Paper: Mining the Swarm

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Mining the Swarm

This chapter was originally published in BPM Everywhere

Keith D. Swenson, Sumeet Batra, Yasumasa Oshiro, Fujitsu America

Data mining and process mining are both tools used by the BPM professional in order find out how an organization is currently operating and to get an objective measure of how efficiently the organizaiton is operating. Big data is a style of data analysis that reflects a return to large, centralized data repositories. Processing power and memory is getting cheaper, while the bandwidth between all the smart devices remains a barrier to getting all the data together in one place for analysis. If we look at common technological trends, we might predict that more and more processing power will remain at the device level. In a way similar to how Google distributed web search queries across a grid of computers, it is reasonable to see analytics functions distributed to the devices that form the Internet of things. Swarms of devices will be mined in order to retrieve intelligence about what those devices have been involved in. There are potentially very disturbing aspects of this: who owns this data when it is distributed over millions of devices? How can one protect privacy? Whether centralized or distributed, how can one assure the quality of the data? On the flip side, devices that mine information from other devices might be able to provide better service, and a better quality life than without. Like all technology advancements we should not let fear rule our actions, yet we should move forward with our eyes open.

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