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The Academics of Big Data, a CLASS of their own?

Big data being big in the industry today is the result of some intelligent pioneers who took up the challenges that lay ahead on the road and made it to the destination despite obstacles. Read more about the technology solution and the brains behind it in this article.
Challenges comes in many forms and some are always there but are you up to face them? A team of academics took upon themselves to embark on a project that if succeeded will prove again that academic research is still viable within a sensible task accomplished. A plan was required, something that would not be dependent on externals but just their own intellectual capability and lots of research, trial and testing. What has inspired them to start such a venture, I believe maybe that it is just a milestone to reach and that is sometimes just enough. These academics are not just ‘cheap talk’ anymore, they have proved themselves to be academics with actions and that credible example is to be pursued by others. It demands self-sacrificing efforts and more so when eyes are looking, others are criticizing and support is weak.
Big Data
I met one such team at the BigIT 2015 Kuala Lumpur - 3rd BigData Show and concurrent 1st IoT (Internet of Things) Show conference. The team headed by Dr. Ting Choo Yee from Faculty of Computing and Informatics, MultiMedia University (MMU), Cyberjaya presented their solution. The Market Intelligence through Twitter Sentiment Analytics, Martial in short is based on pure research and public free royalty source for the analytics algorithm like Analytics Hierarchy Processing (AHP) to be incorporated as the processing algorithm in their project to shift and form structure data from a whole set of data source, dataset and web information. The project was to crawl through the various media sites and identify the overall public sentiment about certain domestic topics in 6 different emotions as Happy/Joy, Anger, Disgust, Fear, Sad and Surprised (the latter one was excluded from recent Disney Studio’s, Inside Out 2015 which only has 5 types). They taught the algorithm to identify the different emotions from word phases and patterns using a linguistic algorithm developed totally in house. It recognises for both English and Bahasa at this stage and plans for future versions that will include Chinese and other languages. It also tries to identify locality based on the phases and link to geographical engagement where the source of the twitter might be originated from. Yes, this may be an assumption but if mac address location can be obtain from the data posting it would even be more accurate but the point is taken! Some of sentiments result was focused on the public sentiment on the recent GE13 results and few other local debacles.
Big Data
Sales and productivity, ROI, KPI are common indicators for revenue spending but for academics doing research, it can be just excellence traits to prove that a concept works. The team faculty of Computing and Informatics with the leadership of Dr. Ting despite various challenges has taken upon themselves a Big Data project with LIMITED resources. I was told the only funding was from the parent Telekom Malaysia who established MMU but it was not substantial. I was told that even for a simple computer program, it was totally in-house, so imagine cracking the JAVA code within the team and if no Google or YouTube examples or tutorial to assist and guide. Furthermore, it must be expected that the objective of such projects are not for the purpose of commercialisation but instead for academic growth.
Thus, in just a span of 2 years from Oct 2013 to Sep 2015, Martial was conceived and delivered. Limited funding and development resource was not an excuse to delay or give up on the project. It just proves that when you really put your mind and heart into it, success is just round the corner even more satisfying when you team gets there with you all the way. MMU have completed the race, the first of many but hopefully with “sponsored and upgraded engines and accessories“ in the next stage. If any of you young graduates ‘nerds’ would like to be part of this inspiring initiative you will need to at least be qualified and the best way is by considering going through the post graduate Big Data course offered by the varsity from MMU. Malaysia Boleh!

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Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on 21st October 2015.
IJ Pascal Lum
IJ Pascal Lum is a contributing writer at Inspiration Unlimited eMagazine.

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