July 21, 2016

Cognitive Business: When Cloud and Cognitive Computing Merge

Another maybe even more important trend, that is actually being driven by cloud computing, is the rapid expansion of cognitive computing. In this arena, IBM’s Watson, famously known for defeating Jeopardy gameshow champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, has quickly established itself as a commercial cognitive computing powerhouse. Contemporary reports of the Jeopardy contest from the New York Times cited this victory as IBM’s “…proof that the company has taken a big step toward a world in which intelligent machines will understand and respond to humans, and perhaps inevitably, replace some of them”. Although we are not yet at the human replacement stage, the merger of cloud and cognitive computing is rocking the business status quo.

The State of Digital Currency: A discussion with Ed Scheidt

One of the keys to acceptance is the ability to check validity of currency and reduce the risk of fraud. We discussed the fact that even with block-chain and other types of encryption, there needs to be new technology invented that provides the same level of trust (and risk reduction) that you get with physical currency. If you look at the current one-hundred dollar bill, it has a myriad of security features like a 3-d ribbon, color-shifting ink, watermarks, raised printing, etc. All of these features could be reproduced by a counterfeiter, but only with a large amount of time and resources. DC has none of these layered features in a mature way today, but will someday. So, for DC to really work, the digital equivalents of these features will need to be created, validated, produced, and trusted.

Blockchain: a case for the general ledger

Despite the potential of a distributed ledger, financial institutions are not rushing to replace legacy systems with the new technology. Blockchain or its variants will be adopted in a bigger scale only after early movers address underlying questions. Will a distributed network operate as efficaciously as the tried and tested centralised system? Can blockchain ensure interoperability? Who is responsible in the event of a dysfunctional system? How will cryptocurrency and related technology be regulated?  Fortunately, the industry is not waiting for answers. Several financial services enterprises are developing in-house models and forging partnerships to create proofs of concept. Venture capital is pouring into start-ups building payment platforms using cryptography even as industry leaders incorporate blockchain technology into securities management, post-trade processing, settlement, and asset servicing.

Looking Deeper, Seeing More: A Multilayer Map of the Financial System

Multilayer maps can capture more information.7 They portray the financial system as a network of networks. For example, a multilayer map can help identify a large market participant that is a node in more than one market layer. Such a company could be a source of strength to the financial system, if managed well. If not, it could be a source of weakness. The failure of one of these nodes in a layer can lead to failures of dependent nodes in other layers. This phenomenon can happen repeatedly, leading to a cascade of failures. For that reason, multilayer networks are more fragile than single-layer networks. Connections between the layers can amplify the scope and magnitude of stress in a single layer. Maps of multilayer networks show three stages of damage following a major shock.

Utah teen launches consumer drone that can fly over 70 mph

"After spending an hour with George, I was overwhelmingly impressed by his vision for a drone platform as well as his presence as an entrepreneur," wrote Ben Lambert, from Pelion Venture Partners, in a post on Medium. George clearly has an engineering mindset, but he's also a savvy businessman. When he was a kid (which wasn't that long ago, after all), he always had lemonade stands or some other way to make a few bucks. "I was always an entrepreneur at heart," he told me. In these early days, Teal has been operating out of Pelion's Salt Lake City office. George says he's managing to stay grounded while handling large responsibility at such a young age with the support from his family and school, but he also mentioned "half-jokingly" that spending quality time with his investors has helped. "Ben tells me every day that I suck," George said.

10 TB in a 1 cm space: Will chlorine atoms redefine storage?

The technology is dependent on the ability to quickly rearrange in square grids that sit next to each other as terraces. Each grid represents a single byte, and it contains slots that the atoms can be moved around in to represent either a one or a zero, thereby encoding the information. The atoms are moved between slots using a scanning tunnelling microscope. Atomic markers were added to the grids, making reading them easier and faster than previous methods. This new atomic storage technology is a major discovery, but it is still in the proof-of-principle phase, and it has some major drawbacks that may slow its development. One of the biggest issues is that it must be kept at the temperature of -196 °C, which is the the boiling point of liquid nitrogen. While warmer and cheaper than using liquid helium as a coolant, as noted in Nature, it still creates a problem.

Mads Torgersen on C# 7 and Beyond

QCon chair Wesley Reisz talks to Mads Torgersen who leads the C# language design process at Microsoft, where he has been involved in five versions of C#, and also contributed to TypeScript, Visual Basic, Roslyn and LINQ. Before he joined Microsoft a decade ago, he worked as a university professor in Aarhus, Denmark, doing research into programming language design and contributing to Java generics. Key takeaways are: The overall theme for C# 7 will be features that make it easier to work with data, including language level support for tuples. The release may also include pattern matching for type switching; C# 7 is the first new release of the language to be completely built in the open; Roslyn, the compiler and API, allows a much more agile evolution of the language.

Securing the NextGen aviation network

In the past, we were very, very focused. We had a very simple model, which was we would look at how our system is secured and if somebody else was having a technological problem on their side the way we would protect the integrity and the safety of the system was we simply wouldn't allow them in. That would result if airline A is having technology problems, we're not going to dispatch their flights. To a certain extent we still do some of that but now that all of our systems are interlinked, if an airline is experiencing a problem it's very important that we understand what is the potential that that could bleed over into our systems through the interconnections and gateways that we have connecting our system to theirs. Likewise, it's not just the companies and their operating systems. It's also the avionics systems in the aircraft themselves.

Doctor devises new database methodology to thwart hackers and end big data breaches

Yasnoff created the personal grid, in fact, to make it so each record of information is stored in a separate file, and each files is encrypted individually with its own encryption key.  “If a hacker breaks into a server room and literally takes a whole server away, that hacker would have to break through strong encryption to get one single patient record,” Yasnoff explained. “And then that hacker would have to break through more strong encryption to get a second record, and then repeat the same for a third, and a fourth, and so on. The work involved in getting hundreds of thousands to millions of records becomes prohibitively massive for a hacker.” There is, however, one catch: Unlike a database where all records are stored in one file, a clinician cannot quickly search patient records stored and encrypted separately within a database. But Yasnoff has come up with a solution to this hurdle.

Oracle To Reboot Java EE For The Cloud

Within cloud-based environments, infrastructure no longer relies on application servers running on dedicated hardware. Moreover, an enormous volume of transactions must be handled, requiring a different model for state and transaction management than what has been offered in Java EE for scaling applications, Kurian said. Meanwhile, container technologies such as Docker have emerged, with requirements for externalizing configuration management, deployment of applications, and packaging. Oracle wants to make accommodations for these paradigm changes. Oracle plans to fit Java EE 8 with capabilities for persisting data in a key-value store, based on NoSQL stores, and a transaction model for eventual consistency and relaxed transactions. On the whole, Oracle's improvements would help Java EE developers evolve their skill sets to leverage technology shifts such as these, Kurian said.

Quote for the day:

"You got to be careful if you don't know where you are going, because you might not get there." --Yogi Berra

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