, but after beginning what I believe is the second transition in my life here in the bay, I have been voraciously riding every trail I can find on the West coast. So what does mountain biking have to do with Big Data? Sure, my hobby is primarily about putting rubber to … [Read more...]

The Right Tool for the Job


I love Swiss Army Knives; their ingenuity and utility are legendary. As you can see in the picture, it is a thing of beauty, with an array of some 20 tools ready to help you solve a dizzying variety of everyday problems. Some of the tools have obvious uses, like the large blade and the magnifying lens. But a few of the tools are a bit more obscure. Take the hook, for example. Did you know that it’s also called the “parcel carrier,” and that it’s there to help you carry things? And what about that hole in the reamer? Turns out that’s a sewing eye. Do you know how to use it? Do you think you will ever use either of those tools for their intended purposes? So, for all its compactness, this engineering marvel has some parts that we’re … [Read more...]

How financial institutions can “nano-target” their customers using graph analytics


As we’ve discussed previously on this blog, when we talk about customer analytics, it’s easy to think of retailers. Stores want to dissect who their customers are and what they do, both of which revolve around patterns. Demographics, web site usage, and product buying all allow businesses to predict future customer behavior. This, in turn, gives businesses the opportunity to develop products and services to suit specific customer segments. And then marketing can better “nano-target” to the customers with a high propensity to buy. However, it’s not just the supermarkets and clothing stores that can benefit from improving their customer analytics. As a solution architect in financial services, I see the industry transforming from … [Read more...]