Defining big data

Buzz words have the unfortunate tendency to be often used but seldom clearly defined. Today we are going to tackle the popular phrase “big data” and strip it down to a clear definition. Overall the term is fairly self explanatory, it refers to large data sets, but there are 5 defining characteristics specific to big data which differentiate it from the data-sets of yesterday. These 5 characteristics are known as the 5 V’s of big data.

Book review: Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O’Neil

As big data transforms our businesses, governments and society, it also presents us with new moral and ethical dilemmas that we need to consider. As is typical with new technology, we often tend to implement first, and consider the ethical issues later. Cathy O’Neil’s book Weapons of Math Destruction is an introduction to the ethical issues raised by the widespread use of data to drive decisions in our lives.

CRISP-DM in depth: business understanding

When using the CRISP-DM framework, the first step in the data mining process is to develop your business understanding. This stage of the process is about gaining knowledge of the business, the issues they face, opportunities for improvement, their objectives, their constraints and creating your project plan.

Book review: Whiplash by Joi Ito and Jeff Howe

Talking about the rate of change in our society has transcended being a statement of fact to being something of a cliché. Never the less, technical and societal changes are forcing us to regularly ask deep questions about how to move forward in the midst of rapid change. Joi Ito and Jeff Howe of the MIT Media Lab tackle these questions and propose new guiding principles in their book Whiplash.

A brief overview of SQL’s SELECT statement

One of the first steps in any data science project is to acquire and analyze the raw data. Since this data will commonly be stored in databases, understanding Structured Query Language (SQL) will enable you to get the data you need and start working quickly. This post summarizes the basics of SQL’s SELECT statement, which is how you retrieve information from the database.

The Cross-Industry Standard Process for Data Mining

While analysis tools and algorithms have evolved at a rapid pace, the overall business process for analytics has remained remarkably stable. One seminal work on the analytic process is IBM’s Cross-Industry Standard Process for Data Mining (CRISP-DM). At over 20 years old, it remains a relevant and useful tool for describing the overall data science workflow.

Supporting skills for data science: relational databases & SQL

A successful data scientist needs to draw on skills from many disciplines, and one of the core skill sets is knowledge of relational databases and querying using structured query language (SQL). Relational databases are the most common way to store structured data, so a firm understanding of databases is key to obtaining performing simple analysis and reporting quickly.