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Almost a dozen almost-truisms about Data that almost everyone should consider carefully as they embark on a journey into Data Science. There are a number of preconceptions about working with data at scale where the realities beg to differ. This talk estimates that number to be at least eleven, through probably much larger. At least that number has a great line from a movie. Let's consider some of the less-intuitive directions in which this field is heading, along with likely consequences and corollaries -- especially for those who are just now beginning to study about the technologies, the processes, and the people involved.

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- 1. Eleven Almost-Truisms About Data 2015-07-24 • Seattle Paco Nathan, @pacoid O’Reilly Learning
- 2. Set and Setting: Almost a Dozen Almost-Truisms about Data … to consider when embarking on a journey into Data Science There are a number preconceptions about working with data at scale, where the realities beg to differ We’ll crank this number up to eleven – even though the actual number is of course much larger, but that’s perhaps for another day
- 3. Almost a Dozen Almost-Truisms about Data … to consider when embarking on a journey into Data Science Let’s discuss some less-intuitive directions, along with likely consequences and corollaries This is not intended to prove a set of points, rather to provide a set of launching points Set and Setting:
- 4. #01: Because Rates
- 5. The rates of data being stored and analyzed jumped quite dramatically in the late 1990s to early 2000s … partly because storage became incredibly cheap … partly because internetworked machines suddenly started producing much more machine data Fifteen years later, the rates jump again, this time by orders of magnitude … Because IoT It’s almost like this thing has a pulse? #01: Because Rates
- 6. In other words, to paraphrase von Schelling, experience precedes analysis Typically, we’re swimming in data, and we tend to respond by struggling to understand its structure and dynamics That, in contrast to the myth that our analysis drives data collection #01: Because Rates
- 7. Four independent teams were working toward horizontal scale-out of workﬂows based on commodity hardware This effort prepared the way for huge Internet successes during the 1997 holiday season… AMZN, EBAY, Inktomi (YHOO Search), then GOOG MapReduce on clusters of commodity hardware and the Apache Hadoop open source stack emerged from this context #01: Because Rates – 1997 Q3 Inﬂection Point
- 8. Amazon “Early Amazon: Splitting the website” – Greg Linden glinden.blogspot.com/2006/02/early-amazon-splitting- website.html eBay “The eBay Architecture” – Randy Shoup, Dan Pritchett addsimplicity.com/adding_simplicity_an_engi/2006/11/ you_scaled_your.html addsimplicity.com.nyud.net:8080/downloads/ eBaySDForum2006-11-29.pdf Inktomi (YHOO Search) “Inktomi’s Wild Ride” – Erik Brewer (0:05:31 ff) youtu.be/E91oEn1bnXM Google “Underneath the Covers at Google” – Jeff Dean (0:06:54 ff) youtu.be/qsan-GQaeyk perspectives.mvdirona.com/2008/06/11/ JeffDeanOnGoogleInfrastructure.aspx #01: Because Rates – 1997 Q3 Inﬂection Point
- 9. RDBMS SQL Query result sets recommenders + classiﬁers Web Apps customer transactions Algorithmic Modeling Logs event history aggregation dashboards Product Engineering UX Stakeholder Customers DW ETL Middleware servletsmodels #01: Because Rates – Circa 2001, post e-commerce success
- 10. RDBMS SQL Query result sets recommenders + classiﬁers Web Apps customer transactions Algorithmic Modeling Logs event history aggregation dashboards Product Engineering UX Stakeholder Customers DW ETL Middleware servletsmodels “data products” #01: Because Rates – Circa 2001, post e-commerce success
- 11. Primary sources for the notion: Cleveland,W. S., “Data Science: an Action Plan for Expanding the Technical Areas of the Field of Statistics,” International Statistical Review (2001), 69, 21-26. http://cm.bell-labs.com/stat/doc/datascience.ps Breiman L., “Statistical modeling: the two cultures”, Statistical Science (2001), 16:199-231. http://projecteuclid.org/euclid.ss/1009213726 …also good to mention John Tukey #01: Because Rates –Whither Data Science?
