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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Google’s new AI turns Text into Music

Have not followed this up as yet, but quite interesting, will.  Note this is not yet publicly released/supported, but a demo for 'future research'.   (Added: Apparently due to copyright challenges) 

Google’s new AI turns text into music   From TheVerge

The examples the company has shared are music to my ears.

By Mitchell Clark

Song of the bots. Illustration: The Verge

Google researchers have made an AI that can generate minutes-long musical pieces from text prompts, and can even transform a whistled or hummed melody into other instruments, similar to how systems like DALL-E generate images from written prompts (via TechCrunch). The model is called MusicLM, and while you can’t play around with it for yourself, the company has uploaded a bunch of samples that it produced using the model.

The examples are impressive. There are 30-second snippets of what sound like actual songs created from paragraph-long descriptions that prescribe a genre, vibe, and even specific instruments, as well as five-minute-long pieces generated from one or two words like “melodic techno.” Perhaps my favorite is a demo of “story mode,” where the model is basically given a script to morph between prompts. For example, this prompt:   ...  (more at the link above) 

Simplex Algorithm Still Key

Amazes me, was the first thing I learned in engineering analytics methodology to optimize systems  Originally invented for military supply chains in WWII.   Here a technical overview and good historical piece.   

Why the Simplex Method, at Age 75, is Still the Go-To Algorithm?  By Allyn Jackson, Commissioned by CACM Staff, January 31, 2023

ACM NEWS, January 31, 2023, Daniel A. Spielman

Since its birth more than two decades ago, smoothed analysis has been used to analyze the performance of algorithms other than the simplex method, including interior-point methods for linear programming. It also has guided the design of new algorithms.

In 1947, mathematical scientist George Dantzig invented the simplex method, a powerful and practical means to find solutions to linear programming for optimization problems. Scientists lost no time putting the simplex method to use in a variety of applications across government, industry, science, and engineering.

Half a century later, when Daniel A. Spielman was a Ph.D. student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the simplex method stood at the top of the pantheon of important algorithms, yet research had shown the simplex method had proven pitfalls; it ought not to perform as well as it did.  What was going on?

Spielman solved the mystery in 2001, in joint work with Shang-hua Teng, now University Professor and Seeley G. Mudd Professor of Computer Science and Mathematics in the Viterbi School of Engineering at the University of Southern California. Pioneering a technique called smoothed analysis, their work provided an original and compelling explanation of the power of the simplex method and suggested a new paradigm for gauging the effectiveness of algorithms.

This work was recognized in 2008 by the Gödel Prize, sponsored jointly by ACM's Special Interest Group on Algorithms and Computing Theory (SIGACT) and the European Association for Theoretical Computer Science. Now Spielman, Sterling Professor of Computer Science and a professor of Statistics and Data Science and of Mathematics at Yale University, has been awarded the 2023 Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics, in part for this work in optimization.

Spielman has a great ability "to come up with new approaches," said Lance Fortnow, dean of the College of Computing at the Illinois Institute of Technology. "It wasn't like someone else had invented smoothed analysis and Spielman said, 'Let's try it on linear programming'. This was, 'I want to understand linear programming. What's the right way to do it?'"

Simplex Bests Polynomial-time Competition

Dantzig formulated the concept of linear programming as a way to model optimization problems. The model produces a polyhedron, possibly of very high dimension, where the corners represent solutions. The simplex method provides a highly efficient way of moving along polyhedron edges toward an optimal corner. The algorithm was tailor-made for the computing machines that were just beginning to appear when Dantzig did this work.

In the 1970s, the rise of complexity theory brought new precision to the study of efficiency of algorithms. Generally, an algorithm is considered efficient if it runs in polynomial time, meaning that even for the worst-case inputs to the algorithm, the running time is always bounded by a polynomial function of the input size. This is in contrast with algorithms whose running time can increase exponentially with input size.

Soon a curious fact arose: despite its excellent performance in practice, the simplex method is not running in polynomial time. Examples were found on which simplex ran in exponential time. Eventually, polynomial-time algorithms for linear programming were found, but the simplex method continued to be used — and in many situations, outperformed its polynomial-time competitors.

Why does simplex work so well?

This question was in the air when Fortnow was a Ph.D. student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the 1980s, several years before Spielman became a graduate student there.  However, he recalls, few were attempting to resolve it. "The simplex method had already been around for 40 years," said Fortnow. The general attitude was, "Well, it works well in practice."

When Spielman and Teng came up with smoothed analysis, it was a big surprise. "It's a whole different way of looking at worst-case complexity," said Fortnow, "and they could apply it to linear programming. Both of these pieces were very exciting."   ... ' 

Small, Convenient Mosquito Repellent Device

 A former school of mine does interesting work

Small, convenient mosquito repellent device passes test to protect military personnel  by Karen Dooley, University of Florida

A device developed at the University of Florida for the U.S. military provides protection from mosquitos for an extended period and requires no heat, electricity or skin contact.

The controlled-release passive device was designed by Nagarajan Rajagopal, a Ph.D. candidate and Dr. Christopher Batich in UF's Department of Materials Science and Engineering in the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering. It recently was tested successfully in a four-week semi-field study at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Gainesville in a collaboration with Dr. Daniel Kline, Dr. Jerry Hogsette and Adam Bowman from the USDA's Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology.

Results showed the controlled release of the repellent transfluthrin was effective in preventing multiple species of mosquitos from entering the testing site. Transfluthrin is an organic insecticide considered to be safe for humans and animals.

"Our device eliminates the need for applying topical repellents and for insecticides that are sprayed across an open area, which can contaminate surrounding plants or bodies of water and have a negative impact on beneficial pollinators like bees and butterflies," Rajagopal said. "This is versatile, portable, easily deployed and doesn't require electricity or heat to activate the solution."

Mosquitos are more than an annoying distraction for military personnel, as they can spread serious diseases and viruses like malaria, dengue virus, Zika and West Nile virus. The DOD continually looks for ways to protect soldiers in the field from mosquito bites.

The controlled release passive device is made up of a tube-shaped polypropylene plastic that is 2.5 centimeters long and holds two smaller tubes and a cotton containing the repellent.The team attached 70 of the devices to the opening of a large military tent using fishing line and nothing to a similar control tent. Caged mosquitos were released at various points along the exterior of the tent, and almost all were killed or repelled within 24 hours, Rajagopal said.

He explained that while the field test showed the team's prototype created a protective space from mosquitos for four weeks, the final product, which will be built through a 3-D-printing process, could extend that period up to three months.

"We call our device passive because you don't need to do anything to activate it," he said. "It provides a sustained release of the insecticide over an extended period rather than just a spike at the beginning."

Rajagopal said they are filing for a patent on the device, and the government is interested in further study, so that it can eventually be commercialized for the civilian market. USDA scientists believe there are more opportunities for its use by people who enjoy outdoor activities.

"While initially developed for tent-entrance protection, the personal protection device in various sizes and configurations has potential for other applications, including for hiking and fishing," said Kline, a research entomologist with the USDA.  ... ' 

Travel Industry Megatrends

Travel for business business still not completely restored. 

Steve King Writes in Small Biz Labs 

Skift's Travel Industry Megatrends

Skift is a travel industry analyst firm and one of our favorite sources on travel trends. Much of their content is behind a paywall, but they also produce free content (we subscribe to several of their newsletters).  

We follow travel trends because of our interest in remote work and digital nomads. We're also active travelers, so we like travel trends.  

They recently released their 2023 Travel Megatrends report. It covers 22 travel and travel industry trends.

Two trends jumped out at us. 

Blended Travel Comes of Age covers the growth of travel that includes work and leisure. Key quote:

"The pandemic has led to a permanent change in how we live our lives between work and the personal. No longer just a trite category called "bleisure," the idea of blended traveling is front and center for every major travel company now. How new strategies focused on the blended traveler will emerge more clearly in 2023, as the industry recognizes the whole traveler holistically." 

As the Skift chart below shows (click to enlarge), the share of business travel that includes a weekend has increased substantially since the start of the pandemic.  ... ' 

ChatGPT Can't Be Credited As an Author, Academic Publisher Says

 Good to see this being laidd out, but ultimately will be specifically regulated.

ChatGPT Can't Be Credited As an Author, Academic Publisher Says  By The Verge, January 27, 2023   in ACM

Crediting ChatGPT as an author would be "absurd" and "deeply stupid," some researchers say.

Springer Nature, the world's largest academic publisher, has clarified its policies on the use of AI writing tools in scientific papers. The company announced that software like ChatGPT can't be credited as an author in papers published in its thousands of journals. However, Springer says it has no problem with scientists using AI to help write or generate ideas for research, as long as this contribution is properly disclosed by the authors.

ChatGPT and earlier large language models have already been named as authors in a small number of published papers, preprints, and scientific articles. Reaction in the scientific community to papers crediting ChatGPT as an author has been predominantly negative.

