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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

UPenn's Lab Flies Drones Through Windows

In IEEE Spectrum,  some remarkable things that drones can now be programmed to do, like fly through half open windows.   Out of UPenn's labs.   Demonstrated in video at the link.  Gives me considerable pause about what our drone and robotic enabled future will look like.  For now,  keep your windows completely closed.

See also Vijay Kumar Lab, Penn Engineering

Google's Allo delivering Messaging AI

We are seeing that messaging systems will be the place that consumer facing AI will reside, acting as a bot to enhance everyday communications with intelligence.  How good that intelligence will be remains to be seen.  Recall that that same technology is rumored to be integrated into the soon to be released Google Home.  Will be following.  Quite an extensive opinion piece:

Why you want Google's Allo
Reviews are mixed on Google's latest communication app. Here's what the reviewers aren't telling you.     By Mike Elgan   Computerworld  

Should you get Google's Allo? The answer is: Yes!

As a messaging app, Google's new Allo isn't great. Specifically, it's functionally indistinguishable from any number of apps that have been around for years.

But there's one reason why you should want to use Allo every day: artificial intelligence.

There are dozens of messaging apps, and each has its own unique list of features. For example, iPhone users may feel compelled to choose between Apple's iMessage, which  which recently gained the ability to run iMessage apps, and Allo for iOS.

So for the sake of understanding Google's new messaging service, let's talk about how iMessage compares with Allo. .....  

Mapping Experiences

Book on order.   We used mapping, both concept based and journey based, in the enterprise.  We developed many, many maps.  It was always a useful approach. I recommend it for any interaction, with client, employee,customer or process.  The Visualization along can point you do insights.  Beyond that, adding data, resources and insights can take you further ...   In UXMatters:  (The free chapter provided there has some excellent detail)

This is a sample chapter from the book Mapping Experiences: A Complete Guide to Creating Value Through Journeys, Blueprints, & Diagrams, by Jim Kalbach, which O’Reilly Media published in May 2016. UXmatters is publishing this chapter with O’Reilly’s permission. Copyright © 2016 O’Reilly Media. All rights reserved.

Chapter 4: Initiate: Starting a Mapping Project
Mapping Experiences CoverOne of the most common questions I get in my workshops on mapping is, “How do I begin?” Aspiring mapmakers may see the immediate value in these techniques, yet they have barriers getting started.

Getting stakeholder buy-in is a common challenge. I’ve been fortunate to have had opportunities to create diagrams of all kinds and have found that stakeholders see the value in mapping only after the process is complete. As a result, initiating an effort requires convincing them up front. .... " 

Future of AI Driven Analytics

Ultimately you will need AI/Cognitive to drive complex analytics.  People alone cannot control the complex process, especially when you need to circle back to get new illustrative data.  Here a panel on the topic reported on in SiliconAngle.  Not detailed enough, but it sets up the idea.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Tapping Into Tribal Knowledge

Had not heard the term 'Tribal Knowledge'.  But OK, call it key internal strategic and operational knowledge within a company, from its own internal experts, external sources, written documents, external consulting and beyond.   And effectively leveraging that knowledge against company problems.  A key to a digital company?

  We explored the idea using methods like Wikis and rule based systems in the 90s, Interviewing retiring experts, Intranet search, Knowledge Management, Semantic networks linking to data and beyond.

Each had its own positives and negatives.   How can this be done better with cognitive methods.?    Below a interesting example.  I Like the thoughts, but how does it work in practice?    How is the knowledge assembled for use?

Saving and Sharing Tribal Knowledge with Watson
Woodside, Australia’s largest independent energy company has been a global leader in oil and gas for over half a century. Their secret? Hire and develop heroes.

This formula has helped Woodside build some of the largest structures on the planet, in some of the most remote parts of the ocean, and safely transport the energy they produce to people around the globe.

