“Big data can be a nightmare. Sure, it’s powerful stuff, but as anyone who’s worked with large sets of raw data knows, they can be an epic bitch to wrangle. Cleaning things up into a consistent, usable format winds up burning an extraordinary amount of time – precious hours that could be going into something far more productive. But that may be about to change.
“The issue is known among data scientists and statisticians as data transformation. And by Jeff Heer’s estimate, it can eat up anywhere between 50% and 80% of a data wrangler’s time. The University of Washington professor and longtime data visualization specialist is now the cofounder of a startup called Trifacta, which offers a web-based platform for easily transforming data sets.
“‘We’ve been trying to address this by changing the coding exercise into a sort of visual exploration,’ says Heer about Trifacta, which runs in the browser and uses behind-the-scenes algorithms to smartly reshape data without needing to code.”