Mastodon C


Category: Uncategorised

  • Hiring a Data Analyst

    Bruce Durling Jan 26, 2022

    Mastodon C is working with local authorities to ensure better outcomes for children with special educational needs and disabilities and for looked after children. We help them achieve this while ensuring they can secure the budgets they need and help as many people as possible with the money they have. We’re looking for someone who […]

  • Need to write a robust Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) deficit management plan? We are here to help

    Chris Taylor Mar 10, 2021

    The Department for Education (DfE) in England are reducing the flexibilities available to local authorities to cover DSG overspends, such as from the high needs block, from other education budgets. Local authorities facing an overspend or significantly reduced surpluses are going to be required by DfE to complete a recovery plan template, which expects robust […]

  • Mastodon C’s purpose and direction

    Bruce Durling Jun 14, 2019

    Mastodon C builds tools that enable people who plan for Special Education, Alternative Provision, and Children’s Social Care to design services that deliver better outcomes for children and young people, while making the best use of the resources available. The people we work with are already experts in delivering these services and we enable them […]

  • Tackling the additional SEND pressures from new court rulings

    Sebastian Bailey Nov 27, 2018

    Two recent articles in The Independent highlighted the increasing trend for Local Authorities to be challenged by the courts to justify the way they fund and manage their SEND provision. This made us here at Mastodon C think about ways in which our Witan SEND model can be used to help authorities when judgements are […]

  • Utilising Open SEN2 data with our Witan SEND Model

    Sebastian Bailey Nov 8, 2018

      Since our release of Version 1.0 of our SEND model back at the beginning of the year, we’ve been hard at work looking at other places we can apply our model. One of Mastodon C’s core principles is being open source, and so we turned to open data! Our full model takes a local […]

  • The top three SEND policy scenarios

    Fran Bennett Oct 2, 2018

    In our recent work with UK local authorities using our SEND model to support their understanding of future demand, and setting strategies to handle that demand, we have had a lot of conversations about what types of strategies they want to explore. While our initial work is focused on setting an accurate baseline projection, this […]

  • We are on Digital Outcomes and Specialists 3!

    Fran Bennett Sep 28, 2018

    As we know you all love a bit of procurement news: the new Digital Outcomes and Specialists 3 procurement framework goes live on 1st October, and we’ll be one of the suppliers available on it. Along with G-Cloud 10, this gives our local and central government clients a straightforward way to buy our services using […]

  • Why is it hard to project demand for complex public services?

    Fran Bennett Sep 12, 2018

    Most of our local government clients have strong in-house analytics and business intelligence teams, who do most of their demand projection and strategy analysis, often making heavy use of Excel, which is a great workhorse tool for many problems. When we start working with them on complex services such as SEND, one of their considerations […]

  • Modelling Scenarios with the Witan SEND Model

    Sebastian Bailey Sep 5, 2018

    When developing the Witan SEND model we talked to local authorities (LAs) about what was most important to them when doing projections for their SEND population. One of the things we kept hearing was the need to be able to model “alternative scenarios”. Being able to project the future SEND population and the cost to […]

  • Working with LB Hackney to build a new business index

    Fran Bennett Aug 20, 2018

    We recently completed a project with Unboxed and the London Borough of Hackney to create a Minimum Viable Product of a new API-accessible Business Index for the borough’s 25,000 businesses. Take a look here to find out more.

  • How does the SEND model work?

    Sebastian Bailey Aug 17, 2018

    Back in February 2018 we released version 1.0 of our Witan SEND model. Our aim was to help local authorities (LAs) get a better understanding of future demand for services in terms of their SEND population and budget. Working with a number of LAs across the country, we discovered that one of the key areas […]

  • We’re hiring! sales development representative

    Fran Bennett Mar 26, 2018

    We’re looking for a Sales Development Representative to help us attract, educate and win clients for our new city data tool, Witan. who we are Mastodon C are agile big data specialists. We are a cutting-edge company, known for being innovative as well as ethical. We provide data science consultancy services to both the public sector […]

