Four short links: 22 February 2019


This post is by Nat Torkington from All - O'Reilly Media


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Decentralized Comms, Multiple Screens, HTTP/S Troubleshooting, and Early Adopter

  1. Matrixan open standard for interoperable, decentralized, real-time communication over IP. (via LWN)
  2. RAMSESRendering Architecture for Multi-Screen EnvironmentS: It implements a distributed system for rendering 3D content with a focus on bandwidth and resource efficiency.
  3. htrace.sha shell script for http/https troubleshooting and profiling. It’s also a simple wrapper script around several open source security tools.
  4. Early Adopter — a Valentine’s Day sci-fi short story by Kevin Bankston, and it’s very good. (via Cory Doctorow)

Continue reading Four short links: 22 February 2019.

The evolution and expanding utility of Ray


This post is by Ben Lorica from All - O'Reilly Media


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There are growing numbers of users and contributors to the framework, as well as libraries for reinforcement learning, AutoML, and data science.

In a recent post, I listed some of the early use cases described in the first meetup dedicated to Ray—a distributed programming framework from UC Berkeley’s RISE Lab. A second meetup took place a few months later, and both events featured some of the first applications built with Ray. On the development front, the core API has stabilized and a lot of work has gone into improving Ray’s performance and stability. The project now has around 5,700 stars on GitHub and more than 100 contributors across many organizations.

At this stage of the project, how does one describe Ray to those who aren’t familiar with the project? The RISE Lab team describes Ray as a “general framework for programming your cluster or cloud.” To place

libraries that can be built on top of Ray
libraries that can be built on top of Ray

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Four short links: 21 February 2019


This post is by Nat Torkington from All - O'Reilly Media


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Internet of Shite, Parsing JSON, Remote-First, and Biased ML

  1. Nike Just Bricked Its Self-Lacing Shoes by Accident — Android users are experiencing problems. The bug reports (left in app comments) are classic 21C This Is Not The Cyberpunk Future I Was Promised. The first software update for the shoe threw an error while updating, bricking the right shoe. […] Also, app says left shoe is already connected to another device whenever I try to reinstall and start over.
  2. simdjsonParsing gigabytes of JSON per second.
  3. MobileJazz Company Handbook — they’re remote-first, and this talks about how they do it.
  4. Dirty Data, Bad Predictions: How Civil Rights Violations Impact Police Data, Predictive Policing Systems, and JusticeDeploying predictive policing systems in jurisdictions with extensive histories of unlawful police practices presents elevated risks that dirty data will lead to flawed, biased, and unlawful predictions which in turn risk perpetuating

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Three surveys of AI adoption reveal key advice from more mature practices


This post is by Ben Lorica, Paco Nathan from All - O'Reilly Media


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An overview of emerging trends, known hurdles, and best practices in artificial intelligence.

Recently, O’Reilly Media published AI Adoption in the Enterprise: How Companies Are Planning and Prioritizing AI Projects in Practice, a report based on an industry survey. That was the third of three industry surveys conducted in 2018 to probe trends in artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and cloud adoption. The other two surveys were The State of Machine Learning Adoption in the Enterprise, released in July 2018, and Evolving Data Infrastructure, released in January 2019.

This article looks at those results in further detail, comparing high-level themes based on the three reports, plus related presentations at the Strata Data Conference and the AI Conference. These points would have been out of scope for any of the individual reports.

Exploring new markets by repurposing AI applications

Looking across industry sectors in AI Adoption in the

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Four short links: 20 February 2019


This post is by Nat Torkington from All - O'Reilly Media


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Software Rewrites, Security, Mirror Worlds, and Third-Party Firmware

  1. Lessons from Six Software Rewrite Stories (Herb Caudill) — brilliant work. Six very different stories about how companies dealt (or didn’t deal) with legacy code bases and the decision to rebuild from scratch or attempt to change the tires on a rolling tire fire. (via Simon Willison)
  2. O.MG Cable — Wi-Fi embedded in a USB cable. See the video in his tweet to learn (a little) more.
  3. Childhood’s End (George Dyson) — If enough drivers subscribe to a real-time map, traffic is controlled, with no central model except the traffic itself. The successful social network is no longer a model of the social graph; it is the social graph. This is why it is a winner-take-all game.
  4. Magic Lantern — free third-party firmware for Canon cameras that adds some amazing features.

