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Author: Kevin Feasel

Finding the First and Last Number of a String in SQL and Excel

Kevin Wilkie does some soul searching, or at least string searching:

To enjoy these puzzles, you will need to go to the Official Advent of Code website, sign up for their leaderboards and whatnot if you choose to, and then continue to 2023 and Day 1. Today, we’ll start with Day 1 – since it is the first of our programming puzzles and work our way up from there…

We’re asked – given a string – to find the first (and last) number in that string. We are then to concatenate them, add them all up, and provide the result. It should be pretty simple, but let’s see…

Click through for Kevin’s two answers.

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Getting Started with Semantic Kernel in C#

Matt Eland tries out Semantic Kernel:

Generative AI systems use large language models (LLMs) like OpenAI’s GPT 3.5 Turbo (ChatGPT) or GPT-4 to respond to text prompts from the user. But these systems have serious limitations in that they only include information baked into the model at the time of training. Technologies like retrieval augmentation generation (RAG) help overcome this by pulling in additional information.

AI orchestration frameworks make this possible by tying together LLMs and additional sources of information via RAG. Additionally, AI orchestration systems can provide capabilities to generative AI systems, such as inserting records in a database, sending emails, or calling out to external systems.

In this article we’ll look at the high-level capabilities building AI orchestration systems in C# with Semantic Kernel, a rapidly maturing open-source AI orchestration framework.

Click through to see how things work.

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Enabling Microsoft Fabric

Tomaz Kastrun continues a series on Microsoft Fabric:

If you have used Power BI services in the past, you will be on board immediately. The outlook is the as it is with the Power BI. You will only need additional credentials to access the services. In general, you will need Azure subscription, Power BI service already enabled, and the ability for your organization to enable Fabric with Admin roles

Click through to see how to enable Microsoft Fabric in your environment.

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SQL Server on Azure Arc Performance Dashboards

Lance Wright shows off a dashboard:

At Ignite 2023, we announced the public preview of performance dashboards for SQL Server enabled by Azure Arc. With these performance dashbaord, DBAs and IT Admins now get performance monitoring right from within Azure. No need to setup and login to another tool or remotely connect to the SQL Server to run performance queries. Let Azure Arc do the heavy lifting so you can get to your performance metrics faster. 

This is another tool in the toolbox of DBAs, IT admins, and cloud specialists looking to gain better visibility into their hybrid and multi-cloud workloads. If a SQL Server enabled by Azure Arc meets the requirements for data collection (see “How to enable performance dashboards”), Azure Arc will automatically collect the following types of data from the Dynamic Management Views (DMV) datasets oof the SQL Server: 

Click through to see what it includes and how to enable it.

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Working around a Contained Availability Group Error

Sean Gallardy talks about an error:

Contained Availability Groups are the most recent update to the Availability Groups feature, and a great update at that! They are completely new in SQL Server 2022, and like any new feature (or even mature ones) there will be some bugs. Enter in some Access Violations (AVs) that may occur when creating a new contained availability group.

Read on for an example of the error and what you can do until Microsoft fixes it.

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Predicting Forecast Errors of Ensemble Regression Models

Peter Laurinec builds a model to test a model:

In the last blog post about Multistep forecasting losses, I showed the usage of the fantastic method adam from the smooth R package on household electricity consumption data, and compared it with benchmarks.

Since I computed predictions from 10 methods/models for a long period of time, it would be nice to create some ensemble models for precise prediction for our household consumption data. For that purpose, it would be great to predict for example future errors of these methods. It is used in some known ensemble methods, which are not direct about stacking. Predicting errors can be beneficial for prediction weighting or for predicting the rank of methods (i.e. best one prediction). For the sake of learning something new, I will try multivariate regression models, so learning from multiple targets at once. At least, it has the benefit of simplicity, that we need only one model for all base prediction models.

Click through for Peter’s process. H/T R-Bloggers.

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Set-Based vs Row-Based Code Considerations

Kevin Hill explains a concept:

In SQL Server, the terms “set-based” and “row-based” refer to different approaches or styles of writing SQL code to manipulate data. These styles have implications for performance, readability, and the way queries are processed. Let’s explore the differences between set-based and row-based code:

Click through for Kevin’s thoughts. One thing I’d re-emphasize (because Kevin did make this point), especially for people coming to SQL Server from Oracle, is that set-based operations are going to be more efficient about 95-99% of the time than their row-based equivalents. Oracle has a large number of optimizations to make cursor-style code efficient and T-SQL has very few of those, as set-based is the more natural expression of SQL.

One quick example of this is, prior to SQL Server 2012 and its extended support of window functions, the fastest officially supported way to calculate a running total was to build a cursor. The other alternatives, including self-joins, were much less efficient. There was an unsupported but much faster technique that relied on a peculiarity of how SQL Server sorts clustered indexes (the “quirky update” method), but because it relied on internals that could change with any patch, it was a risky maneuver.

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Generating Reports in Azure ML with Copilot

Soheil Bakhshi automates report creation:

In Nov 2023, Microsoft announced Microsoft Fabric’s general availability and Public Preview of Copilot in Microsoft Fabric. In a previous post, I explained what Copilot means to Power BI developers, which is valid for other Fabric developers such as data engineers and data scientists as Copilot for Fabric helps with those experiences as well. But the main focus of this blog post is to discuss the requirements, how to enable Copilot, and how to use it from a Power BI development point of view. So, this blog will not discuss other aspects of Copilot in Microsoft Fabric. With that, let’s begin.

I haven’t been particularly impressed with the reports it generates, but I suppose this is like the proverbial bear riding a unicycle: it’s not a question of how well it does the task that makes it interesting, but rather that it does it at all.

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