To ensure the next generation could successfully carry the torch, Woodside knew they had to harness the instinctual know-how of their best employees. This goal — to create a cognitive business to augment and share their tribal knowledge — is what led Woodside into an industry-first partnership with IBM and Watson. .... " 

Seeking Open AI Again

A market place for artificial intelligence solutions.  Open AI.   Mentioned previously, have not seen any implementations using this as yet.  What aspects of such systems are 'open'?   The algorithmic elements or how they are strung together to be cognitively intelligent?

AI Software Booming

Short NYT piece that mentions a number of AI software efforts.  But this seems to be a mix of analytics and data science with Cognitive/AI.   True these two domains will often be mixed in application, but they should be separately understood.   Machine learning is a technique and data focused approach.  Cognitive/AI systems are adaptable and learning systems than can interact with language, leveraging structured knowledge.  Note that its not the data used that has to be structured, but the semantic knowledge in context that needs to be.  So something like IBM Watson attempts this, but GE Predix does not.

Geofencing External Spaces

 Thomson Reuters Takes Over Grand Central Station
'Hyper-Mega' Campaign Targets Business Commuters
By Kate Maddox

In an effort to reach its target audience of influential business executives in New York City, Thomson Reuters is taking over Grand Central Station with a month-long campaign.

The takeover, which begins today, includes billboards, videos, mobile and social, and is part of Thomson Reuters' "The Answer Company" campaign, which launched last year. The push was created by TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York.

"The Grand Central Station takeover is the first execution we have developed, in conjunction with TBWA, that we call 'hyper-mega,'" said Stephen Sonnenfeld, VP-advertising and brand integration at Thomson Reuters.

"We are delivering a very concentrated message to a very targeted group of people within a very specific geographic environment," he said. "This makes the best use of our media budget and puts our presence directly in front of the people who are most important to us."

Those people are business professionals who work in the four core industries Thomson Reuters serves: legal, risk management, tax and accounting, and media.

"The core of our brand challenge is to really get people to understand the scope of what we do as a company," Mr. Sonnenfeld said. "We have a fair amount of people who may know us well in a particular industry, but may not know what we do in other industries."

Thomson Reuters is taking over all of Grand Central Station's ad inventory for the month of September, and will blanket the terminal, tunnels and train station with billboards that ask questions "that are keeping our target up at night," Mr. Sonnenfeld said. .... " 

IOT Research Report

Lopez Research group report, via Cisco.  report requires registration.

" ... Improve Business Operations with the IoT .... The Internet of Things can help you improve business efficiency, control intelligence from a wide range of equipment, enhance operations, and increase customer satisfaction. This Lopez Research Brief outlines the business benefits of the IoT and explains the steps to get started. Download the brief to see how you can take advantage of these IoT opportunities. .... " 

KM World

Was recently re-introduced.  http://www.kmworld.com/  Had read it for years, but not recently.

KMWorld is the leading publisher, conference organizer, and information provider serving the knowledge management, content management, and document management markets. We inform more than 21,000 print subscribers about the components and processes — and related success stories — that together offer solutions for improving your business performance.  With access to many of the most knowledgeable writers and analysts in the industry, KMWorld also offers a number of special publications, including: the KMWorld Best Practices White Papers series — delivering high-value, educational content from industry-leading solutions providers, free from marketing hype and distraction, and the KMWorld Buyer's Guide — a print and electronic resource that will shorten your search for a vendor or simply help identify sources for KM tools.

KMWorld Magazine is free to qualified subscribers and is published monthly, with combined issues July/August and November/December. Subscribe today for free! Our newsletter, KMWorld Newslinks is also available free to qualified subscribers.  .... 

KMWorld Magazine is free to qualified subscribers and is published monthly, with combined issues July/August and November/December. Subscribe today for free! Our newsletter, KMWorld Newslinks is also available free to qualified subscribers.

KMWorld has an ongoing series of web events on the latest trends and best practices in knowledge management.


Sunday, September 25, 2016

Why and How is Watson a Cognitive System?

Jim Spohrer sends along a link to a talk by Rob High, IBM Chief Technology Officer, Fellow and Vice President,  Does a good job of discussing why Watson is cognitive, unique, and why it differs from previous attempts at delivering expertise.   Non technical.

