Daily Tech Digest - July 06, 2021

The future of deep learning, according to its pioneers

“Humans and animals seem to be able to learn massive amounts of background knowledge about the world, largely by observation, in a task-independent manner,” Bengio, Hinton, and LeCun write in their paper. “This knowledge underpins common sense and allows humans to learn complex tasks, such as driving, with just a few hours of practice.” Elsewhere in the paper, the scientists note, “[H]umans can generalize in a way that is different and more powerful than ordinary iid generalization: we can correctly interpret novel combinations of existing concepts, even if those combinations are extremely unlikely under our training distribution, so long as they respect high-level syntactic and semantic patterns we have already learned.” Scientists provide various solutions to close the gap between AI and human intelligence. One approach that has been widely discussed in the past few years is hybrid artificial intelligence that combines neural networks with classical symbolic systems. Symbol manipulation is a very important part of humans’ ability to reason about the world. It is also one of the great challenges of deep learning systems. Bengio, Hinton, and LeCun do not believe in mixing neural networks and symbolic AI. 

Machine Learning for Performance Management

Like whether they are likely to finish on time, or be asked to do overtime. However, again as humans, we can only process a handful of variables at any one time and we base our predictions on our past experiences. As none of us can work 24/7 the predictions of one person will likely be different to that of another. When you consider other factors such as people, differing operating procedures, machine health, raw material variability, storage and movement conditions and environmental changes such as weather, the number of variables grows and human-predictability begins to drop off. This is where the reliance on gut decisions begins to increase. Gut decisions are those where we cannot easily explain the rationale. Gut decisions are still based on experience and in fact, may be the result of combining a lot of inputs and experiences subconsciously and creating a best guess. They are not the same as a lucky guess. Therefore, you will likely find in a really experienced operator, that these gut decisions are actually pretty good. Unfortunately, the experienced workers are becoming scarce and the ones we do have are far too useful to be staring at trends all day!

How Business Leaders Can Foster an Innovative Work Culture

To cultivate a culture of innovation, you must encourage action on creative ideas. Let your employees feel valued, like they have some autonomy in the idea creation process. They should be able to feel safe to share bold or crazy ideas that come to their mind. Trust your team to find new ways to solve problems. If you’ve never failed, you’ve never taken chances. Taking risks is a big part of innovation. You have to remind your employees that failure is inevitable and every idea has a degree of uncertainty, and you can do this by creating a safe environment where you encourage your team to test their innovative ideas and even make mistakes that do not cost the company a huge fortune. The important thing is to learn from your mistakes to ensure that you don’t fail the same way twice. If you hold back on ideas because of the fear of failing, you’ll stay confined to the monotony of the status quo and your business will never make any significant leaps. The important thing to remember is to recover and try again. You can hold pitching contests for your employees and develop new ideas that they will be asked to present in front of management. 

An Introduction to Machine Learning Engineering for Production/MLOps — Phases in MLOps

It is common knowledge that data rules the AI world, pretty much. Our models, at least in the case of supervised learning, are only as good as our data. It is important, especially when working in a team, to be on the same page with regards to the data you have. Consider the same handwriting recognition task that we defined earlier. Suppose you and your team decide to discard poorly clicked images for the time being. Now, what is a poorly clicked image? It might be different for your teammate and it might be different for you. In such cases, it is important to establish a set of rules to define what a poorly clicked image is. Maybe if you struggle to read more than 5 words on the page, you decide to discard it. Something of that sort. This is an extremely important step even in research as having ambiguity in data and labels will only lead to more confusion for the model. Another important thing to be taken into consideration is the type of data you are dealing with, i.e, structured or unstructured. How you work with the data you have largely depends on this aspect. Unstructured data includes images, audio signals, etc and you can carry out data augmentation in these cases to increase the size of your dataset.

Data Scientists and ML Engineers Are Luxury Employees

Apart from the interest in the field, another main reason is a bit more practical. I have spent so much time and energy learning the necessary topics (think probability, statistics, calculus, linear algebra, distributed computing, machine learning, deep learning…) that I want this knowledge to stick in. And we are all humans. Even if you are a genius, if you don’t practice what you learn, the knowledge goes away. So when your boss asks you (for the tenth time in a row) to create a piece of software or an analysis that has nothing to do with machine learning, what is that you think? Are you happy? Another important factor is that the field is moving at lightning speed. It was already the case when I was in software engineering, but now it is not even comparable. Not a day goes by without hearing from the latest breakthrough, the newest shiny deep learning architecture, this great new book that every ML practitioner should read, etc. When you are not practicing ML in your day job, you are left with practicing it during your free time. It is OK for a little while, but it is not sustainable in the long run. We are all humans. We need time off to relax and be with our loved ones. Don’t get me wrong. I love learning new things. 

