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公司:Grab

Grab(前身为MyTeksi)是一间在东南亚地区提供服务的技术公司和交通网络公司,总部位于新加坡,由陈炳耀和陈慧玲于2012年在马来西亚雪兰莪州八打灵再也创立的移动应用程序。该应用连结乘客和司机,提供载客车辆租赁及即时共乘的分享型经济服务。乘客可以透过发送短信或是使用移动应用程序来预约这些载客的车辆,利用移动应用程序时还可以追踪车辆的位置。疫情期间兼开始经营外卖、送货、电子商务等等,成为全方面的生活平台。

Scaling marketing for merchants with targeted and intelligent promos

A promotional campaign is a marketing effort that aims to increase sales, customer engagement, or brand awareness for a product, service, or company. The target is to have more orders and sales by assigning promos to consumers within a given budget during the campaign period.

From our research, we found that merchants have specific goals for the promos they are willing to offer. They want a simple and cost-effective way to achieve their specific business goals by providing well-designed offers to target the correct customers. From Grab’s perspective, we want to help merchants set up and run campaigns efficiently, and help them achieve their specific business goals.

Stepping up marketing for advertisers: Scalable lookalike audience

The advertising industry is constantly evolving, driven by advancements in technology and changes in consumer behaviour. One of the key challenges in this industry is reaching the right audience, reaching people who are most likely to be interested in your product or service. This is where the concept of a lookalike audience comes into play. By identifying and targeting individuals who share similar characteristics with an existing customer base, businesses can significantly improve the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns.

Building hyperlocal GrabMaps

Southeast Asia (SEA) is a dynamic market, very different from other parts of the world. When travelling on the road, you may experience fast-changing road restrictions, new roads appearing overnight, and high traffic congestion. To address these challenges, GrabMaps has adapted to the SEA market by leveraging big data solutions. One of the solutions is the integration of hyperlocal data in GrabMaps.

Hyperlocal information is oriented around very small geographical communities and obtained from the local knowledge that our map team gathers. The map team is spread across SEA, enabling us to define clear specifications (e.g. legal speed limits), and validate that our solutions are viable.

Streamlining Grab's Segmentation Platform with faster creation and lower latency

Launched in 2019, Segmentation Platform has been Grab’s one-stop platform for user segmentation and audience creation across all business verticals. User segmentation is the process of dividing passengers, driver-partners, or merchant-partners (users) into sub-groups (segments) based on certain attributes. Segmentation Platform empowers Grab’s teams to create segments using attributes available within our data ecosystem and provides APIs for downstream teams to retrieve them.

Unsupervised graph anomaly detection - Catching new fraudulent behaviours

Earlier in this series, we covered the importance of graph networks, graph concepts, graph visualisation, and graph-based fraud detection methods. In this article, we will discuss how to automatically detect new types of fraudulent behaviour and swiftly take action on them.

One of the challenges in fraud detection is that fraudsters are incentivised to always adversarially innovate their way of conducting frauds, i.e., their modus operandi (MO in short). Machine learning models trained using historical data may not be able to pick up new MOs, as they are new patterns that are not available in existing training data. To enhance Grab’s existing security defences and protect our users from these new MOs, we needed a machine learning model that is able to detect them quickly without the need for any label supervision, i.e., an unsupervised learning model rather than the regular supervised learning model.

To address this, we developed an in-house machine learning model for detecting anomalous patterns in graphs, which has led to the discovery of new fraud MOs. Our focus was initially on GrabFood and GrabMart verticals, where we monitored the interactions between consumers and merchants. We modelled these interactions as a bipartite graph (a type of graph for modelling interactions between two groups) and then performed anomaly detection on the graph. Our in-house anomaly detection model was also presented at the International Joint Conference on Neural Networks (IJCNN) 2023, a premier academic conference in the area of neural networks, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.

In this blog, we discuss the model and its application within Grab. For avid audiences that want to read the details of our model, you can access it here. Note that even though we implemented our model for anomaly detection in GrabFood and GrabMart, the model is designed for general purposes and is applicable to interaction graphs between any two groups.

Go module proxy at Grab

At Grab, we rely heavily on a large Go monorepo for backend development, which offers benefits like code reusability and discoverability. However, as we continue to grow, managing a large monorepo brings about its own set of unique challenges.

As an example, using Go commands such as go get and go list can be incredibly slow when fetching Go modules residing in a large multi-module repository. This sluggishness takes a toll on developer productivity, burdens our Continuous Integration (CI) systems, and strains our Version Control System host (VCS), GitLab.

In this blog post, we look at how Athens, a Go module proxy, helps to improve the overall developer experience of engineers working with a large Go monorepo at Grab.

Zero traffic cost for Kafka consumers

Coban, Grab’s real-time data streaming platform team, has been building an ecosystem around Kafka, serving all Grab verticals. Along with stability and performance, one of our priorities is also cost efficiency.

In this article, we explain how the Coban team has substantially reduced Grab’s annual cost for data streaming by enabling Kafka consumers to fetch from the closest replica.

