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Saturday, February 27, 2021

Talking Blockchain

Wladawsky talks Blockchain. Good thoughtful piece with lots of backup. 

How Can Blockchain Become a Truly Transformative Technology?

I first became interested in blockchain technologies when in 2016 the World Economic Forum (WEF) named The Blockchain in its annual list of Top Ten Emerging Technologies citing its potential to fundamentally change the way markets and governments work. The WEF noted that “Like the Internet, the blockchain is an open, global infrastructure upon which other technologies and applications can be built. And like the Internet, it allows people to bypass traditional intermediaries in their dealings with each other, thereby lowering or even eliminating transaction costs.”

The blockchain first came to light in 2008 as the architecture underpinning bitcoin, the best known and most widely held digital currency. The blockchain’s original vision was limited to enabling bitcoin users to transact directly with each other with no need for a bank or government agency to certify the validity of the transactions. But, like the Internet, electricity and other transformative technologies, blockchain has transcended its original objectives. Over the years, blockchains, - and the more encompassing distributed ledger technologies (DLT), - have developed a following of their own as distributed data base architectures with the ability to handle trust-less transactions where no parties need to know nor trust each other for transactions to complete.

Could blockchain/DLT become truly transformative technologies? And if so, what will it take? ... ' 

Scramble for Post Quantum

Moving more rapidly than expected. 

The Scramble for Post-Quantum Cryptography

By Samuel Greengard ,  Commissioned by CACM Staff

Researchers are working to counter the threat to current communications posed by the nascent quantum computing arena, which could undermine almost all of the encryption protocols used today.

History has demonstrated that where there are people, there are secrets. From elaborately coded messages on paper to today's sophisticated cryptographic algorithms, a desire to maintain privacy has persisted. Of course, as technology has advanced, the ability to cipher messages but also crack the codes has grown.

"Today's encryption methods are excellent, but we are reaching an inflection point," says Chris Peikert, an associate professor in the Department of Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. "The introduction of quantum computing changes the equation completely. In principle, these devices could break any reasonably-sized public key."

Such an event would wreak havoc. "It would affect nearly everything we do with computers," says Dustin Moody, a mathematician whose focus at the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) includes computer security. Within this scenario, he says, computing subsystems, virtual private networks (VPNs), and digital signatures would no longer be secure. As a result, personal data, corporate records, intellectual property, and online transactions would all be at risk.

Consequently, cryptographers are developing new encryption standards that would be resistant to the brute force power of quantum computing. At the center of this effort is an initiative at NIST to identify both lattice-based and code-based algorithms that could protect classical computing systems but also introduce new and more advanced capabilities.  ... ' 

Friday, February 26, 2021

Ring Door Bell Goes Radar

Like some of the directions the doorbell tech is going,  getting to be quite common. 

Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 uses radar for bird’s-eye view of front door activity  By Patrick Hearn

 Ring’s latest addition to its lineup of smart home security devices demonstrates exactly where the company is headed. The Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 is a new, premium video doorbell with a host of next-generation technology to help keep your home safer than ever. The camera features 3D motion detection, 1,536p video, a Bird’s Eye View feature, and customizable privacy.

Through the use of a radar sensor, the 3D motion detection technology provides more accurate and precise identification of when a motion event begins. The sensors measure an object’s distance from the camera, which makes it easier to exclude certain high-traffic areas. For example, if your doorbell faces a sidewalk, you can set it so that only motion closer to your home triggers an alert.

This feature works in conjunction with the Bird’s Eye View feature. By measuring the exact distance a person is from the camera, the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 gives users an aerial view of the exact path someone took on their approach. If you’re watching an event happen through Live View or even viewing it in your Event History, you will see a picture-in-picture display that shows the movement path in addition to the actual event....  ' 

You Need a Challenge Network

 Good thought, agreed, always worked best when challenged. 

Why You Need a ‘Challenge Network’  in K@W

In the following excerpt from his new book, Think Again, Wharton management professor Adam Grant explains why success often comes from surrounding ourselves with “disagreeable” people – skeptics who can point out blind spots, question assumptions and help us overcome our weaknesses.

In 2000 Pixar was on fire. Their teams had used computers to rethink animation in their first blockbuster, Toy Story, and they were fresh off of two more smash hits. Yet the company’s founders weren’t content to rest on their laurels. They recruited an outside director named Brad Bird to shake things up. Brad had just released his debut film, which was well-reviewed but flopped in the box office, so he was itching to do something big and bold. When he pitched his vision, the technical leadership at Pixar said it was impossible: They would need a decade and $500 million to make it.

Brad wasn’t ready to give up. He sought out the biggest misfits at Pixar for his project — people who were disagreeable, disgruntled, and dissatisfied. Some called them black sheep. Others called them pirates. When Brad rounded them up, he warned them that no one believed they could pull off the project. Just four years later, his team didn’t just succeed in releasing Pixar’s most complex film ever; they actually managed to lower the cost of production per minute. The Incredibles went on to gross upwards of $631 million worldwide and won the Oscar for best animated feature.  ... "

Real-Time Marker-Less Motion Capture for Animals

Real time feedback for animal movement and posture. 

