I know that many of you are getting ready to attend the IOD conference
next week in Las Vegas. Alas, I will not be there, but that doesn't stop me from giving you advice about how to get the most out of a conference. After all, you are spending your time there, and your company's money, so you might as well make the most of it.
Earlier this month, I was fortunate to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Keystone, Colorado. I was notified of my participation only two weeks before, and I wasn't aware of this conference at all. I made my reservations and printed out the conference agenda, which I reviewed on the plane on the way there.Most conferences give you access to the agenda ahead of time, and it's a good idea to print that out and have a look at it.
As for me, after one quick pass through it, I started by putting a "dot" next to anything I might be interested in, and a "star" next to anything that was a 'must see'. Then I started to notice some trends emerging. I came up with these goals for the conference, based on what was in the agenda:
- meet other IBM women (this was, after all, a Women in Computing conference, and IBM was sending me)
- text analytics technologies
- women in technology issues, including attracting more students
- social networking and collaboration
- cool stuff other than the above
To that end, I circled the name of any IBMer, and labeled each of the rest of what I noted as one of the above. Now, I realize, this approach might seem a bit, well, organized -- particularly for me. But it really worked, particularly to keep my attention and also keep a balance of different topics, as well as provide a tiebreaker when there were multiple sessions at the same time - I just look at the balance of the other sessions I've been attending.
Another thing you want to do while you're there is talk to other people about what they've seen, what they are going to see, etc. It's so easy to miss something or misinterpret something in an agenda.
If you keep a good balance between "use right now" and "good to know for the future" topics, you can help keep your brain from overflowing - that's always a danger at a multi-day conference![Read More]
Even though I don't work daily on DB2 any more, I thought this might be a helpful post.
Last night I was online, shopping coincindentally on Cyber Monday, for presents for both my Dad's birthday and my nephew's birthday.
A work colleague happened to catch me online to ask some questions. Now, these answers are not from a book, just what I said right out of my head -- JUST as I would if you and I had this conversation. Here is our Lotus Sametime conversation, verbatim, no editing. updated: one minor edit marked by  -- OK, and I also put in the html tags and made the requester anonymous, of course. So -- sure, I could have said more about the virtues of data sharing and WLM. They are many! Forgive me, it was nighttime and I wasn't in a "marketing" mood.
In any case, please enjoy the truthiness of this exchange.
Dec 1, 2008
8:25:22 PM coworker Hi, do you have time to give me a 101 lesson on db2 z stuff?
8:28:11 PM me right now?
8:28:19 PM coworker yes
8:28:38 PM me what do you need to know?
8:29:07 PM coworker ok here come the stupid questions...
8:29:10 PM what is data sharing?
8:29:58 PM me it's 2 DB2 subsystems that share one set of data, for availability and scaling beyond one machine
8:30:06 PM 2 or more that is
8:31:02 PM coworker ok so that leads me to another question, can you explain subsystems, lpars ? what is it like in windows world?
8:31:46 PM me a subsystem is a DB2 installation
8:32:18 PM an lpar is a "logical partition", kind of like a VM on windows...
8:32:59 PM coworker can you install anything else on a subsytstem?
8:33:12 PM how do subsystems and lpars relate to each other?
8:34:34 PM me a subsystem is just db2's code, it runs in an operating system which is in an LPAR. other programs (like IMS and websphere) can be installed in that same operating system instance in that same LPAR
8:36:49 PM coworker oh oi see, i'm getting confused with the subsystem term to mean a z/OS OS term
8:36:50 PM got it
8:36:57 PM so tell me about hypersockets?
8:37:56 PM me they are a "fast pipe" for TCP/IP between LPARs on a physical z box - like a 1GB network but faster (don't know the exact numbers)
8:39:10 PM coworker so is this DRDA or no?
8:39:15 PM or using db2 connect
8:40:30 PM me DRDA communication messages travel over over TCP/IP, so if both sides are in LPARs, then they can go over the hypersockets - such as Linux on z on one side in an LPAR, and DB2 z on the other side in an LPAR
8:41:27 PM coworker so when 2 lpars communicate they do not use TCp/IP, they use hypersockets
8:41:30 PM is this correct?
8:42:32 PM me they do use TCP/IP, which travels over the hypersockets as a physical path - like a network wire
8:42:53 PM now... 2 datasharing members don't use either, if that's what you're getting at
8:43:12 PM they use the coupling facility to communicate
8:43:21 PM coworker is this built into z/OS or db2?