"When we think of authorship of scientific papers, of research papers, we don't just think about writing them," says Magdalena Skipper, editor-in-chief of Springer Nature's flagship publication, Nature. "There are responsibilities that extend beyond publication, and certainly at the moment these AI tools are not capable of assuming those responsibilities."

From The Verge   

Monday, January 30, 2023

Updated: AI Passes U.S. Medical Licensing Exam, Also an MBA exam

Interesting step forward, certainly will change approaches to teaching,  testing. 

 AI Passes U.S. Medical Licensing Exam,    By MedPage Today,   in ACM,  January 27, 2023

One objection to the use of AI programs in research was based on whether they can be truly capable of making meaningful scholarly contributions to a paper; another objection emphasized AI tools cannot consent to be a co-author in the first place.

Two artificial intelligence (AI) programs -- including ChatGPT -- have passed the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), according to two recent papers.

The papers highlighted different approaches to using large language models to take the USMLE, which is comprised of three exams: Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 3.

ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence (AI) search tool that mimics long-form writing based on prompts from human users. It was developed by OpenAI, and became popular after several social media posts showed potential uses for the tool in clinical practice, often with mixed results.

From MedPage Today    View Full Article   


ALSO:  From Knowledge @Wharton:  

 ChatGPT Passed an MBA Exam. What’s Next?     ...  Podcast

Wharton professor Christian Terwiesch analyzes ChatGPT's performance on his exam and why the controversial software has limitless potential to improve education, business, and a range of industries. ...  

SAS on New Analytics

Thoughtful intro to piece via SAS

4 ways you might not realize advanced analytics is changing the world


The word innovation often draws to mind images of self-driving cars, new phones, and shiny tech. Yet, innovation often happens behind the scenes, especially in advanced analytics.

Around the world, industries like healthcare, government, banking, manufacturing, and more rely on the latest advancements in analytics.

At SAS Explore, an event for technologists, Udo Sglavo, Vice President of Advanced Analytics Research and Development, shared four key areas of innovation happening at SAS.

Throughout the general session on day two at SAS Explore, Sglavo interviewed various experts about how SAS is paving the way in advanced analytics and machine learning. Together, they covered the speed and repeatability of advanced analytics, proactively preventing biased decisions in AI, analytics on the go, and the possibilities of synthetic data.

Making advanced analytics faster and more productive  

In the past, advanced analytics was limited to large-scale, high-dollar projects. With advancements made in the last decade and digitalization's ongoing impact in response to the pandemic, adoption has skyrocketed. Businesses now regularly use advanced analytics for decision making, demand planning, and more. Thankfully, analytics in the cloud helps to meet demand.

The speed and agility of SAS® Viya® 4 in the cloud allow data scientists to test multiple solutions faster and more productively. 

DIVE DEEPER: Watch this full demo with Josh Griffin, who heads the Advanced Analytics Foundation Department team, to learn more.   ... ' 

AI / GPT Finding, Fixing Bugs in Code! Security Threats?

 Something we saw predicted and then experimented with in the 80s.  Have seen only hints at the possibility since then.   Could be a real powerful plus, especially looking for openings for threats to security.  


ChatGPT Finding, Fixing Bugs in Code, By PC Magazine, January 30, 2023

The ability to chat with ChatGPT after receiving the initial answer made the difference, ultimately leading to ChatGPT solving 31 questions and easily outperforming the others programs.

Computer science researchers from Germany's Johannes Gutenberg University and the U.K.'s University College London found the ChatGPT chatbot can detect and correct buggy code better than existing programs.

The researchers gave 40 pieces of bug-embedded software to ChatGPT, and to three other code-fixing systems for comparison.

ChatGPT's performance on the first pass was similar to that of the other systems, but the ability to dialogue with the bot after receiving the initial answer ultimately helped it overtake the others.

The researchers explained, "We see that for most of our requests, ChatGPT asks for more information about the problem and the bug. By providing such hints to ChatGPT, its success rate can be further increased, fixing 31 out of 40 bugs, outperforming state-of-the-art."

From PC Magazine

View Full Article 

Israel Opens First 'Smart Operating Room' That Manages Inventory

 I worked on simulating operating rooms for efficient use,  takes the idea much further,  so of interest. 

Israel Opens First 'Smart Operating Room' That Manages Inventory

The Jerusalem Post (Israel), Judy Siegel-Itzkovich, January 25, 2023

The Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya, Israel, has opened a "smart room" for the management of inventory in operating rooms through a partnership between Florida-based automation provider Autonomi and Israeli group purchasing organization Sarel. The smart room can track items assigned to the medical team and medical cases without requiring assistance from end users. It also monitors inventory usage for each procedure; prevents depletion of supplies through automated reorders; performs real-time patient-safety recalls, and posts warnings of upcoming expiration dates. The hospital said the room will help optimize the performance of the medical team while reducing the costs of equipment and drugs by up to 15% annually.  ... ' 

Wi Fi Routers Detect People in a Room

Intriguing capability, unexpected. 

Wi-Fi Routers Can Detect Human Locations, Poses Within a Room

Tom's Hardware, Mark Tyson, January 18, 2023

Carnegie Mellon University scientists have been testing a system that uses Wi-Fi signals to detect the positions and poses of people in a room. The researchers positioned TP-Link Archer A7 AC1750 Wi-Fi routers at either end of the room, while algorithms generated wireframe models of people in the room by analyzing the signal interference the people caused. The researchers based the perception system on Wi-Fi signal channel-state-information, or the ratio between transmitted and received signal waves. A computer vision-capable neural network architecture processes this data to execute dense pose estimation; the researchers deconstructed the human form into 24 segments to accelerate wireframe representation. They claim the wireframes' position and pose estimates are as good as those generated by certain "image-based approaches."  ... '

A CEO’s guide to the Metaverse

 Fairly general overview

McKinsey Quarterly

A CEO’s guide to the metaverse

January 24, 2023 | Article  By  Homayoun Hatami, Eric Hazan, Hamza Khan,   and Kim Rants

It’s too big to ignore—yet its future is far from certain. Companies need to dip a toe in the water and plan to take the plunge should developments warrant.

Suddenly, the metaverse is in the zeitgeist, for better or worse. Investment more than doubled in 2022 powered by big moves (such as Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, now under antitrust review) and small ones (about $12 billion to $14 billion of venture capital and private equity investment). Everyone has heard about the successes racked up by some big gaming companies: Roblox reported more than 58 million daily active users in 2022,1 while Fortnite had more than 20 million in 2020 and generated more than $9 billion in sales between 2018 and 2019.2 And others are investing; Meta continues to spend at least $10 billion annually on metaverse development. Yet investors are asking questions of metaverse companies about when they can expect tangible, near-term results from these companies’ investments.3

How should CEOs view the metaverse? Is it a big opportunity or a big risk? Our answer: the opportunity is enormous—and the risk is not what you think it is. The companies that are building the metaverse see it as the next iteration of the internet (see this McKinsey Explainer for more). And as with any technology so vast and all-encompassing (it’s similar to AI in its scope), the potential is enormous. We estimate that the metaverse could generate $4 trillion to $5 trillion in value by 2030; see our report for all the details.

On the other hand, there are clear risks. Don’t be distracted by the debacles in crypto and nonfungible tokens (NFTs); those are Web3 technologies that are related but not exactly the same as the metaverse. Rather, the biggest risk is missing the wave of change that breakthrough technologies such as the original internet, AI, and the metaverse can unleash. In our April 2022 survey, some 95 percent of business leaders expect the metaverse to have a positive impact on their industry within five to ten years, and 61 percent expect it to change the way their industry operates.

In this article, we’ll briefly summarize the reasons for optimism and the factors that suggest the metaverse is truly a CEO issue. We’ll also look at the significant obstacles that will have to be overcome if the metaverse is to realize its full potential. We’ll conclude with a suggestion of three steps that CEOs in several sectors—both consumer and enterprise—could consider to make sure the metaverse train, if and when it gets going, does not leave the station without them.

The case for optimism

When we estimated the market value of metaverse activity in June 2022, we calculated that it was between $200 billion and $300 billion. It’s larger now, and in eight years or so, it could be $4 trillion to $5 trillion (exhibit), which is roughly the size of Japan’s economy, the third largest in the world. Exponential growth is possible because of an alignment of several forces: the metaverse’s appeal spans genders, geographies, and generations; consumers have already shown they are ready to spend on metaverse assets; they are open to adopting new technologies; companies are investing heavily in the required infrastructure; and brands experimenting in the metaverse are finding that customers are delighted. ... ' 

Two Charged with Attacks on Four Power Substations

Related pieces:

 Identifying People Using Cell Phone with Location Data  by Bruce Schneier   ...

Two charged with attacks on four power substations in Washington state  By Holmes Lybrand and Hannah Rabinowitz, CNN

Published 2:20 PM EST, Tue January 3, 2023

according to a crew manager, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2022 in Graham, Washington.

Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times/AP      CNN

Two men were arrested on New Year’s Eve for allegedly shutting down four Washington state power substations in late December that led to power outages for thousands across Pierce County. .... '

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Nestle Digital Moves

Consumer goods continues to move to deeper digital

Veeral Shah Named 1st Chief E-comm & Digital Officer at Nestlé USA

Veeral Shah has been named chief e-commerce and digital officer for Nestlé USA, a new role for the company. 

Shah shared the news in a LinkedIn post and indicated in a message to CGT that the move aligns with the company’s previously announced plans to further invest in its e-commerce and consumer data capabilities.   

As part of its strategy, Nestlé intends to grow e-commerce to represent a quarter of its total sales, double its consumer data records, and leverage predictive analytics to improve consumer lifetime value and identify innovation opportunities.   ... ' 

Beauty of Math

 The Beauty of Math

Quanta Magazine, 651K subscribers

"Students haven't been taught that math is discovery," says Richard Rusczyk, founder of Art of Problem Solving. "Math is a creative discipline—you're creating castles in the sky." Rusczyk has a vision for bringing “joyous, beautiful math” — and problem-solving — to classrooms everywhere. Read more at Quanta Magazine: https://www.quantamagazine.org 

Quanta Magazine is an editorially independent publication supported by the Simons Foundation.  ... ' 

Some Smart Appliances Disconnect

Just bought a major appliance in this list. At first the idea of it being 'smart' attracted me, but I did think about having a major need depending on an external complex resource.    Despite my background, decided not.   Now am exploring the domain further.

LG, Whirlpool Target Customers Disconnected from 'Smart' Appliances   By The Wall Street Journal, January 25, 2023    in ACM

Using the LG ThinQapp, customers can connect their LG smart appliances to their Amazon accounts for automatic reordering and delivery of supplies such as dishwasher soap, laundry detergent, or fabric softener.

Appliance manufacturers LG Electronics and Whirlpool are trying to entice customers whose "smart" appliances are not connected to the Internet to embrace the technology.

The manufacturers' continued development of smart devices hinges on consumers keeping them connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi.

Connected appliances provide manufacturers with data and insights about how customers use their products.

Henry Kim at LG platform ThinQ said the company is striving to better inform consumers on the sales floor about connectivity's perks; it also is working with delivery agents to ensure they connect appliances during installation.

Whirlpool's Murat Genc said the firm is exploring "self-healing" capabilities so appliances can automatically reconnect to the Internet in the event of Wi-Fi outrages.

From The Wall Street Journal

View Full Article - May Require Paid Subscription

Managing Knowledge, GPT towards a Killer Use case?

Sounds like the 'expert systems' of days past, we wrote a number in various contexts.  Results I have seen now are still shaky, often easy ridiculed, but still approaching real possibilities. 

Right now there is no “killer” use case for using ChatGPT in the enterprise — that is, one that will have an enormous impact on the top and the bottom line — according to EY’s global chief technology officer, Nicola Morini Bianzino. 

But that could soon change: The next six to 12 months will bring an explosion of experimentation, he predicted, especially once companies are able to build on top of ChatGPT using OpenAI’s API. And the killer use case that emerges could be around generative AI’s impact on knowledge management — that Bianzino describes as the “dialectic of AI.” 

Up Next

“Knowledge companies tend to store knowledge in a very flat, two-dimensional way that makes it difficult to access, interact and have a dialogue with,” he told VentureBeat in an interview. “We tried 20, 30, 40 years ago to build expert systems. That didn’t go really well because they were too rigid. I think this technology promises to overcome a lot of issues that expert systems have.”

As ChatGPT and similar tools evolve and improve, and can be trained on an enterprise’s data in a secure way, it will change the way we access and consume information inside the enterprise, he explained.   ... '

Spin Control and Billions of Qubits

A short time ago we were talking a handful of QuBits, now billions?   Implications for 'unsolvable' problems? 

 Spin Control Method Brings Billion-Qubit Quantum Chips Closer

UNSW Sydney Newsroom (Australia)  January 13, 2023

Engineers at Australia's University of New South Wales, Sydney (UNSW Sydney) and quantum computing spin-off Diraq have found a new approach for controlling single-electron spins in quantum dots with precision. The researchers can manipulate a single quantum bit (qubit)'s quantum state using electric fields rather than magnetic fields. The intrinsic spin-orbit electric dipole spin resonance effect "removes the requirement of placing extra structures around each [logic] gate," according to Diraq's Will Gilbert. UNSW's Andrew Dzurak said, "Since it's based on the same CMOS [complementary metal-oxide semiconductor] technology as today's computer industry, our approach will make it easier and faster to scale up for commercial production and achieve our goal of fabricating billions of qubits on a single chip."... '

Powering Offshore Wind Farms With Numerical Modeling of Subsea Cables

Mote use of finite element analysis, which we also utilized for modeling of key manufacturing systems.

Powering Offshore Wind Farms With Numerical Modeling of Subsea Cables

 Hellenic Cables in Greece uses finite element modeling to analyze and validate underground and subsea cable designs  By  Brianne Christopher

“Laws, Whitehouse received five minutes signal. Coil signals too weak to relay. Try drive slow and regular. I have put intermediate pulley. Reply by coils.”

Sound familiar? The message above was sent through the first transatlantic telegraph cable between Newfoundland and Ireland, way back in 1858. (“Whitehouse” refers to the chief electrician of the Atlantic Telegraph Company at the time, Wildman Whitehouse.) Fast forward to 2014: The bottom of the ocean is home to nearly 300 communications cables, connecting countries and providing internet communications around the world. Fast forward again: As of 2021, there are an estimated 1.3 million km of submarine cables (Figure 1) in service, ranging from a short 131 km cable between Ireland and the U.K. to the 20,000 km cable that connects Asia with North America and South America. We know what the world of submarine cables looks like today, but what about the future?

Photo of a ship carrying huge coils of submarine cable for deployment in the ocean.Figure 1. Submarine cables keep the world connected.

Moving Wind Power Offshore

The offshore wind (OFW) industry is one of the most rapidly advancing sources of power around the world. It makes sense: Wind is stronger and more consistent over the open ocean than it is on land. Some wind farms are capable of powering 500,000 homes or more. Currently, Europe leads the market, making up almost 80 percent of OFW capacity. However, the worldwide demand for energy is expected to increase by 20 percent in 10 years, with a large majority of that demand supplied by sustainable energy sources like wind power.

Offshore wind farms (Figure 2) are made up of networks of turbines. These networks include cables that connect wind farms to the shore and supply electricity to our power grid infrastructure (Figure 3). Many OFW farms are made up of grounded structures, like monopiles and other types of bottom-fixed wind turbines. The foundations for these structures are expensive to construct and difficult to install in deep sea environments, as the cables have to be buried in the seafloor. Installation and maintenance is easier to accomplish in shallow waters.  .... ' 

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Revolutionizing Quantum Computing?

Not getting this, but interesting ...

An accident in a lab experiment may revolutionize quantum computers

By Joshua Hawkins, Published Jan 23rd, 2023  in BGR

Researchers may have made a massive breakthrough in quantum computing. According to a new study published in Nature Nanotechnology   ... 

Quantum computing is an intriguing field that has seen quite a bit of growth over the past several years. However, there’s still a lot holding back the massive computers that researchers are working with – namely, their size and the sheer amount of control required to keep large-scale quantum computers running smoothly

That’s because the larger you make a quantum computer, the more quantum bits, or qubits, it requires to run. And the entire idea of a quantum computer requires you to control every single one of those qubits to keep things running smoothly and efficiently. So, when you make large-scale quantum computers, you end up with a lot of processing power and a lot more qubits to control.

Google Quantum Computer

And to be honest, running computers with more than three to four qubits is a nightmare, many researchers have explained in the past. It’s also part of why so many large-scale quantum computers are so bulky and take up so much room – sometimes entire rooms – just to run smoothly. But now, researchers have discovered a new way to manipulate the quantum state of a qubit.

And this big change could revolutionize how we construct those larger-scale quantum computers like you see companies like IBM working with. The new method is less bulky to build, and you don’t have to fabricate an antenna or cobalt micro-magnets to generate the controlling effect needed around the qubits. As such, it removes a lot of the bulk of the design that we currently rely on. ... '

Supporting your Presentation with Generative AI

Like the idea.  We tested something similar which searched for supporting information in internal Wikis.

How Generative AI will Help Power your Presentation in 2023 in Venturebeat

By Sharon Goldman

@sharongoldman,  January 24, 2023 6:00 AM

For decades, presentation decks have been, well, a pain. Whether using PowerPoint or Google Slides, they tended toward monotony and could be clunky to create and share.

Over the past couple of months, however, a variety of applications and platforms have begun to integrate generative AI options, including text and image-generating tools like ChatGPT and DALL-E, to deck out your deck and make storytelling less of a slog.

