The KIT ─ Knowledge & Information Technology
No. 271 - 1 September 2020
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In This Issue
In Memoriam: Frances E. Allen
The NICER Report
Notes from the MIT CDOIQ Conference
Blockchain in Oil & Gas
Seen Recently
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In Memoriam: Frances E. Allen
Frances Elizabeth "Fran" Allen was a pioneer in the field of optimizing compilers -- compilers that, at the time when machines were rather slow, replaced what the programmer had written by an equivalent but faster set of instructions (e.g., by "unwrapping" short loops), used registers to hold constants, parallelized independent operations when the hardware supported it, etc.  Ms. Allen spent her whole career at IBM Research (1957-2002) and was the first woman to receive the envied Turing Award from ACM. She was a strong supporter of women in science and computing. Dr. Allen died on August 4, the day of her 88th birthday.
The NICER Report
On July 20, Rapid7 released its "National / Industry / Cloud Exposure Report" (NICER) for 2020, a "comprehensive census of Internet-based cyber-exposure" that details what protocols are the least secure and how much they are still used (if you thought the entire world had moved from HTTP to HTTPS, you'll be surprised!), how many servers have unpatched vulnerabilities, including (gasp!) in the financial industry, etc.

The authors add that given the growing adoption of cloud services for "mission-critical business workloads, [...] the research team felt it was important to dig into what portion of services in our survey came from cloud environments."
Notes from the MIT CDOIQ Conference
On August 18-20, MIT hosted the Chief Data Office and Information Quality Program, virtually of course. About 900 people were registered. Here are some takeaways from the event:
  • There are a lot of "Chief Data Officers" out there. Most large companies now have them, as well as government agencies. And yet there is still confusion about what the title exactly encompasses, and where it fits on the org chart. According to a NewVantage Partners survey, only 28% of the firms with a CDO consider the role as well established and successful. Frequent readers of the KIT will remembers that we have voiced skepticism before: if the CIO was not given a role or responsibilities that really match the words "chief," "information" and "officer," then why would we expect the CDO to fare better?
  • There is massive job title inflation going on! While the event was meant for higher-level managers, some situations border on the ridiculous. Deloitte, the audit and tax consulting firm, had 20 attendees, 3 of whom listed their title as "Chief Data Officer." The Federal Reserve Board sent both a "Manager" and an "Assistant Director" from the "Office of the Chief Data Officer." GE Aviation had four attendees: a "VP Data & Analytics," a "Senior Director, Data & Analytics," a "Senior Director, Data Science & Analytics," and a "Director, Data Analytics." Do these organizations have anyone who actually does the work?
  • "Information quality" should start with simple things. Attendees from several organizations didn't seem to know how to consistently name their employer on a registration form. Is it Boomi, BOOMI, Dell Boomi, Boomi (Dell), ...?
  • COVID-19 has caused an acceleration in the use of data. This creates teachable moments for executives, because you can show them the impact of bad data on their business.
  • Data catalogs are important, but it is hard to convince companies to spend the time and money to create them.
  • The airline industry and their suppliers are doing some interesting work, and not just in terms of equipment predictive maintenance.
  • The PiLog group presented some concrete success stories of cost savings based on analyzing a client's inventory or financial data.
Blockchain in Oil & Gas
In mid-July, the Saudi Arabia Section of the Society of Petroleum Engineers hosted a webinar by Jon Curtis (B2B Matrix) on the use of blockchain in the upstream sector (exploration and production) oil and gas industry. You can view the recording here, but be aware that nothing happens until the 5:50 mark, and the next 15 minutes are a quick tutorial on blockchain concepts that many of our readers already know. At the 20:12 mark, we get to a well construction use case. Regardless whether you need the first part or not, Mr. Curtis' webinar is clear and well presented.
Seen Recently...
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-- Sahil (@sahkho)

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-- CoreyQuinn (@QuinnyPig)