Sunday, April 27, 2014

UPDATE 2: David McGoveran: Comments on Jim Starkey's "Is the Relational Data Model Spent?"

UPDATE 1: I have added Jim Starkey's reply to David's initial response (with my brief comments) and David's reply to it below.

UPDATE 2: I have made a few minor corrections and fixed end-note formatting problems.

David McGoveran's First Response  
© 2014 David McGoveran – All Rights Reserved
Jim Starkey's opinions in Is the relational model spent?, a LinkedIn exchange he initiated, reflect those of many professionals who have used and even developed SQL DBMSs and their predecessors. While the concerns with so-called "commercial relational database systems" expressed by Jim are valid, they have nothing to do with the relational (data) model. They are the result of DBMS implementations by those who borrowed something from the relational model, but never understood it and so did not know how to take advantage of it to solve application problems.

Weekly Update - UPDATED

1. I will give the following presentation

Big Data, Analytics and Normalization
"Big Data may offer analytical insights, but with almost certainty will produce really big lies from 100% correct data", particularly when data are from external sources. This presentation will demonstrate
  • Why and how
  • How to protect yourself
Wednesday, 5/14, 7:00pm
Microsoft San Francisco office
835 Market St., 7th Floor
San Francisco

For more information contact

2. My April column @All Analytics:
Missing Data, Databases & Analytics

3. Quote of the Week
Q: Is it necessary to follow standards during SQL programming? 
A: Standards and Best Practices usually come from common sense. I want to point out that it is God given potential which one must realise and be conscious to utilize it for His glory.

4. To Laugh or Cry?
A data model of the SAP Bill of Material Explosion tables

5. Online 

6. Interesting elsewhere
Big Data, Little Happiness
(requires free registration)

7. And now for something completely different
The Death Of Expertise
Today being the anniversary of the Holocaust, I decided to add the following:
Berlusconi's holocaust jibe provokes German outrage
The irony of Italians badmouthing the Germans about the extermination of Jews. But this time the former spoke the truth:the latter cannot have it both ways.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Forward to the Past: From Codd to SQL to NoSQL

As told by C. J. Date, sometime shortly after the introduction of SQL DBMS's in the industry, when non-relational products e.g. hierarchic and network reigned and the relational idea was a very hard sell, he and Michael Stonebraker (the author of Ingres and at the time a professor of Computer Science at University of California Berkeley) participated in a panel at a technical conference. The following is the (praphrased) exchange between them:
CJD: The reality is that most practitioners are too set in their non-relational ways and we cannot expect them to understand and appreciate the relational model. Rather, we must focus on the young generation of practitioners, who learn the relational model at university.

MS: Chris, you don't understand. I am teaching those youths: they were not around when we struggled with the huge problems of the pre-relational systems and they are reinventing all of them!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Weekly Update

1. Quote of the Week
Now that we have seen a lot of information about NoSQL databases, it is interesting to drop back and look around at how much NoSQL stuff we already have in our organizations. I had never thought of a file system as a database, but it is. The comparison is fascinating. File systems don’t impose any structure on the data that is stored in any given file. There is a key value relationship to each file. There is little control over concurrency beyond file locking. This is very similar to NoSQL, with locking only at the aggregate level. File systems are cheap; everyone has one and they hold huge amounts of data on multiple nodes. --Book review, NoCOUG Journal

2. To Laugh or Cry?
Find GUID in Database

3. Online exchanges

4. Interesting elsewhere (corrected first link and added a second):

5. And now for something completely different
Joe Biden wants to nominate Obama for sainthood
The VP of the world's "superpower".
Stanford opening new lab to study bad science
And tomorrow we'll need a lab to study bad science in the study of bad science.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Analytics = Manipulation of Data Structure

In What the $&@#^ is Applied Big Data, venture capitalist Greg Sands raises an issue about which I as a scientist (and not just a "data scientist") have often expressed concern. 
"The world is awash in data. Figuring out what to do with it is the problem. The press is littered with reports about Big Data. Many CIOs report that their CEOs have come to them and said, “We need some of that Big Data.” That often means make sure we’re collecting all the available data, often deploying a new Hadoop-based infrastructure to store and analyze it. After this elaborate process and extensive investment, they’ll start mining to figure out if there are critical insights that come out of the data. We see many entrepreneurs that start the same way. Aggregate data and look for a problem."

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