June Meeting – Analyzing Rat Brain Neuronal Signals with Hadoop and Hive

  • June 26, 2012 · 5:30 PM
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If you're looking for applications of big data technology beyond ad optimization and e-commerce, then be sure to join us for the June meeting of Chicago Big Data. We'll hear from Brad Rubin, Associate Professor at the University of St. Thomas, on the benefits and tradeoffs of leveraging Hadoop in a scientific application. More details are below. Note that the location is TBD, but we'll update as soon as that's finalized. Look forward to seeing everyone!


Although Hadoop and other Big Data technologies are typically applied to I/O intensive workloads, where parallel data channels dramatically increase I/O throughput, there is growing interest in applying these technologies to CPU intensive workloads.  In this work, we used Hadoop and Hive to digitally signal process individual neuron voltage signals captured from electrodes embedded in the rat brain. Previously, this processing was performed on a single Matlab workstation.  With Hadoop/Hive, we were not only able to apply parallelism to the various processing steps, but had the benefit of having all the data online for additional ad hoc analysis.  We describe the tradeoffs between the Matlab and Hadoop/Hive approach, performance results, and several issues identified with using Hadoop/Hive in this type of application.


Brad Rubin is an Associate Professor at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN in the Graduate Programs in Software department where he teaches courses in Big Data, Information Retrieval, Computer Security, and Software Analysis and Design.  He is the co-founder of the Center of Excellence for Big Data.  Previously, he spent 14 years with IBM in Rochester, MN, working on all facets of the AS/400 hardware and software development, starting with its first release. He was a key player in IBM's move to embrace the Java platform, and was lead architect of IBM's largest Java application, a business application framework product called San Francisco (now part of WebSphere). He was also chief technology officer for the Data Storage and Information Management division of Imation Corp., as well as the leader of its R&D organization.  Dr. Rubin has degrees in Computer and Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, and a Doctorate in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  He holds five patents and four invention disclosures, has authored many research and trade publications, consults, and is a frequent speaker on technology topics.


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  • Bryce L.

    Interesting and enjoyable. I had similar problems in graduate school, unfortunately Hadoop did not exist at the time.

    June 27, 2012

  • Debra

    Very good presentation but it went a little long and I had to get my train.

    June 27, 2012

  • Ameena L.

    It was interesting to see how tests on Rat's brain is done. The knowledge and information shared were highly technical. I wish organizer can make that powerpoint available for few weeks for the participants to look at it again.
    Presenter, Mr. Rubin was great.
    Thanks to Jonathan, Rob and Orbitz for working hard to offer quality topics for their members of this meetup group.

    June 27, 2012

  • Graham M.

    Good subject matter and useful how to's

    June 27, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    This was an excellent meetup. The topic was very interesting. It was also helpful to learn about a project that was executed with limited resources.

    Next time, please announce if food will be provided and give a schedule of when the presentation will actually start.

    June 27, 2012

  • Iver W.

    A very good talk given by a very good speaker: an atypical application of Hadoop in a scientific setting (one doesn't hear about Fourier transforms or convolutions very often). I hope slides and contact info will be posted as there were several aspects I would like to pursue further.

    June 27, 2012

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