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From grid computing to visualizing billions of rows of data

The evolution to high-performance analytics

By Jim Goodnight, CEO, SAS

I've been saying since January that 2012 is the year of high-performance analytics, and so far the year has proven me right.

SAS first introduced high-performance concepts into our product line with grid computing and multiprocessing capabilities in the late 1990s. A few years ago, we released in-database analytics in partnership with Teradata to allow SAS computations to run inside the database.

Last year, we took those ideas a step further by introducing in-memory analytics that takes advantage of modern database structures from Teradata and EMC's Greenplum. In this new configuration, SAS asks the database to load the data it needs to memory, and then we run the analytics "alongside" the database as opposed to inside of it.

Now we've taken that in-memory notion and opened its power up to more users and more storage configurations through a new high-performance visualization product that can hold a large amount of data in memory for multiple explorations of the data through a user-friendly interface. In our product demos we're showing how 1.1 billion rows of data can be quickly and easily explored visually, via drag and drop, in five to eight seconds – something that normally takes hours.

In the latest issue of Insights , we explore a number of these concepts and describe the ways that customers are using them to solve complex business problems, including:

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India mitigates market risk by analyzing more than 200 million transactions a day.
  • Retailer Macys.com is optimizing pricing for millions of products and in hundreds of locations.
  • Bank of America improved credit risk modeling and reduced the probability of loan default calculation time from 96 hours to just four and reduced its scoring routine of 400,000 loans from three hours to 10 minutes.

As we continue to move all SAS products to perform high-performance analytics, we encourage readers and customers to think about how these unprecedented computing speeds can help make process improvements in their organizations. For inspiration in that area, be sure to check out the before and after suggestions for your industry.

Bio: Since he co-founded SAS in 1976, Jim Goodnight has served as the company's Chief Executive Officer. A worldwide leader in business analytics, SAS has more than 12,000 employees in 54 countries. In 2011, the company's revenue was US$2.725 billion, its 36th consecutive year of growth and profitability. Jim has a PhD in statistics and speaks internationally on leadership, education and innovation.

Jim Goodnight, CEO, SAS

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