PII masking for privacy-grade machine learning

At Grab, data engineers work with large sets of data on a daily basis. They design and build advanced machine learning models that provide strategic insights using all of the data that flow through the Grab Platform. This enables us to provide a better experience to our users, for example by increasing the supply of drivers in areas where our predictive models indicate a surge in demand in a timely fashion.

Grab has a mature privacy programme that complies with applicable privacy laws and regulations and we use tools to help identify, assess, and appropriately manage our privacy risks. To ensure that our users’ data are well-protected and avoid any human-related errors, we always take extra measures to secure this data.

However, data engineers will still require access to actual production data in order to tune effective machine learning models and ensure the models work as intended in production.

In this article, we will describe how the Grab’s data streaming team (Coban), along with the data platform and user teams, have enforced Personally Identifiable Information (PII) masking on machine learning data streaming pipelines. This ensures that we uphold a high standard and embody a privacy by design culture, while enabling data engineers to refine their models with sanitised production data.

Performance bottlenecks of Go application on Kubernetes with non-integer (floating) CPU allocation

Grab’s real-time data platform team, Coban, has been running its stream processing framework on Kubernetes, as detailed in Plumbing at scale. We’ve also written another article (Scaling Kafka consumers) about vertical pod autoscaling (VPA) and the benefits of using it.

How we improved our iOS CI infrastructure with observability tools

When we upgraded to Xcode 13.1 in April 2022, we noticed a few issues such as instability of the CI tests and other problems related to the switch to Xcode 13.1.

After taking a step back, we investigated this issue by integrating some observability tools into our iOS CI development process. This gave us a comprehensive perspective of the entire process, from the beginning to the end of the UITest job. In this article, we share the improvements we made, the insights we gathered, and the impact of these improvements on the overall process and resource utilisation.

2.3x faster using the Go plugin to replace Lua virtual machine

We’re excited to share with you the latest update on our open-source project Talaria. In our efforts to improve performance and overcome infrastructure limitations, we’ve made significant strides by implementing the Go plugin to replace Lua VM.

Our team has found that the Go plugin is roughly 2.3x faster and uses 2.3x less memory than the Lua VM. This significant performance boost has helped us improve overall functionality, scalability, and speed.

For those who aren’t familiar, Talaria is a distributed, highly available, and low-latency time-series database that’s designed for Big Data systems. Originally developed and implemented at Grab, Talaria is a critical component in processing millions and millions of transactions and connections every day, which demands scalable, data-driven decision-making.

Safer deployment of streaming applications

The Flink framework has gained popularity as a real-time stateful stream processing solution for distributed stream and batch data processing. Flink also provides data distribution, communication, and fault tolerance for distributed computations over data streams. To fully leverage Flink’s features, Coban, Grab’s real-time data platform team, has adopted Flink as part of our service offerings.

In this article, we explore how we ensure that deploying Flink applications remain safe as we incorporate the lessons learned through our journey to continuous delivery.

Message Center - Redesigning the messaging experience on the Grab superapp

Since 2016, Grab has been using GrabChat, a built-in messaging feature to connect our users with delivery-partners or driver-partners. However, as the Grab superapp grew to include more features, the limitations of the old system became apparent. GrabChat could only handle two-party chats because that’s what it was designed to do. To make our messaging feature more extensible for future features, we decided to redesign the messaging experience, which is now called Message Center.

Evolution of quality at Grab

To achieve our vision of becoming the leading superapp in Southeast Asia, we constantly need to balance development velocity with maintaining the high quality of the Grab app. Like most tech companies, we started out with the traditional software development lifecycle (SDLC) but as our app evolved, we soon noticed several challenges like high feature bugs and production issues.

In this article, we dive deeper into our quality improvement journey that officially began in 2019, the challenges we faced along the way, and where we stand as of 2022.

How OVO determined the right technology stack for their web-based projects

In the current technology landscape, startups are developing rapidly. This usually leads to an increase in the number of engineers in teams, with the goal of increasing the speed of product development and delivery frequency. However, this growth often leads to a diverse selection of technology stacks being used by different teams within the same organisation.

Having different technology stacks within a team could lead to a bigger problem in the future, especially if documentation is not well-maintained. The best course of action is to pick just one technology stack for your projects, but it begs the question, “How do I choose the best technology stack for my projects?”.

One such example is OVO, which is an Indonesian payments, rewards, and financial services platform within Grab. We share our process and analysis to determine the best technology stack that complies with precise standards. By the end of the article, you may also learn to choose the best technology stack for your needs.

Migrating from Role to Attribute-based Access Control

Grab has always regarded security as one of our top priorities; this is especially important for data platform teams. We need to control access to data and resources in order to protect our consumers and ensure compliance with various, continuously evolving security standards.

Additionally, we want to keep the process convenient, simple, and easily scalable for teams. However, as Grab continues to grow, we have more services and resources to manage and it becomes increasingly difficult to keep the process frictionless. That’s why we decided to move from Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) to Attribute-Based Access Control (ABAC) for our Kafka Control Plane (KCP).

In this article, you will learn how Grab’s streaming data platform team (Coban) deleted manual role and permission management of hundreds of roles and resources, and reduced operational overhead of requesting or approving permissions to zero by moving from RBAC to ABAC.

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