Ona builds tally software for the Libyan elections

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Ona, a company I co-founded, recently built the tallying software used to aggregate votes in the Libyan constitutional assembly elections. These votes were cast throughout the country, on off-shore oil rigs, and at international voting centers throughout the world.

The Libyan High National Election Commission has generously made the tally system software open source. All application source code is on github, there is an overview of the tallying process, and additional code documentation. A description of the technologies used is posted on the Ona blog.

Mobile Technologies presentation to the Mount Sinai Global Health Program

Friday, January 17, 2014 Benedetta Simeonidis, Roger Wong, and I gave a lecture on Wednesday discussing mobile technologies and their intersection with global health. We demoed Formhub and talked about Drishti. We also talked about the importance of user centric design in mobile technology.

The slides from our lecture are below:

Introduction to Clojure Presenation at Intent Media

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Ivan Willig and I gave a presentation on Monday introducing Clojure and discussing some of the production Clojure code in the Intent Media data platform.

Rich Hickey

The full presentation is available on github and as interactive slides.

Ruby and Clojure client libraries for the Helioid API

Sunday, November 10, 2013

We recently released a Helioid API that returns categorized search results. To retrieve JSON results for a query like "data analytics" simple append "?format=json" to the URL, i.e.


To make this easier to use we have released open source Ruby and Clojure client libraries. Install the Ruby library with:

gem install heliapi

then load and fetch categories using:

require 'heliapi'

results = Heliapi.new.web('ruby apis')


which returns:

=> ['Developer',
    'Google Api Ruby',
    'Ruby Client'

To install the Clojure library add heliapi to your Leiningen project.clj file:

[heliapi "0.0.1"]

then load and fetch categories with:

(:require [heliapi.core :as helioid])

(map #(:name %)
     (:categories (helioid/web "helioid")))

which returns the results as:

=> ("search refinement"
    "search engine"
    "helioid choroiditis"
    "intranuclear helioid inclusions"
    "intranuclear helioid"
    "helioid search")

We will add features to the API and client libraries as requested. We will also make libraries for other languages as requested.

Distributed Classification with ADMM

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Today Jon Sondag and I presented our paper on ADMM for Hadoop at the IEEE BigData 2013 conference.

The paper describes our implementation of Boyd's ADMM algorithm in Hadoop Map Reduce. We talk about the statistical details of implementing ADMM as well as the nuances of storing state on Hadoop.

In our presentation we present background on the data pipeline we have built at Intent Media and motivate why a Hadoop Map Reduce job is the appropriate run-time for us to use. We mention the alternatives for building distributed logistic regression models, such as sampling the data, Apache Mahout, Vowpal Wabbit, and Spark.

We also discuss alternatives specifically designed for iterative computation on Hadoop, such as HaLoop and Twister.

Our presentation is below:

You may also read the full paper Practical Distributed Classification using the Alternating Direction Method of Multipliers Algorithm.

The paper describes our open source Hadoop based implementation of the ADMM algorithm and how to use it to compute a distributed logistic regression model.