Archive for February, 2014

Ok. We are all talking about it, but just how BIG is the field of artificial intelligence?


artificial intelligence






18 February 2014 – As Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee detail in their latest book The Second Machine Age, the exponential, digital, and recombinant powers of the second machine age have made it possible for humanity to create two of the most important one-time events in our history: the emergence of real, useful artificial intelligence (AI) and the connection of most of the people on the planet via a common digital network. Either of these advances alone would fundamentally change our growth prospects. When combined, they’re more important than anything since the Industrial Revolution, which forever transformed how physical work was done.

Digital machines have escaped their narrow confines and started to demonstrate broad abilities in pattern recognition, complex communication, and other domains that used to be exclusively human. We’ve recently seen great progress in natural language processing, machine learning (the ability of a computer to automatically refine its methods and improve its results as it gets more data), computer vision, simultaneous localization and mapping, and many other areas.

But just how big is … Read more

DARPA publishes all its open source code in one place


DARPA Open Source


14 February 2014  –  DARPA … the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency … sponsors a lot of technology through grants to universities and private labs, with projects running the gamut from robots to electroencephalography caps, to software and new programming languages. A lot of that knowledge is open source, but it hasn’t always been easy to access. DARPA is primarily a division of the defense department, tasked with creating technological surprise for enemies and preventing them from surprising us. But it also seeds very ambitious technology that makes its way into consumer applications; the internet and GPS are only two big examples.

Today … awww, on Valentine’s Day … has published the DARPA Open Catalog, a website that aggregates source code and other data for all public DARPA-funded projects. As the press release noted:

Making our open source catalog available increases the number of experts who can help quickly develop relevant software for the government. Our hope is that the computer science community will test and evaluate elements of our software and afterward adopt them as either standalone Read more

Sochi Olympics is a cyber war zone, a master class in espionage

Sochi cyber

Sochi is “the most connected Olympics ever”

By: Eric DeGrasse, Chief Technology Officer and Gregory P. Bufithis, Founder and CEO


13 February 2014 – NBC took a few hits last week for a report that turned out to be almost entirely bogus on Sochi malware, Wi-Fi honeypots and sinister auto-downloads.

But as it turns out, foreign visitors to the Winter Olympics in Sochi are unknowingly wading into a cyber battlefield, say U.S. government and security experts. Large international events – packed with diplomats, business leaders and celebrities – have become honeypots for computer hackers, while Russia is home to some of the most feared cyber criminals in the world.

The Sochi games have already been plagued by fears of a potential terrorist attack and U.S. officials have warned American supporters and athletes about the dangers of attending the games, which began on Friday. But in a sign of the mounting worries over the cyber threat, the U.S. government issued guidance advising American visitors to Sochi to remove all important information from their computers and devices before they travel. They … Read more

The Republicans scramble to learn data science to combat Democrats’ sophisticated data-analytics platform


Data science word scramble



12 February 2014 – President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign relied on a sophisticated data-analytics platform that allowed organizers and volunteers to precisely target potential donors and voters. The centerpiece of that effort was Project Narwhal, which brought voter information—steadily accumulated since Obama’s 2008 campaign—onto a single platform accessible to a growing number of campaign-related apps.

We covered this in detail in our post How Big Data, cloud computing, Amazon and poll quants won the U.S. election (click here).

The GOP has only a few short years to prepare for the next Presidential election cycle, and the party is scrambling to build an analytics system capable of competing against whatever the Democrats deploy onto the field of battle. To that end, the Republican National Committee (RNC) has launched Para Bellum Labs, modeled after a startup, to produce digital platforms for election analytics and voter engagement.

Is this a genuine attempt to infuse the GOP’s infrastructure with data science, or merely an attempt to show that the organization hasn’t fallen behind the Democratic Party when it … Read more

Data Visualization: the 3 questions for passing the “eye candy” test

Eye candy


14 February 2014 – Everyone is talking about data visualization. Business users, analysts, lawyers. Data analytics and visualization are not new. For decades, businesses have collected data, analyzed it using a variety of BI tools, and generated reports. The process may take weeks or months, but eventually a few highly trained data analysts are able to pull the necessary figures from their dashboards and issue static, rearview reports to executives and other employees.

But businesses are finding that this traditional reporting process does not work nearly as well for big data, and certainly is not sufficient to capture the potential value that big data represents.

So everyone is increasingly turning to visualization-based data discovery tools that promote business intelligence to enable a multitude of users to easily integrate or “mash up” data from a wide range of sources — databases, clickstreams, social media, log files, videos, and more. With the aid of high-powered desktops and mobile computing devices users can perform real-time, predictive analyses, and showcase the results, to immediately and visually communicate information.

But it is hard to … Read more