A Big Year for Innovation: What technology Does for USAID

Ann Mei Chang is the Executive Director of the U.S. Global Development Lab at USAID (U.S. Agency for Internal Development). This special sector of USAID was created last April to heighten awareness toward the application of science and technology for a greater impact in helping end extreme poverty worldwide. There are 9 areas of focus for this mission:

  1. Food security & nutrition modernizing food assistance
  2. Ending preventable child & maternal deaths
  3. Energy access
  4. Water solutions
  5. Child literacy
  6. Financial inclusion
  7. Human rights
  8. Participation & accountability
  9. Humanitarian response

These areas are of top priority to the new lab and can be supplemented by technology. The Center for Data Analysis & Research is composed of team members who are responsible for gathering and analyzing the data from said projects being conducted by USAID. With so much hype surrounding data and analysis now there are many new technology companies designing software and platforms to help extract knowledge from your data.

ChalkLabs has been involved in helping companies innovate with specialized knowledge discovery solutions for years. We provide the expertise and speed of the leading competitors such as SAS, Oracle, and SAP minus the typical large company cost. Featuring true in-memory computing, Pushgraph PaaS exceeds the standard speed and scalability of the biggest names on the market. Monitor millions of real-time events to discover valuable and actionable insights. Find out exactly where funding is being wasted and prevent duplication in programming, research priorities, et. al. Former and current ChalkLabs clients include National Institute of Health, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and even the USDA.

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Gartner & Challenges in Big Data

We all know about the Big Data “revolution” by now. There are vast benefits when using Big Data analytics tools for insight, but with all major technology breakthroughs there will always be challenges to overcome. The following points were found in a recent article by and the information is very helpful. Gartner, “the world’s leading information and technology research and advisory company”, goes over the challenges that companies and individuals are now facing in the world of knowledge discovery, aka Big Data. Information strategy, data analysis, and enterprise information management are all the topics covered that one must address to overcome such hurdles in I.T.

With more than half of the U.S. now using the Cloud, the number of users for a given Cloud platform and the opinions of the professionals ranking said institutions give great insight into the value of a given solution. Amazon Web Services (AWS), a Cloud services provider, meets 92% of the requirements for Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) standards and 100% in other areas like security. AWS is the leader in cloud IaaS. As an AWS technology partner, ChalkLabs offers services for the Cloud including the GovCloud for the public sector. Between shifting data to the cloud and turning Big Data into knowledge, companies have their hands full. ChalkLabs specialized and professional team of knowledge discovery experts are here to help you through it all, every step of the way.


Visit the ChalkLabs website to view our solutions for knowledge discovery and Cloud as well as consultation.

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Design Success with Pinpoint

Have you ever faced a situation where you attempted to solve a problem but felt the need for a fresh new set of eyes to view the situation in a different light?

Pinpoint can be that fresh set of eyes for you to discover new and improved solutions to your business problems.

This dedicated and professional team located in Portland, OR, was founded in 2005 but already helps many large clients such as Cisco, Nike, and Intel, et. al.

Being experts in design and strategy primarily, Pinpoint can see solutions to your problems that you may have never considered.

Pinpoint takes your business seriously and studies your operations, techniques, and systems inside and out to know your company and customers while strategically finding the answers to your most complicated questions before moving you forward. Journey Mapping is just one such useful service provided.

Pinpoint will research new markets and areas of potential growth to let you know how to best proceed with your business endeavors. Maximizing efficiency and profits are two of the great benefits to using Pinpoint as a business partner.

On another note, have you ever sat down and thought about what it may be like to be one of your own customers? Pinpoint can walk you through the customer’s journey with an orthogonal view of your company.

Overall I think most of us know that a business strategy is just as important as the products or services that you are selling. Let the professionals at Pinpoint show you the way.


Compute. Compete. Capitalize.

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ChalkLabs Awarded one of “20 Most Powerful Big Data Solution Providers”

ChalkLabs was recently named one of “20 Most Powerful Big Data Solution Providers” by

Discover how ChalkLabs Big Data Platform Pushgraph is saving government agencies, Fortune 500 companies, and disease research organizations time and money while increasing ROI.

