What you missed in Big Data: Ensuring transparency


For all the hype, even the most sophisticated machine learning algorithm still can’t fully match a human’s decision-making capability, a fact that is perhaps most evident in the world of online marketing. Promotions distributed through automated services like Google AdWords often end up on sites that don’t attract members of the target audience, an issue Pathmatics Inc. set out to tackle last week with the help of $3 million in new funding from Upfront Ventures.

The cash will help finance the development of new features for its namesake analytics platform, which collects data about how effectively the banners, promotional videos and sponsored content littered throughout the web reach their intended demographics. Pathmatics makes the information accessible through a graphical interface that enables brands to verify whether they’re realizing a return on their marketing investments and check what the competition is up to. According to the startup, the service is also used by major advertising providers to find opportunities for improvement in their technology.

In effect, Pathmatics serves as an audit tool for the online marketing industry, which is the same role that LinkedIn Inc. is looking to fill over on the data science scene with the new open-source project that it launched last week. WhereHows can deploy a monitoring agent to every system in an organization’s analytics environment and records what’s happening inside for future reference. The activity logs are transmitted to a centralized repository where they’re combined to produce so-called lineages that make it possible to trace a piece of information all the way back to the point when it first entered the corporate network.

Syncsort Inc. promises to provide similar transparency for mainframe users with the new iteration of its data migration tool that rolled out against the backdrop of WhereHows’ debut. DMx-h now provides the ability to load information from System z deployments into Hadoop without having to change its native format, which preserves context needed for auditing. The update also brings a bulk transfer option that promises to make moving large numbers of records much less time-consuming than before.

Image via Geralt