  • Product marketing manager job

    Fran Bennett Feb 3, 2018

    We’re looking for a Product Marketing Manager to help us attract, educate and win clients for our new city data tool, Witan. who we are Mastodon C are agile big data specialists. We are a cutting-edge company, known for being innovative as well as ethical. We provide data science consultancy services to both the public sector […]

  • Finding useful answers in public sector data. the six-step cycle (infographic)

    Fran Bennett Jan 19, 2018

    We know that making smarter use of data in the public sector is important to transformation and effectiveness – we’ve seen data put to work, by us and others, for purposes from detecting fraud to modelling the impact of new policies. But how does this process happen in practice? We’ve put together an infographic that illustrates a six-stage […]

  • Looking for the latest examples of data science in action? watch these highlights of clojure x 2017

    Elise Huard Jan 17, 2018

    ClojureX in London was fun and interesting. The event is a great opportunity to hear a range of people in the community share their ideas and experience – from colleagues in the data science consulting world, to authors of essential new tools and libraries, to new start-ups. The development of Clojurescript has attracted fresh faces […]

  • How can you make sure your next data analytics project gets results?

    Fran Bennett Nov 15, 2017

    The excitement about data needs to be balanced with an uncomfortable truth. Most data projects fail. Perhaps as many as 85%. This doesn’t mean your data modeling project or big data analysis tool is doomed. But it does mean you need to know how to swing the odds back in your favour. In this article we […]

  • Is data a “dirty word” in the public sector?

    Fran Bennett Oct 20, 2017

    There is great potential and enthusiasm in the public sector for data-driven innovation that improves services and reduces costs. This was the key message that the Mastodon C team took away from a round table discussion with senior figures from the public sector this week. Yes, challenges remain around data skills, data governance and shaping […]

  • Getting started with data governance

    Bruce Durling Oct 3, 2017

    Data governance is about giving your people and partners timely but compliant access to data. Whether it’s driving collaboration across departments or engaging external suppliers, an effective approach to data governance gives you control over data access and usage, whilst making sure you stay on the right side of policy, regulations and the law. All […]

  • How to approach analysing a dataset

    Sebastian Bailey Sep 15, 2017

    Data exploration is perhaps one of the most important elements when designing a data science project. Exploring the data allows you to better plan your project and answer important questions – like whether your data can actually answer the questions you’re trying to answer. In this short guide we outline how we approach investigating a […]

  • Demand prediction and better commissioning for send and asc

    Fran Bennett Sep 5, 2017

    As we all know, one big aspect of delivering effective services under financial pressure is making the right commissioning decisions, based on a combination of expected demand, and local policy choices about how to meet that demand in the best way for the local community. We’ve also seen that according to research by the Local […]

  • Digital marketing intern

    Fran Bennett Aug 30, 2017

    We’re looking for a marketing intern to help us reach and educate more clients for our innovative new city data tool, Witan. This is a new position, and depending on product progress and your ambitions, it could develop into a permanent role. who we are Mastodon C are agile big data specialists. We are a cutting-edge […]

  • Why is data the essential element for public sector transformation?

    Fran Bennett Aug 23, 2017

    The challenges may be big. And the future unclear. But a data-driven revolution is taking shape in the public sector. A revolution driven forward by innovative leaders and a handful of technology companies, working together to bring the benefits of data to local communities. The development of state of the art platforms like Witan is […]

  • Modelling special educational needs in Witan

    Fran Bennett Aug 17, 2017

    In a recent blog post we talked about using data to improve local government service planning and delivery. As part of our Witan platform, we are delivering a number of pre-built models for common service planning and demand forecasting challenges that face city leaders; one of the most popular of these is Special Educational Needs demand forecasting […]

  • When is Excel good enough?