I ask: So how you convince a complex organization this uniqueness is useful, stable and scalable? Only through clear operational examples in varying contexts.  That appears to be what they are working on.


IBM® Watson™ represents a first step into cognitive systems, a new era of computing. Watson builds on the current era of programmatic computing but differs in significant ways. The combination of the following capabilities makes Watson unique:

Natural language processing by helping to understand the complexities of unstructured data, which makes up as much as 80 percent of the data in the world today

Hypothesis generation and evaluation by applying advanced analytics to weigh and evaluate a panel of responses based on only relevant evidence

Dynamic learning by helping to improve learning based on outcomes to get smarter with each iteration and interaction

Although none of these capabilities alone are unique to Watson, the combination delivers a powerful solution:

To move beyond the constraints of programmatic computing
To move from reliance on structured, local data to unlock the world of global, unstructured data
To move from decision tree-driven, deterministic applications to probabilistic systems that co-evolve with their users

To move from keyword-based search that provides a list of locations where an answer might (or might not) be located, to an intuitive, conversational means of discovering a set of confidence-ranked responses

This IBM Redguide™ publication describes how Watson combines natural language processing, dynamic learning, and hypothesis generation and evaluation to give direct, confidence-based responses.

For additional information about how Watson can transform how organizations think, act, and operate in the future, see the IBM Redbooks Point-of-View publication "Transforming the Way Organizations Think with Cognitive Systems", REDP-4961:

Table of contents:
What language is and why it is hard for computers to understand
IBM Watson understands language
Understanding language is just the beginning
Problems come in different shapes
Accuracy is improved through generalization  ... 

High Cost of eFullfillment

In particular an interesting example, because I buy Tide Pods via Amazon Dash.

" ... Supply Chain Digest  ... Supply Chain News Bites
Supply Chain Graphic of the Week: The Very High Cost of eFulfillment Profitable In-Store Products Move Turn into Losers when Sold On-Line and Delivered to Homes  SCDigest Editorial Staff  .. " 

Lots of interesting details at the link.

Robots and Assistants Will Replace Tasks in Jobs

This is obvious.  Jobs are a set of tasks.  Tasks are what are replaced.  Course it can often mean that they will do the job faster and better, needing fewer people to do the jobs. Employers will be pressured by costs to do that.   And yes AI, and the physical component, robotics, will also create new jobs. But probably different ones.  And you may well have to learn from and even cooperate with these new agents.   Get ready to adapt.   In Fast Company:

Robots Won’t Take Your Job—Just Parts Of It
Automation targets tasks first, people second. That's mostly good news for those willing to adapt.
"The problem with new tech is it’s really easy to imagine the jobs it will destroy," Andreessen Horowitz's Chris Dixon recently told Product Hunt, "but really hard to imagine the jobs it will create." But it isn't quite that black and white.

Many of the first "new" jobs automation will create will actually be similar to the ones it does away with. That's because, rather than destroying entire roles, it’s much more likely to chip away at certain work-related tasks. Many (though not all) positions will remain, but certain aspects of those positions will change, requiring workers to adapt to different, often higher-level activities in order to stay competitive. ... " 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Retail Algorithmic Merchandising

 In the Gartner blog:  On algorithmic merchandising.  Good thoughts in the importance of data, process and analysis used with more concise and repeatable algorithmic methods.

" ... By 2020, merchant leaders will be algorithms, prompting the top 10 retailers to cut up to one-third of headquarters merchandising staff. 

Predicts 2016: Digital Business Uproots Traditional Retail Revenue Generation

Analysis by Robert Hetu

Key Findings:

An explosion of digital business opportunities will cause retailers to increasingly rely on algorithms to manage complex business opportunities that will exist for as little as a single moment ... 
Smart machines using algorithms will make complex decisions, such as merchandise assortment and distribution, product pricing and marketing messages.

