Cutting Edge BI



I went to the SQL Server 2008 R2 launch in London on 15th April 2010 (a while ago I know, but I have been away for a week :-)). I am not a SQL Server DBA or anything such, I went specifically for the BI sessions, PowerPivot and Reporting Services.


I have to say that I enjoyed the day enormously, much more so than the Visual Studio 2010 launch the previous Monday (the Visual Studio day was informative, but a bit dry in comparison), but the reason for this post is to talk about the case study that was presented on that day.


In the opening session, the case study was given by Yasmeen Ahmad and Dr Mark Whitehorn of Dundee University. Mark is in the university’s school of computing; Yasmeen was previously one of Mark’s undergraduates, but is now doing her PhD as part of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Gene Regulation & Expression. Mark is a big advocate of BI, it is listed as his resaerch theme in his university profile, and Microsoft’s stack approach, and Yasmeen has obviously adopted the same enthusiasm, and is working in the Wellcome Trust Centre utilising her BI development skills (no doubt, learning much about proteomics along the way).


The case study was based upon Yasmeen’s development of a BI tool for the analysis and management of proteomics data. I spoke to Yasmeen in the break about her work, and was enthused enough to want to learn more.


With details provided by Yasmeen, I found the this publication which details this work, the creation of a ‘Protein Frequency Library’; a data environment (PepTracker); and an OLAP cube to provide the researchers with the ability to analyse their data. The paper is naturally heavy on the science, and I whilst I was soon lost in the scientific details (I have asked my daughter to explain it to me :-)), I was able to understand enough contextually to enjoy the BI parts, the development of the model and the analysis.


I just found it illuminating to see BI applied to cutting edge science in this way, not an obvious area.


Any errors in the above are undoubtedly mine, not due to Mark or Yasmeen.

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