Real time Studies of animal Motion by Neural activity.By EPFL (Switzerland)

Nik Papageorgiou, December 10, 2020

An updated deep learning software toolbox developed at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne (EPFL) facilitates real-time feedback studies on animal movement and posture. DeepLabCut-Live! (DLC-Live!) is designed to enable computers to track and predict these factors free of motion-capture markers, by controlling or stimulating the animals' neural activity. DLC-Live!'s tailored networks predict posture from video frames, combined with low latency so researchers can supply real-time feedback and assess behavioral functions of specific neural circuits; the system also interfaces with hardware used in posture studies to deliver feedback to animals. EPFL's Mackenzie Mathis said, "It's economical, it's scalable, and we hope it's a technical advance that allows even more questions to be asked about how the brain controls behavior."   .. '

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Digitization of Creativity and the Maker Movement.

A considerable piece.    In particular note the connection to the 'Maker Movement',  an approach we were introduced to as early as the 80s.  Of course 3D printing has become a big component.   Software tools to to produce models.    And also elements of AI able to work with us to add design creativity?   

What Can the Maker Movement Teach Us About the Digitization of Creativity?   By Sascha FrSiesike, Frédéric Thiesse, George Kuk

Communications of the ACM, March 2021, Vol. 64 No. 3, Pages 42-45   10.1145/3447524

In recent years, the 'maker movement' has emerged as a social phenomenon driven by novel technological possibilities.1 With the help of inexpensive, yet highly versatile means of production (for example, CNC milling machines, 3D printers) and easy-to-use software tools, makers free themselves from their traditional role as passive consumers and evolve into innovators and producers. Although the act of physical production seems to be at the center of the movement, a large part of the creative work takes place in the online sphere. These digital activities and their outcomes provide a rich source of information that can be used to gain a more nuanced understanding of how the digitization affects the creative process itself.

Of all the production methods available to makers, 3D printing is probably the most versatile and requires only a limited understanding of the production process. Several 3D design software packages allow even lay people to turn their ideas into printable designs. This combination of flexibility and usability has led to an abundance of 3D object models over the past years, which are shared and jointly refined with the community on digital maker platforms. As part of a multi-year research project on the use of 3D printing by the maker community, we found that the use of these platforms in the creative process blurs the boundaries between the digital and the physical and ultimately changes the way ideas are expressed, curated, and eventually translated into physical reality. In particular, we saw how makers with entirely different backgrounds (for example, HW/SW developers, designers, business and social entrepreneurs) traverse across the startup world, software development, and open online communities, to combine concepts through a novel digitized creative process. ... ' 

AI Recodes Software

Another intriguing application. 

AI Recodes Legacy Software to Operate on Modern Platforms

IBM's AI-based tools let engineers explore ways to extract value from legacy enterprise software

Last year, IBM demonstrated how AI can perform the tedious job of software maintenance through the updating of legacy code. Now Big Blue has introduced AI-based methods for re-coding old applications so that they can operate on today’s computing platforms.

The latest IBM initiatives, dubbed Mono2Micro and Application Modernization Accelerator (AMA), give app architects new tools for updating legacy applications and extracting new value from them. These initiatives represent a step towards a day when AI could automatically translate a program written in COBOL into Java, according to Nick Fuller, director of hybrid cloud services at IBM Research.  ... '

Knowledge Sharing Across Silos

From the APQC Blog: 

Why Knowledge Sharing Across Siloes Is More Important in 2021

Team-based collaboration got a huge boost in 2020

However, we don’t seem the same upswing when it comes to open, boundary-spanning collaboration. Less than a quarter of participants rate communities of practice, enterprise social networks, or expertise location tools as highly critical to their work, and these approaches received only small bumps in the wake of the pandemic. In the transition to virtual work, people simply haven’t turned to core KM tools as much as they might have.

Knowledge Management Adoption Still Lags

The emphasis on team- and project-based collaboration is not surprising. People’s work lives have been turned upside down, and their most immediate need—and instinct—has been to faithfully replicate what they had lost. And admittedly, daily interaction with close coworkers is essential to keeping the lights on and getting things done. 

But when employees collaborate only in pre-established closed groups, they aren’t realizing the full benefits of the tools they’ve embraced. Communities, enterprise social networks, and expertise location tools allow people to connect with likeminded colleagues regardless of team affiliation, surface hidden expertise, and seek out global perspectives. All of this is critical to the kind of innovation and creative problem solving required to respond to breakneck change. If people stay within the walled gardens of department chat, they’re leaving a lot on the table.  