The algorithmic economy is coming alive for multichannel retailers as they continue to seek better ways to drive decisions through advanced analytics. Some algorithms will be ubiquitous, and shared for the betterment of the industry. Others will be more directly aligned with the interests of the retailer, “the secret sauce,” and, as such, kept confidential. As the number of algorithms grows, and the quality variations expand, retailers will find that the management of algorithms will require an expert to oversee how they are cared for (which ones can be shared), and which ones provide even momentary competitive advantage. ... " 

Five Technologies for the Next Ten Years

McKinsey does a good job of explaining, in a non-technical way, why these technologies will be important.  Provides a sketch in oil and gas of how they can be used to produce value.  The time line of a decade is a reasonable forecast to universal use.   Of course it will vary, and unexpected new things will emerge, some will be re-named, embedded and combined,  but none of these things will be unimportant ten years from now.

Mckinsey: Five Technologies for the next ten years
Over the next decade, mobile, the Internet of Things, machine learning, robotics, and blockchain technologies will change a great deal about how the oil and gas industry works. ...  "

Use of Techniques by Data Scientists

In KDNuggets,  summary of a poll done with data scientists.  Indicating the use of techniques by practitioners.  Not too surprising.  Much more detail about the results at the link.

Algorithmic Retailing

Gartner on Algorithmic retailing.   Pretty broad view.   I assume this is for particular parts of the business where process can be defined?   I don't have a Gartner subscription, so can't see the full report.

" .... New Gartner research explores how retailers gain competitive advantage through the application of algorithms that reduce costs and grow top-line revenue. CIOs can use this research to identify use cases that will improve business performance in the unified commerce retail marketplace.

Gartner describes algorithmic business as the “enablement of business value through the action of algorithms on data” and regards algorithms themselves as a way to encapsulate and produce intellectual property, knowledge and insight in a reusable form. Algorithms are a set of rules for solving a problem in a finite number of steps, as for finding the greatest common divisor. New technologies create opportunities to advance algorithms, incorporating many more data inputs and steps and even decision-making capability.  ... " 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Procurement Analytics

A favorite topic, see previous posts below.

Includes a link to an eBook.  In O'Reilly:

Advancing Procurement Analytics
Learn how your company can significantly improve procurement analytics to solve business questions quickly and effectively.   By Federico Castanedo  ... " 

Right Way to Take Risk

Right Way to Take Risk

Podcast and text. 

The truism “nothing ventured, nothing gained” is an often heard phrase. But risk-taking must be balanced with prudence. Karen Firestone, chairman, CEO and co-founder of Aureus Asset Management, knows how to strike that balance. She lived it herself — leaving a fund management job at Fidelity Investments after 22 years to co-found a wealth advisory firm in 2005. It worked out: Aureus now has $1.5 billion under management. Firestone wrote about the topic in her book, Even the Odds: Sensible Risk-Taking in Business, Investing and Life. She discussed her book on the Knowledge@Wharton show on Wharton Business Radio’s Knowledge@Wharton show, which airs on SiriusXM Channel 111. ... " 

Weapons of Math Destruction?

More on biases of algorithms.   Inevitable, and will require new kinds of transparency that require deep contextual expertise.  Only governments and big tech enabled companies will have these.    Which do you fear most? Personal or group or government biases can be added to an algorithm quite easily.  It won't be the market choosing.   More hidden than rogue.

‘Rogue Algorithms’ and the Dark Side of Big Data

In Knowledge@Wharton

 Most of us, unless we’re insurance actuaries or Wall Street quantitative analysts, have only a vague notion of algorithms and how they work. But they actually affect our daily lives by a considerable amount. Algorithms are a set of instructions followed by computers to solve problems. The hidden algorithms of Big Data might connect you with a great music suggestion on Pandora, a job lead on LinkedIn or the love of your life on Match.com.

