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Advanced Analytics Engine for NoSQL Data
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Precog is an advanced analytics engine for NoSQL data. It's sort of like a traditional analytics database, but instead of working with normalized, tabular data, it works with denormalized data that may not have a uniform schema.

You can plop large amounts of JSON into Precog and start doing analytics without any preprocessing.

There's an API for developer integration, and a high-level application called Labcoat for doing ad hoc and exploratory analytics.

This is the Community Edition of Precog. For more information about commercial support and maintenance options, check out SlamData, Inc, the official sponsor of the Precog open source project.


A few landmarks:

  • common - Data structures and service interfaces that are shared between multiple submodules.

  • quirrel - The Quirrel compiler, including the parser, static analysis code and bytecode emitter

    • Parser
    • Binder
    • ProvenanceChecker
  • mimir - The Quirrel optimizer, evaluator and standard library

    • EvaluatorModule
    • StdLibModule
    • StaticInlinerModule
  • yggdrasil - Core data access and manipulation layer

    • TableModule
    • ColumnarTableModule
    • Slice
    • Column
  • niflheim - Low-level columnar block store. (NIHDB)

    • NIHDB
  • ingest - BlueEyes service front-end for data ingest.

  • muspelheim - Convergence point for the compiler and evaluator stacks; integration test sources and data

    • ParseEvalStack
    • MiscStackSpecs
  • surtr - Integration tests that run on the NIHDB backend. Surtr also provides a (somewhat defunct) REPL that gives access to the evaluator and other parts of the precog environment.

    • NIHDBPlatformSpecs
    • REPL
  • bifrost - BlueEyes service front-end for the

  • miklagard - Standalone versions for the desktop and alternate backend data stores -- see local README.rst. These need a bit of work to bring them up to date; they were disabled some time ago and may have bitrotted.

  • util - Generic utility functions and data structures that are not specific to any particular function of the Precog codebase; convenience APIs for external libraries.

Thus, to work on the evaluator, one would be in the mimir project, writing tests in the mimir and muspelheim projects. The tests in the muspelheim project would be run from the surtr project (not from muspelheim), but using the test data stored in muspelheim. All of the other projects are significantly saner.

Getting Started

Step one: obtain PaulP's script. At this point, you should be able to run $ ./ as a sanity check, but this will take a long time. Instead, run $ sbt. Once it is up and running, run test:compile. This should take about 5-10 minutes. After this, run ratatoskr/assembly, followed by test. The build should be green once your machine stops burning.

In order to more easily navigate the codebase, it is highly recommended that you install CTAGS, if your editor supports it. Our filename conventions are…inconsistent.

Building and Running

These instructions are at best rudimentary, but should be sufficient to get started in a minimal way. More will be coming soon!

The Precog environment is organized in a modular, service-oriented fashion with loosely coupled components that are relatively tolerant to the failure of any single component (with likely degraded function). Most of the components allow for redundant instances of the relevant service, although in some cases (bifrost in particular) some tricky configuration is required, which will not be detailed here.


  • bifrost - The primary service for evaluating NIHDB
  • auth - Authentication provider (checks tokens and grants; to be merged with accounts in the near term)
  • accounts - Account provider (records association between user information and an account root token; to be merged with auth in the near term)
  • dvergr - A simple job tracking service that is used to track batch query completion.
  • ingest - The primary service for adding data to the Precog database.

Runnable jar files for all of these services can be built using the sbt assembly target from the root (platform) project. Sample configuration files for each can be found in the <projectname>/configs/dev directory for each relevant project; to run a simple test instance you can use the script. Note that this will download, configure, and run local instances of mongodb, apache kafka, and zookeeper. Additional instructions for running the precog database in a server environment will be coming soon.


All Contributions are bound by the terms and conditions of the Precog Contributor License Agreement.

Pull Request Process

We use a pull request model for development. When you want to work on a new feature or bug, create a new branch based off of master (do not base off of another branch unless you absolutely need the work in progress on that branch). Collaboration is highly encouraged; accidental branch dependencies are not. Your branch name should be given one of the following prefixes:

  • topic/ - For features, changes, refactorings, etc (e.g. topic/parse-function)
  • bug/ - For things that are broken, investigations, etc (e.g. bug/double-allocation)
  • wip/ - For code that is not ready for team-wide sharing (e.g. wip/touch-me-and-die)

If you see a topic/ or bug/ branch on someone else's repository that has changes you need, it is safe to base off of that branch instead of master, though you should still base off of master if at all possible. Do not ever base off of a wip/ branch! This is because the commits in a wip/ branch may be rewritten, rearranged or discarded entirely, and thus the history is not stable.

Do your work on your local branch, committing as frequently as you like, squashing and rebasing off of updated master (or any other topic/ or bug/ branch) at your discretion.

When you are confident in your changes and ready for them to land, push your topic/ or bug/ branch to your own fork of platform (you can create a fork here).

Once you have pushed to your fork, submit a Pull Request using GitHub's interface. Take a moment to describe your changes as a whole, particularly highlighting any API or Quirrel language changes which land as part of the changeset.

Once your pull request is ready to be merged, it will be brought into the staging branch, which is a branch on the mainline repository that exists purely for the purposes of aggregating pull requests. It should not be considered a developer branch, but is used to run the full build as a final sanity check before the changes are pushed as a fast forward to master once the build has completed successfully. This process ensures a minimum of friction between concurrent tasks while simultaneously making it extremely difficult to break the build in master. Build problems are generally caught and resolved in pull requests, and in very rare cases, in staging. This process also provides a very natural and fluid avenue for code review and discussion, ensuring that the entire team is involved and aware of everything that is happening. Code review is everyone's responsibility.

Rebase Policy

There is one hard and fast rule: if the commits have been pushed, do not rebase. Once you push a set of commits, either to the mainline repository or your own fork, you cannot rebase those commits any more. The only exception to this rule is if you have pushed a wip/ branch, in which case you are allowed to rebase and/or delete the branch as needed.

The reason for this policy is to encourage collaboration and avoid merge conflicts. Rewriting history is a lovely Git trick, but it is extremely distruptive to others if you rewrite history out from under their feet. Thus, you should only ever rebase commits which are local to your machine. Once a commit has been pushed on a non-wip/ branch, you no longer control that commit and you cannot rewrite it.

With that said, rebasing locally is highly encouraged, assuming you're fluent enough with Git to know how to use the tool. As a rule of thumb, always rebase against the branch that you initial cut your local branch from whenever you are ready to push. Thus, my workflow looks something like the following:

$ git checkout -b topic/doin-stuff
# hack commit hack commit hack commit hack
$ git fetch upstream
$ git branch -f master upstream/master
$ git rebase -i master
# squash checkpoint commits, etc
$ git push origin topic/doin-stuff

If I had based off a branch other than master, such as a topic/ branch on another fork, then obviously the branch names would be different. The basic workflow remains the same though.

Once I get beyond the last command though, everything changes. I can no longer rebase the topic/doin-stuff branch. Instead, if I need to bring in changes from another branch, or even just resolve conflicts with master, I need to use git merge. This is because someone else may have decided to start a project based on topic/doin-stuff, and I cannot just rewrite commits which they are now depending on.

To summarize: rebase privately, merge publicly.


This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU Affero General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU Affero General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU Affero General Public License along with this program. If not, see <>.


Copyright (C) 2010 - 2013 SlamData, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Precog is a registered trademark of SlamData, Inc, licensed to this open source project.

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