Project Botticelli

New BI Content (July 2014)

Azure ML, Association Rules, MBA, Photography

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Azure ML: A Brief Introduction

I am very happy that the long wait is over: I have been following Microsoft development of Azure ML (aka Project Passau and a few even better but unmarketable names) for over 2 years. As you may know, I have been using SQL Server Data Mining (see our online course) for some 10 years now. We finally get new functionality, modern new algorithms, like Decision Jungles, some from Microsoft Research, Bing, and even XBox, and a very interesting operational model of Experiments + deployable predictive Web Services, all at the same time! I have written two articles about it: the high-level Why does it matter news piece, and the in-depth, 1700-word Brief Intro to Azure ML article on how it works and what does it come with, like R integration. Needless to say, we are working on an entire series of videos to cover every aspect of Azure ML in the style that our members appreciate.

This is a beginning of a major, very important era, which I like to think of as the Data Generation. These kids (and adults) need millions of ways to get meaning from data that surrounds us, and to do that we need to use advanced analytics and machine learning. No, they will not all be using Azure ML! Instead, thousands of other companies, maybe like yours, will build their own, meaningful, customer-faced offerings powered by back-end machine learning services, which you don't have to maintain. That is exactly where Azure ML sits: not just for a data scientist geek, but really for a company that needs an economical way to provision the machine learning brain-power behind their own service. I can't wait to tell you more.

What is Market Basket Analysis? 

Rafal introduces Market Basket Analysis

Market Basket Analysis shows you which products are sold together with other products for reasons other than coincidence or independent popularity. Let me introduce it to you, with a bit of Excel and SQL Server, in this short 10-minute video, to help you get a better understanding of your sales patterns.

Association Rules in Depth

Difference between dependency network with attribute names vs values

Association Rules is one of the most useful and well understood predictive analytical techniques, and a fundamental algorithm of classical data mining. It has been the top request from our members, so at last, I have recorded an in-depth, 1-hour 40-minute, demo-filled video about it, which is part of our online data mining course. You will learn about four ways to prepare data for associative analysis, how to make it efficient, use of the visualisers, including the dependency network viewer, and, most importantly, you will learn how to interpret the results. I also explain the often confused metrics of the strengths of association: Rule Probability and Rule Importance, giving you plenty of examples to make it easy. Finally, no data mining algorithm would be complete without a set of parameters you can control, and all of them, including the very important MINIMUM_SUPPORT and MINIMUM_PROBABILITY are explained in this video.

You Are Invited: Rafal at Haven Studio

Mud, Canyon X (silver-gelatin print by Rafal)

I would like to cordially invite you to the opening of my next photographic exhibition at Haven Studio, 316 West Yellowstone, Casper, WY on 1st August 2014 at 6pm. I will present my newest work which focuses on the purity and beauty of abstract landscapes. See a small preview.

I have been committed to traditional, wet-darkroom, film-based, photography for most of my life, specialising in the large-format, view camera technique in the last fourteen years. I still print, mount and mat all of my work by hand, myself, in my darkroom in Ireland. Despite my IT career, I do not use digital equipment or computers at any stage of the process, from camera, till I have a print in my hand.

Please sign-up to my new photo newsletter, only 2–3 a year, thanks! 

I hope my photography may bring a moment of non-IT joy to you.

Promotion: 10% Off

For our newsletter readers we would like to offer a 10% discount, good for all memberships, until the end of July. If you are not yet a Full Access Member, or if you would like to extend your existing membership, please use the code:


It is even valid for Group Memberships, great for a team of users who want to learn Microsoft BI from the best place on the web. 

See you in September, enjoy the summer (or winter) break if you get one. I am off to US to hang my new show next week, but there will be new videos (about Power BI) appearing in August.

Rafal Lukawiecki, Strategic Consultant and Director, Project Botticelli Ltd

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