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HPCC Systems blog contributors are engineers and data scientists who for years have enabled LexisNexis customers to use big data to fulfill critical missions, gain competitive advantage, or unearth new discoveries. Check this blog regularly for insights into how HPCC Systems technology can put big data to work for your own organization.

Flavio Villanustre on 04/30/2012

Don't be surprised by the title: I'm not trying to play down the link between high blood pressure and a diet rich in Sodium. In the HPCC Systems platform world, SALT has a completely different meaning.

Flavio Villanustre on 04/27/2012

While the ECL-ML (ECL Machine Learning) libraries currently support a variety of prevalent algorithms in machine learning, there could always be the need for the one that has not been added just yet. And, the fact that ECL-ML provides a distributed linear algebra library, which greatly simplifies distributed vectorized implementations, is a blessing, but it still requires some coding in ECL to add new algorithms.

Flavio Villanustre on 04/24/2012

A lot has happened since the version 1.0 release of our Machine Learning libraries. As you can see by checking out our ML portal (, there are a ton of new algorithms, and significant improvements to existing ones.

Flavio Villanustre on 04/18/2012

I get asked frequently about the optimal configuration for a Thor or Roxie system. Besides the pro-forma "it depends" and "how will you use the system?" statements, I think it would be useful to describe what the guiding principles are, when defining the architecture for a given HPCC Systems platform implementation.

Flavio Villanustre on 04/16/2012

A couple of days ago, I was discussing with a few colleagues how to get a small project on sentiment analysis going. I was explaining that the HPCC Systems platform, with its ECL-ML (ECL Machine Learning) libraries, currently has a good set of tools to get a large chunk of the work done, effortlessly.

Flavio Villanustre on 04/13/2012

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine yesterday, and we were discussing how, as a programmer, people are not supposed to fight the language that they are using. If the language is an obstacle rather than a helper, it's probably time to look for a different programming language for that particular task.

David Bayliss on 10/05/2011

I personally hate the Amazon recommendation system. As someone who has half a dozen major hobbies, who buys a lot of technical books, even more theology books, books for four different children and whose wife is an English teacher the recommendations when I log in to Amazon are rather more eclectic than if they picked half a dozen books at random.

David Bayliss on 08/23/2011

A recent forum question asked if it were possible to concatenate all of the fields of a file without having to type them all in. In that particular case the fields were fixed length and the same type so our compiler writer was able to advise the use of a type transfer – simple, slick and efficient.

David Bayliss on 07/20/2011

There is a movement that says there should be one, and only one, way to perform any given task. This concept, famously championed by Python, has some merit. It allows for simple and easily understandable language syntax and it tends to mean that short stretches of code have an obvious semantic.

David Bayliss on 07/13/2011

When people first see ECL they usually spot a few programming languages lurking in the syntax: Prolog for the declarative definitions, Pascal for ‘:=’ and the modular syntax, C for the math expressions and SQL for the independence between logical and physical data mapping. Most people miss the language that drives two of ECLs more interesting features: SNOBOL4.