Investing in technologies and people to defend financial institutions

Of course, with the recent news that Microsoft may add ChatGPT and other OpenAI tools to PowerPoint — and one can imagine that Google may follow with efforts in Slides — Big Tech won’t make it smooth sailing for startups in the space. But either way, there’s no doubt that the simple workplace presentation will never be the same.  ... ' 

Ukraine's Wounded Soldiers to Get Bionic Arms

Three dimensionally printed,  use of sensors, 

Ukraine's Wounded Soldiers to Get Bionic Arms

London Daily Express (U.K.)

Jacob Paul, January 18, 2023

U.K. technology company Open Bionics plans to fit two Ukrainian soldiers with three-dimensionally-printed bionic prostheses to replace hands lost to explosive injuries. In addition to providing custom-made Hero Arms to soldiers Andrii Gidzun and Vitalii Ivashchuk next month, the Open Bionics team has provided clinical training to three Ukrainian doctors. Open Bionics' Joel Gibbard explained the company designed the robotic hand, which can grasp objects with movable digits, using sensors triggered by muscles in the wearer's forearm "for activities of daily living. We're aiming for it to be able to hold objects of different sizes, to pick things up, hold a cup of coffee, tie shoelaces, brush teeth — these are the kind of things that we focused on in the design."  ... 

Swedish Quantum Computer to be Made Available to Industry

25 Qubits,  link to a help desk.


Swedish Quantum Computer to be Made Available to Industry  By Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden), January 23, 2023

A 25-qubit quantum processor chip packaged in a specially designed sample holder.

Said Wallenberg Centre for Quantum Technology director Per Delsing, “We’re therefore going to build a copy of our quantum computer and make it available as a test bed for companies and researchers to run algorithms."

A copy of the quantum computer at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden will be built using additional funding from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. The new computer, accompanied by a quantum helpdesk, will allow Swedish companies and researchers to solve problems using quantum technology.

Under the Wallenberg Centre for Quantum Technology (WACQT) initiative, since 2018 a large project to develop and build a Swedish quantum computer has been running at Chalmers University of Technology. The Chalmers quantum computer now has 25 quantum bits, or qubits. The target is 100 qubits by 2029 but, even with 25 bits, running quantum algorithms on the computer is interesting. The problem is that the machine is rarely available, as researchers are constantly working to develop it.

"We're therefore going to build a copy of our quantum computer and make it available as a test bed for companies and researchers to run algorithms. Its purpose is to raise Sweden's competence level in quantum technology and lower the threshold for using quantum computers," says Per Delsing, a professor at Chalmers and director of WACQT.

From Chalmers Institute of Technology (Sweden)

View Full Article 

Guide to Phishing

 Been Phished? I have.   Schneier sends along a nice piece from TidBits on the topic.   A useful guide, history and much more.   Schneier's piece has lots of comments on experiences    . 

An Annotated Field Guide to Identifying Phish   in TidBits  and VentureBeat.

Do you like phish? Not the band, not tasty seafood dishes, and not the pretty tropical variety. I refer instead to the intellectual challenge of identifying phishing emails that attempt to get you to reveal personal information, often including login credentials or financial details, or entice you to call a phone number where trained operators will attempt to separate you from your money.

Phishing is a big deal, with a State of Phishing report  from security firm SlashNext claiming that there were more than 255 million phishing attacks in 2022, a 61% increase from the year before. The Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report for 2022 says that only 2.9% of employees click through from phishing emails, but with billions of email addresses available to target, the raw numbers are still high.   ... ' 

Predictive Reverse Aging for Archaeology

New three dimensional models predicts past faces from Skeletal Structure.

Faces from Ancient Egypt Coming Back to Life in Extraordinary Detail

By Newsweek, January 23, 2023

Said the Face Lab's Caroline Wilkinson, "We are pretty confident in our ability to predict face shape from skeletal structure."

Researchers at the U.K.'s Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and Egypt's Cairo University (CU) used software and a "reverse aging" process to replicate ancient Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses II's face.

CU's Sahar Saleem used a computed tomography (CT) scanner to produce a three-dimensional model of Ramesses' head and skull, which formed the basis of the facial reconstruction.

LJMU's Caroline Wilkinson said, "We have tested our methods using CT [scans] from living donors and we have evaluated the facial reconstruction using geometric comparison that shows approximately 70% [of the] surface of the facial reconstruction with less than 2 millimeters of error."

Wilkinson said ancient Egyptian mummies also preserve features like ear shape, creases, or hair pattern, which "should increase the level of accuracy [of the reconstruction]."

From Newsweek   

Friday, January 27, 2023

Examining Google's Near Monopoly Search

 Call for a reinvention of Web search.

Check out all the on-demand sessions from the Intelligent Security Summit here.    in Venturebeat

The internet turns 53 this year, and it has been profoundly shaped by Big Tech companies ... 

(parts of my look at the problem of web search driven by consumer data, the implications) 

As the internet advances into middle age, Google is currently in control of an incredible amount of the world’s access to information on the internet. Users across the globe appear to be constantly served “free content;” however, there’s a hidden fee for this content served up by a company that has more than 90% market share. 

Google’s success in search advertising, as well as its relentless focus on driving advertising on the web, has created a toxic web environment where everything we do is surveilled. What we do in a search and even beyond is packaged and used for advertising, and it is extremely difficult to tell the authentic and trustworthy from the attention-grabbing and deceptive.

But search doesn’t need to be this way. Consumers and enterprises alike can benefit from a bespoke web experience that serves up genuinely helpful answers to searches, not advertisers shilling the wares they want to unload today.

Intelligent Security Summit On-Demand

Learn the critical role of AI & ML in cybersecurity and industry specific case studies. Watch on-demand sessions today.

Here’s how we go about reinventing web search?  ... 

Reduce ad noise by subscribing to an alternative search model ... 

Subscription services undoubtedly benefited from the pandemic. People signed up to Netflix, Disney+ and others in droves. Meanwhile, premium publishers shifted the majority of their content behind a paywall. People have grown accustomed to subscription services, as it doesn’t just extend to entertainment, but fitness classes, home cooking kits, software, skincare — the list goes on. The takeaway from subscription economy growth: People want products to deliver the best experience for them and not a persona that Google has created based on their buying preferences.

Web searches shouldn’t be any different. After all, it’s the way we access knowledge, and it informs our opinions. 

A search subscription model would make ads redundant. With no advertisers to please, the focus is put back on users, which means that companies can focus on making search experiences more accurate and intuitive. Users pay a small monthly fee in exchange for unbiased search results and a product where privacy becomes a de facto foundation; which is good news for everyone.

However, shifting to a subscription model at scale and eradicating ads in search is certainly not without its challenges. It’s why Google still has the monopoly on web search today. But it’s also not a dystopian future out of our reach.   ...  '

AI and Creativity

Have mentioned that here a number of time,  reviewing.    We worried that when building expertise systems, even considered a definition of creativity in a domain to balance its value.  

Can AI Demonstrate Creativity?   By Keith Kirkpatrick

Communications of the ACM, February 2023, Vol. 66 No. 2, Pages 21-23   10.1145/3575665

Creativity has been defined as the use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work. While the source of the development of those ideas can be debated—does creativity spring from the heart, the brain, the soul, or one's experiences—it has been largely accepted that humans alone possess the capability to truly create.

The emergence of computers and artificial intelligence (AI) has led to systems that, fed a sufficient amount of training data, can mimic the output of a creative writer, artist, or musician, thereby encroaching on humans' monopoly on the creative process. Artificial intelligence techniques can be used to create new ideas in a few different ways, such as producing unique combinations of familiar ideas, creating new works based on the attributes of previous works, and by offering new ideas based on combinations of attributes and ideas that humans may not have thought of during the creation of a new work.

A notable example of the power of AI to generate a so-called "creative" work was demonstrated in 2016 when the IBM Watson AI platform was used to create a movie trailer for 20th Century Fox's horror film, Morgan. The first example of a trailer created solely by AI, Watson was used to analyze the visuals, sound, and composition of hundreds of existing horror film trailers, and then it selected scenes from the completed Morgan movie for editors to patch together into a trailer. The use of AI to comb through scenes to create a trailer in the style of other horror movies helped to reduce the amount of time editors needed to spend on the project from a week down to a single day.

How AI Can Mimic Creative Works

The process for using AI to generate creative content is largely based around the use of foundational models or generative adversarial networks. These approaches utilize deep neural networks designed to mimic the ways in which the human brain learns by creating associations between specific elements that can be combined to create a finished work.

These neural networks are fed millions or billions of examples of a particular output (which could include images, sound samples, or text passages), which they subject to a sophisticated type of pattern matching to "learn" specific attributes, patterns, or cues. For example, algorithms that are used to create artwork in the style of impressionist artists would be shown works from Monet, Renoir, Manet, Degas, Cezanne, and Matisse, generally considered to be masters in this style of artwork. The neural network examines the works as patterns of pixels, and can be trained to identify the specific patterns that define the impressionist style. This creates a framework of knowledge that can be used to create a new work based on the learned parameters and attributes. The more "layers" or "depth" the model has, the more complex the resulting patterns and correlations can be.

