Our Bitmap Manifesto

FeatureBase is on a mission to leverage the performance, efficiency, and simplicity of bitmaps as a foundation for real-time, analytical data technologies. FeatureBase is our core technology and is open-sourced under the Apache 2 license. We also offer FeatureBase Cloud, which is a hassle-free, no-maintenance, SaaS version of FeatureBase that we maintain for users who do not want to own and operate their own infrastructure. Our team and community consist of database, distributed systems, and cloud engineers, as well as the leading researchers on bitmap innovation.

Bitmaps are amazing, no really, they’re so much more powerful than they’re given credit for. It’s easy to forget that the phone, computer, or other devices you’re using to read this content is processing tens or even hundreds of millions of bitwise computations per processor per second. In the last 5 years we have seen significant advancement in the use of bitmaps in database workloads beyond just simple indexing. Many of the myths around bitmaps (e.g. “bitmaps can’t handle high cardinality data”) are now irrelevant due to bitmap advancements. Our team has been (maybe irrationally) obsessed with bitmaps, and we’ve built on top of breakthrough innovations like roaring bitmaps. Throughout our time together obsessing over bitmaps, our team re-discovered that denormalizing data to its most basic representation reduces the I/O constraints of traditional analytical formats by at least an order of magnitude, sometimes two. The implications of this reduction drive our team and, we believe, will drive the future of computer-aided decisions.

A quick history: the proliferation of bitmaps began when Claude Shannon’s 1936 Master’s Thesis asserted (and proved) that any mathematical operation can be carried out using the basic building blocks of boolean algebra (Thanks, George Boole!). Two values, true and false (0 or 1), and three logical operations (And, Or, and Not) led the digital computing revolution and our world’s entry into the Age of Information, and now they will lead a revolution in data computation and transmission.

At FeatureBase we believe that any online analytical operation performed on bitmaps will be significantly faster, more efficient, and simpler than when using traditional columnar formats.

At FeatureBase we believe that any online analytical operation performed on bitmaps will be significantly faster, more efficient, and simpler than it would be using traditional columnar formats. This is important because the deeply-prevalent “Modern Data Stack” is built on top of traditional columnar formats, which means it’s overly-complex and results in unpredictable costs, constant copying and moving of data, and ongoing system maintenance. Further, traditional columnar formats are immutable, which forces users to separate reads and writes at scale or employ a multitude of technologies to meet (what should be simple) needs. All of this is a result of the format itself – data in a human-readable state. True real-time decision making requires both fast reads and writes within a single system, and we believe this can only be accomplished when data is uniformly converted into and operated on as 1’s and 0’s (i.e. bitmaps).

Now, what does the world look like when reads and writes can converge within a single product? Well, analytics will remain “offline” until companies are able to insert, update, delete, and compute directly on raw data in real-time, without precomputation. This means that the convergence (and simplification of the data infrastructure stack) will allow organizations to finally serve features directly from operational databases, eliminating the offline steps that plague our data infrastructures, and, in doing so, will finally spur adoptable AI.

Cloud data warehouses are the new storage layer, and the real-time compute infrastructure around it is the new frontier. Together with our community, we will work to leverage bitmaps as the foundation for an efficient, real-time computational infrastructure (we like to think of it as a mega-computer) that truly unlocks our human potential. Join our efforts and see the power of bitmaps by compiling, downloading, starring, contributing, joining our community, trying or buying our cloud product and/or applying for a job on our team!

Get Started for Free

Open Source install commands are included below.

open source CODESTART CLOUD TRIAL

git clone https://github.com/FeatureBaseDB/featurebase-examples.git
cd featurebase-examples/docker-example

docker-compose -f docker-compose.yml up -d

# TIP: Disable Docker compose v2 if needed by going to settings..general in Docker Desktop.

git clone https://github.com/FeatureBaseDB/featurebase-examples.git
cd featurebase-examples/docker-example

docker-compose -f docker-compose.yml up -d

# TIP: Disable Docker compose v2 if needed by going to settings..general in Docker Desktop.