Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Elizabeth White, Jyoti Bansal, Steve Latham, Jim Hansen, Jnan Dash

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, @BigDataExpo, @ThingsExpo

@CloudExpo: Article

It’s All About the Data: #MachineLearning | @CloudExpo #IoT #ML #BigData

The goal of machine learning sounds simple: provide systems with the ability to learn based on the information provided them

Big Data. Analytics. Internet of Things. Cloud. In the last few years, you cannot have a discussion around technology without those terms entering the conversation. They have been major technology disruptors impacting all aspects of the business. Change seems to occur at breakneck speeds and shows no sign of slowing. Today, it appears the one constant in technology is change. Constant change requires constant innovation which thereby introduces more new technologies. One of the new technologies entering the conversation is machine learning. Gartner identified machine learning as one of the top 10 technology trends for 2016. It is definitely a hot topic.

Everything old is new again
What I find fascinating about machine learning is that the basic tenets harken back to the '70s and '80s in the early years of artificial intelligence research. The work at that time was constrained by compute capacity and amount of data available. This is the key that has enabled machine learning to leap forward in recent years - both of those constraints no longer hold. Compute cycles and data are available at levels unimagined just decades ago.

The goal of machine learning sounds simple: provide systems with the ability to learn based on the information provided them. Simple as it sounds, this is counter to classic software engineering and has its challenges. Most software development we are familiar with ‘hard codes' the systems behavior based on planned and anticipated user and data interactions. The standard ‘if-then-else' model.

The algorithms required for artificial intelligence/machine learning are much more complex. They need to allow the system to develop its own analytical models based on inputs. Those models are constantly changing based on the information provided. Based on the data and those models, behavior is determined. As you can tell from the description, this results in very non-deterministic behavior. The system will analyze, interpret and react based on the information provided, modify that behavior as more information, and then feedback is provided. The analysis and behavior is constantly changing and being refined over time. Imagine developing the test suite for that system! (A topic for future discussion).

You are already reaping the benefits of machine learning
Do you have a Netflix account? Or Amazon? Both Netflix and Amazon provide a ‘recommended for you' list every time you log in. Both companies have very complex, proprietary algorithms analyzing the huge repository of information about you and all their member's transactions. Based on that information, they develop models of your expected behavior and present a list of recommendations to you. How you react to those recommendations is also fed back into the algorithms, constantly tweaking and adjusting your behavior model.

Or how about your smart phone? Think for a moment about the complexity of the simple statement, "Siri, what is the weather forecast for today?" First the software needs to be able to understand your voice, your accent, and your way of speech in order to be able to determine the actual words being spoken. If it's not sure, the software asks for clarification, and it learns from the clarification. Each time you use it, your phone gets better at understanding what you are saying. Once it understands the words, it has to process natural language into something meaningful to the system. This again requires complex algorithms analyzing the information, creating a model, and executing on its interpretation. As with parsing the words, if it's not sure, the software will prompt for clarification. That clarification will be fed back into the system that models your way of speaking and the context of the language you use.

It's all about the data
In a recent article on TechCrunch, ‘How startups can compete with enterprises in artificial intelligence and machine learning' John Melas-Kyriazi refers to data as the ‘fuel we feed into training machine learning models that can create powerful network effects at scale.' I find that a very apt analogy. The complex algorithms and models are the engine of machine learning, but without fuel, the engine - the data - won't work very well, if at all. A colleague of mine, John Williams, (Chief Strategy Officer at Collaborative Consulting) for years has been fond of saying, "It's all about the data." That could not be more true than in the world of machine learning.

Given the importance of the data to the success of any machine learning implementation, there are some key considerations to take into account:

  • Data Quality - In the world of data, this has always been an important consideration. Data cleansing and scrubbing is standard practice already in many organizations. It has become critical for machine learning implementations. Putting dirty fuel into even the best engine will bring it to a grinding halt.
  • Data Volume - Big Data is tailor-made for machine learning. The more information the algorithms and subsequent models have to work with, the better the results. The key word here is learning. We as individuals learn more as more information is provided to us. This concept is directly applicable in the machine learning world.
  • Data Timeliness - Besides volume, new and timely data is also a consideration. If the machine learning is based on a large volume of data that is completely outdated, the resulting models will not be very useful.
  • Data Pedigree - Where did the data come from? Is it a valid source? The pedigree is less important when using internal systems, as the source is well known, but many machine learning systems will be getting their data from public sources. Or potentially, from the many devices in the world of the Internet of Things. Crowd-sourcing data (for example Waze, a GPS mobile app) requires extra effort to ensure you trust the information being consumed. Imagine a new kind of cyber-attack - feeding your machine learning system bad data to impact the results. Remember Microsoft's problem with its AI Chatbot Tay learning to be a racist?

No technology negates the need for good design and planning
There is no doubt machine learning technology has amazing potential at impacting businesses across the spectrum, whether it will be in healthcare for diagnosing Alzheimer's disease to self-driving cars that were once in the realm of science fiction. No technology negates the need for good design and planning; machine learning is no different. As technologists, it's our responsibility to ensure the proper efforts have been made to supply machine learning implementations with the best fuel possible. Understanding the quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree needs of these systems can help us navigate this new world of machine learning, leading us to successful execution, and, ultimately, providing value back to the business.

