Posts Tagged ‘definition’

On Data Science:

The word Data tells you that I transform raw information into actionable information. The word Scientist emphasizes my commitment to making sure that the analyses my colleagues and I produce are verifiable and repeatable—as all good science should be.

Not sure I agree on the whole argument in the post, but the definition of data science is the best I have seen so far.

Melinda Thielbar

“Any field of study followed by the word “science”, so goes the old wheeze, is not really a science, including computer science, climate science, police science, and investment science.”—Ray Rivera, Forbes Magazine

I too have engaged in my fair share of hand-wringing over “data science”, how the term is used and mis-used, the high quantity of snake oil available, and some generally sloppy practices that seem to be becoming the norm in the internet’s new data-based gold rush.

However, as my mama used to say, “I can beat up on my brothers all I want, but you, sir, are not family.”

Data, harnessed for good, is going to transform our world and the way we do business. People who understand data, the mathematics of how data streams relate to each other, and how computers interact with that data, are going to be indispensable to this process. I don’t always…

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define: Cloud Computing

I have been looking for a good definition of Cloud Computing for a while. Cloud Computing is of course a buzzword, so no wonder its meaning is fuzzy. The official definition of NIST reminds me of some standards: put everything together to make everyone happy.

Even Wikipedia gets a bit fuzzy about Cloud Computing, basically because it mixes up technical definitions, marketing, business models and a lot of other things. Also the critics do not help to define the thing, as they say things like “Cloud is everything we do” or “Technologies now dubbed as Cloud existed long before the name”.

Given that a definition is always an approximation (ontologically, because it is just a categorization for our mind), the best technical definition (what I am interested in) I found was given in this blog post. I summarize it here “Distributed location-independent scale-free cooperative agents”. You can check the post to see what each piece of  the definition means.

While this was the best definition I found, it is not exactly what I have in mind when I think about Cloud Computing. Also, this does not encompass a lot of technologies that I can think of when I say Cloud (one for all, MapReduce). So I will take a stab at defining what Cloud Computing is:

“Distributed, transparent, scale-free computing system”

Yes, it doesn’t change much, does it? But the core point here is that I do not care what kind of system we are talking about, but I just care that the system is distributed and scale-free. Furthermore location independence is not the only interesting property: access, failure and replication transparency are important as well. You should aim to the best transparency you can get without impacting performance (too much transparency hinders optimization).

The rationale is that a Cloud Computing is such that you can solve a problem faster/better just throwing more hardware at it. So scalability is the key feature, and in particular being scale-free (the scale of the system is not a design parameter).

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