Author Archives: maxdemarzi

Transmuting Documents into Graphs

Alchemy is a philosophical and protoscientific tradition practiced throughout Europe, Africa and Asia. Its aim is to purify, mature, and perfect certain objects. In popular culture we often see the case of shadowy figures trying to turn lead into gold to make themselves immensely rich or to ruin the world economy. In our case we will not be transmuting lead into gold, but documents into graphs which is just as good. In the past, we had used “Alchemy API” but they were purchased by IBM and retired. You can get similar functionality with IBM Watson, but let’s do something else instead. Let’s add Entity Extraction right into Neo4j.
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Offers with Neo4j

If you have started or are thinking about starting a Graph project, you ought to get in touch with me. I’ve been involved in hundreds of graph database backed projects and chances are I can point you in the right direction. It doesn’t cost anything to get on a goto meeting for an hour and talk about it. Contact me at max@neo4j.com to schedule it. If you are very serious and have a little budget allocated then I recommend you sign up for one of our bootcamps. You’ll be amazed at what we can accomplish together in a very short time. I’ll even make you a deal, if you sign up for a bootcamp and end up buying a commercial license, we’ll give you a week of professional services absolutely free.
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Scheduling Meetings with Neo4j

One of the symptoms of any fast growing company is the lack of available meeting rooms. The average office worker gets immense satisfaction to their otherwise mundane workday when they get to kick someone else out of the meeting room they booked. Of course that joy can be cut short (along with their career) once realizing some unnoticed VIP was unceremoniously kicked out. It’s not a super exciting use case, but today I’m going to show you how to use Neo4j to perform some scheduling gymnastics.
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Neo4j Geospatial Queries

When I was growing up, the Neo Geo was the high end gaming system around. It was however prohibitively expensive for most people… and definitely out of my price range. I grew up in a mobile home park in Union City, CA. Near the old drive in theater now long gone. It was also next to an industrial park in Hayward where a food truck would make the best burritos $3 could buy. A search for the best burritos in Union City would have missed this food truck gem. Geographic boundaries can be a problem when searching for things by specific places. To get around this problem, we tend to use latitude and longitude and then perform a radius or bounding box search. Today I want to present to you a hybrid approach using Neo4j.

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Keeping Properties Secret in Neo4j

We’re an open source company with nothing to hide, but some of our customers have things they need to keep close to their chest. Sometimes you don’t want everybody to have access to salary information, or future predictions. Maybe you want to hide Personally identifiable information (PII) or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) data. In Neo4j 3.4 we are introducing more security controls. We are starting with Role based Database wide property key blacklists. That’s a bit of a mouthful but let’s walk through and example to see one of the ways it can be utilized. Imagine you are working in “Area 51” and have to deal with very important information.
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Replicants

In the movie Blade Runner, “replicants” are engineered biological copies of humans. They are implanted with memories that aren’t real (to them anyway, they are sometimes the recorded memories of other people) in order to provide a sort of replacement to their emotions. The replicants are meant to work in outer space and are illegal on earth. The ones that manage to get to earth are hunted down by Deckard and other blade runners. In order to determine who is a replicant and who is a “real person” blade runners use a “Voight-Kampff” test that measures respiration, heart rate, blushing and eye movement in response to emotionally provocative questions. Today we are going to turn Neo4j into a blade runner and use it to find and retire replicated identities in our data.
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Dynamic Rule Based Decision Trees in Neo4j – Part 2

A couple of weeks ago I showed you how to build a dynamic rule based decision tree in Neo4j. It was pretty simple and used an Expression Evaluator to determine if a set of parameters in an expression was true or false. Based on that answer it decided where to go.

But what if we had more than just true or false? What if we wanted to make our Rule nodes have more than 2 options? Today I am going to show you how to do just that… but please make sure you have read part 1 already.

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Neptune and Uranus

Last year Microsoft announced “Cosmos DB”, a multi-modal database with graph support. I think multi-modal databases are like swiss army knifes, they can do everything, just not very well. I imagine you would design it to be as good as it can be at its main use case while not losing the ability to do other things. So it’s neither fully optimized for its main thing, nor very good at the other things. Maybe you can do pretty well with two things by making a few compromises, but if you try to do everything…it’s just not going to work out.

Can you imagine John Rambo stalking his enemies with an oversized swiss army knife? Here, let me help with the mental image:
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Dynamic Rule Based Decision Trees in Neo4j

A few posts ago I showed you how to build a Boolean Logic Rules Engine in Neo4j. What I like about it is that we’ve pre-calculated all our potential paths, so it’s just a matter of matching up our facts to the paths to get to the rule and we’re done. But today I am going to show you a different approach where we are going to have to calculate what is true as we go along a decision tree to see which answer we get to.

Yes, it will be a bit slower than the first approach, but we avoid pre-calculation. It also makes things a bit more dynamic, as we can change the decision tree variables on the fly. The idea is to merge code and data into one, to gain the benefit of agility.

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Adding gRPC to Neo4j

You are probably sick of me saying it, but one of the things I love about Neo4j is that you can customize it any way you want. Extensions, stored procedures, plugins, custom indexes, custom apis, etc. If you want to do it, then you can do it with Neo4j.

So the other day I was like what about this gRPC thing? Many companies standardize their backend using RESTful APIs, others are trying out GraphQL, and some are using gRPC. Neo4j doesn’t support gRPC out of the box, partially because we have our own custom binary protocol “Bolt”, but we can add a rudimentary version of gRPC support quite easily.
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