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Jonathan Erickson

Dr. Dobb's Bloggers

Criswell's Big Prediction of the Day

March 25, 2010

In the spirit of self-fulling prophesies, IBM has launched a big new predictive analytics software lab in China because the company believes there's a big future for big data there.

Predictive analytics involves the sifting through of huge amounts of data looking for patterns in order to predict and forecast trends. How big of a future? According to IDC, a market predictor and forcaster in its own right, the oportunity for business analytics in China is expected to grow 10% annually from 2009-2013, faster than the average IT market growth of 8%.

Okay, 10% isn't that big a number, unless it's a really big pie your cutting into. I predict that a little piece of a big pie is usually better than a big piece of a little pie. Agree?

The lab will help big users see patterns in vast amounts of data and forecast trends before they occur, particularly in industries like banking, telecommunications, power grid, railroads, health care, and urban management -- each and every one a big pie industry. The lab will house a dedicated team of more than 200 software engineers and IT architects focusing on predictive analytics, working out of IBM's China Development Lab which employs more than 5,000 software engineers.

Here's my no-brainer prediction: The big winners in all this will be vendors of many-core processors and parallel programming tools. Efficiently and accurately sifting through and analyzing the amount of data we're talking about isn't going to happen on anything less than lots and lots of quad-core or more computers, and writing the parallel software isn't going to be easy. So lets programmers who have the skills for writing parallel software into the winner's circle too. That's my prediction.

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