8:43:26 PM me z/OS
8:43:26 PM coworker the copuling faciloity
8:43:29 PM i see
8:43:50 PM me it's a separate feature of z - parallel sysplex, which is what datasharing is built on
8:44:25 PM coworker how come a customer would want to use data sharing? benefits? cons?
8:45:26 PM me benefits are availability, since all of db2 maintenance can go on one member at a time so they can keep their data available
8:45:49 PM also scalable, since the number of threads to connect to one db2 is limited, the other threads can go to another db2 -- they share all the data
8:45:51 PM coworker o i c
8:46:02 PM ok got it
8:46:08 PM me good!
8:46:13 PM coworker wait one more question hahaha
8:46:15 PM me k
8:46:17 PM coworker tell me about workload mgmt
8:46:22 PM tha'ts a z/OS thing right?
8:47:05 PM me yes - it helps balance when there's more than one subsystem on the LPAR, also helps balance priority between different db2 threads and even helps choose which data sharing subsystem gets a connection based on how busy the systems are
8:47:57 PM coworker how come this is such a big advantage over windows let's say
8:48:06 PM doesn't all operation systems do this
8:48:56 PM me no - windows doesn't let you set the priority of different programs/users/etc (as far as i know)
8:50:52 PM coworker yes you can via task manager
8:50:55 PM although not sure how smart it is
8:51:15 PM what makes z/os workload mgmt so sophisticated
8:51:21 PM i'm just wondering what's the big deal
8:52:28 PM me it's got a pretty complex set of rules and levels of priority, frequent sampling, decaying priority over time, different rules for different times of day, etc. That said, I didn't know it was considered that big of a deal
8:54:30 PM coworkerhahahaha
8:54:36 PM thanks for your db2 z/os 101
8:54:43 PM me any time[Read More]
I found out about this one last week, and I think it sounds pretty interesting. IBM is holding a data management 'virtual conference' on February 25th. This one sounds like it's a lot more than just a webinar, as there is a show floor with virtual Expo Pedestals as well as speakers and the chance to chat with experts.
The screen shots that I saw look intriguing, although I admit that I don't yet have an exact sense of what it will be like to "be there". What I do know is that travel budgets are likely to range from tight to non-existent for everyone, but the need for knowledge and personal technical contacts is greater than ever.
Here's the agenda:
8:00 AM ET Show floor opens
11:00 Understanding the Foundations of The Information Agenda
12:00 Noon Chat with the experts
1:30 PM Integrated Data Management Revolution with Merv Adrian of Forrester Research
2:30 PM Chat with the experts
6:00 PM Show floor closes
If you haven't seen much on the Information Agenda, it's worth a look. It's all about trusted information and getting the right information out of the silos and working for the business. Over my years in the Information Management area of IBM, I've seen this message evolve and it continues to make more sense to me - how about you? The way I see it, if you're responsible for one silo of information, making that available for the business to benefit from should be one of your main objectives, well, that along with ensuring the security and reliability of that information.
Here's what the Expo Solution Pedestals will have:
Information AgendaLower Costs with IBM Data ServersOptim Data GrowthArchitect and Developer ProductivityDBA Efficiency and Autonomics
Along with the fact that there's no travel cost, the virtual conference is free to attend! Interested? Register now!
. And let me know how you liked it, did it work? It's easy to say that this can't fully replace a real in-person conference experience (after all there's no beer), but I like the idea of supplementing the real ones with other ways to stay connected and informed. This should be a step up from a webinar, as there seem to be many opportunities to interact real-time.
Now... how are they going to handle free swag from those pedestals? :-)[Read More]
As many of you know, I changed jobs early in 2008 to switch my developer focus from DB2 for z/OS over to unstructured text technologies. Since many DB2 folks are heads-down in structured data, that whole "content"side is a bit of a mystery. Sure, you know about search, and you likely have a vague understanding of what it means to have a text index supporting keyword search. But really, there's so much more...
I've been learning a ton about all of this, which is to be expected after over a year (!) in this job. I have some terrific colleagues in text analytics, in research, development and services, who continually amaze me with their breadth and depth of knowledge, as well as their passion for the topic and their eagerness to help customers.