These mathematical models are supposed to be neutral. But former Wall Street quant Cathy O’Neil, who had an insider’s view of algorithms for years, believes that they are quite the opposite. In her book, Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy, O’Neil says these WMDs are ticking time-bombs that are well-intended but ultimately reinforce harmful stereotypes, especially of the poor and minorities, and become “secret models wielding arbitrary punishments.” ... ' 

Inspired by the Architecture of Neural Networks

Why does machine learning work?    And I would add, what does 'work' mean?

A look into the mysterious world of neural nets, which are not new, we used them for practical, though simpler applications, decades ago.    We should be reminded that the computational neural nets in use are inspired by the networks in our brains, but are also very different.  Is architectural inspiration enough?    As we expand their use, for what kinds of problems are they best used?

In Quanta Magazine: 
Big Data’s Mathematical Mysteries
Machine learning works spectacularly well, but mathematicians aren’t quite sure why. ... 

Building Practical AI Systems

Video from O'Reilly, requires basic registration.

Building practical AI systems
As a technical founder at Siri, Sentient, and Viv Labs, Adam Cheyer has helped design and develop a number of intelligent systems. Drawing on specific examples, Adam reveals techniques he uses to maximize the impact of the AI technologies he employs.

Video by Adam Cheyer  

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Only Humans Need Apply

Only Humans Need Apply: Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines Hardcover – May 24, 2016 by Thomas H. Davenport (Author), Julia Kirby (Author).  They write:

An invigorating, thought-provoking, and positive look at the rise of automation that explores how professionals across industries can find sustainable careers in the near future.

Nearly half of all working Americans could risk losing their jobs because of technology. It’s not only blue-collar jobs at stake. Millions of educated knowledge workers—writers, paralegals, assistants, medical technicians—are threatened by accelerating advances in artificial intelligence.

The industrial revolution shifted workers from farms to factories. In the first era of automation, machines relieved humans of manually exhausting work. Today, Era Two of automation continues to wash across the entire services-based economy that has replaced jobs in agriculture and manufacturing. Era Three, and the rise of AI, is dawning. Smart computers are demonstrating they are capable of making better decisions than humans. Brilliant technologies can now decide, learn, predict, and even comprehend much faster and more accurately than the human brain, and their progress is accelerating. Where will this leave lawyers, nurses, teachers, and editors? ... " 

Nicely done, reminds me of some books at the end of the last AI era that turned out not to be very relevant.

Watch Gets the Voice of Echo Alexa

Moving generalized intelligence into multiple kinds of hardware.

Review: The CoWatch -- a smartwatch with the voice of Alexa ... With solid hardware design, an Android-based OS and with Amazon's Alexa voice control, the CoWatch has potential. .... " 

Image Captioning by Tensorflow is Now Open Source

I have mentioned before this is a problem we addressed for several AI oriented applications.  We called it 'image recognition'. Now the general solution is open source.   Some samples images in the article, and they are impressive. The general solution of this captioning problem is an important one.

Show and Tell: image captioning open sourced in TensorFlow
Thursday, September 22, 2016
Posted by Chris Shallue, Software Engineer, Google Brain Team

In 2014, research scientists on the Google Brain team trained a machine learning system to automatically produce captions that accurately describe images. Further development of that system led to its success in the Microsoft COCO 2015 image captioning challenge, a competition to compare the best algorithms for computing accurate image captions, where it tied for first place.

Today, we’re making the latest version of our image captioning system available as an open source model in TensorFlow. This release contains significant improvements to the computer vision component of the captioning system, is much faster to train, and produces more detailed and accurate descriptions compared to the original system. These improvements are outlined and analyzed in the paper Show and Tell: Lessons learned from the 2015 MSCOCO Image Captioning Challenge, published in IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence.  .... " 

Designing Social Interactions in a Teachable Agent

Today:   Our Cognitive Systems Institute Group Speaker Series this week, Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 10:30 am ET US (9:30am CT, 7:30 am PT).  Our presenter this week is Erin Walker from Arizona State University, who will be presenting "Designing Social Interactions in a Teachable Agent."    Slides.