The good news is that participating in a virtual community or enterprise social network uses many of the same skills that employees have honed in team-based sites. And with the mechanics of participation less of a hurdle for users, KM can focus on the incentives and cultural queues that position open channels as safe and rewarding places to engage. These aren’t easy challenges to overcome, but we have a golden opportunity to capitalize on digital trends and take open knowledge sharing to the next level. ... ' 

AI Everywhere: Implications of?

Thoughtfull. But I don't consider just algorithms to be AI.     AI is adaptable and evolving abilities to do things that currently humans do best.   Like reading or writing or learning or reacting.  

A.I. Here, There, Everywhere,   In The New York Times,  February 25, 2021

Interacting with artificial intelligence.

Artificial intelligence requires data to learn patterns and make decisions, But researchers are developing methods to use our data without actually seeing it, or encrypt it in ways that currently can't be hacked.

I wake up in the middle of the night. It's cold.

"Hey, Google, what's the temperature in Zone 2," I say into the darkness. A disembodied voice responds: "The temperature in Zone 2 is 52 degrees." "Set the heat to 68," I say, and then I ask the gods of artificial intelligence to turn on the light.

Many of us already live with A.I., an array of unseen algorithms that control our Internet-connected devices, from smartphones to security cameras and cars that heat the seats before you've even stepped out of the house on a frigid morning.

But, while we've seen the A.I. sun, we have yet to see it truly shine.

Researchers liken the current state of the technology to cellphones of the 1990s: useful, but crude and cumbersome. They are working on distilling the largest, most powerful machine-learning models into lightweight software that can run on "the edge," meaning small devices such as kitchen appliances or wearables. Our lives will gradually be interwoven with brilliant threads of A.I.   ..  " 

Example of Question Answering Application: Jarvis

Question Answering Applications 

Developing Question a Question Answer Application with NVIDIA Jarvis   By James Sohn | February 25, 2021  Tags: AI/Deep Learning, BERT, cloud computing, featured,

There is a high chance that you have asked your smart speaker a question like, “How tall is Mount Everest?” If you did, it probably said, “Mount Everest is 29,032 feet above sea level.” Have you ever wondered how it found an answer for you?

Question answering (QA) is loosely defined as a system consisting of information retrieval (IR) and natural language processing (NLP), which is concerned with answering questions posed by humans in a natural language. If you are not familiar with information retrieval, it is a technique to obtain relevant information to a query, from a pool of resources, webpages, or documents in the database, for example. The easiest way to understand the concept is the search engine that you use daily. 

You then need an NLP system to find an answer within the IR system that is relevant to the query. Although I just listed what you need for building a QA system, it is not a trivial task to build IR and NLP from scratch. Here’s how NVIDIA Jarvis makes it easy to develop a QA system.

Jarvis overview

NVIDIA Jarvis is a fully accelerated application framework for building multimodal conversational AI services that use an end-to-end deep learning pipeline. The Jarvis framework includes optimized services for speech, vision, and natural language understanding (NLU) tasks. In addition to providing several pretrained models for the entire pipeline of your conversational AI service, Javis is also architected for deployment at scale. In this post, I look closely into the QA function of Jarvis and how you can create your own QA application with it.  ... " 

Search and Rescue Drone uses Phones

Makes sense, and a way to coordinate the search for multiple kinds of search conditions and requirements.

Search-and-Rescue Drone Locates Victims by Homing in on Their Phones  By IEEE Spectrum,  February 24, 2021

The Search-And-Rescue DrOne (SARDO) platform was developed to enable a single drone to act as a moving cellular base station, do large sweeps over disaster areas, and locate survivors of disasters using signals from their phones.

The Search-And-Rescue DrOne (SARDO) platform developed by researchers at Germany's NEC Laboratories Europe uses off-the-shelf components, integrating aerial drones, artificial intelligence, and smartphones to find survivors of disasters using signals from their phones.  SARDO utilizes a drone as a mobile cellular base station that sweeps disaster areas and conducts time-of-flight measurements, while a machine learning (ML) algorithm surveys the area and calculates the location of victims.

A second ML algorithm helps locate survivors on the move by estimating each person's trajectory.

In field experiments, the drone could localize missing people to within a few tens of meters in roughly three minutes per victim.

From IEEE Spectrum

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

On Knowledge Graphs

Great piece on a favorite topic from CACM.  Only mildly technical.  Its all about usefully and efficiently representing knowledge.  Essential for anyone considering the future of string and using knowledge.  We experimented with it in the enterprise, for both historical and operational purposes. Below quick intro, more at the link.

Key Insights:

Data was traditionally considered a material object, tied to bits, with no semantics per se. Knowledge was traditionally conceived as the immaterial object, living only in people's minds and language. The destinies of data and knowledge became bound together, becoming almost inseparable, by the emergence of digital computing in the mid-20h century.

Knowledge Graphs can be considered the coming of age of the integration of knowledge and data at large scale with heterogeneous formats.

