October 08, 2015

Big data makes a difference at Penn Medicine

"We're working in two week sprints, where the clinicians adjust their pathways, and we adjust the algorithms to their needs," Draugelis notes.  The team builds a prototype of a new pathway for a particular condition about once every six months. Currently, it is focusing on finding a better way to predict which patients have congestive heart failure and which are likely to be readmitted after discharge from the hospital. In addition, the team is working on acute conditions such as maternal deterioration after delivery and severe sepsis. "We're creating machine learning predictive models based on thousands of variables," Draugelis says. "We look at them in real time, but we train them up over millions of patient records."


Peer Feedback Loops: Why Metrics and Meetings Are Not Enough

We know that we cannot learn without metrics and meetings. But we can certainly measure and talk without learning. If learning is our goal, we need more than performance data and task alignment. Henry Ford's complaint about the whole person attached to the pair of hands he actually asks for, may remind us that knowledge work is more than brains. Like it or not, there is a whole person attached too. A person with specific behaviors, awareness levels, emotions and needs that highly influence the success of any systemic improvement. An expanded version of the Johari-window model may help to better explain why we need personal feedback to encourage this kind of improvement.


Strata + Hadoop World: A quiet mind is a creative mind

Not only did commentators and broadcasters have access to data such as the distance between a breakaway group of riders and the rest of the pack, but fans could access rider statistics through a beta site. The old-world sport meets new-world technology was powered by Dimension Data, an IT services company. "Each of these devices on the bikes talks to other bikes, as well as sensors in the team cars," Jim McHugh, vice president of marketing at Cisco, said during his Strata + Hadoop World talk. That data gets relayed to a race helicopter, and then to a media truck at the end of the stage, and then to a Dimension Data truck. "Inside that truck, an analytics platform is doing the analysis and computation, which are passed on to broadcasters and commentators and digital platforms," he said.


Phil Zimmermann speaks out on encryption, privacy, and avoiding a surveillance state

When we shop online, it's encryption that makes sure that your credit card details aren't being snooped on. When you log into your bank account, it's encryption that means you can be sure it's really your bank's website you are visiting, not a glossy fake. Encrypted databases keep your medical records safe from prying eyes, while encrypted email protects your business proposals, declarations of love, or nude selfies. PGP is now owned by Symantec, and for the last dozen years Zimmermann has been working on encrypted voice communications protocols, and most recently the creation of a company called Silent Circle. One of the voice encryption standards used by Silent Circle is called ZRTP and as the company's website puts it bluntly: 'The Z in ZRTP stands for Zimmermann."


NASA Wants To Know What Happens To Our Bodies And Brains After A Year In Space

The study is the first to measure inter-cranial pressure during a mission, and hopes to figure out why astronauts’ vision changes in zero-gravity, and hopefully come up with a fix. "If we want to stay in space longer than six months to explore," says Michael Stenger, co-principal investigator of the Fluid Shifts investigation, "we have to determine what causes these vision changes so that we can begin developing countermeasures to prevent them." It’s also good for inter-cranial pressure sufferers back on Earth. Normally, measurements are done using a lumbar puncture or by drilling a hole in the skull. The astronauts are interested in neither, so they have come up with a number of non-invasive tests that could be useful back down here.


DjVu: a Short Technical Introduction

An interesting aspect of IW44 wavelet codec is that it is optimized to allow on-the-fly decompression/rendering of the area visible in the display window (and not more) as the user zooms and pans around. This allows to keep the images in compressed form in the RAM of the client machine, and allows to display very large images without excessive memory requirements. Scanned color and grayscale documents in DjVu are typically 30 to 100KB per page at 300dpi, which is 5 to 10 times smaller than JPEG, and about 2-3 times smaller than MRC/T.44 or TIFF/FX. Digitally produced documents with mostly text are typically 1 to 3 times smaller than PDF or gzipped PostScript originals at 300dpi, but can be considerably smaller if the documents contain many pictures.



Chatham House warns of growing risk of ‘serious cyber attack’ on nuclear facilities

The nuclear sector is less likely to disclose cyber security incidents because of “national security sensitivities … leading nuclear industry personnel to believe that cyber attacks are less of a threat than is actually the case.” Moreover, as a late adopter of digital technologies the “nuclear industry as a whole is currently struggling to adapt” and there is a “lack of executive-level awareness of the risks involved”. Among the report’s specific findings is the fact that many nuclear facilities now have VPNs and undocumented Internet connections, meaning they are not air-gapped as many facility operators believe, and that even where there are air gaps, “this safeguard can be breached with nothing more than a flash drive”.


Gartner: ‘Widening gulf’ between digital front-runners and everybody else

The survey showed that digital doers don’t think or act like digital planners. Companies that are already doing digital initiatives, for example, don’t make a distinction between digital business strategy and plain old business strategy. Planners, on the other hand, see the two as separate. Digital investments by the doer group are for “piloting and deploying,” while the planner group “is into investigation and experimentation.” Makes sense. Here’s where the gap is more than just semantic: Digital business front-runners overwhelming list “adopting new technology” as their highest priority, followed by “creating a highly collaborative environment” and “supporting customer-driven technology change.”



Reactive Messaging Patterns with the Actor Model

Actors make perfect DDD Aggregates because they are atomic processing units that form the ideal transactional boundary. So that's a big perk for using Actor model with DDD, at least from a tactical approach. Another essential point is that Actor model being message-driven means that actors fit naturally into an event-driven architecture. With event-driven, actors can easily support Event Sourcing, where the Events Messages produced by an actor are used to produce their persistent state. However, you can't really query an Event Journal very practically unless you project the events into a query model. So, when you use Event Sourcing it means that you need to use CQRS so you can query data that was produced as the result of sending actors Command Messages.


10 Reasons Why Your Strategy Isn’t Working

The surface conclusion would assume the organizations cited are simply failing to adequately mobilize their people to deliver results. Be very careful with that assumption. There’s a whole litany of reasons for poor execution, of which several can be traced back to the decisions and choices made during strategy design. As an advisor to executive teams leading organizations of all sizes, I am frequently exposed to frustrations, obstacles and traps executive teams face when it comes to getting strategy right. And now (September and October) is the time to get it right – well in advance of 2016. To help you prepare for your best results ever, I’ve put together a list outlining 10 questions you can use to get beneath underperformance and identify the gaps in your strategy approach.



Quote for the day:

"One sees great things from the valley; only small things from the peak." -- G. K. Chesterton