[Purdue-pm] "Data Algebra" talk

Mark Senn mark at purdue.edu
Tue Apr 17 04:44:26 PDT 2012

Purdue Perl Mongers,
Thought you might be interested in this "Data Algebra" talk.

Subject: Math Club Special Guest Speaker and Final Talk for the Semester 4/19
From: Nathaniel Johnson <johns576 at purdue.edu>
To: Nathaniel Johnson <johns576 at purdue.edu>

Hey All!

This week we're having another guest speaker coming, Dr. Gary Sherman, the
Principal Mathematician for Algebraix Data Corp. He will be talking to us
about "Data Algebra" how it's developed. Below is his abstract for his
This will be the last talk for the semester and it promises to be a good
one; so don't miss out!

The talk will be held in a different location this week: MTHW 210 (the
really big room in Matthew's); but still at 6pm on Thursday (April 19th).

TITLE:  What's a data algebra and how do you build one?

ABSTRACT:  Ask n people the question "What's data?" and the
cardinality of the set of responses is better approximated by n than by
one.  Any self respecting mathematician is puzzled by this --- denizens of
data-world, not so much.  Indeed, ever since E. F. Codd's 1970 paper,
A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks (Comm. ACM,
Vol. 13, No. 6, pp. 377-387) gave rise to the Relational Data Model (RDM),
the data-world's solution to this congenital ambiguity has been to
exacerbate it by conflating the data, whatever it is, with some prejudicial
visual artifice (tables in the case of the RDM); i.e., by confusing the
message with the paper it's written on --- so to speak.  What is worse,
each new artifice comes equipped with a brief, supposedly-mathematical
incantation to justify the trip down a new rabbit hole.  This talk
discusses Algebraic Data Corporation's approach to knowing data in the
context of Zemelo-Frankel set theory, the foundation for all modern
mathematics and, therefore, the only legitimate incantation to use when
invoking the good name of mathematics.  Indeed, our incantation births a
rigorous notion of data algebra in plain sight of the RDM and its mongrel
spawn, Structured Query Language (SQL).

See You There,

Nate Johnson
Ambassador to the Math Club

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