The next generation of researchers should become aware of these developments. Both successful and not, these ideas are the basis of current technology and contain fruitful ideas to inspire future research.

Knowledge Graphs    By Claudio Gutierrez, Juan F. Sequeda

Communications of the ACM, March 2021, Vol. 64 No. 3, Pages 96-104   10.1145/3418294

The notion of Knowledge Graph stems from scientific advancements in diverse research areas such as Semantic Web, databases, knowledge representation and reasoning, NLP, and machine learning, among others. The integration of ideas and techniques from such disparate disciplines presents a challenge to practitioners and researchers to know how current advances develop from, and are rooted in, early techniques.

Understanding the historical context and background of one's research area is of utmost importance in order to understand the possible avenues of the future. Today, this is more important than ever due to the almost infinite sea of information one faces everyday. When it comes to the Knowledge Graph area, we have noticed that students and junior researchers are not completely aware of the source of the ideas, concepts, and techniques they command.

The essential elements involved in the notion of Knowledge Graphs can be traced to ancient history in the core idea of representing knowledge in a diagrammatic form. Examples include: Aristotle and visual forms of reasoning, around 350 BC; Lull and his tree of knowledge; Linnaeus and taxonomies of the natural world; and in the 19th. century, the works on formal and diagrammatic reasoning of scientists like J.J. Sylvester, Charles Peirce and Gottlob Frege. These ideas also involve several disciplines like mathematics, philosophy, linguistics, library sciences, and psychology, among others.  ... " 

Spot Dogs at Work for NYPD

See that the NY City Police department has again utilized one of the Boston Dynamics  'Spot' dogs.  Apparently for a situation with potential human danger involved. .  The impressive look of 'dog-like' droids is coming to life.  Is this the future of policing?   Some of the inhabitants seem unsure.  

The NYPD deploys a robot dog again   

Boston Dynamics’ little robot makes another appearance in New York City   By Bijan Stephen in TheVerge

The cyberpunk dystopia is here! (If you weren’t aware: I’m sorry. You’re living in a cyberpunk dystopia.) The latest sign — aside from corporations controlling many aspects of everyday life, massive widespread wealth inequality, and the recent prominence of bisexual lighting — comes in the form of robot dogs deployed to do jobs human police used to. Yesterday, as the New York Post reports, the NYPD deployed Boston Dynamics’ robot “dog” Spot to a home invasion crime scene in the Bronx.    ... " 

Schank Academy

 I had mentioned reading some comments by Roger Schank.   Also noted he now has an 'academy', Emphases in Cyber Security, Software Development and Data Analytics.  Always liked his fresh approaches, even criticisms of  our efforts.  Let me know of your experience with their offerings

Schank Academy

Online, mentored courses

Our courses are entirely online, but they are not like any online courses you have ever seen. You will not be watching boring video lectures and taking tests; you will learn by doing with the help of knowledgeable mentors who are always available to provide meaningful advice and feedback on your work.  ... 

Contact about his offerings.

Metalens: Zoom-able Lenses without Moving Parts

Continued advances in lenses,  leading to more capabilities in computational sensors.  Continue to be amazed by abilities to take pictures on phones, and capture in real time information about the world and react to it.   Advances are not stopping. 

MIT Creates Zoomable Lens Without Any Moving Parts   By Ryan Whitwam on February 24, 2021

The science of optics has revealed the scale and detail of the universe for centuries. With the right piece of glass, you can look at a distant galaxy or the wiggling flagella on a single bacteria. But lenses need to focus — they need to move. Engineers at MIT have developed a new type of “metalens” that can shift focus without any moving parts. This could change the way we build devices such as cameras and telescopes. 

Currently, focusing a lens on objects requires the glass to move in some capacity, and that adds complication and bulk. That’s why, for example, high-zoom camera lenses have been so slow to come to smartphones — there’s just no room to add movable lens elements. It’s also why smartphones that do have optical zoom use multiple fixed lenses. For example, the new Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra has 13, 26, 70, and 240mm lens equivalents in its giant camera array. 

The metalens developed at MIT can focus on objects at multiple distances thanks to its tunable “phase-changing” material. When heated, the atomic structure of the material rearranges, allowing the lens to change the way in which it interacts with light. The design currently operates in infrared, but this is just a first step.   ... '

Worldwide Web as We Know Ending?

 Certainly changing.  What drives such changes, more legislation, which are likely to produce yet more and likely less creative participants.   It was lack of govt oversight that drove that creativity.  

The worldwide web as we know it may be ending   By Rishi Iyengar, CNN Business

(CNN Business)Over the last year, the worldwide web has started to look less worldwide.

Europe is floating regulation that could impose temporary bans on US tech companies that violate its laws. The United States was on the verge of banning TikTok and WeChat, though the new Biden administration is rethinking that move. India, which did ban those two apps as well of dozens of others, is now at loggerheads with Twitter.

