MapD Blog: Thoughts on databases, data visualization, and GPUs

We felt it wasn’t fair that only features in our major releases were getting the limelight, so this will be the first in a series of short blog posts featuring an interesting feature or improvement in our regular minor releases of MapD’s GPU-accelerated Core database and Immerse visualization software. This week, we celebrate the addition to Immerse of a tool known to cowboys and data analysts across the land: the lasso tool. Named after the looped rope which tamed the West,... read more

Back when we started the current incarnation of the MapD Core database, we wrote our own parser (written using flex and GNU bison), semantic analysis and optimizer. This approach offers the most control since everything in the pipeline can be adjusted to the unique needs of our system, but we've realized that our main strength lies in the actual execution of the queries. In the context of the limited resources of a startup, we have to pick our battles. We soon faced a dilemma... read more

Continuing where we left off in our earlier post on MapD 2.0’s Immerse visualization client, today we want to walk you through some of version 2.0’s major improvements to our GPU-accelerated Core database and Iris Rendering Engine. Before we delve into the details, main themes for this release are: speed, robustness, and further visual analytics power. Our system is able to steadily deliver extremely fast query speeds across a larger set of SQL queries and when analyzing dat... read more

The taxi dataset is one of the most popular on our site and for good reason, it is not often that you can get behind the wheel of a supercomputer for free. Still, without direction, it can be hard to uncover the insights in the data that often give our audiences a rush. With that in mind we will be creating a series of these “cheatsheets” to help you grasp the power of speed at scale. Each post will talk about how to interact with the GPU-powered relational database (MapD... read more

While 2016 was the year of the GPU for a number of reasons, the truth of the matter is that outside of some core disciplines (deep learning, virtual reality, autonomous vehicles) the reasons why you would use GPUs for general purpose computing applications remain somewhat unclear. As a company whose products are tuned for this exceptional compute platform, we have a tendency to assume familiarity, often incorrectly. Our New Year’s resolution is to explain, in language desig... read more

2016 was a pretty amazing year for MapD. Not only did we launch our company with the announcement of our A Round of funding in late March, but we were able to steadily build on that event throughout the year, culminating in the release of our 2.0 version of the product just nine months later. In the interim, we were fortunate to pick up some prestigious awards including Gartner Cool Vendor, Fast Company Innovation by Design, The Business Intelligence Group’s Startup of the... read more

After many months of hard work, refinement and improvement, we’re very happy to announce the release of version 2.0 of the MapD Core database and Immerse visual analytics platform. This is the result of a valuable collaboration with our users and customers since our public launch in March, and is designed to give them even more of the analytical power, ease of use and GPU-accelerated speed that they’ve become used to in our first version. Today we want to walk you through so... read more

A couple of months back we hosted a BrightTALK webinar with Sam Madden, MIT Professor and Chief Scientist at Cambridge Mobile Telematics. Sam is a remarkably smart individual and was a founder (alongside the legendary Michael Stonebraker) of Vertica. Sam's use of MapD at Cambridge Mobile Telematics is really interesting as the team there is using massive amounts of data to develop driving models that help price insurance, identify risk and establish bragging rights (well may... read more

This morning Google Cloud announced the upcoming availability of powerful, innovative GPU instances. As a an beta tester of the new offering we had the opportunity to take the instances for a spin and test them out against the 1.2 billion row taxi dataset. We were impressed. The instances boast per minute pricing flexibility, excellent configurations and an innovative SSD approach that processes cold loads five times faster than other solutions we have seen. The net of th... read more

A common question faced in the petabyte economy is when, and how, to embrace a distributed, scale out architecture. I will argue here that it makes sense to push for the simplest and cheapest solution that will solve the problem. This seems like an obvious statement, but I’ve encountered a surprising number of companies that do otherwise, shifting to large clusters long before they are necessary. Here’s why that’s not always a correct strategy. First, some basic facts. Th... read more

Down the stretch they go. While the race continues to tighten this week, one thing is pretty certain - it will be over next week. What is obscured in the vitriol, the accusations and the gaffes, however, is that money still fuels the American political process. Despite the emergence of a billionaire candidate, this cycle is no different - the money is as prevalent as ever. Citizens United remains the law of the land and both parties are hip to the game despite rhetoric to... read more

Today we are pleased to announce that In-Q-Tel, the non-profit strategic investor that identifies innovative technology for the U.S. Intelligence Community, participated in our previously announced Series A round. IQT joins previously announced investors GV (formerly Google Ventures), Nvidia, Vanedge Capital, and Verizon Ventures. Needless to say, we are delighted to be able to publicly announce IQT’s participation. IQT has established itself as one of the savviest inves... read more