Please point your web browser to https://apps.na.collabserv.com/meetings/join?id=2894-8491   Password is Cognitive  Use audio on computer or 855-233-7153 in the US (other countries numberhere) PIN Code: 43179788    Non-IBMers and Non-Members, please use the "guest" option instead of entering your email.   

Please find the schedule of presenters herefor the next several calls.   A link to slides and a recording of each call should be available on the CSIG website 
(http://cognitive-science.info/community/weekly-update/).   We encourage those who join the calls to add questions and comments to the LinkedIn Discussion 

Group https://www.linkedin.com/groups/Cognitive-Systems-Institute-6729452 and please ask questions at the end of the call. ... " 

Critical View of Online Training

A critical view in a study of online training, aka MOOCs.  Massively Open Online Courses.   Not unexpected that those who use these methods do not get the same quality of education as individual,  face to face teaching.   Not unexpected to hear this.  But the economics involved?

Data Explosion and Decision Making

In the HBR, useful thoughts on decisions,  data and organization.

How the Big Data Explosion Has Changed Decision Making
by Michael Schrage

Organizations I work with increasingly struggle to straddle two painfully  
polarizing operating principles. On the one hand, they desperately seek greater agility; on the other, they genuinely want to include all the right stakeholders in their processes. This conflict uncomfortably transcends traditional “centralization/decentralization” debates. Customers and clients demand greater agility, and employees and partners expect greater empowerment. So the companies push hard to provide both.

Including more people, alas, typically increases coordination costs and response times. But, almost paradoxically, greater organizational agility requires greater responsiveness and improved coordination. The more stakeholders involved, the more likely that decisions are delayed. But effective agility frequently demands inclusive stakeholder involvement.

In other words, more people want to make more-agile decisions more often. This tension drives my clients mad. At one Fortune 1000 company, for example, “flame wars” broke out between customer support units, desperate to respond faster to customer complaints, and the technical design group, equally desperate to avoid ad hoc fixes. Neither group could effectively solve the problems without the other, but their overlaps quickly became sources of conflict rather than collaboration. That pathology isn’t uncommon.

The digitally networked enterprise — whether Slacked, Chattered, Skyped, Google Doc-ed — sharply exacerbates tensions and pain points: More stakeholders can instantly access, and share, actionable information. Technology facilitates greater transparency and visibility throughout enterprise ecosystems. Real-time situational awareness dramatically increases. But the managerial and operational ability to act on that data-driven information may not.

By far the best and most useful approach for managing those tensions is Michael Jensen’s path-breaking work in decision rights a quarter-century ago. Simply put, decision rights clarify authority and accountability for decisions and decision making. Decision rights are about how organizations “decide how to decide” who is empowered to make decisions. Think of it as a governance model for enterprise decision.  .... "

Google's Digital Assistant Revealed

First via a messaging App called Allo, later in the fall via Google Home to provide a competitor to Amazon Alexa and Siri.   Claims for better AI.  In Adage:  " ...   Watch Out, Siri and Alexa: Google's New Digital Assistant Is Here  ... " 

More on the release of the Google Allo App.  And how Google plans for leadership in assistant AI.

(Update)  "It's really important for Google, as the company has bet its entire future on A.I.," said Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy. "Their CEO Sundar Pichai said at I/O his company is no longer a mobile company, but an A.I. company. Allo needs to go really, really well. They're on stage here."

Rob Enderle, an analyst with The Enderle Group, said Allo could be an advance for messaging, as well as for Google. But it also carries risks.

"The competitive advantage is the A.I. engine, but the A.I. is young and, as yet, poorly trained, so like a baby on a plane, generally more annoying than beneficial at the moment," he added. "You have to start someplace."  ... ' 

A critical look at Allo's value.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Chinese Wearable Shipments Soar

Does this mean that the Chinese culture is more prone to wearable devices?   In Readwrite.   " ... China may become the world’s largest wearable customer in 2017, if sales continue to surge as they have in 2016. In the past year, the country has seen an 84 percent increase in wearable sales, reaching 9.5 million between April and June this year. ... " 

On Predictability of Demand

Discussion in Retailwire: 

" ... According to RSR’s benchmark report on omnichannel order profitability, unpredictable consumer demand is the top business challenge among retail respondents. After much consideration, I would offer that consumer demand isn’t really that unpredictable. Instead, retailers are just really bad at predicting it.

