With the opening of the first Analytics Experience conference this week in Las Vegas, SAS (sponsor of this site) has released Viya based products to put in into action. However, SAS also is highlighting how Viya serves as a building block for advances in emerging technology concepts such as machine learning and cognitive computing.
SAS presented Viya as supporting access to SAS capabilities from other tools such as Java, R, Python, PMML, C, Hadoop, Spark, and MAPR. For companies doing innovative work in areas such as cognitive computing applications but without having full SAS licenses, they can use the REST API to access SAS analytics capabilties.
Setting the stage for the Monday announcements, SAS co-founder and CEO Jim Goodnight noted the growing importance of analytics in the world today, saying, "What is happening in analytics today is a total revolution."
Discussion of the potential for cognitive computing was a recurrent theme for SAS at AX.
Wayne Thompson, a senior product manager for SAS, said we are entering "the age of cognitive computing."
In explaining cognitive computing, Thompson said that all applications should be able to reason, to identify and highlight trends found in data, even, someday, to recognize human emotions as you go through your daily work. It means marrying natural language programming (NLP) with deep learning.
Thompson cited application areas where cognitive computing already is a factor, such as cybersecurity, healthcare, and image analysis.
Oliver Schabenberger, SAS executive vice president and chief technology officer, said in a press release, “Cognitive computing is disruptive, combining technologies such as natural language processing, image processing, text mining and machine learning to augment human intelligence. SAS has supported cognitive technologies in analytics for decades. The exciting change is applying deep learning and high-performance computing to achieve greater automation and accuracy in the interaction between computers and people.”
According to Schabenberger, when users of Python or other open source languages move from a single-threaded environment to the multithreaded, distributed architecture of SAS Viya, they may see processing times shrink from hours to minutes. This is in addition to the operational benefits of using common data models, centralized administration, governance and world-leading analytics.
In another announcement the company released its Viya-based SAS Visual Data Mining and Machine Learning software, which will be available later this month.
SAS positioned the software as a means to "boost data scientist productivity." The company said it includes features such as flexible, web-based programming; highly scalable, in-memory data manipulation and analytical processing; rowerful data manipulation and management; data exploration, variable transformations and dimension reduction; and modern statistical, data mining and machine-learning techniques.
SAS also introduced SAS Visual Investigator, which leverages Viya to combine advanced analytics with "dynamic and interactive visual workspaces." The company noted, "Analysts can easily grasp reasons for events or alerts and act on deep analytical insights thanks to intuitive visuals and search."
Among other uses, Visual Investigator is positioned in application areas such as fraud detection and response and healthcare.