- 12. Rashomon, the 1950 Japanese period drama by Akira Kurosawa, symbolizes a long-standing tension in Statistics, one which Mark Twain described ever so succinctly… wikipedia.org/wiki/Rashomon: “The ﬁlm is known for a plot device which involves various characters providing alternative, self-serving and contradictory versions of the same incident.” #01: Because Rates – A Sea Change
- 13. Because IoT! (exabytes/day per sensor) bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/19/g-e-makes-the- machine-and-then-uses-sensors-to-listen-to-it/ #01: Because Rates – A Sea Change, Redux
- 14. #02: Batch Defenestration
- 15. #02: Batch Defenestration
- 16. #02: Batch Defenestration Batch Analytics Going strong, since 1944 Been there, done that
- 17. Businesses want to join the 21c., and level up to streaming analytics “I saw what you did … in batch,” now performed a zillion times faster #02: Batch Defenestration – Infrastructure, Remodeled Contributors per Month to Spark 0 20 40 60 80 100 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Most active project at Apache, More than 500 known production deployments
- 18. Tuning Spark Streaming forThroughput Gerard Maas, 2014-12-22 virdata.com/tuning-spark/ #02: Batch Defenestration – “Team Apache”, $316.4M funding
- 19. Can Spark Streaming survive Chaos Monkey? Bharat Venkat, Prasanna Padmanabhan, Antony Arokiasamy, Raju Uppalapati techblog.netﬂix.com/2015/03/can-spark- streaming-survive-chaos-monkey.html #02: Batch Defenestration – Resiliency, at the edge of Comp Sci
- 20. #03: Circa 1904
- 21. Trending interests: • electric cars • organic farm-to-table cuisine • permaculture • sustainable urbanism #03: Circa 1904
- 22. Speaking of batch windows… The last century or two of statistics represent an extremely huge mess Let’s start the clock over, then move forward into a more real-time near-future #03: Circa 1904
- 23. #03: Circa 1904 – Lies, Damn Lies, Statistics, Data Science Probability got going, formally, in the 16th c. – although interesting mathematical estimations trace back to classical times Arabs in the 9th c. used frequency analysis – later rediscovered by Europeans during the early Italian Renaissance Statistics followed, originally more about what we might call demographics – through 18th c.
- 24. Laplace, Gauss, et al., bridged prob & stats in the late 18th c. using distributions (what we studied in Stats 101) to infer the probability of errors in estimates Much of the 19th/20th c. work was about using goodness of ﬁt tests, etc., justifying some distribution • generally speaking, that require samples • that, in turn, implies batch windows #03: Circa 1904 – Lies, Damn Lies, Statistics, Data Science
- 25. While 19th/20th c. stats work focused on defensibility 21st c. work, w.r.t. Big Data apps, focuses more on predictability – plus there’s a shift in how we make estimates… BTW, doesn’t it seem weird to crunch through piles of data in large batch jobs, at large expense, when the results get used to approximate features ultimately? Why not perform that in stream? #03: Circa 1904 – Lies, Damn Lies, Statistics, Data Science
- 26. A fascinating, relatively new area pioneered by relatively few people – e.g., Philippe Flajolet Provides approximation with error bounds using much less resources (RAM, CPU, etc.) highlyscalable.wordpress.com/ 2012/05/01/probabilistic-structures- web-analytics-data-mining/ #03: Circa 1904 – Lies, Damn Lies, Statistics, Data Science
- 27. algorithm use case example Bloom Filter set membership code MinHash set similarity code HyperLogLog set cardinality code Count-Min Sketch frequency summaries code DSQ streaming quantiles code SkipList ordered sequence search code #03: Circa 1904 – Lies, Damn Lies, Statistics, Data Science
- 28. E.g., ±4% could buy you two orders of magnitude reduction in the required memory footprint for an analytics app OSS projects such as Algebird and BlinkDB provide for this newer approach to the math of approximations at scale #03: Circa 1904 – Lies, Damn Lies, Statistics, Data Science
- 29. #04: Your API is an Illusion
- 30. IMO, many notions of “API” are illusions Arguably, reductionist shell games And that imposes limitations on how we work, and even how we think… #04: Your API is an Illusion
