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CUBIST: Combining and Uniting Business Intelligence with Semantic Technologies


After working for 2 ½ years in the research project Aletheia (see my last blog entry), I am now working in the research project CUBIST and will use this blog to inform you about this project. So let me introduce CUBIST with its description from the CUBIST homepage.

What is CUBIST about?

Constantly growing amounts of data and an emerging trend of incorporating unstructured data into analytics is bringing new challenges to Business Intelligence (BI). Contemporary BI solutions fall short in the following aspects: First, they focus only on structured data and disregard the increasing amount of information hidden in unstructured data. Secondly, BI users dealing with increasingly complex analyses, but the complexity of BI tools becomes the biggest barrier to their success.

CUBIST is a visionary approach that leverages Business Intelligence to a new level of precise, meaningful and user-friendly analytics of data. CUBIST copes with the above mentioned problems by following a best-of-breed approach that combines essential features of Semantic Technologies, Business Intelligence and Visual Analytics. CUBIST aims to

  • support federation of data from unstructured and structured      sources,
  • persist the federated data in a semantic Data Warehouse; a hybrid      approach based on a BI enabled triple store,
  • and provide novel ways of applying visual analytics in which      meaningful diagrammatic representations of the data will be used for      depicting the data, navigating through the data and for visually querying      the data.

The resulting technology stack will be demonstrated in three use cases from the fields of market intelligence, computational biology and control centre operations.

CUBIST is funded by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme of ICT, topic 4.3: Intelligent Information Management.

Are you kidding? This is way too ambitious!

 Well, yes and no. CUBIST is a small research project (a so-called STREP), with a duration of three years (started in Oct. 2010) and about 11 people working on it. Having said this, it is evident that we will not come up with a BI-solution being superior to existing solutions, let’s say from (make an educated guess) Business Objects, which have been developed over by several thousands of people. Instead, we will focus on some specific aspects of BI which can complement existing solutions. One of these aspects is using a triple store as persistency layer, another aspect is going for a qualitative (instead of quantitative) data analysis, which will for CUBIST be based on a mathematical theory called formal concept analysis. We are just at the beginning of the CUBIST journey and are looking forward to the next years.

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  • Frithjof,

    This is an excellent project and I think it should be the next big milestone for Business Intelligence evolution. Unfortunately, the BI community is still not fully aware of the power semantic technologies. I hope you guys in this project get more visibility to your project especially from the partners management and also get some SAP Mentors involvement.

    Wish you ALL the best,
    – Ali Q.

    • Hi Ali,

      thanks for the encouragement!

      CUBIST alone will not change the mindset of the BI community towards Semantic Technologies, but anyhow, I agree to your comment. It will take time for ST to “penetrate” BI and other business applications, but I think it will happen in the long run.
      BTW, if you are interested in BI and ST, you might find the musing project relevant as well. See