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Snapshot Analysis – Turning Public Data Into a Movie

“You turned my data into a movie!”

Voter Integrity Team 2022

Public databases change over time.  They add new information and delete other information hourly.  They may change information.

Every one of these actions is a footprint.  Most such prints do not matter – who cares if a public record has a new version?

Some changes, however, are very significant. 

If a someone votes in person and their vote is later changed to absentee, that’s significant.  If an inactive voter has their status changed to active, then voted, then changed back, that’s pretty important.

This stuff happens, more than anyone ever imagined.

Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to see with conventional technology.

If Bill Smith’s status is changed to active and voted, then changed back, the current view of the voter file will only show Bill to be inactive.  But, Bill was active the day before.

This problem came to the Fractal team in 2022 from a dozen voter integrity teams.  They downloaded the voter registration file for a date, then someone had the same file for a different date and the data changed.

Of course it did, data changes every day.  The question was “…..was that change significant?”

A voter registration database for a mid-size state is 4 million records.  It is 15 million for a larger state.

Take various versions of that voter file and compare them and you have a compute issue that can dim the lights of a large city.  You are trying to compare 4 million records with every one of another 4 million records, reporting every change.

Add the complexity of having weekly or daily snapshots and you are comparing those 4 million records with another 4 million records times 20 or 40 or 52.  Even the largest data center would choke on such a comparison.

So why do it?

We are all about the public’s audit of government databases.  You cannot audit a single view of a database.  Against what would you compare it?

If an election commission is changing voters from active to inactive to vote them, how do you check?  You need copies of that multi-million record file taken daily, perhaps hourly.

With conventional technology, the storage alone would quickly create the world’s largest data collection – for just one or two states!

Fractal technology is very different – because it does not use the current, conventional tech stack.

Fractal technology reduces the storage alone by 90%.  Fractal analysis is already doing these type of comparisons for some states with over 45 snapshots.  Performance does not suffer as the size explodes because of truly distributed computing.

Snapshot analysis, as one of the voter integrity groups said, “….takes my data and makes a movie out of it.”

It’s time to move from Kodak pictures to HBO movies and Fractal analysis is doing it for public record databases.