frank's blog

Why Amazon Keeps Spending Billions On Amazon R&D

Posted in innovation, internet, Media, pioneers by aldorf on April 29, 2011

In his annual letter to shareholders, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos explains why his company continues to re-invest in technology.

Random forests, naïve Bayesian estimators, RESTful services, gossip protocols, eventual consistency, data sharding, anti-entropy, Byzantine quorum, erasure coding, vector clocks … walk into certain Amazon meetings, and you may momentarily think you’ve stumbled into a computer science lecture.

Look inside a current textbook on software architecture, and you’ll find few patterns that we don’t apply at Amazon. We use high-performance transactions systems, complex rendering and object caching, workflow and queuing systems, business intelligence and data analytics, machine learning and pattern recognition, neural networks and probabilistic decision making, and a wide variety of other techniques. And while many of our systems are based on the latest in computer science research, this often hasn’t been sufficient: our architects and engineers have had to advance research in directions that no academic had yet taken. Many of the problems we face have no textbook solutions, and so we — happily — invent new approaches…Read full article.

All the effort we put into technology might not matter that much if we kept technology off to the side in some sort of R&D department, but we don’t take that approach. Technology infuses all of our teams, all of our processes, our decision-making, and our approach to innovation in each of our businesses. It is deeply integrated into everything we do.

300 Million Tweets Reveal The Afternoon At Work Is The Unhappiest Time Of Day

Posted in Media, web by aldorf on July 23, 2010

A team of five researchers at the two schools (Northwestern and Harvard) studied 300 million U.S. tweets from September 2006 to August 2009 and performed sentiment analysis on them. (read more…)

The project is one of many ongoing studies into status updates and sentiment analysis. Facebook has its own in-house team led by a research scientist named Cameron Marlow. The social network tracks a metric called “Gross National Happiness,” inspired by the idea originally coined by the Bhutanese government in the early 1970s. There are constantly updated graphs on Gross National Happiness here for the U.S. and a number of other Westernized countries where you can see similar troughs and peaks in sentiment around weekends and workdays. (via VentureBeat)

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