More Stories By Ed Featherston

Ed Featherston is VP, Principal Architect at Cloud Technology Partners. He brings 35 years of technology experience in designing, building, and implementing large complex solutions. He has significant expertise in systems integration, Internet/intranet, and cloud technologies. He has delivered projects in various industries, including financial services, pharmacy, government and retail.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Auditwerx will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Auditwerx specializes in SOC 1, SOC 2, and SOC 3 attestation services throughout the U.S. and Canada. As a division of Carr, Riggs & Ingram (CRI), one of the top 20 largest CPA firms nationally, you can expect the resources, skills, and experience of a much larger firm combined with the accessibility and atten...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Loom Systems will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Founded in 2015, Loom Systems delivers an advanced AI solution to predict and prevent problems in the digital business. Loom stands alone in the industry as an AI analysis platform requiring no prior math knowledge from operators, leveraging the existing staff to succeed in the digital era. With offices in S...
What if you could build a web application that could support true web-scale traffic without having to ever provision or manage a single server? Sounds magical, and it is! In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Munns, Senior Developer Advocate for Serverless Applications at Amazon Web Services, will show how to build a serverless website that scales automatically using services like AWS Lambda, Amazon API Gateway, and Amazon S3. We will review several frameworks that can help you build serverle...
SYS-CON Events announced today that HTBase will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. HTBase (Gartner 2016 Cool Vendor) delivers a Composable IT infrastructure solution architected for agility and increased efficiency. It turns compute, storage, and fabric into fluid pools of resources that are easily composed and re-composed to meet each application’s needs. With HTBase, companies can quickly prov...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud computing technologies. Ge...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
MongoDB Atlas leverages VPC peering for AWS, a service that allows multiple VPC networks to interact. This includes VPCs that belong to other AWS account holders. By performing cross account VPC peering, users ensure networks that host and communicate their data are secure. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Jay Gordon, a Developer Advocate at MongoDB, will explain how to properly architect your VPC using existing AWS tools and then peer with your MongoDB Atlas cluster. He'll discuss the secur...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buyers...
Imagine having the ability to leverage all of your current technology and to be able to compose it into one resource pool. Now imagine, as your business grows, not having to deploy a complete new appliance to scale your infrastructure. Also imagine a true multi-cloud capability that allows live migration without any modification between cloud environments regardless of whether that cloud is your private cloud or your public AWS, Azure or Google instance. Now think of a world that is not locked i...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Infranics will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Since 2000, Infranics has developed SysMaster Suite, which is required for the stable and efficient management of ICT infrastructure. The ICT management solution developed and provided by Infranics continues to add intelligence to the ICT infrastructure through the IMC (Infra Management Cycle) based on mathemat...
In his session at Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, an entertainment executive/TV producer turned serial entrepreneur, will present a success story of an entrepreneur who has both suffered through and benefited from offshore development across multiple businesses: The smart choice, or how to select the right offshore development partner Warning signs, or how to minimize chances of making the wrong choice Collaboration, or how to establish the most effective work processes Budget control, or how to m...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR), an industry leader in automated, scalable and secure networks, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Juniper Networks challenges the status quo with products, solutions and services that transform the economics of networking. The company co-innovates with customers and partners to deliver automated, scalable and secure network...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 add...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SD Times | BZ Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BZ Media LLC is a high-tech media company that produces technical conferences and expositions, and publishes a magazine, newsletters and websites in the software development, SharePoint, mobile development and commercial UAV markets.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloudistics delivers a complete public cloud experience with composable on-premises infrastructures to medium and large enterprises. Its software-defined technology natively converges network, storage, compute, virtualization, and management into a ...
Historically, some banking activities such as trading have been relying heavily on analytics and cutting edge algorithmic tools. The coming of age of powerful data analytics solutions combined with the development of intelligent algorithms have created new opportunities for financial institutions. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Sebastien Meunier, Head of Digital for North America at Chappuis Halder & Co., will discuss how these tools can be leveraged to develop a lasting competitive advanta...
Building custom add-ons does not need to be limited to the ideas you see on a marketplace. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Sukhbir Dhillon, CEO and founder of Addteq, will go over some adventures they faced in developing integrations using Atlassian SDK and other technologies/platforms and how it has enabled development teams to experiment with newer paradigms like Serverless and newer features of Atlassian SDKs. In this presentation, you will be taken on a journey of Add-On and Integration ...
Now that the world has connected “things,” we need to build these devices as truly intelligent in order to create instantaneous and precise results. This means you have to do as much of the processing at the point of entry as you can: at the edge. The killer use cases for IoT are becoming manifest through AI engines on edge devices. An autonomous car has this dual edge/cloud analytics model, producing precise, real-time results. In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Crupi, Vice President and Eng...
There are 66 million network cameras capturing terabytes of data. How did factories in Japan improve physical security at the facilities and improve employee productivity? Edge Computing reduces possible kilobytes of data collected per second to only a few kilobytes of data transmitted to the public cloud every day. Data is aggregated and analyzed close to sensors so only intelligent results need to be transmitted to the cloud. Non-essential data is recycled to optimize storage.
"I think that everyone recognizes that for IoT to really realize its full potential and value that it is about creating ecosystems and marketplaces and that no single vendor is able to support what is required," explained Esmeralda Swartz, VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud at Ericsson, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.