    Sebastian Bailey Aug 16, 2017

    One question that often comes up when we talk to people new to data science is “Why not just use Excel?” It’s a reasonable question that’s not as easy to answer as you might think, but answering it does go some way to answering a key question anyone planning a data science project needs to […]

  • Frontend Developer Job

    Fran Bennett Aug 1, 2017

    Interested in functional programming? Want to build UIs in ClojureScript, using tools like React and Reagent? We’re looking for a frontend developer to help us work on a project with global impact. You will be working alongside a team of Clojure developers for a major new product; applying big data, open data, and analytics technologies […]

  • Data Science Internship

    Samantha Softley Jul 24, 2017

    Update: Please note this post has now been filled We’re looking for an intern to help us develop an exciting city data product, Witan. More details are below. who we are Mastodon C are agile big data specialists. We offer the open source technology platform and the skills to help our clients realise the potential […]

  • We work together

    Antony Woods Jul 21, 2017

    At Mastodon C, a large percentage of our workforce is remote. There are plenty of good reasons why remote work is our preference, but it isn’t without its issues. This is especially true for people who haven’t done it before and often collaborate as part of their role. Most of the remote employees at MC are software engineers so we […]

  • How can data be used to improve local service planning and delivery?

    Fran Bennett Jun 27, 2017

    Local government and cities have a challenging job – delivering multiple complex services, which have a large influence on their citizens’ daily lives, and doing that in an environment of extreme financial pressures. According to research by the Local Government Information Unit with The Municipal Journal, 65% of authorities expect to have to use their reserves […]

  • Data Scientist Job

    Fran Bennett Jun 5, 2017

    We’re looking for a coder/data scientist to help us develop an exciting city modelling product, as well as our existing data science projects. More details are below. Who we are Mastodon C are agile big data specialists. We offer the open source technology platform and the skills to help our clients realise the potential of […]

  • Three ways G-Cloud 9 will drive digital and data science innovation

    Shawn Jhanji May 26, 2017

    The latest version of the UK Government’s Digital marketplace has taken the sourcing of digital services in a new and interesting direction. It’s opening the door to greater innovation in the public sector by engaging a more diverse set of suppliers – from tech start-ups to traditional systems integrators. It’s the simplicity, transparency and diversity […]

  • Making a persuasive case for your data science project

    Fran Bennett Apr 25, 2017

    You may have an idea that data science can bring value to your organization, but do your senior leaders share your excitement? Possibly not. Well not yet anyway. The key is making a persuasive case that gets you the support and resources you need. But building support for a data science initiative requires taking a […]

  • Can Artificial Intelligence write a better book than 50 Shades of Grey?

    Jason Bell Apr 13, 2017

    Spoiler alert. All you writers, authors and creative writing types who may be worrying about AI, rest easy, you’re safe. For a while… can ai write me a book? First of all, this isn’t really about coding it’s about process. So, in this article, there are no juicy bits of code or scripts to get […]

  • What is text mining and how can it be used to create value for business?

    Fran Bennett Apr 12, 2017

    You may suspect that there are riches buried in the myriad of text and documents your organisation produces every day. And you’re right. The documents already inside your organisation can provide early warning of risk and compliance issues. They’ll bring you new insights into what your customers really need. They offer a detailed understanding of […]

  • Can we use data science to create smarter forecasts for business rate income?

    Fran Bennett Mar 26, 2017

    Trials starting in April will see local authorities increase the share of revenues they retain from business rates. This offers opportunities to better manage, forecast and shape revenues, which will interest anyone involved in planning the future of our communities – from local authority leaders who want to maximise revenues, to property developers who want […]

  • Want to use data to make better decisions in your authority?

    Samantha Softley Mar 9, 2017

    Use data to make better decisions in your authority. Apply now for part-funded access to a new modelling and data-sharing platform. We are inviting local authorities to apply for a limited number of places to trial our modelling and data sharing platform, Witan, including road-testing our SEND service demand modelling tool. If interested please email […]

  • Job – Head of Business Development

    Fran Bennett Feb 15, 2017

    This is an exciting opportunity to change the trajectory of a growing startup, based in central London. This person will be responsible for growing the pipeline and closing sales to support our target of doubling our run rate by the end of 2017, and for bringing our new city data platform, Witan, fully to market. […]

  • Job – Sales and Marketing Executive

    Fran Bennett Feb 15, 2017

    This is an exciting role supporting a growing startup, based in central London. This person will be responsible for supporting the sales, business development, and client relationship activities of the company. They will work primarily with the CEO, who is a recognised leader in data science and big data technology, which will provide great opportunities […]

  • Data science in government – talk at Digital Jersey

    Fran Bennett Jan 20, 2017

    Mastodon C’s Fran Bennett will be in Jersey next Wednesday 25th January, talking to government representatives and Digital Jersey about data science, big data, and their applications in government, including lessons learned from building our new Witan city data platform. You can register to join the public session at the Digital Jersey website.