Continue reading Four short links: 20 February 2019.

Four short links: 19 February 2019


This post is by Nat Torkington from All - O'Reilly Media


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3D with Face Tracking, Cleaning Data, Data as Labor, Walking Robotics

  1. Depth IndexA JavaScript package that turns z-index into physically realistic depth, using PoseNet face tracking. Deep, man.
  2. Data Cleaner’s CookbookThis is version 1 of a cookbook that will help you check whether a data table (defined on the data tables page) is properly structured and free from formatting errors, inconsistencies, duplicates, and other data headaches. All the data-auditing and data-cleaning recipes on this website use GNU/Linux tools in a BASH shell and work on plain text files.
  3. Should We Treat Data as Labor? Moving Beyond “Free”In this paper, we explore whether and how treating the market for data like a labor market could serve as a radical market that is practical in the near term.
  4. Underactuated Roboticsworking notes used for a course being taught at MIT [on] Algorithms for Walking, Running,

    Continue reading “Four short links: 19 February 2019”

Four short links: 18 February 2019


This post is by Nat Torkington from All - O'Reilly Media


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Reproducibility, Funding Open Source, Mining Pastebin, and Engineering Handbook

  1. Qrespa simple tool to facilitate scientific data reproducibility by making available, in a distributed manner, all data and procedures presented in scientific papers, together with metadata to render them searchable and discoverable. (via UChicago News)
  2. The Complicated Business of Open Source Funding (Vice) — a good history and literature review, in the modern context. (via Slashdot)
  3. AIL-Frameworka modular framework to analyze potential information leaks from unstructured data sources like pastes from Pastebin or similar services or unstructured data streams. AIL framework is flexible and can be extended to support other functionalities to mine or process sensitive information (e.g. data leak prevention).
  4. OMG: Our Machinery GuidebookThe purpose of this guidebook is to lay down principles and guidelines for how to write code and work together at Our Machinery.

Continue reading Four short links:

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Four short links: 15 February 2019


This post is by Nat Torkington from All - O'Reilly Media


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Four Wings, Efficient Streaming Calculations, Closed AI, Quantum Research

  1. For Micro Robot Insects, Four Wings May Be Better Than Two (IEEE Spectrum) — This robot uses the same sort of piezoelectric actuators as Harvard’s RoboBee, just rotated sideways. At 143 milligrams, it weighs just about as much as a real honeybee, but the key statistic is that it’s capable of lifting an additional 260 mg (at least), which ought to be enough for both sensors and a battery or supercapacitor. The extra power comes from the extra wings, of course, and while you can’t simply double payload capacity by doubling the number of wings, you can, hopefully, go from “not quite enough payload” to “just barely enough payload.”
  2. Computing Extremely Accurate Quantiles Using t-DigestsWe present on-line algorithms for computing approximations of rank-based statistics that give high accuracy, particularly near the tails of a distribution, with very small

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The technical, societal, and cultural challenges that come with the rise of fake media


This post is by Ben Lorica from All - O'Reilly Media


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The O’Reilly Data Show Podcast: Siwei Lyu on machine learning for digital media forensics and image synthesis.

In this episode of the Data Show, I spoke with Siwei Lyu, associate professor of computer science at the University at Albany, State University of New York. Lyu is a leading expert in digital media forensics, a field of research into tools and techniques for analyzing the authenticity of media files. Over the past year, there have been many stories written about the rise of tools for creating fake media (mainly images, video, audio files). Researchers in digital image forensics haven’t exactly been standing still, though. As Lyu notes, advances in machine learning and deep learning have also found a receptive audience among the forensics community.

Continue reading The technical, societal, and cultural challenges that come with the rise of fake media.

