It’s been nearly 22 years since history was made across a chess board. The place was New York City, and the event was Game 6 of a series of games between IBM’s “Deep Blue” and the renowned World Champion Garry Kasparov. It was the first time, ever, a computer had defeated a player of that caliber in a multi-game scenario, and it kicked off a wave of innovation that’s been methodically working its way into the modern enterprise.
Deep Blue was a formidable opponent because of its brute force approach to chess. In a game where luck is entirely removed from the equation, it could run a search algorithm on a massive scale to evaluate moves—discarding candidate moves once they proved to be less valuable than a previously examined and still available option. This giant decision tree powered the computer to a winning position in just 19 moves with Kasparov resigning.
As impressive as Deep Blue was then, present-day computing capabilities are stronger by orders of magnitude—inspired by the neural network of the human brain. Data scientists create inputs and define outputs—and after a complex layering process—detect previously indecipherable patterns, important variables that influence games, and, ultimately, the next move to take.
Models can also continue to ‘learn’ from playing different scenarios and then update the model through a process called ‘reinforcement learning’ (as the Go-playing AlphaZero program does). The result of this? The ability to process millions of scenarios in a fraction of a second to determine the best possible action—with implications far beyond the gameboard.
Integrating machine learning models into your business workflows comes with its challenges: business analysts are typically unfamiliar with ML methods and/or lack the coding skills necessary to create viable models; integration issues with third-party BI software may be a nonstarter; and the need for governed data to avoid incorrectly trained models is a barrier to success.
As a solution, MicroStrategy operates as a unified platform for creating and deploying data science and machine learning models. With APIs and connectors to hundreds of data sources, analysts and data scientists can pull in trusted data. And when using the R Integration Pack in conjunction with MicroStrategy, business analysts can produce predictive analytics without coding knowledge and disseminate those results throughout their organization.
The use cases are already coming in as industry leaders put this technology to work. As one example, a large governmental organization reduced employee attrition by 10% using machine learning, R, and MicroStrategy.