And then there were three “big data” superheroes … the elites who turn raw numbers into diamonds just as Superman could turn coal into fabulous gems.

Seriously? Well, read on – if you dare.

SAS and Teradata, two of the global leaders in the mind-boggling but increasingly important world of big data analytics, really are trying to make the numbers crunching business entertaining in addition to very profitable. 

After launching the League of Analytics Superheroes” in March and naming its first member known as “Illumino,” the two companies added a new member Wednesday – an “analytics platforms architect” at eBay who is proclaimed as “MagnaComm.”

This league of super geeks is led by ”Dr. Insight,” the leader aka in real life as Bill Franks, chief analytics officer at Teradata and author of the book “Taming the Big Data Tidal Wave.”

“The Analytic Superheroes project mixes playfulness and serious business to get people’s interest,” Franks said when the League – sure to someday rival the Justice League, the Sly Stallone-led Expendables and Avengers – was unveiled. “We’re learning powerful lessons about how the best analytics pros are furthering our cause. After all, who wouldn’t trade lessons learned for their own superhero character?”

A tip of the hat is due partners SAS and Teradata, which maintains an office near the SAS world headquarters in Cary, for having some fun with this whole League thing. The program has to be a morale boost for the numbers folks whose task in life is to take data from across a growing spectrum of global information, understand it and help businesses capitalize on future opportunities from fraud busting to new product lines.

The superheroes also get a portrait and their own action figure, in addition to a lot of free press. They also receive their own feature story line complete with dazzling illustrations at a website devoted to the League.

Saving Datapolis

MagnaComm squares off against “The Flood” in his story:

“In the world of Datapolis, a comprehensive, elegant commerce system called The Exchange provides for the trade of all vital goods and services. Its efficient operation is paramount to the health of society.

“But suddenly an alert signals that The Flood, a celestial mass of the universe’s uncollected and unanalyzed data points, is heading toward Datapolis. The Flood overwhelms analytical platforms with waves of information, laying waste to all economic and social systems in its path.

“John Scheibmeir knows The Flood well, having battled it before on his home planet. John, struck with empathy for a world somewhat like his own, set out across the universe to face his arch nemesis once again.

“John reaches The Exchange engineers with little time to spare, and begins working feverishly to stabilize the platform. Suddenly, John’s body physically reacts to their platform; he begins scaling into a magnificent, twelve-foot, amalgamation of circuits, code and intelligence.

“Now known as MAGNACOMM, can the newest member of the Heroes of Analytics use is supernatural integration to conquer The Flood and save Datapolis?” 

Go to the website for the rest of the story.

Behind the Mask …

So who is this eBay superstar?

He’s John Scheibmeir, who is part of the team striving to keep eBay at the forefront of the e-commerce business. 

“Scheibmeir’s heroics include sifting through and analyzing enormous data volumes moving at high velocity and racing through the eBay universe at clickstream speed – to compare the results of user experience experiments,” SAS and Teradata said in bestowing hero status on him.

“Generating insights used for faster, better decisions and business execution, MagnaComm is truly an analytic hero.”

At eBay he heads a projected called “Singularity,” a term itself that indicates the importance to the company where data processed daily runs more than 30 petabytes and the company has upgraded capacity through Teradata to 60 petabytes. (A petabyte is a million billion bytes or 10 to the 15th power.)

Magnacomm didn’t always intend to be a big data guy, however.

“Going through school I thought I was going to be the next great web programmer,” said Scheibmeir. “My world was turned upside down when on my first day on the job I learned I would instead be doing something called ‘data warehousing’. I was caught off guard, but luck fell into my lap that day. I have since become very interested in data- oriented development, analysis, and technology. I was excited to help launch our Teradata-driven Singularity platform. Since then we have grown from 300TB to 36PB. It has been an incredible ride. I enjoy working with the technology, the people, and the opportunities.”

By the way, his teammate Illumino is Rick Andrews, who toils at the Office of the Actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaide Services.

Dr. Insight, meanwhile, continues to seek more superstars who can “produce earth-shattering insights and business value.”

If you can do that, big data fame awaits.