To jump straight to the demo click here. New York City is special to us. It’s not where we started (Boston) or ended up (San Francisco) It is special because, it remains, in terms of America, the center of it all. While not the geographical center of it all, it is the data center for us. When we do demos of the Tweetmap, we end up at the Empire State Building. When we do demos of Political Donations we end up looking a the island of Manhattan (and at Donald Trump’s past... read more

The old cliché that records are meant to be broken certainly applies to the tech industry. They‘re milestones that reset the bar for what’s possible but more importantly serve as a barometer of where things are headed. So today we’re announcing a new “world record” for in-memory database performance. With some help from our friends at IBM, NVIDIA and Bitfusion we were able to scale up to 64 GPUs, across 32 servers, to filter, query and aggregate a 40 billion row dataset in ju... read more

The rise of modern business intelligence (BI) has seen the emergence of a number of component parts designed to support the different analytical functions necessary to deliver what enterprises require. Perhaps the most fundamental component of the BI movement is the traditional frontend or visualization application. Companies like Tableau, Qlik, Birst, Domo and Periscope provide these. There are dozens more — all with essentially equivalent capabilities: the ability to make s... read more

Earlier today the Business Intelligence Group announced its Startup of the Year Award for 2016 and selected MapD as a winner in that category. Needless to say we are delighted to grab another major trophy this year and we will proudly display it alongside our Gartner Cool Vendors Award, our Fast Company Innovation by Design Award and our CRN 10 Coolest Big Data Startups Award. Over the years, BIG has picked some pretty lofty names from the pool of applicants for their presti... read more

On Friday, Amazon announced the availability of large GPU instances on AWS (blog here) marking a new chapter in the GPU revolution. Our instance is here and we welcome you to take it for a spin, we have even uploaded a nice 13M row dataset to get you started. While IBM Softlayer has delivered inspired leadership to the GPU space for some time now, the importance of these next generation instances on AWS cannot be underestimated. To suggest that AWS is a juggernaut is like s... read more

The Finovate show one of the best, most dangerous shows in any industry and is the crown jewel of the FinTech event calendar. Its one of the best because of its rigorous selection process coupled with a hyper-engaged, highly informed audience. It is dangerous because it is seven minutes of demo free fall. No slides, just demo. Remember that hyper-engaged, highly informed audience? They can turn on you. Best to be prepared, but if you are, the payoff is considerable. Our C... read more

Today Fast Company announced its Innovation By Design Awards this morning and we were humbled to find out that we were named to their Honorable Mention list for Graphic Design and Data Visualization. Fast Company's exceptional editorial reputation has translated into a handful of awards that are among the tech world's most coveted. From the Most Innovative Companies to the Innovation by Design, these are fiercely competitive contests. Innovation by Design attracted 1,700 e... read more

Speed is increasingly defining the user experience from B2C to B2B. No matter how attractive the application, if it does not perform from a speed perspective, it might as well be ugly because that is the sentiment increasingly attached to slow, plodding applications on the web, mobile and in the enterprise. To be fair, speed comes in different flavors. There is speed from the perspective of eliminating clicks or reducing the number actions to achieve an outcome. There is... read more

This post first appeared as a byline on The Next Platform in May of 2016. Having made the improbable jump from the game console to the supercomputer, GPUs are now invading the datacenter. This movement is led by Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Tesla, Baidu and others who have quietly but rapidly shifted their hardware philosophy over the past twelve months. Each of these companies have significantly upgraded their investment in GPU hardware and in doing so have put leg... read more

As we enter the final stretch of our summer, it is time to start looking ahead to the conference-rich third and fourth quarters. After a period of relative calm, we are back with a vengeance, starting almost immediately. While you can always get a demo, sometimes in-person works best. Here is the list of where to find us: Siggraph: Our love for visualization is well known. You see it in the product, in the demos we make and the blog posts we write. We are delighted to h... read more

In the dataworld, there is a particular dataset, referred to as “the taxi dataset,” that has been getting a disproportionate amount of attention lately. The dataset in question is comprised of staggering detail (full GPS, transaction type, passenger counts, timestamps) on 1.2 billion individual taxi, limo + Uber trips from January 2009 through June 2015. Released by the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission, the dataset became a darling of the data science set while... read more

Click here to go directly to our Tweetmap. Our affection for Twitter data is well documented. In it we find volume, velocity and variety - but perhaps even more importantly we find the human element - manifested in 140 character snippets, photos, emojis and gifs. The very first instantiation of the Tweetmap was started by our founder, Todd Mostak, during his graduate work at Harvard. There, while looking at millions of Arab Spring tweets, he discovered there was no practic... read more

Who would have thought that analytics would become the bottleneck in the modern organization? Products like Tableau, Qlik and others took the enterprise by storm in the years following the great recession - fueled by plummeting storage costs and correspondingly skyrocketing amounts of data. The convergence of these two forces helped democratize information across organizations the world over and powered productivity enhancements and the knowledge economy as a whole. Busine... read more

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