And this month, Facebook (FB) clashed with the Australian government over a proposed law that would require it to pay publishers. The company briefly decided to prevent users from sharing news links in the country in response to the law, with the potential to drastically change how its platform functions from one country to the next. Then on Tuesday, it reached a deal with the government and agreed to restore news pages. The deal partially relaxed arbitration requirements that Facebook took issue with.

In its announcement of the deal, however, Facebook hinted at the possibility of similar clashes in the future. "We'll continue to invest in news globally and resist efforts by media conglomerates to advance regulatory frameworks that do not take account of the true value exchange between publishers and platforms like Facebook," Campbell Brown, VP of global news partnerships at Facebook, said in a statement Tuesday.  ... " 

Quantum Computer Solves Simulation

Recall our previous mentions of D-Wave Quantum Methods.

A quantum computer just solved a decades-old problem three million times faster than a classical computer   

Using a method called quantum annealing, D-Wave's researchers demonstrated that a quantum computational advantage could be achieved over classical means.

By Daphne Leprince-Ringuet | February 23, 2021 -- 15:26 GMT (07:26 PST) | Topic: Quantum Computing  ZDNet

Scientists from quantum computing company D-Wave have demonstrated that, using a method called quantum annealing, they could simulate some materials up to three million times faster than it would take with corresponding classical methods. 

Together with researchers from Google, the scientists set out to measure the speed of simulation in one of D-Wave's quantum annealing processors, and found that performance increased with both simulation size and problem difficulty, to reach a million-fold speedup over what could be achieved with a classical CPU. 

The calculation that D-Wave and Google's teams tackled is a real-world problem; in fact, it has already been resolved by the 2016 winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics, Vadim Berezinskii, J. Michael Kosterlitz and David Thouless, who studied the behavior of so-called "exotic magnetism", which occurs in quantum magnetic systems.    ... " 

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Upcoming Voice AI with Clouds: Podcast

Of interest, the future of Voice nd AI.   Will be following.

Voice Talks Rises to the Clouds for February 25 Episode by Eric Hal Schwartz in Voicebot.ai

Modev’s VOICE Talks Presented by Google Assistant will peer into the future for its latest episode on the evolution of voice technology. The new episode is titled “Starting a New Decade in Voice and AI” and will stream live on Feb. 25 at 2 p.m. Eastern, hosted as always by Google Assistant’s co-lead of global product partnerships Sofia Altuna.


Altuna will start off the show’s discussions and presentations with a broad overview of the combination of voice tech, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence that are set to elevate the current state of technology before introducing the first of her guests, technical director of AI for Google Cloud Ashwin Ram. Ram will go over the way cloud computing supports voice technology and how it is being used to solve problems in the field. Following Ram, Cobalt CEO Jeff Adams and XAPP vice president Michael Meyers will zero in on those challenges,. They will lay out how voice and AI are adapting to avoid issues before they even arise, with each of their companies developing conversational AI tech to accommodate those potential problems.

“There’s so much we don’t know that makes the future fundamentally impossible to predict,” Adams said in a statement. “But that’s the joy of it. The future is in our blindspot and that makes it an adventure. We are going to create it and see it when it gets here.”   ... ' 

Pin Screens to the Walls

Is it the future of display to have information pinned on the wall.  Or floating in space?

Qualcomm’s new AR ‘Smart Viewer’ lets you pin virtual screens to your walls

Lenovo adopted the design for its ThinkReality glasses

By Adi Robertson@thedextriarchy  in TheVerge

Chip maker Qualcomm has introduced a new reference design for augmented reality glasses: an AR “smart viewer” you can tether to a phone or PC via USB-C. Called the XR1 Smart Viewer, the system is meant to be lightweight and look (sort of) like sunglasses, while also enabling features like hand tracking and spatial awareness. The first glasses based on its design are set for release in mid-2021. .. "

IBM and AI. An Abandonment of Watson?

 I see that our interesting correspondent and critic from before the first AI winter, Roger Schank, has posted a note strongly criticizing IBM on AI and cognitive claims.  Below an excerpt, link through to more: 

They are not doing "cognitive computing" no matter how many times they say they are  Update: February 2021

Commentng on WSJ article: IBM’s Retreat From Watson Highlights Broader AI Struggles in Health

I was chatting with an old friend yesterday and he reminded me of a conversation we had nearly 50 years ago. I tried to explain to him what I did for living and he was trying to understand why getting computers to understand was more complicated than key word analysis. I explained about concepts underlying sentences and explained that sentences used words but that people really didn’t use words in their minds except to get to the underlying ideas and that computers were having a hard time with that.

Fifty years later, key words are still dominating the thoughts of people who try to get computers to deal with language. But, this time, the key word people have deceived the general public by making claims that this is thinking, that AI is here, and that, by the way we should be very afraid, or very excited, I forget which.