If you would like to download the complete copy of CIO Story Big Data Special 2014, feel free to share the link below.

How can we make our City Smarter?

Technology continues to fuel population growth with new applications targeting Big Data analytics and data mining, which are opening up a whole new world for us. Transportation, health and safety, and budget efficiency can all be vastly improved by applying sensor technology and real-time tracking devices to real life objects or events.image

Apps like GasBuddy, FitBit, and ParkSight 2.0 are already initiating changes to society. The Streetlines company made the Park Sight 2.0 app that can show driver where the nearest open parking spot is, saving them time and gasoline expenditures. In most cities parking is near the top of the list of highest revenues. Locating seats on a nearby bus, searching for safe biking routes, and knowing what charities are in need of the items you were about to toss out could be huge factors in changing the way our cities operate. Portland is a good example of a city which is benefiting from adopting the use of bike-friendly apps. There are vast benefits in providing our citizens with knowledge of changes we could make to help our city be a smart one. How many fewer people might be injured while biking? If you knew you could save money on gas by finding a ride share service or a safe biking route by using an app on your iPhone would you ditch your gas-guzzling F-150 for a 10 speed and a helmet?

Transportation is a large part of our economic structure and with improvements we can make everyone’s lives easier, safer and more efficient.

( ( credit: University of Michigan Health System)




Considering a Cloud-Computing Platform

In your eyes, what might be the most important part of making your business excel? Using customer input and activity online to design individualized plans for future gains may be the new way to go.

Before data became “Big Data”, companies in banking, medicine, marketing, and service industries alike relied on customer feedback via website commentary or reviews received from customer service employees within the company for knowledge of any issues pertaining to products being offered. Now you may want to consider a better way to ensure customer satisfaction.

Tracking and monitoring customer activity and the use of predictive analytic applications to view your site’s visitors and activeties might help you ensure knowledge of future purchase choices and utilize helpful insight into marketing strategies for the future. While other companies speed ahead using customer data to improve overall business knowledge, you may be considering which tools for predictive analytics you could be benefiting from. Knowing what Cloud-Computing company to choose may be the hardest part of joining the Cloud revolution. Cloud storage is a main-stream business asset for the safety and access of your most important data now. Ensuring that the Cloud-Computing platform that you are evaluating is built by those who have years of experience is a good start. You may want to pick professionals with expertise in building Cloud platforms and providing visualization and analytical direction for your company data. Regarding your company, you might begin by investigating into Pushgraph and the other Cloud-Computing services that we offer at ChalkLabs.

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Big Data in Space

The article “Space: The Big Data Frontier” examines the implications that big data analysis will have on the progression of astronomical discovery and exploration. Specifically, the article discusses the issues that will face researchers should the funding for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) project be renewed. As budget renewal does seem likely, scientists must finalize and implement big data solutions soon.


The data problems that are facing the LSST team are massive; while Kirk Borne, the Chair of Information and Statistics for LSST, makes clear that the technicalities of data storage are not an issue, their challenge will be finding meaningful information in all of the data that the LSST will collect. It’s estimated that the LSST will collect “around ten petabytes [approximately ten million gigabytes] of data per year”.


Author Mari Silbey also addresses another issue that the LSST team will face – the issue of bandwidth. While the telescope will be in Chile, its data will be transported to Illinois each day, and “[while] sufficient bandwidth for moving big data around may be available in a few select geographic regions, it certainly doesn’t exist everywhere researchers reside.” However, public and private institutions are working towards resolving the bandwidth problems, and researchers are also working to improve algorithmic analysis in order to streamline the data that is to be transferred.


Though I’m not a formal student of astronomy, I’ve always found the topic interesting; ultimately, I believe that the wealth of data that the LSST project intends to provide will be invaluable in our understanding of space.  Additionally, I think that the utilization of big data analysis will be essential in the success of this project; the Sloan Digital Sky Survey “produced roughly twenty thousand academic papers”, and the LSST will produce an amount of data equivalent to the entire Sloan Digital Sky Survey every three days. Without big data analysis to help process this massive amount of information, much of the LSST’s discoveries would remain unexplored. With big data analytics, however, we will better be able to parse and utilize the discovered information to further our scientific understanding of space.