Analyze Re CTO highlights the need for agility in Big Data analytics

Speaking at the 2014 High-Performance Computing Symposium (HPCS) held in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Dr. Oliver Baltzer, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Analyze Re described the technological differences between traditional high-performance computing infrastructure and cloud infrastructure. Specifically, his discussion addressed what impact these differences have on engineering choices. “In order for businesses to be more agile and able to quickly react to changes in their market, companies should look towards commodity cloud infrastructure solutions” said Dr. Baltzer. “In doing this, they open up new possibilities and at the same time can future-proof themselves against challenges that are symptomatic of data volume growth.”

His talk, titled “Big Data Analytics for Risk Engineering”, discussed building a platform which offers Risk Engineering capabilities to the insurance and reinsurance industries. In doing so, Analyze Re has been able to solve many industry-wide challenges which have arisen due to stiffening competition. By using high-performance analytics on large volume insurance data, Analyze Re can quickly show a path to improved profitability and has stimulated the interest of major insurance companies.

Dr. Baltzer concluded his talk with an appeal to the audience to foster more talent. “Advanced Computing often still exists only in the shadow of mainstream technologies, but has widespread applications to large Internet-scale and Big Data problems in both academia and industry.”

In conjunction with the conference the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) also organized a panel discussion on academic-industry research collaboration in Big Data analytics. As a representative of industry, Dr. Baltzer confirmed the need for more collaboration between academia and industry, but also identified the challenges in finding a common language between both sides. The objectives of industry and academia are not always aligned and the panel recognized the need for an open dialog between both parties in order to facilitate greater collaboration. Additionally, Dr. Baltzer again stressed the need for more industry relevant education in the fields of Data Science and Advanced Computing.

NSERC is a Canadian government agency that promotes discovery by funding postsecondary research and fosters innovation by encouraging Canadian companies to participate and invest in postsecondary research and training.

The High-Performance Computing Symposium is Canada’s largest conference on High-Performance and Advanced Computing which is held annually since its inception in 1987. Dr. Baltzer’s talk was part of a session focussing on Big Data applications including presentations by Dr. Alexander Kreinin of IBM Canada on Financial Risk Management and Dr. Stan Matwin of the Institute for Big Data Analytics at Dalhousie University.