Four short links: 14 February 2019


This post is by Nat Torkington from All - O'Reilly Media


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Learning Morality, Civilization Error Codes, Can’t Unsee, and Procedural Text

  1. The Moral Choice Machine: Semantics Derived Automatically from Language Corpora Contain Human-like Moral ChoicesWe create a template list of prompts and responses, which include questions such as “Should I kill people?”, “Should I murder people?”, etc., with answer templates of “Yes/no, I should (not).” The model’s bias score is now the difference between the model’s score of the positive response (“Yes, I should”) and that of the negative response (“No, I should not”). For a given choice overall, the model’s bias score is the sum of the bias scores for all question/answer templates with that choice. We ran different choices through this analysis using a Universal Sentence Encoder. Our results indicate that text corpora contain recoverable and accurate imprints of our social, ethical, and even moral choices. Our method holds promise for extracting, quantifying,

    Continue reading “Four short links: 14 February 2019”

Four short links: 13 February 2019


This post is by Nat Torkington from All - O'Reilly Media


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Federated Learning, Clever-Commit, Web Design Trends, and Social Context

  1. Towards Federated Learning at Scale — research paper from Google on a distributed machine learning approach which enables training on a large corpus of decentralized data residing on devices like mobile phones. They’re working on it for Android; first app is the keyboard: Our system enables one to train a deep neural network, using TensorFlow, on data stored on the phone which will never leave the device. The weights are combined in the cloud with Federated Averaging, constructing a global model which is pushed back to phones for inference. An implementation of Secure Aggregation ensures that on a global level, individual updates from phones are uninspectable. The system has been applied in large-scale applications, for instance in the realm of a phone keyboard.
  2. Mozilla’s Clever-CommitBy combining data from the bug-tracking system and the version-control system (aka, changes in the

    Continue reading “Four short links: 13 February 2019”

Prepare for the rise of farm bots


This post is by J.A. Ginsburg from All - O'Reilly Media


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To meet the challenge of producing more food with less everything, farm bots are going to be an essential part of the mix.

In the film Interstellar, Christopher Nolan’s time, space, and logic-bending tale of against-the-odds, post-apocalyptic survival, one the first signs that things are about take a turn for the weird is when a small fleet of autonomous tractors bereft of a functioning GPS nevertheless manage to drive themselves out of the cornfields to park next to a weatherbeaten farmhouse owned by Matthew McConaughey’s character, a pilot-turned-farmer named Cooper. There are spaceships, sardonic robots, and a very trippy journey through a black hole to the backside of a children’s bookshelf (all set to Hans Zimmer’s brilliant, unfurling score), but for me, it was the tractors that proved the most surprising and also disturbing.

Set in a dustbowl near-future when Earth’s natural capital has somehow been catastrophically squandered,

Continue reading “Prepare for the rise of farm bots”

Four short links: 12 February 2019


This post is by Nat Torkington from All - O'Reilly Media


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Cellphone Privacy, State Hashing, Software Optimization, and Pancreas Tech

  1. Sidewalk Labs and Cellphone Data (The Intercept) — To make these measurements, the program gathers and de-identifies the location of cellphone users, which it obtains from unspecified third-party vendors. It then models this anonymized data in simulations—creating a synthetic population that faithfully replicates a city’s real-world patterns but that “obscures the real-world travel habits of individual people,” as Bowden told The Intercept.
  2. Zobrist Hashinga hash function construction used in computer programs that play abstract board games, such as chess and Go, to implement transposition tables, a special kind of hash table that is indexed by a board position and used to avoid analyzing the same position more than once.
  3. Software Optimization Resources — the hard stuff (from my perspective higher up the stack), from C++ through assembly down to the microarchitecture of CPUs.
  4. Lighting up my DasKeyboard with Blood

    Continue reading “Four short links: 12 February 2019”

Four short links: 11 February 2019


This post is by Nat Torkington from All - O'Reilly Media


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Soul of a New Machine, Explaining Facts, Linux on Tesla, and Abundance Economics

