SAS adds cognitive computing support

At SAS's Analytics Experience conference in Las Vegas yesterday, the analytics powerhouse unveiled two new additions to its SAS Viya analytics platform aimed at supporting cognitive computing: SAS Visual Investigator and SAS Visual Data Mining and Machine Learning.

"Cognitive computing is disruptive, combining technologies such as natural language processing, image processing, text mining and machine learning to augment human intelligence," Oliver Schabenberger, SAS executive vice president and CTO, said in a statement yesterday. "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."

Visual Investigator is a new, cloud-ready investigation and alert management product designed to help intelligence analysts and investigators uncover insider threats, disease outbreaks, loan risks, drug trafficking, fraud and other emerging issues. Its aim is to provide a complete view of people, relationships, networks, patterns, events, trends and anomalies across available data.

The product brings together advanced analytics with interactive workspaces to provide investigators with intuitive visuals and search.

"The ability to visualize and explore a variety of data sets in different ways, from grids and lists to maps, networks and timelines, will make it easier for us to manage complex investigations," Colin Nugteren, chief analytics officer at Netherlands-based credit management company DirectPay, said in a statement Monday. "Adding a visual interface to a high-performance analytical model helps improve and optimize our quality of service and our collection performance. Investigators can find evidence to relate debt to a person, identify the debtor's other assets and, when necessary, prove instances of fraud."

Identify, investigate and govern

SAS Visual Investigator enables organizations to identify, investigate and govern the entire life cycle of an investigation, search or inquiry. SAS says the product allows users to accomplish the following:

  • Rapidly turn insight into action. A single application incorporates alert triage, search and discovery, network analysis and exploration and the ability to document findings. This streamlines operations and enables analysts to make decisions quickly.
  • Expose hidden networks faster. SAS Visual Investigator automatically builds networks, resolves entities and identifies communities based on the latest documents and data.
  • Adapt quickly. SAS Visual Investigator is designed to address varying requirements and changing problems without needing customization by developers. By minimizing the total cost of ownership, SAS Visual Investigator makes cross-department usage viable, while assuring a consistent user interface.
  • Harness data in place. Because SAS Visual Investigator is based on SAS Viya, it can scale to accommodate data of any size, speed and complexity.

"Complex and disparate data can really slow down investigators," Brooke Fortson, product marketing manager for Data Science and Emerging Technologies at SAS, said in a statement Monday. "SAS Visual Investigator alleviates these challenges by bringing together data and exposing patterns of interest. The visual and interactive interface lets users import data, perform point-and-click exploratory analysis, and access third-party systems. When all data is easily accessible, well governed and up-to-date, intelligence analysts can stay ahead of issues."

Meanwhile, the new SAS Visual Data Mining and Machine Learning software, which SAS says will be available later this month, is intended to accelerate the adoption of self-learning analytics.

For instance, the software can be used for facial recognition in security systems, speech recognition in customer service applications, accurate product recommendations in ecommerce, self-driving cars and medical diagnostics.

Providing 'positive outcomes'

SAS Visual Data Mining and Machine Learning features include the following:

  • Flexible, web-based programming
  • Highly scalable, in-memory data manipulation and analytical processing
  • Powerful data manipulation and management
  • Data exploration, variable transformations and dimension reduction
  • Modern statistical, data mining and machine-learning techniques
  • Integrated text analytics
  • Model assessment and scoring
  • Access to algorithms from Python, Lua, Java

"SAS Data Mining and Machine Learning is built on the company's solid expertise and reputation of delivering scalable and adaptable analytics that solve real business problems and yield measurable business value," Jonathan Wexler, SAS Analytics product manager, said in a statement Monday. "This software helps provide positive outcomes to increase profitability, better understand customer behavior and decrease the cost of doing business."

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