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Advanced Oracle analytics a major focus of BI summit

Advanced Oracle analytics, including big data, NoSQL and the R programming language, will be a major focus of a BI summit to be held in the Bay Area in January, according to one of its organizers.

The business intelligence (BI) special interest group within the Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG) will hold its annual summit Jan. 9-10 in Redwood City, Calif. This is the first time since 2008 that the summit will be a standalone event -- in intervening years it was rolled into Collaborate and then, in August, was held virtually. Shyam Varan Nath, head of the special interest group, said this year's summit will focus on advanced Oracle analytics, including connectors to Hadoop, the R statistical programming language and big data.

What are some of the highlights of this year's summit?

Shyam Varan Nath: It's a two-day event with two keynotes on each day. The history of the group is more server-centric because it's under the IOUG, so Tom Kyte will talk about what's new from a database perspective in terms of BI and data warehousing. There will be a strong focus on advanced Oracle analytics, which includes data mining and Oracle R Enterprise. Both of those labs and talks will be featured.

Can you explain what R is and why it's important today for an Oracle database architect?

Nath: The data mining option within Oracle Database has a limited number of algorithms. It was good for certain applications, and there are a few packaged applications where Oracle has integrated data mining. But there are limited options. What oracle was missing was a wide range of algorithms used by people who do deep analytics, who model financial problems and so forth. So R is an open source package consisting of a variety of statistical algorithms. It extends the data mining algorithm suite beyond the limited ones in Oracle Data Mining.

The packages are geared toward big data, so Hadoop data structures can be used with R. There are also connectors that Oracle sells that allow Oracle Database to connect to Hadoop and not only use structured columns and tables but big data typically hosted in Hadoop-type infrastructures.

What should Oracle database administrators do to inform themselves about Hadoop and NoSQL databases, if anything?

Nath: There will be a lot of talk at the BI summit about a new role called the Oracle data scientist. An Oracle data scientist will be technically savvy and will be able to apply technology to solve analytical problems. As part of the summit we are doing a certificate program. You'll have to attend an Oracle data scientist talk and other sessions on R and data mining, and then you can get an Oracle data scientist certificate. It will give DBAs an idea of what it entails, and then they can correlate that with what shifts they're seeing in their own organization.

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