Large AI companies such as OpenAI (which describes itself on its website as "a research and deployment company" whose mission is "to ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity") have created applications such as DALL-E (referencing the artist Salvador Dali), which was announced in January 2021, and demonstrated that this approach could reproduce and recombine features from those existing images in new and aesthetically pleasing ways. The next version, DALL-E 2, released a year later, featured improvements to image quality and demonstrated that the system could reproduce different artistic styles.  ... ' 

NIST Post-Quantum Cryptography Candidate Cracked

Much more detail linked to.   Post quantum still an issue.  


NIST Post-Quantum Cryptography Candidate Cracked  By David Geer

Commissioned by CACM Staff, January 24, 2023

The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology intended its PQC standard algorithms to resist post-quantum hacking capabilities, but the researchers broke SIKE using a legacy computer chip.

Belgian researchers have cracked the SIKE cryptographic algorithm, a fourth and final-round candidate that the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) was evaluating for its Post-Quantum Cryptography (PQC) standard.

Wouter Castryck and Thomas Decru, research experts at the KU Leuven research university in Leuven, Belgium, broke the SIKE algorithm in about 62 minutes. They did it using a single core on a six-core Intel Xeon CPU E5-2630v2 at 2.60GHz, according to their article, An Efficient Key Recovery Attack On SIDH. 

NIST intends its PQC standard algorithms to resist post-quantum hacking capabilities. Yet, the researchers broke SIKE using a legacy computer chip.

According to an article on the news site The Debrief, experts, authorities, and news outlets have confirmed the researchers' findings. NIST has since determined that it will not standardize the SIKE algorithm.

As part of its PQC Standardization Process, NIST chose 69 of 82 cryptographic algorithm candidates for the first round of its evaluations, according to The Register. NIST had narrowed its list to eight algorithms, including SIKE, by July 2022, according to NIST.

The same month, Castryck and Decru cracked SIKE, including SIKE parameters that people thought could meet NIST quantum security levels one through five, according to the article by Castryck and Decru. "On July 22, we informed the SIKE team about our attack, and on July 30, we posted our corresponding paper online," says Castryck.

PQC algorithms matter because criminal hoard encrypted data for future attacks using quantum computers. "There's a threat called' harvest now, decrypt later'. Your enemy could get access to your data and copy it. Though it's encrypted, they can hold on to it until the quantum computer comes out, then they can get into it," says Dustin Moody, a mathematician at NIST.

According to a Whitehouse.gov fact sheet, President Biden has mandated that NIST will publish quantum-resistant cryptographic standards to mitigate the risk that quantum computers could break the cryptography safeguarding digital communications on the Internet.

According to an Office of Management and Budget memorandum, the U.S. must transition its cryptographic systems to quantum-resistant cryptography, mitigating as much of the quantum risk as possible by 2035. However, according to McKinsey, quantum computers may crack classical encryption methods as soon as 2030. Obviously, affected organizations must implement the PQC standards as quickly as they can once these become available.

The SIKE crack is both concerning and encouraging, according to Tomas Gustavsson, chief Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) officer of Keyfactor, a PKI-as-a-Service company. "It's normal to break new suggested algorithms, which is a sign that good cryptographers are working on evaluating those," says Gustavsson.

"The concern is that we probably can't trust SIKE's underlying mathematical problem of supersingular isogenies any longer," says Gustavsson. "So, the SIKE hack may also have implications for other algorithms that people have based on the same problem," he says. 

NIST has already selected four cryptographic algorithms for PQC standardization: CRYSTALS-Kyber, CRYSTALS-Dilithium, FALCON, and SPHINCS+. Three additional algorithms are under consideration in the fourth round of the NIST evaluation process: Classic McEliece, BIKE, and HQC. "We think we might choose one or two more of those fourth-round algorithms, but we wanted more time to evaluate them," says Moody.

There are challenges to creating cryptographic algorithms that can resist quantum-level hacking. "Solving challenging scientific problems, and having a high level of confidence in these, always takes a lot of time and effort by scientists, engineers, and whole teams of people," says Gustavson.

The algorithms NIST chose for PQC standardization use older, harder math problems that many people have studied, according to Castryck. The hope is that quantum computers will not break these four algorithms, he says, although there is always that possibility.

According to Moody, no one can guarantee that no one will ever develop a smart new attack that could break a post-quantum cryptographic algorithm. "The best we can do in cryptography (post-quantum or not) is say that a lot of smart people have looked at it for many years and believe it is secure, i.e., no known attacks or lines of attack seem viable," says Moody.

It is essential for organizations not to lock into a single algorithm, according to Ted Shorter, CTO of Keyfactor. "I suspect that's part of why NIST is looking to standardize several algorithms this time," says Shorter.  ... ' 

Robot with Smell Sensor

 Most interesting, comparing the sensors 'rivaling those of dogs'.

TAU Robot Can 'Smell' Odors Using Biological Sensor  By The Jerusalem Post (Israel), January 20, 2023

The robot with the biological sensor. 

Researchers at Tel Aviv University have developed a biological odor sensor whose sensitivity rivals that of dogs.

Scientists at Israel's Tel Aviv University (TAU) have created a biological sensor to help robots detect and interpret odors., TAU's Yossi Yovel said the researchers mated the sensor to an electronic system and had it smell different odors while measuring electrical activity induced by each scent.

Said Yovel, "The system allowed us to detect each odor at the level of [an] insect's primary sensory organ. Then, in the second step, we used machine learning to create a 'library' of smells. "The algorithm can identify smells with 10,000 times greater sensitivity than a standard electronic device.

From The Jerusalem Post (Israel)    

View Full Article

Alarmed by AI Chatbots, Universities Start Revamping How They Teach

 And the concerns will build.

 Alarmed by A.I. Chatbots, Universities Start Revamping How They Teach  By The New York Times, January 17, 2023

Colleges and universities have been reluctant to ban the new chatbot because administrators doubt the move would be effective.

While grading essays for his world religions course last month, Antony Aumann, a professor of philosophy at Northern Michigan University, read what he said was easily "the best paper in the class." It explored the morality of burqa bans with clean paragraphs, fitting examples and rigorous arguments.

A red flag instantly went up.

Mr. Aumann confronted his student over whether he had written the essay himself. The student confessed to using ChatGPT, a chatbot that delivers information, explains concepts and generates ideas in simple sentences — and, in this case, had written the paper.

From The New York Times

Computer Models Determine Drug Candidate's Ability to Bind to Proteins

Pharma applications? 

 Computer Models Determine Drug Candidate's Ability to Bind to Proteins   By University of Arkansas, January 17, 2023

The research focuses on computational simulations of diseases, including coronavirus.

University of Arkansas (U of A) researchers have developed computer models for calculating a drug candidate's protein-binding affinity.

Said U of A's Mahmoud Moradi, the method "assigns an effective energy to the ligand at every grid point in a coordinate system, which has its origin at the most likely location of the ligand when it is in its bound state."

The researchers produced a computationally efficient binding estimator using biased simulations and non-parametric re-weighting techniques, then applied orientation quaternion formalism to further define the ligand's conformational shifts while binding to targeted proteins.

They used the method to estimate binding affinity between human fibroblast growth factor 1 and heparin hexasaccharide 5 medication.

From University of Arkansas   

Thursday, January 26, 2023

3D Printing Reaches New Heights with Two-Story Home

New advances with building construction: 

3D Printing Reaches New Heights with Two-Story Home,    By Reuters, January 18, 2023

A 12-ton industrial 3-D printer being used to print concrete.

The 12-ton machine steadily hums away as it extrudes layers of concrete to build the 4,000-square-foot home in Houston.   A massive three-dimensional (3D) printer is being used to build what is thought to be the first 3D-printed two-story home in the U.S.

Weighing more than 12 tons, the machine printed concrete layers into a 4,000-square-foot, three-bedroom home in Houston, TX, which architect Leslie Lok at design studio Hannah said would take 330 hours to complete.

The residence is a two-year collaboration between Hannah, Peri 3D Construction, and construction engineering firm Cive.

Cive's Hikmat Zerbe said he hopes the 3D printing method will accelerate the construction of multifamily homes at less cost.

From Reuters

View Full Article     

Faces Not as Attention Grabbing as We Think

 Very interesting study and implications.

Why Faces might Not be as attention-grabbing as we think

Twitter Facebook LinkedIn     in UNSW

19 JAN 2023  By Ben Night

Research combining wearable eye-tracking technology and AI body detection software suggests our eyes aren’t drawn to the faces of passers-by as much as previously thought.

Data from the study’s 30 participants revealed they looked at the faces of just 16 per cent of the people they walked past.  

