Infinit.e Overview

Infinit.e Overview by Alex Piggott.

From the webpage:

Infinit.e is a scalable framework for collecting, storing, processing, retrieving, analyzing, and visualizing unstructured documents and structured records.

[Image omitted. Too small in my theme to be useful.]

Let’s provide some clarification on each of the often overloaded terms used in that previous sentence:

  • It is a "framework" (or "platform") because it is configurable and extensible by configuration (DSLs) or by various plug-ins types – the default configuration is expected to be useful for a range of typical analysis applications but to get the most out of Infinit.e we anticipate it will usually be customized.
    • Another element of being a framework is being designed to integrate with existing infrastructures as well run standalone.
  • By "scalable" we mean that new nodes (or even more granular: new components) can be added to meet increasing workload (either more users or more data), and that provision of new resources are near real-time.
    • Further, the use of fundamentally cloud-based components means that there are no bottlenecks at least to the ~100 node scale.
  • By "unstructured documents" we mean anything from a mostly-textual database record to a multi-page report – but Infinit.e’s "sweet spot" is in the range of database records that would correspond to a paragraph or more of text ("semi-structured records"), through web pages, to reports of 10 pages or less.
    • Smaller "structured records" are better handled by structured analysis tools (a very saturated space), though Infinit.e has the ability to do limited aggregation, processing and integration of such datasets. Larger reports can still be handled by Infinit.e, but will be most effective if broken up first.
  • By "processing" we mean the ability to apply complex logic to the data. Infinit.e provides some standard "enrichment", such as extraction of entities (people/places/organizations.etc) and simple statistics; and also the ability to "plug in" domain specific processing modules using the Hadoop API.
  • By "retrieving" we mean the ability to search documents and return them in ranking order, but also to be able to retrieve "knowledge" aggregated over all documents matching the analyst’s query.
    • By "query"/"search" we mean the ability to form complex "questions about the data" using a DSL (Domain Specific Language).
  • By "analyzing" we mean the ability to apply domain-specific logic (visual/mathematical/heuristic/etc) to "knowledge" returned from a query.

We refer to the processing/retrieval/analysis/visualization chain as document-centric knowledge discovery:

  • "document-centric": means the basic unit of storage is a generically-formatted document (eg useful without knowledge of the specific data format in which it was encoded)
  • "knowledge discovery": means using statistical and text parsing algorithms to extract useful information from a set of documents that a human can interpret in order to understand the most important knowledge contained within that dataset.

One important aspect of the Infinit.e is our generic data model. Data from all sources (from large unstructured documents to small structured records) is transformed into a single, simple. data model that allows common queries, scoring algorithms, and analytics to be applied across the entire dataset. …

I saw this in a tweet by Gregory Piatetsky yesterday and so haven’t had time to download or test any of the features of Infinit.e.

The list of features is a very intriguing one.

Definitely worth the time to throw another VM on the box and try it out with a dataset of interest.

Would appreciate your doing the same and sending comments and/or pointers to posts with your experiences. Suspect we will have different favorite features and hit different limitations.


PS: Downloads.

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