  • Designing real time data applications – talk at the detail data conference

    Jason Bell Jan 9, 2017

    Mastodon C’s Jason Bell will be presenting a workshop session at the Detail Data Conference on Wednesday 11th January. The session will outline the thoughts and processes of designing a realtime application using Met Office Data and the Twitter realtime firehose. You can register to attend the conference on the NICVA website

  • How to rank the best of everything, using data

    Fran Bennett Jan 3, 2017

    We’ve helped a number of clients to develop and deliver rankings – of healthy places, of “cosy” areas of the country, of corporate wellbeing, and of universities. Building a ranking sounds like an easy job, since the output is just a list. But building a ranking well and meaningfully is much harder than you’d think, because every individual on […]

  • Kixi architectural decisions

    Fran Bennett Dec 22, 2016

    The Kixi platform is constructed around a design pattern known as Command Query Responsibility Separation (CQRS). This pattern is part of a hierarchy of designs that build upon one another and are generally used within a Micro-Services architecture. At the bottom of this hierarchy is the idea that decoupling the parts of a system that create […]

  • Creating an Onyx and Kafka application pt 1

    Jason Bell Oct 8, 2016

    Over the past couple of months I’ve been using the Onyx Platform with Mastodon C an awful lot. So this short series I’m going to show you how to build a Onyx Kafka application that consumes a Kafka stream and kicks out the messages to the console. Nothing flashy but more a “here’s the concepts”. In […]

  • Breaking down silos around demographic data and models – experience of a city’s local authorities

    Sunny Townsend Oct 7, 2016

    Earlier this year we built a web-based interface for London’s local authorities (known as ‘boroughs’) to run their own population projections. Six months on we review their experience. the scene School rolls projections are used by London boroughs to apply for critical funding to support the building of new schools. Each borough has unique demands […]

  • Jobs – Senior DevOps engineer

    Bruce Durling Oct 2, 2016

    This is a senior role, based either in our London office or at your remote location within the UK. The base salary for this role will be between £50-60k pa. We are happy to consider part-time or flexible working proposals. You will be responsible for shaping and delivering the infrastructure aspects of the new Witan […]

  • Jobs – Delivery Manager

    Fran Bennett Sep 23, 2016

    Very sadly, our fantastic Delivery Manager Elisabeth is moving away. However, this means that we have a very exciting vacancy! job description This is a senior role, based in central London. This person will be responsible for shaping and delivering the new Witan city data platform product, as part of a very collaborative, flexible, and […]

  • Better topic detection in text with LDA2VEC

    Elise Huard Aug 3, 2016

    At Mastodon C we’re always keeping an eye out for new libraries or data science techniques which might help us make our models faster or smarter. We very often need to work with large collections of text documents for our clients – all sorts of very useful insights can be extracted from the unstructured material […]

  • Text Mining Defra

    Shawn Jhanji Aug 3, 2016

    We did some interesting work a while ago with the UK’s Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, which tested the possibility of using text mining to highlight upcoming risks from incoming reports from the field. In this blog post, we’ll dig into some of the technical details of how to do this, and why […]

  • 33 boroughs, two babies and one city modelling platform

    Sunny Townsend Jan 27, 2016

    We’ve been hard at work since our last update – in that time we’ve delivered our first release of Witan, and two babies! Our city modelling platform is now live and our first users in London have been given access this week. on-demand demographic projections to meet housing demand Witan is now able to generate […]

  • Extracting Met Office weather data with Clojure

    Jason Bell Dec 14, 2015

    Living in York for the majority of my life, I’ve got used to flooding. With the number of floods increasing, and the probability of that flood causing long lasting damage also increasing, it would be a good idea to start peeking at past data and seeing if there’s anything jumping out at us. getting historical met office data The Met Office […]

  • The Mastodon in the room: Why Clojure?