Faces are key to everyday social interaction. Just a brief glance can give us important signals about someone’s emotional state, intentions and identity that helps us to navigate our social world.

But researchers studying social attention – how we notice and process the actions and behaviours of others in social contexts – have been mostly limited to lab-based studies where participants view social scenes on computer screens. Now, researchers from the School of Psychology at UNSW Science have developed a new approach that could enable more studies of social attention in natural settings.

 The novel method correlates eye-movement data from wearable eye-tracking glasses with analysis from an automatic face and body detection algorithm to record when and where participants looked when fixating on other people. The methodology, detailed in the journal Scientific Reports , could have a range of future applications in settings from clinical research to sports science.  ... ' 

Emotional Experience Car shown at CES by BMW

Clearly a concept car, but could it take off?

BMW’s iVision Dee Brings Sci-fi to the Driveway This concept car’s e-paper skin turns a paint job into an exterior screen      By Lawrence Ulrich   in IEEE Spectrum

The body of BMW’s latest concept car, the iVision Dee, is like a big e-paper screen, allowing each pixel to assume one of 32 exterior colors. BMW

Before I met BMW’s iVision Dee at a press preview event in Germany—prior to a public reveal at CES in Las Vegas last week—I’d never seen a car blush, let alone had one make me blush. But then the electric BMW began changing colors and facial expressions, talking at me in intimate detail, splashing a digital avatar of my face on its side window, and filling its windshield with head-up display (HUD) projections worthy of Minority Report.

The “Dee” in this radical concept sedan stands for “Digital Emotional Experience.” That includes its eponymous, sultry-voiced virtual assistant. The body’s 240 laser-cut, Kindle-style “e-ink” panels let the BMW transform instantly to one of 32 exterior colors. Excited by low current—15 volts and less than 100 milliamperes—the panels’ microencapsulated particles create a moveable e-paper display. Feeling hot pink today? Go for it. And don’t worry about dinging the electric driving range: The chameleonic material uses nominal energy, and only while it’s shifting color to another shade.  ... '

Computer Scientist Says AI 'Artist' Deserves Its Own Copyrights

More on this ...  Art in particular mentioned here.  

Computer Scientist Says AI 'Artist' Deserves Its Own Copyrights

Reuters, Blake Brittain, January 11, 2023

Computer scientist Stephen Thaler has requested the Washington, DC, District Court to rule his Creativity Machine artificial intelligence (AI) system deserves copyrights for art it produces. Thaler asked the court to rescind a U.S. Copyright Office ruling decreeing that copyrightable creative works can only be human-made. His lawyer, Ryan Abbott of Brown Neri Smith & Khan, said the case has a "real financial importance" that may have been previously overlooked, and the protection of AI-created art would serve the goals of copyright law. Said Thaler in his court filing, "The fact that various courts have referred to creative activity in human-centric terms, based on the fact that creativity has traditionally been human-centric and romanticized, is very different than there being a legal requirement for human creativity."  ... ' 

ChatGPT and AI Based Program Generation

Further look into explorations ...  been asked about opinion of the space.


What Do ChatGPT and AI-based Automatic Program Generation Mean for the Future of Software

By Bertrand Meyer

' ... Since the release of the ChatGPT interactive AI assistant it has been surprising to see some of the snide, passive-aggressive reactions from some (not all) members of the software engineering community, in the style of  "it's just inference from bad data". Let's get real, folks, it is truly game-changing. The kind of thing that you witness once in a generation. (The last two times were object-oriented programming and the World-Wide Web.)

Basically, if you need a program element and can describe that need, the assistant will generate it for you. There is no particular restriction on the programming language that you choose, as long as its description and enough examples are available somewhere. The code will be pretty good. (More on the semantics of "pretty" below.) You can ask the assistant for a test suite and various other adornments.

Programmers no longer needed?

Trying this tool seriously is guaranteed to produce a  "Wow" effect and for a software engineer or software engineering educator, as the immediately following step, a shock: "Do I still have a job?". At first sight, you don't. Especially if you are a programmer, there is not much that you can do and ChatGPT cannot.

In assessing this observation, it is important to separate the essential from the auxiliary. Any beta release of a new technology is bound to suffer from a few pimples. Instructive in this respect is a look at some of the early reviews of the iPhone (for example those on CNET and on PCMag), lamenting such horrible deficiencies as the lack of Bluetooth stereo. I could complain that the generated code will not compile out-of-the-box, since ChatGPT believes that Eiffel has a "do" keyword for loops (it's loop) and enumerated types introduced by "type" (it doesn't). These bugs do not matter; the tool will learn. What does matter is that if I ask, for example, for a Levenshtein edit distance program in Eiffel, I get something that is essentially right. Plus well-formatted, equipped at the start of every routine (per good Eiffel style rules) with a header comment explaining clearly and correctly the purpose of the routine, and producing the right results. Far beyond the Turing test. (To be more precise: as readers of this blog undoubtedly know, a tool passes the Turing test if a typical user would not be able to determine whether answers come from a human or a program. In this case, actually, you will need to add a delay to the responses of ChatGPT to have it pass the test, since no human could conceivably blurt out such impressive answers in a few seconds.)

What comes after the bedazzlement? The natural question is: "What can I do with this?". The answer -- for a programmer, for a manager -- is not so clear. The problem is that ChatGPT, in spite of its cocky self-assurance (This is your result! It will work! No ifs and buts!) gives you, for a non-trivial problem, an answer that may work but may also almost work. I am no longer talking here about growing pains or bugs that will be fixed, but about essential limitations.  ... ' 

Ukraine has become the world’s testing ground for military robots

Has to be expected. A Situation that is critical, uncontrolled, funded from many directions.   Watched carefully for testing new approaches.

The after-action reports will be of interest to the entire world,   December 21, 2022 - 4:42 pm

Ukraine has become the world’s testing ground for military robots   By Tristan Greene  n TheNextWeb

The war in Ukraine has become the largest testing ground for artificial intelligence-powered autonomous and uncrewed vehicles in history. While the use of military robots is nothing new — World War II saw the birth of remote-controlled war machines and the US has deployed fully-autonomous assault drones as recently as 2020 — what we’re seeing in Ukraine is the proliferation of a new class of combat vehicle. 

This article discusses the “killer robot” technology being used by both sides in Russia’s war in Ukraine. Our main takeaway is that the “killer” part of “killer robots” doesn’t apply here. Read on to find out why. 

Uncrewed versus autonomous

This war represents the first usage of the modern class of uncrewed vehicles and automated weapons platforms in a protracted invasion involving forces with relatively similar tech. While Russia’s military appears, on paper, to be superior to Ukraine’s, the two sides have fielded forces with similar capabilities. Compared to forces Russia faced during its involvement in the Syrian civil war or, for example, those faced by the US during the Iraq and Afghanistan engagements, what’s happening on the ground in Ukraine right now demonstrates a more paralleled engagement theater. 

It’s important, however, to mention that this is not a war being fought by machines. It’s unlikely that autonomous or uncrewed weapons and vehicles will have much impact in the war, simply because they’re untested and, currently, unreliable. 

Uncrewed vehicles and autonomous vehicles aren’t necessarily the same thing. While almost all autonomous vehicles — those which can operate without human intervention — are uncrewed, many uncrewed vehicles can only be operated remotely by humans. Perhaps most importantly, many of these vehicles have never been tested in combat. This means that they’re more likely to be used in “support” roles than as autonomous combat vehicles, even if that’s what they were designed to do. 

But, before we get into the how’s and why’s behind the usage of military robots in modern warfare, we need to explain what kind of vehicles are currently in use. There are no “killer robots” in warfare. That’s a catch-all term used to describe military vehicles both autonomous and uncrewed.

These include uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs), uncrewed ground vehicles (UGVs), and uncrewed surface vehicles (USVs, another term for uncrewed maritime or water-based vehicles). .... '

Software Maintenance Mistake Center of Major FAA Computer Meltdown

Good to examine past issues, in particular maintenance that often is not done considering initial design.

Software Maintenance Mistake Center of Major FAA Computer Meltdown    ABC News,   Sam Sweeney; Jon Haworth; Kevin Shalvey, January 11, 2023; et al.

A senior official at the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) blamed a software maintenance error for a computer breakdown this past week that grounded domestic flights. FAA officials said earlier the affected Notice To all Air Missions (NOTAM) system sends notifications to pilots of flight hazards and real-time restrictions. The senior official said the breakdown occurred when an engineer unwittingly "replaced one file with another," triggering a series of cascading information technology failures because an updated NOTAM system that lacked redundancies was not in place. The FAA emphasized that a cyberattack was not indicated, while Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said a full investigation is required to prevent future mistakes.  ... '

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

This Blog


My yearly review of this Blog:   It started in 2005 at the Procter & Gamble Company, entries daily, it is now public. 

 To Date: 3,175, 578 posts.  Over 500 hits a day.    Who knows how much longer. 

