The human side of Hadoop

Doug Cutting on applications of Hadoop, where "Hadoop" comes from, and the new partnership between Cloudera and O'Reilly.

Roger Magoulas, director of market research at O’Reilly and Strata co-chair, recently sat down with Doug Cutting, chief architect at Cloudera, to talk about the new partnership between Cloudera and O’Reilly, and the state of the Hadoop landscape.

Cutting shares interesting applications of Hadoop, several of which had touching human elements. For instance, he tells a story about visiting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and discovering the staff using Hadoop to reduce stress in babies. Cutting explains:

“Tod Davis [manager of business intelligence at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta] just started gathering data that was otherwise being discarded. In particular, stuff from the neonatal ICU. These are little babies who can’t make it on their own, mostly preemies, and they’ve got all these probes hooked up to them; they’re being monitored.

“He just started sticking all that stuff in a Hadoop cluster. He didn’t have a huge — at least initially — sophisticated agenda of what he was going to study with it, but they started doing some queries that the nurses were interested in. For example, they started looking at how stressful the various ways of taking blood samples from the babies were, how long it took their vitals to return to normal. They learned that they were pretty stressful and that there were ways they could draw blood that were less stressful.

“Stress is not a good thing when you’ve got a baby that’s barely hanging on anyway. They just started harvesting some data that they were throwing away and found some value in it, and just with some simple counting. I love that sort of grassroots.”

Cutting also talks about why he’s optimistic about data privacy, what’s holding back the rate of Hadoop adoption, and why he’s excited about the future of the space. He clarifies the correct pronunciation of “Hadoop” and tells the story of its origin as well. You can watch the interview in the following video:

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