- 31. evaluationoptimizationrepresentationcirca 2010 ETL into cluster/cloud data data visualize, reporting Data Prep Features Learners, Parameters Unsupervised Learning Explore train set test set models Evaluate Optimize Scoring production data use cases data pipelines actionable results decisions, feedback bar developers foo algorithms Algorithms and developer-centric template thinking only go so far in a workﬂow… Results are shown in blue, while the real work is highlighted in red #04: Your API is an Illusion –The Libraries: Alexandria, Redux
- 32. On the other hand, Physics does well to teach modeling – I like to hire physicists to work on Data teams… They tend to get the interdisciplinary aspects: got the math background, coding experience, generally good at systems engineering, etc. Not saying we must all rush out to get Physics degrees – there’s something to be learned there, vital for the work and priorities ahead #04: Your API is an Illusion –The Interzone
- 33. “The impact of computing extends far beyond science… affecting all aspects of our lives. To ﬂourish in today's world, everyone needs computational thinking.” – Jeannette Wing, CMU Computing now ranks alongside the proverbial Reading,Writing, and Arithmetic… Center for ComputationalThinking @ CMU http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~CompThink/ Exploring ComputationalThinking @ Google https://www.google.com/edu/computational-thinking/ #04: Your API is an Illusion – Antidote: ComputationalThinking
- 34. #05: Code Inceptionism
- 35. Even so, do we really need to write code for WordCount 10^N times? #05: Code Inceptionism
- 36. Inceptionism: Going Deeper into Neural Networks Alexander Mordvintsev, Christopher Olah, Mike Tyka Google (2015-06-17) googleresearch.blogspot.com/2015/06/ inceptionism-going-deeper-into-neural.html Artiﬁcial Neural Networks have spurred remarkable recent progress in image classiﬁcation and speech recognition. But even though these are very useful tools based on well-known mathematical methods, we actually understand surprisingly little of why certain models work and others don’t. So let’s take a look at some simple techniques for peeking inside these networks. #05: Code Inceptionism
- 37. Imagine data mining GitHub commit histories of popular open source projects, then applying genetic programming to evolve patches for other OSS projects... In other words, brilliant: Imagine data mining GitHub commit histories of popular open source projects, then apply genetic programming to evolve patches for other OSS projects… in other words, brilliant: Sidebar: Claire Le Goues, automating software repair Claire Le Goues cmu.edu GenProg:A Generic Method for Automatic Software Repair Claire Le Goues, ThanhVu Nguyen, Stephanie Forrest, Westley Weimer IEEE TSE (2012) www.cs.cmu.edu/~clegoues/ docs/legoues-tse-genprog12.pdf We describe the algorithm and report experimental results of its success on 16 programs totaling 1.25M lines of C code and 120K lines of module code, spanning eight classes of defects, in 357 seconds, on average.We analyze the generated repairs qualitatively and quantitatively to demonstrate that the process efﬁciently produces evolved programs that repair the defect, are not fragile input memorizations, and do not lead to serious degradation in functionality. GenProg:A Generic Method for Automatic Software Repair Claire Le Goues, ThanhVu Nguyen, Stephanie Forrest, Westley Weimer IEEE TSE (2012) www.cs.cmu.edu/~clegoues/ docs/ legoues-tse-genprog12.pdf We describe the algorithm and report experimental results of its success on 16 programs totaling 1.25M lines of C code and 120K lines of module code, spanning eight classes of defects, in 357 seconds, on average. We analyze the generated repairs qualitatively and quantitatively to demonstrate that the process efﬁciently produces evolved programs that repair the defect, are not fragile input memorizations, and do not lead to serious degradation in functionality. #05: Code Inceptionism
- 38. #06: Database Extinction?
- 39. Are databases going extinct? Distributed ﬁle systems that can be accessed as column stores are generally quite useful There’s an old saying in Computer Science: it’s difﬁcult to distinguish a really good ﬁle system from a database, and vice versa #06: Database Extinction?
- 40. Original deﬁnitions for what became relational databases had less to do with dedicated SQL products, more similarity with something like Spark SQL: A relational model of data for large shared data banks Edgar Codd Communications of the ACM (1970) dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=362685 #06: Database Extinction?