I happen to love linguistics, so this job is a great fit for me. I love to read, and the turn of a phrase in a book or a song lyric brings me joy. I like to think about the best way to phrase things and ways to interpret sentences. The more I interact with non-native English speakers, the more I appreciate both the beauty and the limitations of language, and the inherent difficulties in both generating and understanding sentences. I truly enjoyed all my study of French in school, too. It's always been such an intellectual snobbery to say something like "the French have a word for that", but anyone who knows more than one language knows it to be true -- language translation is never exact and concepts cannot always be expressed well, even in one's native language. Bottom line is that it's so interesting for me to dig into and help shape the technology and rules around extracting meaning from unstructured text.
Last month I was talking with a long-time friend and colleague who was here with her company at the IBM Silicon Valley Lab for a technology briefing. She and I have had several conversations at conferences over the years on topics like O-O databases, Java, XML, as they were emerging towards mainstream over the years. In the briefing, we talked a bit about unstructured data in the context of the Information Agenda, and one of their company's thought leaders said that unstructured data inclusion is implied. Cool, but, um, how exactly? Their (very reasonable) response when I probed a little further was that they needed to hook up with the business guys on that. YES! That's where I think we all absolutely have to start -- what is the unstructured data, and what questions do you need answered from it for business value. Then we go into more of the logistics around that.
Specifically, just this week I've worked on a couple of items that can help me bring some meaning to what text analytics is all about to folks who haven't been exposed to it deeply. The first was working on a report for a well-known analyst group, where we describe our information access technologies and offerings for unstructured data. And the second is a new offering that I hope will become available soon, to help quantify needs and specific business value that can be derived from unstructured data. If you are curious about any specifics, a great place to start digging into and even playing with some text analytics technology is the LanguageWare capabilities, system text and UIMA.
If you're interested in this kind of stuff, please let me know, or contact your local IBM rep and ask them (and tell them to ask me if they want a starting contact!) I'm passionate and eager to help! :-)[Read More]
Too many blog posts start with "It's been awhile since I've posted here", so I'm gonna skip that part and pretend that we've been talking regularly all along, OK ?
Firstly, yes, I'll be at IOD
this year! I've missed a couple due to being completely heads-down on helping get this cool new product out, so it will be great on a personal and professional networking level to reconnect with many of you. I'm there to help represent an IBM product called IBM Content Analytics
affectionately known as "ICA". It's part of our Enterprise Content Management suite. ICA integrates very well in an enterprise but at its core it is a standalone product - no prereqs. I hope that we get a chance to chat about it if we run into each other at IOD, I promise to keep it fun and friendly. :-)
The value proposition for IOD is one of unlocking insight with business value from your text content. Of course there is amazing technical capability behind it, and that's where my time is spent. Remember those old ads for the Evelyn Woods Speed Reading
courses (kinda funny that it's still around, huh!)? Conceptually, it's like this ICA system knows how to do that, because it can just go and "read" anything and everything you've got, and then tell you what the important things are across the whole smash of documents. You aren't searching, you're being presented the hot terms, words, phrases, words that come from a list you provide, and
how they are trending over time (you get to choose the date for analyzing trends - received date? incident date? date extracted from text? hire date? birth date? -- get the picture?). ICA also shows you how other terms, phrases, words correlate to what you've already identified. Right away out of the box, ICA will show you insight -- and it connects to all different enterprise sources
. We've got a great suite of built-in capability for text analytics and intuitive visualizations for your insights. And then on top of that, ICA is completely customizable, too - make it find the insights/concepts you are interested in, display them how you need to, get instant results for a document, export analytics results to your favorite reporting tools, and oh, so much more!
My technical lead focus on 2010 has been on the ICA tooling and customization capabilities - how to add new custom text analytics, how to use the LanguageWare Resource Worbench
to customize ICA, and how to make sure the sources of text are represented the way you want them. In that vein, I led a team of brilliant capable students in an Extreme Blue
project this summer who really helped us to show how you can unlock the value in your data using this platform. And I've been having a lot of geeky fun designing and giving demos to lots of different clients.
Come learn more if you'll be at IOD. It's easy to search this ECM roadmap
for Content Analytics sessions, and that's where you'll find me hanging around, plus I'll be at the Expo pedestals. Or let's catch up over a beverage - it's been too long!
Modified by PeggyZ
I'm really enjoying being back working at IBM's Silicon Valley Lab, after spending some time on assignment in IBM's Global Business Services division. Since November, I've been working as one of the product architects for IBM's Big Insights product, focusing on Text Analytics.
