S&P Platts

If you ever turn on the news and hear that Brent Crude is trading at $19 a barrel (did it really get to $19 dollars? Yes, it did, we’re living in strange times), it’s very likely that it was Platts that determined this price. Platts are in the “price assessment” business.  If you need to strike a contract for an amount of a particular commodity to be delivered at a particular place at some time in the future, you need a neutral third-party arbiter to price that commodity.  That would be Platts.

Over the years they have amassed a library of 300,000 of these “symbols” of specific combinations of commodity, grade, location, terms, etc. It was the belief that the metadata within these symbols would unambiguously identify a symbol.

We loaded all the symbols and all the metadata into a knowledge graph and discovered with simple graph analytics that about a third of them were ambiguous.  By leveraging knowledge graph capabilities, our consultants are improving data quality symbol representation to disambiguating metadata for all the ambiguous symbols.

The other thing we learned in the process is that there are about a dozen different “kinds” of symbols.  Not different in the way that coal is different from natural gas (although there are differences there), but different in the way that a symbol in a different unit of measure or currency is different from its base, and the futures are different, which spreads even more differences.

We are working with them to create a symbol management system that recognizes these differences and can create and edit symbols that are unambiguous and conform.