  I use this blog for my own records and research.  Things I have worked on, studied, used or read about.

  I often link to other resources on the Web, but over time cannot guarantee that a link will still work,  if it does not,  contact me, and I will try to help.  

Franz Dill

Ranking Models: NDCG: in Towards Data Science

Used this in practice ...  Good to see this overview for use. 

Demystifying NDCG        in Towards Data Science by Aparna Dhinakaran   

How to best use this important metric for monitoring ranking models

Ranking models underpin many aspects of modern digital life, from search results to music recommendations. Anyone who has built a recommendation system understands the many challenges that come from developing and evaluating ranking models to serve their customers.

While these challenges start in data preparation and model training and continue through model development and model deployment, often what tends to give data scientists and machine learning engineers the most trouble is maintaining their ranking models in production. It is notoriously difficult to maintain models in production because of how these models are constantly changing as they adapt to dynamic environments.

In order to break down how to monitor normalized discounted cumulative gain (NDCG) for ranking models in production, this post covers:

What is NDCG and where is it used?

The intuition behind NDCG

What is NDCG@K?

How does NDCG compare to other metrics?

How is NDCG used in model monitoring?

After tackling these main questions, your team will be able to achieve real time monitoring and root cause analysis using NGCG for ranking models in production.

What Is NDCG and Where Is It Used?

Normalized discounted cumulative gain is a measure of ranking quality. ML teams often use NDCG to evaluate the performance of a search engine, recommendation, or other information retrieval system. Search engines are popular for companies that have applications which directly interact with customers, like Alphabet, Amazon, Etsy, Netflix, and Spotify — just to name a few.

The value of NDCG is determined by comparing the relevance of the items returned by the search engine to the relevance of the item that a hypothetical “ideal” search engine would return. For example, if you search “Hero” on a popular music streaming app, you might get 10+ results with the word “Hero” in either the song, artist, or album.

The relevance of each song or artist is represented by a score (also known as a “grade”) that is assigned to the search query. The scores of these recommendations are then discounted based on their position in the search results — did they get recommended first or last? The discounted scores are then cumulated and divided by the maximum possible discounted score, which is the discounted score that would be obtained if the search engine returned the documents in the order of their true relevance.

If a user wants the song “My Hero” by Foo Fighters, for example, the closer that song is to the top for the recommendation the better the search will be for that user. Ultimately, the relative order of returned results or recommendations is important for customer satisfaction.  .... '   (more below at link) 

Fear Can Inspire Remote Workers to Protect IT Resources

Obvious?  Perhaps, but some combination with stewardship  ...

Fear Can Inspire Remote Workers to Protect IT Resources

Washington State University, Will Ferguson, January 11, 2023

A study by researchers at Washington State University (WSU), the University of North Texas, and Oklahoma State University found that remote workers are most motivated to protect their employer's IT security when they fear the consequences of a security breach and understand the seriousness of potential security threats. The study compared protection motivation theory, which involves encouraging secure behaviors using fear appeals and threat messages; stewardship theory, which involves motivating employee behavior through moral responsibility; and a combination of the two. In a survey of 339 workers, the researchers found an approach that focused on fear and threats was more effective than a stewardship-based approach, but that promoting the stewardship theory's sense of collectivism increased the efficacy of protection motivation-based methods. ... ' 

Harry Rosen’s 60-Day Journey to a New Product Category. (Book)

Just reading.   At the link is the excerpt download.

[NEW RetailWire eBook] 40 Brands in 60 Days

Harry Rosen’s 60-Day Journey to a New Product Category.

In the ecommerce game of who has it first… are you the destination for what your customer wants next? Or the laggard who doesn’t have it until months later?

Harry Rosen is a luxury mens retailer that knows that speed matters. The ability to rapidly launch new categories keeps Harry Rosen’s assortment relevant and allows them to test and learn at a faster pace than the  competition.

Download this eBook synopsis of our conversation with Shannon Stewart, Harry Rosen’s Chief Product Officer to learn secrets she revealed behind how they were able to curate and launch 40 brands in 60 days. ... ' 

ChatGPT Passes MBA Exam Given by a Wharton Professor

AI Winter Now Over for the Good and the Bad?


ChatGPT Passes MBA Exam Given by a Wharton Professor

Professor Christian Terwiesch authored the research paper "Would Chat GPT3 Get a Wharton MBA? A Prediction Based on Its Performance in the Operations Management Course"

New research conducted by a professor at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School found that the artificial intelligence-driven chatbot GPT-3 was able to pass the final exam for the school's Master of Business Administration (MBA) program.

Professor Christian Terwiesch, who authored the research paper "Would Chat GPT3 Get a Wharton MBA? A Prediction Based on Its Performance in the Operations Management Course," said that the bot scored between a B- and B on the exam.

The bot's score, Terwiesch wrote, shows its "remarkable ability to automate some of the skills of highly compensated knowledge workers in general and specifically the knowledge workers in the jobs held by MBA graduates including analysts, managers, and consultants."  ... ' 

Published January 23, 2023 • Updated on January 24, 2023 at 9:57 am 

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Microsoft Invests $10 Billion in ChatGPT Maker OpenAI

 Quite a vote of confidence in the value of this tech.  Note 'new categories of products'  mentioned.   In both consumer and corporate markets.   A big AI win?  If  so it took since the late 80's to congeal.  Are we ready? 

Microsoft Invests $10 Billion in ChatGPT Maker OpenAI   By Bloomberg,  January 24, 2023

Microsoft plans to use OpenAI’s models throughout its consumer and corporate products and to release new categories of products based on OpenAI’s work.

Microsoft Corp. is investing $10 billion in OpenAI, whose artificial intelligence tool ChatGPT has lit up the internet since its introduction in November, amassing more than a million users within days and touching off a fresh debate over the role of AI in the workplace.

The new support, building on $1 billion Microsoft poured into OpenAI in 2019 and another round in 2021, is intended to give Microsoft access to some of the most popular and advanced artificial intelligence systems. Microsoft is competing with Alphabet Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Meta Platforms Inc. to dominate the fast-growing technology that generates text, images and other media in response to a short prompt.

At the same time, OpenAI needs Microsoft's funding and cloud-computing power to crunch massive volumes of data and run the increasingly complex models that allow programs like DALL-E to generate realistic images based on a handful of words, and ChatGPT to create astonishingly human-like conversational text.

From Bloomberg  View Full Article   

Synthetic Populations Revisited

Akin to building 'Digital Twins', but here constructing a population, say of your current or targeted customers.    We did similar things to feed simulations being tested, say as to their reaction to new products.  Led to examination of:

CACMmag (@Communications of the ACM) Tweeted: .@Shibaura_it and @UnivKansai #researchers in #Japan have developed a way to assign workplaces to individuals in computer-generated 'synthetic populations'.    See:  http://bit.ly/3J69gzJ   https://t.co/Kuex1rOA4B   and  https://twitter.com/cacmmag/status/1617639341156884480?s=51&t=m6BeqGbF_-LmLEIpixKnFg

See above references, taking a closer look at this and will report back  if useful.    Comments?

Research Team Detects Additive Manufacturing Defects in Real Time

 Another interesting area for machine learning had not considered .... 

Research Team Detects Additive Manufacturing Defects in Real Time

University of Virginia Engineering, January 6, 2023

A research team led by the University of Virginia's Tao Sun employed machine learning to detect defects in additive manufacturing (also known as three-dimensional printing) in real time. The research focused on the formation of keyhole pores, one of the major defects in laser powder bed fusion, which uses metal powder and lasers to three-dimensionally print metal parts. Said Sun, "By integrating operando synchrotron x-ray imaging, near-infrared imaging, and machine learning, our approach can capture the unique thermal signature associated with keyhole pore generation with sub-millisecond temporal resolution and 100% prediction rate.” Sun said the approach “provides a viable solution for high-fidelity, high-resolution detection of keyhole pore generation that can be readily applied in many additive manufacturing scenarios." .... ' 

Picking and Stowing in a Robotic Workflow

 Most interesting piece from IEEE, here is the intro. Made me think about similar tasks we examined. 

Stowing Is a “Beautiful Problem” That Amazon Is Solving With Robots Cramming items into warehouse pods takes clever new hardware    By Evan Ackerman

When we hear about manipulation robots in warehouses, it’s almost always in the context of picking. That is, about grasping a single item from a bin of items, and then dropping that item into a different bin, where it may go toward building a customer order. Picking a single item from a jumble of items can be tricky for robots (especially when the number of different items may be in the millions). While the problem’s certainly not solved, in a well-structured and optimized environment, robots are nevertheless still getting pretty good at this kind of thing.