    Antony Woods Nov 15, 2015

    Mastodon C advertises itself as a ‘Clojure shop’ when talking to clients and partners, but let’s delve a bit deeper into what this means and why we believe it’s a key advantage for us. Ultimately, it comes down to a simple idea: “Simplicity is hard work. But, there’s a huge payoff. The person who has a genuinely […]

  • We’re on the Whitehall steering group of “digital and data visionaries”

    Fran Bennett Nov 4, 2015

    It was announced yesterday that Fran, our CEO, will be on the new steering group of “digital and data visionaries” helping the UK government become more and more data-driven. We’re obviously very excited about this – both because it’s an honour to be asked to participate, and because we’re genuinely keen to put data to work in a […]

  • City modelling MVP – develop and share demographic projections

    Fran Bennett Oct 28, 2015

    We’re getting very close to launching the minimum viable product (MVP) version of Witan, the city modelling platform we’ve been working on since this summer. The MVP will be focussed on running and evolving demographic models – having a picture of how many people, of what type, will be where, in a city, underpins all sorts of […]

  • How we’re building a new city platform

    Chris Adams Sep 9, 2015

    As we mentioned earlier on the blog, we’re working on a very big and ambitious project to create a new city modelling platform, Witan, with London as the first test bed. Since there is so much that could be done in this field, and so many possible ways to do it, there are some tough choices for […]

  • Witan – the flexible city modelling platform

    Elizabeth Weise Aug 19, 2015

    As Fran mentioned in herprevious blog post, Mastodon C is working together with the Greater London Authority to develop a flexible approach to city modelling. The aim is to take forecasting beyond the limitations of Excel, while providing modellers with the benefits of sophisticated data management tools, such as version control, security levels and scaling […]

  • A next-generation city modelling platform is born… (well, conceived… blog post

    Fran Bennett Jun 4, 2015

    [cross posted from the London DataStore blog] There’s been a lot of discussion, on this blog and elsewhere, of what to actually do with city data once it’s out in the world. We think that, given the capital’s booming population and the consequent policy focus on addressing a wide range of infrastructure needs, one of the […]

  • Want to build UI in Clojurescript?

    Bruce Durling May 22, 2015

    We’re looking for a User Interface designer and developer to help us work on an upcoming project. More details are below. Who we are Mastodon C are agile big data specialists. We offer the open source technology platform and the skills to help our clients realise the potential of their data. We work in particular […]

  • City Modeller/Data Scientist Job

    Bruce Durling May 18, 2015

    We’re looking for an experienced City Modeller and Data Scientist to help us work on an upcoming project. More details are below. Who we are Mastodon C are agile big data specialists. We offer the open source technology platform and the skills to help our clients realise the potential of their data. We work in […]

  • Handoffs considered expensive

    Bruce Durling Mar 15, 2015

    It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a team of coders in possession of dependencies must be in trouble. Much of agile at scale is about reducing or eliminating the dependencies between teams, usually by making multiskilled teams (see devops et al). Since working at Mastodon C though I’ve noticed that I’ve not suffered this […]

  • Finding technology innovators using big data

    Fran Bennett Feb 10, 2015

    We just finished a piece of work for Nesta, looking at how to spot innovative software developers and firms using publicly available data. It was an intriguing exercise – and if you’re a developer, you might want to have a look and see if you can spot anyone you know (we certainly did!). Longer explanation is here if you […]

  • Useful air quality data library

    Fran Bennett Feb 3, 2015

    We just published a new how-to to the Digital Catapult’s Open Health Data Platform, walking through how to get and use UK air quality data at scale. The explanation and example code might be useful to you if you’re thinking of adding air quality data into your analysis.

  • We’re on the Today Programme!