Part of the issue is one of “garbage in” — as in, “garbage in yields garbage out.” There seems to be a lot of garbage in the inputs retailers use to decide what to stock where. First, a lot of them start with last year’s plan, which means the bad assumptions made last year are automatically carried over into this year. ... " 

Casino Key Security

Interesting security application.  Not new, but alternative applications of beacons.  Note regulatory application.

Casino Prevents Security Violations Via Beacon Solution
Thanks to a system provided by Barcoding Inc. and Visybl, Mount Airy Casino Resort is alerted if an employee begins to remove a key from its facility, enabling it to prevent regulatory infractions.
By Claire Swedberg

Tags: BLE, Security and Access Control

Hyperledger Project

Update brought to my attention.   Have looked at the implications of smart contracts.  Worth understanding.

Hyperledger Project

The Hyperledger Project is a collaborative effort created to advance blockchain technology by identifying and addressing important features for a cross-industry open standard for distributed ledgers that can transform the way business transactions are conducted globally. The Project is a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project and implements many open source best practices familiar to other leading projects.

Why Create the Project?

Not since the Web itself has a technology promised broader and more fundamental revolution than blockchain technology. A blockchain is a peer-to-peer distributed ledger forged by consensus, combined with a system for “smart contracts” and other assistive technologies. Together these can be used to build a new generation of transactional applications that establishes trust, accountability and transparency at their core, while streamlining business processes and legal constraints.

Think of it as an operating system for marketplaces, data-sharing networks, micro-currencies, and decentralized digital communities. It has the potential to vastly reduce the cost and complexity of getting things done in the real world.

Only an Open Source, collaborative software development approach can ensure the transparency, longevity, interoperability and support required to bring blockchain technologies forward to mainstream commercial adoption. That is what Hyperledger is about – communities of software developers building blockchain frameworks and platforms.  .... " 

GE Buys Machine Analytics Firm

Today, GE Digital, the company’s software arm, said it acquired Meridium, Inc., a leading developer of asset performance management (APM) software for machine-heavy industries such as oil, gas, electricity and chemicals. The deal values Meridium, based in Roanoke, Virginia, at $495 million.

GE first invested in Meridium in 2014, buying a quarter of the company. Today it purchased the remaining stake. “As we forge ahead in the Industrial Internet journey, APM is clearly the first application that can leverage the Predix platform to help industrial customers benefit from increased productivity,” said Bill Ruh, CEO of GE Digital. ... " 

The State of Natural Language

Long ago I took a course on language theory.   Have since remained intrigued about how the evolution of the field ultimately links to Natural Language Processing (NLP), and ultimately intelligence and how we perceive and interact with our world.  Some of our efforts sought to program bots to communicate.  Seems this would be a good place to consider the language a Bot might use.

So for you that have not taken the course. Here is a portion of the intro to Ling001 at the University of Pennsylvania  as it is taught this fall by Mark Liberman.     Also the slides that Liberman uses.   Make no claim that I understand all this, but it makes me think.

Also their Language Log blog.

Warehouse Science from Georgia Institute of Technology

Brought to my attention.   ©  by colleague John J. Bartholdi III • Georgia Institute of Technology

Warehouse Science
Mathematical models to optimize management of time and space in a warehouse

Free text book, with …

Supplementary materials
Warehouse tours
Class projects for industry
Order-picking by bucket brigade

Free-to-use software

Draw a “heat map” of a warehouse
Identify product affinities from sales history
Slot pallets in a forward case-pick area
Slot cartons in a forward piece-pick area

Classes (not free)

ISyE 6335, a core course in Georgia Tech's program leading to a Masters Degree in Supply Chain Engineering
Executive education
Professional education