We were making some good progress on getting computers to understand language but, in 1984, AI winter started. AI winter was a result of too many promises about things AI could do that it really could not do. (This was about promoting expert systems. Where are they now?). Funding dried up and real work on natural language processing died too.

But still people promote key words because Google and others use it to do "search". Search is all well and good when we are counting words, which is what data analytics and machine learning are really all about. Of course, once you count words you can do all kinds of correlations and users can learn about what words often connect to each other and make use of that information. But, users have learned to accommodate to Google not the other way around. We know what kinds of things we can type into Google and what we can’t and we keep our searches to things that Google is likely to help with. We know we are looking for texts and not answers to start a conversation with an entity that knows what we really need to talk about. People learn from conversation and Google can’t have one. It can pretend to have one using Siri but really those conversations tend to get tiresome when you are past asking about where to eat.

But, I am not worried about Google. It works well enough for our needs.

What I am concerned about are the exaggerated claims being made by IBM about their Watson program. Recently they ran an ad featuring Bob Dylan which made laugh, or would have, if had made not me so angry. I will say it clearly: Watson is a fraud. I am not saying that it can’t crunch words, and there may well be value in that to some people. But the ads are fraudulent. ... ' 

Monday, February 22, 2021

Linux and Open Source Go to Mars

Big follower of astronomy and astronautics.   Connections to modern computing are also of continued interest.   The latest efforts to Mars are instructive.  What else can be done to support the capability for modern, long distance and increasingly autonomous computing?     Even furthering the use of advanced Drone and Robotics control.

Mars and Beyond: Linux, Open Source Go to Mars  By ZDNet   February 22, 2021

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Perseverance rover will explore Mars with the self-flying Ingenuity helicopter drone, using Linux and NASA-built software based on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)'s open source F' framework.

F' facilitates rapid development and implementation of spaceflight and other embedded software applications.

It features an architecture that decomposes flight software into discrete elements with well-defined interfaces, a C++ framework that enables capabilities like message queues and threads, and modeling tools for specifying components and links and automatically generating code.

JPL's Timothy Canham said the F'-based software used in Ingenuity is "kind of an open source victory because we're flying an open source operating system and an open source flight software framework and flying commercial parts that you can buy off the shelf if you wanted to do this yourself someday."

From ZDNet  in ACM  ...' 

Microsoft Big Quantum Win was a Mistake

Interesting,  recall the announcement then, mostly technical points are made here, but worth noting.   Not clear then hw this will effect Microsoft's work in the space, if at all. 

Microsoft’s Big Win in Quantum Computing Was an ‘Error’ After All   By Wired in ACM

In March 2018, Dutch physicist and Microsoft employee Leo Kouwenhoven published headline-grabbing new evidence that he had observed an elusive particle called a Majorana fermion.

Microsoft hoped to harness Majorana particles to build a quantum computer, which promises unprecedented power by tapping quirky physics. Rivals IBM and Google had already built impressive prototypes using more established technology. Kouwenhoven's discovery buoyed Microsoft's chance to catch up. The company's director of quantum computing business development, Julie Love, told the BBC that Microsoft would have a commercial quantum computer "within five years."

Three years later, Microsoft's 2018 physics fillip has fizzled. Late last month, Kouwenhoven and his 21 coauthors released a new paper including more data from their experiments. It concludes that they did not find the prized particle after all. An attached note from the authors said the original paper, in the prestigious journal Nature, would be retracted, citing "technical errors."  ... ' 

Modernizing Data Dashboards.

Good thoughts, somewhat obvious, but still useful tips about the ideas involved. 

Modernizing Data Dashboards. Posted by Technovert Solutions on February 21, 2021  in DSC. 

Modernizing is critical to apply the latest technologies and practices to address areas where users are less than satisfied and data trust needs to be higher. In this article, learn about modernizing data visualization with dashboards and reports.... '

Amazon Alexa Crowdsources New Products

Interesting approach will examine further and post here.  Thoughts about usefulness?

Amazon is using crowdsourcing to create new products   by Tom Ryan  in Retailwire  with further expert comment at the link. 

Amazon launched a new program, “Build It,” that in a crowdsourcing scheme enables consumers to vote on which Alexa-enabled products will be developed.

Built It represents the extension of Day 1 Editions, an invitation-only program that offers a select group of consumers the chance to purchase an in-development product at a special price. In exchange for the discount, the buyers provide early feedback to Amazon so the team can review any flaws while gauging potential demand for a rollout. Day 1 Editions led to the 2019 launch of Echo Frames smart eyeglasses and Echo Loop smart ring.

Build It, which is open to anybody, is more geared toward accessing potential demand and apparently creating some buzz around launch.

Consumers participating in the program are offered a chance to pre-order in-development products at a special price as long as enough others pre-order, mimicking a Kickstarter campaign. If the concept reaches its pre-order goal in 30 days, Amazon will build it and those pre-ordering over the 30-day period receive the item at the discount price. The price increases when fully rolled out.  ... ' 

Technology Impacting Supply Chains

 Good thoughts, all players should examine these methods.