    Fran Bennett Jan 27, 2015

    We were on national radio recently, talking about being a disruptive UK technology company. Just before @fhr and I were on air, we sneaked a photo from backstage of John & Justin @BBCr4today — Jessica Bland (@pesska) January 6, 2015 You can hear the whole thing at from 2:55

  • Reflections on an internship

    Fran Bennett Sep 6, 2014

    Our latest superstar intern, Max, has just left us to go back to his last year of university at Queen Mary University of London. Trying to extend this day as much as possible because it's our intern @maxdrooghayes 's last day at @MastodonC and we hate goodbyes. — Anna Pawlicka (@AnnaPawlicka) August 29, 2014 He’s […]

  • Open Health Data platform is launched

    Fran Bennett May 2, 2014

    We had the big launch this week for the Open Health Data Platform, at Shoreditch Village Hall. It seemed like the audience agreed with us that there was plenty of good stuff to be done with open health data: Pretty conclusive result from the audience vote #OHDP says @krishgm — Mary McKenna (@MMaryMcKenna) April 30, 2014 We’ve […]

  • Network analysis to find ‘innovators’

    Fran Bennett Jan 15, 2014

    We’re midway through some work with Nesta to systematically find ‘innovators’ in the UK technology scene. It’s been a really interesting project so far, and we’re looking forward to launching the work more widely in 2014. The system we’re building is collecting and joining together data from multiple sources about software developers and what they work on, […]

  • What and why is

    Fran Bennett Sep 3, 2013

    We use an agile approach in all the work we do here at Mastodon C. Part of our agile technology development is breaking work up into short, set-length iterations, with clear deadlines at the end of each, which helps us to clarify what we’re doing right now, to plan effectively, and also to have a […]

  • The end of summer. the end of internship. the end of awesome.

    Fran Bennett Aug 27, 2013

    Our superstar intern @AnnaPawlicka finished her time with us last Friday sniffles. Here’s her look back on the experience, cross-posted from her blog . If we can keep hiring people like her and making them happy, we’ll know we’re doing something right.  This has been a whirlwind of a summer, and I can’t believe it’s come to an end. […]

  • Open Health Data – alpha launch happy dance

    Fran Bennett Aug 9, 2013

    [cross posted from] We just launched the alpha of the CDEC Open Health Data Platform. It’s been an exciting process developing the platform so far, and we’re really pleased with the way the alpha site looks and the reactions it’s had. The platform in general is a really fun project: it’s motivated by the fact that there’s […]

  • Getting technical – how to process data with Cascalog

    Fran Bennett Jul 30, 2013

    Our superstar intern Anna (@AnnaPawlicka) has been working with Cascalog to process data for our clients. She met Clojure for the first time on her internship with us, and has been learning fast. She’s written up a great tutorial on how to use Cascalog on your desktop to process datasets locally, starting from the very […]

  • Help! I can’t find any female speakers for my tech conference!

    Bruce Durling Jul 8, 2013

    I occasionally get asked where one could go to find women speakers for tech events and conferences. Here is short list from the top of my head: Women in Data run by @yoditstanton The Women’s Room Rails Bridge (for Ruby) pyladies (for Python) flossie (forFree/Libre Open Source Software) JDuchess (for Java) LambdaLadies (for functional programming) MzTek (technology and art) Ladies who Code Also […]

  • Retrofit is go!

    Fran Bennett Mar 5, 2013

    We’ve got a nice project which went live today – we’ve been providing the final performance analysis for the £17m government-funded Retrofit for the Future programme, which has been running since 2009. The programme retrofitted 120 homes in the UK with multiple energy-saving and energy-efficiency technologies, and collected data through over 1300 sensors and meters […]

  • Infamy, infamy

    Fran Bennett Feb 6, 2013

    More recent and upcoming talks from Team Mastodon: A couple of recent ones that are up online: Using data for EVIL! at the Strata Data Warfare conference Big Data comes to the NHS at ODI Fridays lunchtime lecture More public talks coming soon: Open Data for CSR, Intelligent Futures, 12th Feb R and Shiny at Data Science […]

  • What happens when a project gets into the press

    Fran Bennett Jan 4, 2013

    Prescribing Analytics got an awful lot of positive press coverage over the last few weeks. It’s very exciting to see something we’ve made be covered so extensively – it was on the front page of the Independent, on the PM programme on Radio 4 (47 mins in), the Economist, the FT, and even in the Revolution Analytics R blog as well as various […]

  • It lives!

