With terabytes of information at hand, each company is trying to figure out the best way to understand information about their customers and themselves. But simply using Excel pivot tables to examine these amounts of information is absurd, therefore many companies use the commercially available tool SAS to cull company intelligence.
But SAS is no game for its open-source language that initiating info scientists use in academia, which is simply known as R. The R programming language leans more often to the cutting edge of data science, providing businesses the latest information analysis tools. The problem: Using loose standards and dozens of diverse contributors, it’s shaky ground for company. Will that ever change?
At least one company thinks R is prepared for commercial prime time. Like RedHat would be to Linux and Cloudera would be to Hadoop, Revolution Analytics would be to the R language in the commercial world. Several decades back, David Smith, chief community officer at Revolution Analytics, noticed that a lot of academics and students used R but saw less use in business. “At the moment, there wasn’t any business there to encourage R, supply expertise around R, or offer any kind of commercial backing for R. So that is how Revolution Analytics was set up,” states Smith.
To call Smith an R enthusiast is an understatement. He’s a co-author of the programming guide An Intro to R which accompanies the open source R supply. And he’s got a group of like-minded R evangelists working with him, who keep any mention of R in the business world in their radar, while also publishing R-related information on the company’s site and providing educational workshops to other businesses. He is a good instance of a curious breed of innovative entrepreneur who only exists in the tech industry: somebody doing great work on an entirely free, open source resource, and in so doing, creating a commercial opportunity for themselves on the reverse side.
“I always be aware of journal articles where R is used. I hear back from clients. And if a good visualization is used, there’s a great probability that it was produced in R, so I can always trace back to the writer. I’m always on social media, so if I see a reference to R, I usually shake down to [the group],” Smith says.
All of R’s programming libraries are all free, but Revolution Analytics makes its business from its service bundles, which provide customers access to the libraries the provider develops in-house. These industrial libraries are acceptable for corporate customers who frequently deal with large quantities of information, at the terabyte range. Not exclusively limited to Revolution, R Analytics additionally generates user interfaces and algorithms, often using C++ to write its algorithms.
Some of the libraries the provider develops finally do become open source, like the RHadoop project’s libraries. RHadoop’s free libraries allow users to leverage the data-computing environment Hadoop to handle their information.
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