To Start Quilting, One Just Needs a Set of Patterns: Deconstructing Neural Networks (my favorite topic de la journée, semaine ou année)


How a Neural Network Works:

Neural NetworkA neural network (#neuralnetwork) uses rules it “learns” from patterns in data to construct a hidden layer of logic. The hidden layer then processes inputs, classifying them based on the experience of the model. In this example, the neural network has been trained to distinguish between valid and fraudulent credit card purchases.

This is not your mom’s apple pie or the good old days of case-based reasoning or fuzzy logic. (Although, the latter is still one of my favorite terms to say. Try it: fuzzzzyyyy logic. Rolls off the tongue, right?)…But I digress…

And, now, we’re back.

To give you a quick refresher:


Case based reasoning represents knowledge as a database of past cases and their solutions. The system uses a six-step process to generate solutions to new problems encountered by the user.

We’re talking old school, folks…Think to yourself, frustrating FAQ pages, where you type a question into a search box, only to have follow on questions prompt you for further clarification and with each one, further frustration. Oh and BTW, the same FAQ pages which e-commerce sites laughably call ‘customer support’ –

“ And, I wonder why your ASCI customer service scores are soo low Mr. or Mrs. e-Retailer :),” says this blogger facetiously, to her audience .




And, we’re not talking about fuzzy logic either – Simply put, fuzzy logic is fun to say, yes, and technically is:

fuzzy logic

–> Rule-based technology with exceptions (see arrow 4)

–> Represents linguistic categories (for example, “warm”, “hot”) as ranges of values

–> Describes a particular phenomenon or process and then represents in a diminutive number of flexible rules

–> Provides solutions to scenarios typically difficult to represent with succinct IF-THEN rules

(Graphic: Take a thermostat in your home and assign membership functions for the input called temperature. This becomes part of the logic of the thermostat to control the room temperature. Membership functions translate linguistic expressions such as “warm” or “cool” into quantifiable numbers that computer systems can then consume and manipulate.)


Nope, we are talking Neural Networks – the absolute Bees-Knees in my mind, right up there with social intelligence and my family (in no specific order :):

–> Find patterns and relationships in massive amounts of data that are too complicated for human to analyze

–> “Learn” patterns by searching for relationships, building models, and correcting over and over again model’s own mistakes

–> Humans “train” network by feeding it training data for which inputs produce known set of outputs or conclusions, to help neural network learn correct solution by example

–> Neural network applications in medicine, science, and business address problems in pattern classification, prediction, financial analysis, and control and optimization


Remember folks: Knowledge is power and definitely an asset. Want to know more? I discuss this and other intangibles further in part 1 of a multi-part study I am conducting called:

weemee Measuring Our Intangible Assets, by Laura Edell

Investigative Analysis Part 1: Quantifying the Market Value of an Organization’s Intangible Asset Known as ‘Knowledge’

OK, so I’ve decided to conduct another multi-part study similar to what I did last year.

This time, I will be analyzing and attempting the quantify an organization’s intangible assets. Specifically, the following:

• knowledge, brands, reputations, and unique business processes

So, starting with knowledge:  Firstly, the chart is a little outdated but I will source the last two years and updated the graph later in the series.  Regardless, it is interesting none-the-less. And since I am the Queen advocate for measuring what matters and managing what you can measure, then consider the following my attempt to drink my own cool-aid – the following chart  depicts revenue growth over a 7 year period ending in 2008 – Those of you, my dear readers, who are also fellow Business Intelligence practitioners, should be able to attest at first glance to this statistical representation of Content Management Systems (CMS) and Portals YoY Revenue growth.

In fact, many of us have been asked to integrate BI dashboards and reports into existing corporate portals, like Microsoft SharePoint or into the native portals bundled with most Enterprise grade BI products like MicroStrategy or SAP/Business Objects, right? Many of us have been tasked with drafting data dictionaries, data governance documentation, source protected project and code repositories; ie – knowledge capture areas. But even in my vast knowledge (no pun intended), I was unaware that the growth spurt specific to CMS’ was as dramatic as this, depicted below and sourced from Prentice Hall

Laura Found This Interesting Folks!In fact, between 2001 and 2008, CMS’ revenue growth went from ~$2.5B to ~$22B, with the greatest spurt beginning in 2003 and skyrocketing up from there.


Conversely, the portal revenue growth was substantially less. This was a surprise. I must have heard the words SharePoint and Implementation more than any other between 2007 – 2009, whereas the sticker shock that came with an enterprise grade CMS sent many a C-level into the land of Nod, never to return until the proven VALUE cloud could ride them home against the nasty cop known as COST.

Aah – Ha moment, folks. Portal products were far less costly than the typical Documentum or IBM CMS.’