    Fran Bennett Dec 12, 2012

    We’ve finally published the prescribing analytics portal here It covers prescribing variation of statins in the UK last year, making it really easy to explore variation which could be costing extra money. I definitely recommend taking a look – it’s fascinating to explore. It got some great coverage too – the Financial Times, the Economist, and […]

  • Big data, simple analytics, big impact.

    Fran Bennett Oct 29, 2012

    Don’t tell anyone yet, but we’ve got a big project going live soon which aims to help the NHS save an awful lot of money. It turns out that by altering GPs’ prescribing behaviour for a few drugs, swapping generic for proprietary forms where appropriate, it’s possible to save hundreds of millions of pounds a […]

  • Big data, told through the medium of The Muppets

    Fran Bennett Oct 22, 2012

    From the Bethnal Green Ventures Demo Day – my 5 minute version of what we do, told mostly through the medium of Muppets. Not the most technically deep talk I’ve ever done, but I’m actually pretty pleased with this as a very quick teaser on what we do and what it’s for. Now to work on the […]

  • When, will i, will i be famous?

    Fran Bennett Sep 20, 2012

    (if you now have an earworm, congratulations, we are of the same generation) In October you’ll have a few chances to see the very rare and shy Team Mastodon in public. On October 2nd, Fran will be talking at O’Reilly Strata London on How to Make Big Data Massively Greener (contact us for discounted tickets for the […]

  • Hadoop vs data warehouses

    Fran Bennett Aug 20, 2012

    A friend asked me this week what the difference is between using Hadoop and its related ecosystem for data storage and analysis, and using a traditional Data Warehouse. You might want to skip this post if you’re already way ahead on this topic, but for everyone else, I thought I’d try and clarify… A Data Warehouse is […]

  • Hive pain reduction tricks

    Fran Bennett Aug 5, 2012

    Hive is a SQL-like interface onto Map Reduce. It feels nice and familiar to analysts who are used to thinking in a SQL paradigm, but it has some nasty gotchas that can make jobs verrrrrry slow or make them fail altogether. Either way, you waste a lot of time, blood pressure, and machine hours. I […]

  • Green data in the uk – nice job Rackspace!

    Fran Bennett Jul 27, 2012

    We added Rackspace calculations to our footprint data this week, as we’re keen to start running our Hadoop clusters over more infrastructure (in the greenest possible way) and we’re sure you are too. I was getting a bit despondent about our sustainable options for running big computation, so was super excited to learn after talking […]

  • Doing the data centre dance

    Fran Bennett Jul 25, 2012

    We show live footprint estimates for right now on our dashboard at, but it’s also pretty interesting to visualise the different locations over time to get a feel for the size of fluctuation to see how the horse race between time zones and temperatures plays out. This chart shows some real ratings for May. It’s got some […]

  • Data center carbon footprints gradually go mainstream

    Fran Bennett Jul 18, 2012

    Yet another GigaOm article with a linkbait headline but genuinely interesting content, which is well worth a read – “The controversial world of clean power and data centers”. It’s great to see this issue becoming increasingly mainstream, and in particular businesses starting to be more and more clear about the fact that being efficient is distinct […]

  • Hadoop’s days are numbered? not really

    Fran Bennett Jul 10, 2012

    GigaOm published this interesting and provocative article last week, headlined ‘Why the days are numbered for Hadoop as we know it’. It’s actually a pretty good argument, despite the sensational headline. The tl;dr, as I interpret it, is that: Hadoop is an excellent solution for management and processing massive datasets on commodity hardware – hence makes big […]

  • Agile, Lean and Startups

    Bruce Durling Jul 2, 2012

    An interesting thought on waterfall, agile and long term vision came up on the London Java Communitymailing list. Richard Gomes asked, quite rightly, if agile and lean reject long term planning and vision. People who know me will know that I don’t agree. For me, the problem with waterfall is that we end up waiting far too long […]

  • Are solar-powered data centres for real?

