The Blog

  • January 16, 2013
  • A Disruptive Moment

    It is very hard to pinpoint a disruptive innovation and the moment it hits the market and I have said this many times before.  It’s easy to know that you use this or that technology today and couldn’t imagine living or working without it but, really, can’t you imagine the time before you started using this stuff?  Social media might be a good example since most of today’s users still kind of remember what life was like before.  Today is one of those days, I think.

    Today Ayasdi came out of start-up stealth-mode and announced itself and you can see an article about it here in the New York Times.

    So what is it in a nutshell?  It’s only the first really new and different way to analyze big data since we started collecting it.  Ayasdi uses something called topological data analysis and here’s one place where it’s different.  Rather than type a query or ask for a report from a big data set, Ayasdi just looks at the whole data set and tells you where the interesting clusters of data are — clusters in places you may not have thought about.

    So that means you no longer have to more or less know what you are looking for to use analytics, you simply need to know that you want to understand the interesting clusters.  That’s a disruptive moment if you ask me — presuming it works as well as the early hype says it does.  To me this sounds more like advanced data mining than business intelligence but I am not an analytics guru so this is simply speculation.

    So what’s it good for?  Well, if you’ve collected a lot of data about a molecule you think might have beneficial pharmaceutical properties, rather than performing a lot of screening tests, you might first examine the data topology and then investigate where the data says there are interesting relationships.  And, yes, substitute customer for molecule in the above and more interesting things happen.

    As with any disruption, it’s hard to think of what the world will be like in the aftermath, but if this works as advertised a few years hence we might all be scratching our heads trying to recall what life was like before.

    Published: 5 years ago


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