In fact, Jupiter’s recent report on CMS’ stated

“In some cases, an organization will deploy several seemingly redundant systems. In our sampling of about 800 companies that use content management packages, we discovered that almost 15 percent had implemented more than one CMS, often from competing vendors. That’s astounding, especially when you consider that an organization that deploys two content management systems can rack up more than $1 million in licensing fees and as much as $300,000 in yearly maintenance costs. Buying a second CMS should certainly raise a red flag for any CIO or CFO about to approve a purchase order.”

That’s 120 companies from the Jupiter study spending $1M in licensing, or $120M baseline. Extend that to all organizations leveraging CMS technology and therein lies the curious case of the revenue growth spurt.

To that, I say, Kiss My Intangible Assets! Knowledge is power, except when parked in someone’s head – Now, when will someone invent the physical drainage system for exactly said knowledge with or without permission of said holder? This gatekeepers need to go, and are often the dinosaurs fearing the newbie college grads and worst of all, CHANGE.

In part 2, we will discuss another fave of mine: Brand You!

SPModule and Sharepoint 2010; the power of the PowerShell


Check out my Google sidewiki post here:

And definitely download this module so that you can use SPModule…

Here is what the interface looks like:

From Zach Rosenfield’s blog, who is the Sharepoint Program Manager at Microsoft:


Welcome to the introduction of SPModule.  SPModule is a Windows PowerShell module written by members of the SharePoint Product Group in our spare time.   SPModule is an example of how we would envision you accomplish various common tasks within Windows PowerShell in a SharePoint 2010 environment.  We hope to position various best practices from these scripts and we hope in the long term to reference these also within technet.  These blog posts serve simply as our first location of sharing them, and this post will be updated once we have the samples hosted within technet.  The scripts themselves are not officially supported, but we will entertain questions and suggestions through this blog until we get it onto technet. 

How do I get started?

First download the zip that contains the scripts from here:

Next, unpack the zip file onto a share in your environment.  Before you get to use the scripts, you’ll need to make a decision around signing.  By default, Windows PowerShell is configured securely such that it will not run unsigned scripts.  You can choose to either sign them yourself with a self-signed certificate or run Windows PowerShell in a mode where you do not verify signatures.  We do not recommend running Windows PowerShell in this state.  However if you are in an isolated environment, you may choose to do so.  If you follow my last post about signing files, you can use those instructions to sign the entire “Module” in a single command:

function Add-Signing($file){ Set-AuthenticodeSignature $file @(Get-ChildItem cert:\CurrentUser\My -codesigning)[0] }

ls -r -Include ("*.ps1","*.psd1","*.psm1") |%{ Add-Signing $_ }

Please note that if you have not installed SharePoint, then you need to lower the Execution Policy to “AllSigned” using this command: Set-ExecutionPolicy AllSigned. This is done by installing the SharePoint bits so if you’ve already installed this is not needed.

Then open Windows PowerShell as an administrator (right click on the link and select “Run as administrator”).  If you already have SharePoint 2010 installed, you could use the SharePoint 2010 Management Shell instead.  Once the window opens, the first thing we need to do is add the path to the module to your Windows PowerShell module path (presuming you created a folder called “SPModule” on your server):

$env:PSModulePath = “C:\SPModule;” + $env:PSModulePath

Next we need to import the modules:

Import-Module SPModule.misc

Import-Module SPModule.setup

When you import the SPModule.misc module, you will invoke a update check.  In 1.0, this will check a file in the script library above to see if there is a newer version available.  If you are notified that there is, you can go to that location and download the newer version.  Once the Import-Module commands are done, you’re ready to use SPModule.

So, what does SPModule give me?

The 1.0 version of SPModule provides a few major new commands and a number of smaller supporting commands.  Here’s how you can get the list of commands in the module:

Get-Command –Module SPModule.*

The major commands of 1.0 are Install-SharePoint, New-SharePointFarm, Join-SharePointFarm, and Backup-Logs.  They do exactly what their names would lead you to expect (Backup-Logs collects all the logs on the local machine not the whole farm). The rest are for more advanced scenarios or are used by these larger functions—please be careful using commands you don’t understand  Here’s some quick examples to get you started:

Install SharePoint Bits (including Prereqs) on a

Install-SharePoint -SetupExePath “\\servername\SharePoint2010-Beta\setup.exe” -PIDKey “PKXTJ-DCM9D-6MM3V-G86P8-MJ8CY”

New-SharePointFarm –DatabaseAccessAccount (Get-Credential DOMAIN\username) –DatabaseServer “SQL01” –FarmName “TestFarm”

Join-SharePointFarm -DatabaseServer “SQL01” -ConfigurationDatabaseName “TestFarm_SharePoint_Configuration_Database”

Backup-Logs -outp “$env:userprofile\Desktop\”

Note:  Backup-Logs may have trouble putting the subzip files into the final zip.  We are aware of this issue and are working on this for the next release.  For now, we will detect the situation and keep the subzip files that had a problem”