- 41. #06: Database Extinction? Tungsten Execution PythonSQL R Streaming DataFrame Advanced Analytics Physical Execution: CPU Efficient Data Structures Keep data closure to CPU cache Tungsten
- 42. #07: “N Dims good, 2 Dims baa-d”
- 43. Consider: matrices, pivot tables, etc. Our thinking about data representation is often quite two-dimensional… #07: “N Dims good, 2 Dims baa-d”
- 44. • many real-world problems are often represented as graphs • graphs can generally be converted into sparse matrices (bridge to linear algebra) • eigenvectors ﬁnd the stable points in a system deﬁned by matrices – which may be more efﬁcient to compute • beyond simpler graphs, complex data may require work with tensors #07: “N Dims good, 2 Dims baa-d”
- 45. Suppose we have a graph as shown below: We call x a vertex (sometimes called a node) An edge (sometimes called an arc) is any line connecting two vertices v u w x #07: “N Dims good, 2 Dims baa-d”
- 46. We can represent this kind of graph as an adjacency matrix: • label the rows and columns based on the vertices • entries get a 1 if an edge connects the corresponding vertices, or 0 otherwise v u w x u v w x u 0 1 0 1 v 1 0 1 1 w 0 1 0 1 x 1 1 1 0 #07: “N Dims good, 2 Dims baa-d”
- 47. An adjacency matrix always has certain properties: • it is symmetric, i.e., A = AT • it has real eigenvalues Therefore algebraic graph theory bridges between linear algebra and graph theory #07: “N Dims good, 2 Dims baa-d”
- 48. Tensors are a good way to handle time- series geo-spatially distributed linked data with lots of N-dimensional attributes In other words, potentially a general case for handling much of the data that we’re likely to encounter #07: “N Dims good, 2 Dims baa-d”
- 49. Although tensor factorization is considered problematic, it may provide more general case solutions: TheTensor Renaissance in Data Science Anima Anandkumar @UC Irvine radar.oreilly.com/2015/05/the-tensor- renaissance-in-data-science.html Spacey RandomWalks and Higher Order Markov Chains David Gleich @Purdue slideshare.net/dgleich/spacey-random-walks- and-higher-order-markov-chains #07: “N Dims good, 2 Dims baa-d”
- 50. #08: Science … and Data
- 51. There is Science … and there is Data Data Science is largely about interdisciplinary teams, largely about crossing boundaries (organizational, cognitive) that might otherwise preclude arriving at crucial insights – In other words, about learning It’s also about the repeatability and predictive aspects of science, where workﬂows combine people + automation NB: may conﬂict with large portions of academia which tend to decontextualize subjects #08: Science … and Data
- 52. The Science in Data Science tends to rely on the phenomenology and modeling of complex systems (did we already mention Physics?) Speaking of science and predictions, two important works to include: • Charles Sanders Peirce – one of the most proliﬁc scientists in the US, and also one of the most ﬁerce critics (abduction, etc.) • Karl Popper – who articulated some of the inherent risks of mixing “science”, “history”, and politics #08: Science … and Data
- 53. For excellent examples of Science and Data together, see CodeNeuro, particularly for use of notebooks: #08: Science … and Data
- 54. #09: Learning Curves are Forever
- 55. Learning Curves are forever – the part you need to manage more carefully than just about anything else, especially within a social context In some sense, this is essence of Data Science: How well do you learn? Much of the risk in managing a Data Science team is about budgeting for learning curve #09: Learning Curves are Forever
- 56. In contrast, IT has a long history of practicing a ﬂavor of engineering “conservatism”: highly structured process, strictly codiﬁed practices People learn a few things well, then avoid having to struggle with learning many new things perpetually… That leads to enormous teams and low ROI, among other badness scale➞ complexity➞ #09: Learning Curves are Forever
- 57. ThrowYour Life a Curve Whitney Johnson blogs.hbr.org/johnson/2012/09/ throw-your-life-a-curve.html Aggressively Pro-Active Learning: • deconstruction of the cognitive bias One Size Fits All • “makes a compelling case for personal disruption” • “plan your career around learning curves” • hire people who learn/re-learn efﬁciently #09: Learning Curves are Forever
- 58. #09: Learning Curves are Forever Education is more than just lessons, exams, certiﬁcations, instructor evaluations, etc., … though some tools would try to reduce it to that level What’s even more interesting is to leverage ML to understand the “distance” between the learner and the subject material