Blockchain and RPA Leading Supply Chain Trends in 2021  By Marisa Brown, APQC

It is worrisome to note that 1 in 5 supply chains barely survived the COVID-19 crisis. It’s vital that these organizations use the lessons learned from 2020 to proactively prepare for the next disruption (since the question is when not if there will be some future supply disruption). Check out this article, What Supply Chain Leaders Need to Know for 2021, for some advice.

I would like to acknowledge the 13 percent of supply chains that completely saved the day in the face of COVID-19. It took many people in those organizations going above and beyond the “normal” to make that happen. In talking to these organizations, I have heard about greater cross-functional collaboration, more frequent re-planning, deeper relationships with suppliers, and faster decision-making. (See Supply Chain Planning: Blueprint for Success for additional insights.) Also, it speaks to the pervasive nature of this crisis that only 5 percent of 455 respondents said their supply chains were not significantly impacted by COVID-19 (not displayed in Figure 1).  

Now let’s look at top trends and obstacles facing supply chains.  


In the next three years, many different trends and changes will impact supply chains. In addition to digitization of the supply chain, here are the top three trends identified (by percentage of respondents rating it as a major or moderate impact).  

»    34% Robotic process automation (RPA) which will help improve productivity and efficiency by enabling people to spend time on more value-added activities vs transactional ones.  

»    32% An automation shift will enable more time spent on the second trend: a greater focus on environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) factors and issues.  

»    32% Blockchain, the third anticipated trend, can enable greater traceability and visibility, also enabling sustainability efforts.   .. " 

Communicating with Dreaming

Recall our early dream experiments.   Could this re-open our sleep learning goals?

Scientists Communicated With People While They Were Lucid Dreaming  By Shelly Fan  in Singularity Hub

We’ve probed the depths of Earth’s deepest trench, sent rovers to Mars, and observed other worlds billions of light years away. Yet we’ve never been able to decipher the mysterious, bizarre, and disjointed world of our own dreams. It seems impossible: after all, people who dream are fast asleep and oblivious to the outside world.

Except now, we can.

In a mind-bending paper published last week in Current Biology, teams of scientists from four countries found that it’s possible to communicate with people who are actively dreaming. It’s not simple information, either. The volunteers, roughly two dozen spread across four labs, were able to listen to math problems and answer them using facial twitches and eye movements. One group of sleepers could even decipher Morse code, and reply to the outside world in real time.

“Our experimental goal is akin to finding a way to talk with an astronaut who is on another world, but in this case the world is entirely fabricated on the basis of memories stored in the brain,” the researchers said.

This is crazy. Research into dreams has long relied on the recall of people after waking up, which—I’m sure you agree—is riddled with errors, confusion, and missed details. The new study means that we now have a way to directly engage with people while they’re deep asleep, probe the contents of their dreams, and potentially alter them.  ... " 

More No and Low Code Emerges

More solutions, but have yet to see them widely used.   Would want to see them strongly tested for security issues.   Probably open source to allow that? 

Low-code software platform provider Creatio raises $68M  By Mike Wheatley  in SiliconAngle

Low-code software platform company Creatio is hoping to grow its business after announcing a $68 million capital raise today.

The round was led by the U.S. growth equity firm Volition Capital. Horizon Capital, a private equity firm, also participated in the round. Creatio said it will use its new funds to invest in research and development, global marketing and sales expansion as it looks to build on its current momentum.

Creatio, which was formerly known as bpm’online Ltd., sells tools that include a low-code business processes management platform that makes it possible for workers without coding skills to build enterprise apps with minimal effort, using a drag-and-drop user interface to guide them. The same UI can be used to create complex business processes that help to manage interactions between colleagues, clients and partners.  ... " 

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Deep Learning for Fleet Management

Interesting example,  worth examining.   Other operations examples?

New Deep Learning Systems Profoundly Disrupt Fleet Management Operations

Deep learning is having a profound impact on the future of fleet management through greater efficiency.

Posted by  Ryan Kh  in Smart data collective. 

Deep learning tech is influencing and enhancing many industries, promising to provide insights into key business operations which were not previously possible to unearth. Transportation and logistics is a prime example.

The transportation analytics industry is projected to be worth $27 billion by 2026. One of the biggest applications of this technology lies with using deep learning to streamline fleet management.

Fleet management is one area that is especially well positioned to benefit from the latest data-driven analytical tools, so here is a look at just how much positive disruption is being caused in this market at the moment.

Improvements to efficiency & sustainability

Businesses which operate fleets of vehicles, whether small or large, are under increased scrutiny with regards to the sustainability of their operations at the moment.