Neo’s Governance Model Projected to Transform Blockchain Space

From an architectural perspective, Neo N3 has also optimized to deliver a more streamlined user experience, including switching from a UTXO to a pure account model, reconfiguring the virtual machine, adding a state root service, upgrading block synchronization mechanisms, and introducing new data compression mechanisms. Since The release of the Neo N3 TestNet, performance is already up by approximately 50 times, and the MainNet is set to launch soon in the near future. ... Under POW consensus governance models, arithmetic power is the right, and all the newly generated revenue is owned by nodes who maintain a monopoly over arithmetic power. Meanwhile, POS consensus models primarily distribute tokens to those who hold the most money — thus, distribution of benefits under both systems is far from equitable. In addition, POW and POS models require users to pay high processing fees for transferring transactions and using on-chain applications. As a result, platforms such as Ether and EOS have been plagued by high fees, resulting in transaction congestion along with GAS fees worth hundreds of dollars on Ether.

Microsoft Power Platform and low code/no code development: Getting the most out of Fusion Teams

One aspect of the Fusion Teams approach are new tools for professional developers and IT pros, including integration with both Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code. At the heart of this side of the Teams development model is the new PowerFX language, which builds on Excel's formula language and blends in a SQL-like query language. PowerFX lets you export both Power Apps designs and formulas as code, ready for use in existing code repositories, so IT teams can manage Power Platform user interfaces alongside their line-of-business applications. Microsoft has delivered a new Power Platform command line tool, which can be used from the Windows Terminal or from the terminals in its development platforms. The Power Platform CLI can be used to package apps ready for use, as well as to extract code for testing. One advantage of this approach is that a user building their own app in Power Apps can pass it over to a database developer to help with query design. Code can be edited in, say, Visual Studio Code, before being handed back with a ready-to-use query. Fusion teams aren't about forcing everyone into using a lowest common denominator set of tools; they're about building and sharing code in the tools you use the most.

The encouraging acceleration of cloud adoption in financial services

When regulations are constantly evolving, in multiple jurisdictions, a cloud-based approach to CLM is much more agile and adaptable to emerging challenges. Using a system that can be updated to always be compliant, provides risk management teams and ultimately the C-suite and board with the confidence that they are future proofed against evolving regulation and will avoid hefty financial penalties from regulators. ... Transformation plans rarely, if ever, begin and end in any one CIO’s tenure – they are a continual process to move things forward for the organisation – but the efforts of individual leaders need to pave the way for the next without tying their hands and forcing them down a path that may present issues later down the line. ... Whether banks are just looking to digitise existing processes or to use AI and ML to make more intelligent decisions and look for fraudulent behavioural patterns, the fact that more conversations are being had in the financial service world about cloud, or that these conversations are going somewhere, gives me confidence that we’re moving in the right direction and there are good days to come.

The chip shortage is real, but driven by more than COVID

The problem is that demand is so great that existing production capacity can’t keep up. Before there was COVID, digital transformation was driving sales. “There was a pretty large movement in the enterprise towards more digitalization across different sectors of the markets in different verticals,” said Morales. “I think the pandemic only accelerated that,” he said. “All of the connected everythings--smart cities, smart roadway, smart campuses, smart airports, smart, autonomous everything--I think this [shortage] was going to happen anyway, it just happened faster,” said Fenn. Another problem facing chip makers is that demand for processors was across-the-board, much of it for older technology that isn’t the first choice for what the vendors would like to sell. Intel, TSMC, GlobalFoundries, Samsung, and other advanced chip makers are pushing into 7nm and 5nm designs that smart refrigerators and cars don’t need. They do fine with 40nm or 28nm designs, and no one is investing in more fabs to make more. So the existing older fabs will continue to run at full capacity for the foreseeable future, with no room for error and no plans to build more.

Easy Guide to Remote Pair Programming

Solitary programmers who feel well programming alone and are efficient shouldn’t be forced to pair program. There are so many reasons why one would like to work alone, and not in a pair. We can think Think about people who are very introverted, deep experts in a difficult domain, or people who aren’t used to collaborating with other people. No practice should be forced on anyone, but rather explained, slowly introduced; we need to know and accept that some people won’t like it, and won’t use it. Another situation when (remote) pair programming doesn’t work is when there is a strong push against collaboration in the whole organization. The management can instill these values that we need to work on individually; everyone needs to be evaluated for their own individual work as otherwise evaluation will be very difficult. There can be many situations where accountancy, evaluation and task-keeping needs to be written according to the particular rules of the organization. Pair programming won’t work in this environment. There are also organizations where there are strong silos, and you might be able to work in a pair in your own narrow specialization, but never with other specialization.

Quote for the day:

"Don't be buffaloed by experts and elites. Experts often possess more data than judgement." -- Colin Powell

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