Amazon has been on a path toward the kind of robots that can pick items since at least 2015, when the company sponsored the Amazon Picking Challenge at ICRA. And just a month ago, Amazon introduced Sparrow, which it describes as “the first robotic system in our warehouses that can detect, select, and handle individual products in our inventory.” What’s important to understand about Sparrow, however, is that like most practical and effective industrial robots, the system surrounding it is doing a lot of heavy lifting—Sparrow is being presented with very robot-friendly bins that makes its job far easier than it would be otherwise. This is not unique to Amazon, and in highly automated warehouses with robotic picking systems it’s typical to see bins that either include only identical items or have just a few different items to help the picking robot be successful.

Doing the picking task in reverse is called stowing, and it’s the way that items get into Amazon’s warehouse workflow in the first place.   .... ' 

'Consciousness' in Robots Was Once Taboo. Now It's the Last Word

As we get closer, how scary might it get?   Regulation needed,  varying by use context.  

'Consciousness' in Robots Was Once Taboo. Now It's the Last Word

The New York Times

Oliver Whang, January 6, 2023

The concept of artificial consciousness has evolved from an unmentionable word to the premiere focus of the robotics community, as experts like Columbia University's Hod Lipson aim to create conscious robots. The first challenge is defining what consciousness is. Lipson and Duke University's Boyuan Chen have created a self-aware two-jointed arm fixed to a table, which used cameras to observe itself as it moved, and learned to distinguish itself via a deep learning algorithm and a probability model. The University of California, Riverside's Eric Schwitzgeber said a lack of certainty about what consciousness is could present difficulties if an apparently conscious robot can be created. ... '

Smelling, Touching Take Center Stage in Metaverse

More than vision?  

Smelling, Touching Take Center Stage in Metaverse

Associated Press  Haleluya Hadero; Rio Yamat, January 8, 2023

Metaverse technologies unveiled at the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2023) included sensory products that can replicate sensations and even odors in virtual reality (VR). VR developer OVR Technology demonstrated a headset containing a cartridge with eight smells that can be combined into different scents, for release later this year. The company is marketing the product as a kind of digital spa combined with Instagram, with the goal of helping consumers relax. Aurora Townsend at VR game developer FireFlare said her team aims to enhance the company's upcoming Planet Theta VR dating application with touch and other sensations. Metaverse expert Matthew Ball doubts such products will see wider use in coming years, outside of fields with large budgets and specific needs like bomb disposal units using haptics, and medical workers.  ... ' 

Green eats the future

 Broader look at research work being done of interest. More at the link

Green eats the future, feeding the world  in Fraunhofer Magazine

Without algae there would be no life on earth. Every second molecule of oxygen that we breathe comes from them. Algae could also become more important as food in the future. Fraunhofer researchers are working on professional cultivation and the extraction of numerous proteins and other nutrients.

Web special Fraunhofer magazine 3.2022

The United Nations calculated that the eight billionth person was born on November 15th. The world population has doubled in just 50 years. Even if the growth has now slowed down significantly: 8.5 billion people are forecast for 2030 and 9.7 billion for 2050. More people means: less farmland, less drinking water and less food per capita. The climate crisis means that the shortage situation is getting worse. Due to desertification, i.e. the deterioration of the soil to the point of desertification, arable land the size of Bavaria is lost worldwide every year. Already a third of the fertile soil has become unusable in the past 40 years - a result of the overexploitation as arable land and pasture. The German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) estimates that around 70 percent more food will be needed by 2050 than today. Aquatic organisms, which quite wrongly still lead a niche existence, especially in the European food industry, could help: algae. Algae contain as much protein as soy, plenty of valuable fiber and minerals, and vitamin B12, which is otherwise only found in animal products. The superfood needs neither fresh water nor land. It grows sustainably in the sea or is cultivated as a unicellular microalgae in mostly closed systems. Algae contain as much protein as soy, plenty of valuable fiber and minerals, and vitamin B12, which is otherwise only found in animal products. The superfood needs neither fresh water nor land. It grows sustainably in the sea or is cultivated as a unicellular microalgae in mostly closed systems. Algae contain as much protein as soy, plenty of valuable fiber and minerals, and vitamin B12, which is otherwise only found in animal products. The superfood needs neither fresh water nor land. It grows sustainably in the sea or is cultivated as a unicellular microalgae in mostly closed systems.   .. ' 

Monday, January 23, 2023

Apple, Google Face Disruption

Meanings of disruption unclear, both are acquiring some key technologies.   Same with Microsoft.

Apple and Google are both at their biggest risk of disruption in over a decade   By Matt Weinberger Jan 13, 2023, 3:44 PM  in BusinessInsider

This year, Apple and Google will both face their first real tests in a very long time.

Apple could finally open its walled garden, potentially disrupting the App Store juggernaut.

The rise of ChatGPT threatens Google's stranglehold over search — and its ad business. 

Over the last few years, it's often felt like the tech industry was on cruise control.

Each innovation — folding screens, 5G, even the blockchain and cryptocurrency — failed to shake a sense that the future of tech is moving forward incrementally rather than exponentially. Google has spent the last decade-plus guarding its advertising business; Apple has built as many moats around its all-important iPhone business as possible, happily collecting App Store fees and Apple Music subscriptions.

Now, though, both businesses are about to face what are arguably their most existential threats to date. And while it's far too soon to write a eulogy for either company, you will see Apple and Google swiftly move to play defense in a way neither has had to in recent memory. 

For Apple, regulatory pressure worldwide seems to have finally cracked its infamous walled garden, as new rules threaten to undermine its App Store hegemony. The timing is especially interesting, as Apple is said to be preparing to launch a new set of smart glasses poised to extend the App Store's hold over consumers and developers alike for a new generation of computing. ... ' 

Retail Inventory Shelf Analysis with AI

 Worked on something very similar to this in Laboratory Stores, but without AI.   Learned much in the general process

Google Cloud Introduces Shelf Inventory Predictive Tool for Retailers

The Wall Street Journal

Isabelle Bousquette, January 13, 2023

An artificial intelligence tool developed by researchers at Google Cloud aims to help big-box retailers improve shelf inventory tracking. The algorithm uses videos and images from the retailer's ceiling-mounted cameras, camera-equipped self-driving robots, or store associates to assess the availability of goods on shelves. The tool was trained on a database of more than a billion products and can recognize products regardless of the source or angle of the images. In tests at the innovation lab of supermarket chain Giant Eagle Inc., the tool achieved more than 90% accuracy, which Giant Eagle's Graham Watkins said is not sufficient to deploy it at scale. Giant Eagle will roll out a pilot program in an actual store, but a chain-wide deployment is not likely for several years (if at all).

Full Article   

How is ChatGPT Bringing AI into Popular Culture?

Finally AI becoming 'Live'?   Has this changed everything?   For what set of tech customers? Jobs?      From SAS

In recent weeks, the ChatGPT hype has blown up my tech-heavy social feed. I follow many coders and content creators on TikTok and Twitter, and most of them are losing their minds over the disruption that OpenAI's ChatGPT represents to their disciplines. Their common refrain: "This changes everything." After trying it myself (more on that later) and reading more about it, I think that I share their view.

As someone who follows technology and AI topics, I should not have been surprised by this preview launch of the ChatGPT project. For many months my news feed has been littered with topics about AI tools like GPT-3, GitHub Copilot, DALL-E, Stable Diffusion and more. But up until now, these technologies required a certain amount of skill and hardware to configure, and that confined them to the realm of the technologist or savvy enthusiast. ChatGPT puts this technology in the hands of anyone who wants to create a free user account on the service. This unprecedented ease of access catapults it into everyone's imagination, including mine, and I'll admit that I didn't see it coming this soon.

Explaining the unexplainable AI

In a way, the popularity of ChatGPT makes it easier for me to tell my friends and family what we do at SAS. As an AI company, we trade in the application of machine algorithms to business challenges and world-changing initiatives. As I tell this to my wife's Aunt Susan, she nods her head and says, "Ohhh," even as her eyes glaze over. But when I say, "For example, we use natural language processing and reinforcement learning to build expert systems that can improve outcomes – you know, like in ChatGPT," suddenly we have a shared understanding (to a point).  .... ' 

A Photo Bot Feeds Data from JWST Space Telescope

 Instructive,   A means to to feed data from multiple sources?  50 GB a day!  What can we learn form this?

Telescope broke the universe

Scientists were in awe of the flood of data that arrived when the new space observatory booted up.

A clutch of massive stars takes center stage in this mosaic image of the Tarantula Nebula, captured with JWST's Near Infrared Camera. They are surrounded by, and will help sculpt, clouds of gas and dust—the raw material for yet more stars. ... '

NASA, ESA, CSA, STSCI, WEBB ERO PRODUCTION TEAM   by Jonathan O'Callaghan archive page,  January 21, 2023


JWST Photo Bot   @JWSTPhotoBot   Automated by @adamlastowka

I post public data from JWST's MIRI and NIRCAM instruments!

INFO: https://github.com/Rachmanin0xFF/jwst-twitter-bot

Earth-Sun L2 Halo Orbit Joined July 2022