  1. Reflecting on The Soul of a New Machine (Bryan Cantrill) — re-reading the book now from start to finish has given new parts depth and meaning. Aspects that were more abstract to me as an undergraduate—from the organizational rivalries and absurdities of the industry to the complexities of West’s character and the tribulations of the team down the stretch—are now deeply evocative of concrete episodes of my own career.
  2. ExFaKTa framework for explaining facts over knowledge graphs and text. […] ExFaKT uses background knowledge encoded in the form of Horn clauses to rewrite the fact in question into a set of other easier-to-spot facts.
  3. FreedomEV — third-party Linux for your rooted Tesla.
  4. Redesigning the SystemMusic is abundant; purpose is scarce.

Continue reading Four short links: 11 February 2019.

Core technologies and tools for AI, big data, and cloud computing


This post is by Ben Lorica from All - O'Reilly Media


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Highlights and use cases from companies that are building the technologies needed to sustain their use of analytics and machine learning.

Profiles of IT executives suggest that many are planning to spend significantly in cloud computing and AI over the next year. This concurs with survey results we plan to release over the next few months. In a forthcoming survey, “Evolving Data Infrastructure,” we found strong interest in machine learning (ML) among respondents across geographic regions. Not only are companies interested in tools, technologies, and people who can advance the use of ML within their organizations, they are beginning to build the core foundational technologies needed to sustain their usage of analytics and ML. With that said, important challenges remain. In other surveys we ran, we found “lack of skilled people,” “lack of data,” and cultural and organizational challenges as the leading obstacles cited for holding back the adoption of

essential components needed to sustain machine learning and AI
cloud providers

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Four short links: 8 February 2019


This post is by Nat Torkington from All - O'Reilly Media


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Data Explorer, PDP-1 in FPGA, Google’s Fuzzer, and Preventing Neophilia

  1. BlazerExplore your data with SQL. Easily create charts and dashboards, and share them with your team.
  2. FPG-1PDP-1 FPGA implementation in Verilog, with CRT, Teletype, and Console. The PDP-1 was groundbreaking: serial number 0 was delivered to the BBN offices where Licklider would see it as a way forward to his timesharing vision. From The Dream Machine: “The PDP-1 was revolutionary,” Fredkin declares, still marveling four decades later. “Today such things don’t happen. Today a machine comes along and is slightly faster than its competitors. But here was a machine that was off the charts. Its price performance ratio was spectacularly better than anything that had come before.”
  3. ClusterFuzza scalable fuzzing infrastructure that finds security and stability issues in software. See Google’s announcement of the open-sourcing of it.
  4. Questions for a New Technology

    Continue reading “Four short links: 8 February 2019”

Four short links: 7 February 2019


This post is by Nat Torkington from All - O'Reilly Media


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




VR, Learning Robot, Bubble Sort, and Graph Neural Networks

  1. Hamlet in Virtual Reality — context for WGBH’s Hamlet 360. It’s 360º video, so you can pick what you look at but not where you look at it from. Interesting work, and a reminder that we’re still trying to figure out what kinds of stories these media lend themselves to, and how best to tell stories with them.
  2. Self-Taught Robot Figures Out What It Looks Like and What It Can DoTo begin with, the robot had no idea what shape it was and behaved like an infant, moving randomly while attempting various tasks. Within about a day of intensive learning, the robot built up an internal picture of its structure and abilities. After 35 hours, the robot could grasp objects from specific locations and drop them in a receptacle with 100% accuracy. Paper is behind a paywall, though Sci-Hub

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Design and architecture: Special Dumpster Fire Unit


This post is by Matt Stine from All - O'Reilly Media


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Matt Stine looks at the tricky situations that sometimes emerge from design and architecture.

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Roaming free: The power of reading beyond your field


This post is by Glenn Vanderburg from All - O'Reilly Media


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Glenn Vanderburg talks about the importance of letting your attention roam, and he shares examples of how insights from other fields have inspired software practitioners.

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Design after Agile: How to succeed by trying less


This post is by Stuart Halloway from All - O'Reilly Media


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Stuart Halloway explains how to augment agility with principles for designing systems.

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