There are a number of ways to go about improving the eco-friendliness of business fleets, with the long term aim of many organizations being to migrate to fully electric vehicles, leaving fossil fuel powered incumbents in the past where they belong. .. ' 

IBM and Daimler using Quantum Computer

Continued advances of the use of quantum computing to model lithium molecules to get closer to lithium Sulphur  batteries that would be longer lasting and cheaper.

 IBM and Daimler use quantum computer to develop next-gen batteries

January 8, 2020 | Written by: Jeannette Garcia  in ACM

Categorized: Quantum Computing

Electric vehicles have an Achilles heel: the capacity and speed-of-charging of their batteries. A quantum computing breakthrough by researchers at IBM and Daimler AG, the parent company of  Mercedes-Benz, could help tackle this challenge. We used a quantum computer to model the dipole moment of three lithium-containing molecules, which brings us one step closer the next-generation lithium sulfur (Li-S) batteries that would be more powerful, longer lasting and cheaper than today’s widely used lithium ion batteries.

Simulating molecules is extremely difficult but modeling them precisely is crucial to discover new drugs and materials. In the research paper “Quantum Chemistry Simulations of Dominant Products in Lithium-Sulfur Batteries,” we simulated the ground state energies and the dipole moments of the molecules that could form in lithium-sulfur batteries during operation: lithium hydride (LiH), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), lithium hydrogen sulfide (LiSH), and the desired product, lithium sulfide (Li2S). In addition, and for the first time ever on quantum hardware, we demonstrated that we can calculate the dipole moment for LiH using 4 qubits on IBM Q Valencia, a premium-access 5-qubit quantum computer. ... ' 

Kroger Data Breach

Had come to mind that retailers had been less susceptible here, but then an example:

Kroger is latest victim of third-party software data breach   by Frank Bajak  in TechExplore

This June 17, 2014, file photo, shows a Kroger store in Houston. Kroger Co. says it was among the multiple victims of a data breach involving a third-party vendor's file-transfer service and is notifying potentially impacted customers, offering them free credit monitoring. The Cincinnati-based grocery and pharmacy chain said in a statement Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, that it believes less than 1% of its customers were affected, specifically some using its Health and Money Services, as well as some current and former employees because a number of personnel records were apparently viewed. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

Kroger Co. says it was among the multiple victims of a data breach involving a third-party vendor's file-transfer service and is notifying potentially impacted customers, offering them free credit monitoring.

The Cincinnati-based grocery and pharmacy chain said in a statement Friday that it believes less than 1% of its customers were affected—specifically some using its Health and Money Services—as well as some current and former employees because a number of personnel records were apparently viewed.

Kroger said the breach did not affect Kroger stores' IT systems or grocery store systems or data and there was no indication that fraud involving accessed personal data had occurred.

The company, which has 2,750 grocery retail stores and 2,200 pharmacies nationwide, did not immediately respond to questions including how many customers might have been affected.

Kroger said it was among victims of the December hack of a file-transfer product called FTA developed by Accellion, a California-based company, and that it was notified of the incident on Jan. 23, when it discontinued use of Accellion's services. Companies use the file-transfer product to share large amounts of data and hefty email attachments.... "

San Diego Supercomputing

 Long ago we worked with UCSD group, in the Bio Modeling area.

San Diego Supercomputer Center Helps Advance Computational Chemistry  By University of California San Diego, February 18, 2021

MIT's Heather Kulik and colleagues used the Comet supercomputer at the University of California, San Diego's San Diego Supercomputer Center and the Bridges supercomputer at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center in this effort. The resulting artificial neural network models predict strong correlation in materials at significantly lower computational cost than conventional models, potentially accelerating the search for materials in diverse applications.

The MIT team's  workflow engaged with at least three electronic structure codes and utilized central processing units and graphics processing units on Comet and Bridges. "Using those supercomputers firsthand allowed me to think about ways I can teach students who may just be learning computational chemistry to complement their experimental research for ways that they can use not only now but in the future," Kulik says. ...

From University of California San Diego

Brain Background Noise Useful

Recall this being brought up in some work we did in understanding reactions to stimuli.    We theorized that it was always useful to calculate the background, where we later discovered some 'data' that ended up being useful.    Still think its useful to bring along the metadata of background noise.   This is not the same thing, more in the realm of neuro, and only some of our data was neuro.   Nice to see this,  makes me think.

The Brain’s ‘Background Noise’ May Be Meaningful After All

By digging out signals hidden within the brain’s electrical chatter, scientists are getting new insights into sleep, aging, and more.

AT A SLEEP research symposium in January 2020, Janna Lendner presented findings that hint at a way to look at people’s brain activity for signs of the boundary between wakefulness and unconsciousness. For patients who are comatose or under anesthesia, it can be all-important that physicians make that distinction correctly. Doing so is trickier than it might sound, however, because when someone is in the dreaming state of rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep, their brain produces the same familiar, smoothly oscillating brain waves as when they are awake.  ... "