    Fran Bennett Jun 12, 2012

    HP have done a pretty cool proof of concept for a ‘net zero’ data centre which shifts workloads to match the availability of power from solar panels – which means that most of the power ends up being green, rather than coming from a less-green national grid. A fun idea – but it’s probably a bit too […]

  • A totally green-powered data centre in london?

    Fran Bennett May 28, 2012

    Looks like Infinity DC are building a biomass-powered data centre near London. This is great news: they’ll be the first one to do green-powered data centres in the UK. A couple of others are using offsetting but we’ve not heard yet of anyone else directly powering off a green source, which is much preferable. Any current […]

  • Countries’ power grids differ wildly in their footprints

    Fran Bennett May 23, 2012

    I showed in my post last week that the biggest determinant of good vs bad carbon footprint for a data centre is what power source it runs off. If you want to pick a good data centre, therefore, you want to pick one that’s on a good power grid (most data centres run off their local public […]

  • 80% of bad footprint is down to power source and climate

    Fran Bennett May 11, 2012

    I’ve heard some very confident but completely conflicting claims lately about what is ‘the important thing’ in the carbon footprint of compute jobs. The dissonance was starting to get to me, so I’ve done some back-of-envelope calculations of different scenarios to figure out what the order of importance of the factors actually is. I soft-pedalled […]

  • An open standard for cloud footprints?

    Fran Bennett May 4, 2012

    Well, this has been an exciting week. We had All The Meetups last week (thanks Carlos and Stewart for an excellent set of Big Data Weekevents). This week was going to be quieter, but turned into the week of All The Meetings; everyone we spoke to had someone else even more eminent that we needed to be introduced to. Turns out […]

  • Transcript of saving the world with Hadoop – talk at London Hadoop user group

    Fran Bennett Apr 26, 2012

    This post is the transcription of a talk given in April 2012 by Francine Bennett of Mastodon C ( View the Live Carbon Ratings of the data centres here. [the legal bit] Our data and analysis are based on assumptions and represent opinions not facts. We aim to update our models as better data becomes available. […]

  • Week 1 wrap-up

    Fran Bennett Apr 20, 2012

    What a week! This startup thing is a lot of fun, but also much more work than having a regular job. So this week we’ve spent a lot of time building the beta live carbon ratings engine, which should go live by the start of Big Data Week on Monday. Bruce is coding like a […]

  • And we’re off!

    Fran Bennett Apr 16, 2012

    Today is the first day of full time work on Mastodon C for the whole team (all two of us). Our first big goal is to get a fine-looking demo and the free cloud ratings service up. It’s Big Data Week next week where we’ll be doing plenty of talks about green cloud computing, and hopefully getting […]

  • Hunting for Hadoop users

    Fran Bennett Mar 3, 2012

    We need test pilots! We have a free low-carbon cloud recommendation service ready in private beta, and need existing Hadoop users to try it out. Even if you only use AWS, we can still find you the best AWS location for your job – there are huge differences in emissions even just between US East […]

  • Vote for us – we’re on a mission

    Fran Bennett Feb 21, 2012

    So it’s almost a month since we made the beta version of Mastodon C which won the AMEE London Green Hackathon 2012, and seems like the excitement just keeps building. We are incredibly excited about the potential of our project  – we really could make cloud computing significantly greener with this. We entered the Digital London […]

  • Following the moon

    Fran Bennett Feb 4, 2012

    We’ve been having fun today calculating how to move jobs around in the day and night based on local temperatures. We heart playing with graphs. For example, AWS Sao Paulo has a very green local energy grid so is generally a good choice, but it’s hot (27c daytime max this time of year), so the server cooling […]

  • Mastodon at the London Green Hackathon

    Bruce Durling Feb 2, 2012

    We had a great time building Mastodon C at The London Green Hackathon. It was great getting validation for our carbon saving ideas from AMEE. You can see our presentation and the feedback from the judges here. We’re really proud to have won Best Hack and the award. Now to our first next steps!