This week we were working closely with our top-notch design team, and it occurred to me that the four big areas of data actifity we were discussing spelled out LOVE.
Load, Organize, Visualize, Export.
Since we started just after Valentine's day, we decided this was appropriate. And for me, this has all truly been a labor of LOVE. I'm trying to make it stick as a code name. You heard it here first!
I thought I'd share a nice little AQL output example that might be of help in your Big Insights text analytics programming.
Consider that you've created a very complex AQL view, one which extracts a very detailed concept from text. This might take into account many different text constructs and match a large variety of different text in documents.
If you want to take that view and use it to simply identify which documents have an occurance of this advanced concept, you can do it like this. In this case, I've assumed the complex view name is called "Division'.
create view DivisionCount as
select Count(*) as dc from Division D;
create view DivisionBoolean as
when Equals(DC.dc,0) then 'no'
from Document R,DivisionCount DC;
To test this using the Text Analytics tutorial example, I created a new document called text.txt which doesn't have any matches for Division in it. When I run it and select to see DivisionBoolean in the output, I get this as a result:
I had the pleasure this week of participating in a couple of live IBM Academy of Technology events - the first for me in several years. It was great to reconnect with some of my colleagues, and get a chance to talk over IBM technology and client engagements.
Our academy president, Rashik Parmar, had arranged for a session with Bill Gajda from Visa. Bill's role at Visa includes mobile strategy as well as global innovation. We had a frank and open discussion about Visa's use of data, who their customers are, and IBM's technology role.
Please note that any errors in here are likely mine, I didn't take notes, I was far too engaged and inspired thinking about all the data (!) during the discussion.
Clearly, credit card transactions are "big data". I don't recall the exact numbers, but here's an article from over 5 years ago which references 300 million transactions a day. Bill Gajda told us that Visa keeps around 5-7 years of past transactions. They primarily use this information for real-time fraud scoring of individual transactions. So, when you charge something, Visa gets the approval request, and attaches a score which indicates the likelihood that the transaction is fraudulent. This is based on several factors, such as your usual spending patterns and the location of the transaction. That is the primary use for the historical data. Bill also told us of a partnership they did with The Gap, where if a Gap customer in their loyalty program opted in with their phone number, Visa would tell the Gap when a purchase was being made nearby a Gap store, and then The Gap could text an offer to their customer for a discount at the Gap. I was able to find an article describing that, and was surprised to see it was from 2011! Now, if you're a geek like me, you'll think for a second about how the data flows. (This is just Peggy speculating, I have no further knowledge of the internals of this...) So say you charge your lunch on your Visa card, and the approval data flows to Visa, then after Visa processes the approval, it also looks at the zip code and compares it to a list of zip codes it has from The Gap of their store locations (I'm making this easy by Zip code rather than a lattitude/longitude based proximity lookup). When there's a match, Visa initiates a message to The Gap to tell them you're close to a Gap store... and Gap then sends you a text message with a promotion. Phew! Do you think Visa also has a indicator on your credit card that you're a Gap customer? They must... I can't imagine they do this on "every" Visa transaction... ! Actually, I guess there is "Gap Visa" card, so it's probably those which are targeted.
I don't know about you, but I have fun thinking about this kind of stuff. Some other interesting facts I learned are that Visa doesn't have your name or personal information - that data all resides with the issuing bank. One of my colleagues asked Bill Gajda whether if a person has multiple Visa cards, does Visa have information across the cards. At first, he answered "yes", but then with another colleague's question about matching the names, he said "no" - Visa has no idea that you are the same person when you have multiple cards. Interesting thought about whether we could perhaps match spending patterns to identify who might be the same person? That might not be something Visa wants to do, of course, I was thinking of it more as a theoretical exercise. Also, Visa doesn't really consider cardholders customers, despite its advertising budget - its customers are the issuing banks and the accepting retailers, so they are the ones who would be likely consumers of the volume of data or aggregated insights from it. Tho I guess the banks already have it, too.
In any case, again, data about people and their habits is big data and big business. I personally don't find any of this "scary" but I guess some people might. I just like people, so data about people is interesting data to me. I might those who do find it scary might just have to take a closer look at some of those tiny print privacy agreements!
We are often asked where to find the sample files for our text analytics tutorial. It's a small set of IBM quarterly reports. I've uploaded them here, just click on that to download them. Happy coding!!