SAS Institute follows Nashville with Mercury

Data warehousing and data mining specialist SAS Institute gave a glimpse of its next big technology initiative - named Mercury - at the SAS European user group conference here yesterday.

According to Jim Goodnight, president and co-founder of SAS Institute, the main focus of Mercury is to increase the speed of data mining through parallel processing.

"When you are dealing with millions and millions of records for data mining, it helps to let the task get broken up into different pieces," Goodnight said.

He said Mercury will support "the concept of real-time data mining - that you are improving your models instantly every time a new transaction takes place". Its development is well underway at SAS Institute.

Meanwhile, SAS is nearing completion of its so-called Nashville project, a four-year initiative focused on re-engineering the base SAS system.

The fruits of the Nashville project are incorporated in SAS Version 8 (V8), due for general release early next year. SAS announced some of V8's key capabilities here yesterday: V8 will include 'enterprise integration technologies' (EITs) based on intelligent access engines which will enable users to draw data from both front- and back-end applications, and tailor the data for use on any client through specifications such as Microsoft's Component Object Model (COM) and Corba.

EITs in V8 will also enable knowledge derived from back-office analysis to be fed back into operational systems through support for IBM's MQSeries and Microsoft's MSMQ messaging platforms, SAS officials said. New thin client interfaces have been incorporated in V8, which supports both Java and ActiveX component architectures.

V8 also supports Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) which will allow access to information from hand held devices.

"We're seeing a shift in business focus from automating business processes to generating and sharing knowledge as a means to achieve competitive advantage," said Allan Russell, vice president of strategy, SAS Institute.

"For IT this means providing a framework for creating and surfacing information to meet the needs of different users, across different platforms."

Laura Mason travelled to The Hague courtesy of SAS Institute

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