- 59. #10: Books, not so much, sadly…
- 60. Speaking as a former alt bookstore owner… Sadly, we don’t use books quite as much these days: • above ~35: buy it on Kindle • below ~35: watch it onYouTube #10: Books, not so much, sadly…
- 61. From a publisher perspective, consider some of the risks: • less people buy the titles • search engines surface oh-so-much noise • increasingly, it’s more difﬁcult for experts to take time to author good content and keep it updated #10: Books, not so much, sadly… Contributors per Month to Spark 0 20 40 60 80 100 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Most active project at Apache, More than 500 known production deployments
- 62. However, it’s unlikely that Kindle, etc., represent the end-all-be-all of publishing… Here’s an idea: your next “book” or “video” should be able to compute something useful #10: Books, not so much, sadly…
- 63. Interactive notebooks: Sharing the code Helen Shen Nature (2014-11-05) nature.com/news/interactive-notebooks- sharing-the-code-1.16261 #10: Books, not so much – Repeatable Science
- 64. Embracing Jupyter Notebooks at O'Reilly Andrew Odewahn, 2015-05-07 https://beta.oreilly.com/ideas/jupyter-at-oreilly “O'Reilly Media is using our Atlas platform to make Jupyter Notebooks a ﬁrst class authoring environment for our publishing program.” Jupyter, Thebe, Docker, etc. #10: Books, not so much – Something Borrowed, Something New
- 65. #10: Books, not so much – Something Borrowed, Something New
- 66. #11: A MOOCish Edumacation?
- 67. MOOCs have become popular, some are quite useful … even so, these tend to have a very low completion rate Don’t hold your breath waiting for MOOCs to replace other modes of education Learning generally requires a social context: for reinforcement, peer insights/modeling, and frankly some people really feel a need to be given permission to learn #11: A MOOCish Edumacation?
- 68. One problem with university study is that disciplines tend to decontextualize GalvanizeU is rare opportunity in that way: accredited, with contextualized hands-on experience #11: A MOOCish Edumacation?
- 69. A signiﬁcant improvement may be found in the notion of “ﬂipped” or inverted classrooms For a good example, see: Caltech Offers Online Course with Live Lectures in Machine Learning Yaser Abu-Mostafa (2012-03-30) http://www.caltech.edu/news/caltech-offers-online- course-live-lectures-machine-learning-4248 #11: A MOOCish Edumacation?
- 70. So a good bit of advice about learning and Data Science … is to invert your classrooms, recontextualize, cross the boundaries to do things that matter, and leverage the hands-on social aspects of learning Like here at GalvanizeU Summary…
- 71. Thank You
- 72. contact: Just Enough Math O’Reilly (2014) justenoughmath.com preview: youtu.be/TQ58cWgdCpA monthly newsletter for updates, events, conf summaries, etc.: liber118.com/pxn/ Intro to Apache Spark O’Reilly (2015) shop.oreilly.com/product/ 0636920036807.do
- 73. Sometimes A Strange Notion
- 74. After we’ve cleaned up data, formulated workﬂows in terms of monoids, used graph representation, and parallelized with a wealth of linear algebra, much of the heavy-lifting that remains on the clusters is in optimization For example, deep learning @Google uses many layers of neural nets trained with gradient descent optimization Taming LatencyVariability and Scaling Deep Learning Jeff Dean @Google (2013) youtu.be/S9twUcX1Zp0 Vector Quantization:
- 75. One advantage of quantum algorithms is to run large gradient descent problems in constant time… Reworking high-ROI apps to leverage lots of ML and large clusters, then SGD represents the datacenter cost basis, notably that part that scales… Want to slash costs exponentially? Plug in quantum for a game-changer, maybe Fast quantum algorithm for numerical gradient estimation Stephen P. Jordan Phys. Rev. Lett. 95, 050501 (2005) arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0405146 dwavesys.com Vector Quantization:
- 76. Proposal: let’s drop clusters of quantum devices into lunar polar craters, so we can handle massive vector quantization workloads • micro-kelvin environs • near perpetual sunlight for energy sources • park routers at L4 • approx. $15B to ﬁnance, i.e., ~6 days DoD budget Vector Quantization:
- 77. We’ll just put this here… a couple o’ Googly projects in progress: qCraft: Quantum Physics In Minecraft plus.google.com/u/ 1/+QuantumAILab/posts/ grMbaaDGChH Vector Quantization: “We’re going back to the Moon. For good.” lunar.xprize.org

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