Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

The Semantic Web (podcast)

February 15, 2008

In the future, it may be a whole lot easier to find information we need, either on the Web or within a company. Within corporations, Semantic Web technologies make it possible to tag data and using Web-based software find and correlate information that may be scattered across a company in disparate databases and software programs. Experts say these technologies will give executives better information and ultimately help them make better decisions

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Waqas Ahmed
TeeThree Corporation

Source: BusinessWeek

Google And IBM Partner To Push Cloud Computing

October 9, 2007

Google and IBM on Monday announced an initiative to advance large-scale distributed computing by providing hardware, software, and services to universities.

The two companies aim to reduce the cost of distributed computing research, thereby enabling academic institutions and their students to more easily contribute to this emerging computing paradigm.

“Google is excited to partner with IBM to provide resources which will better equip students and researchers to address today’s developing computational challenges,” said Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, in a statement. “In order to most effectively serve the long-term interests of our users, it is imperative that students are adequately equipped to harness the potential of modern computing systems and for researchers to be able to innovate ways to address emerging problems.”

The first university to join the initiative is the University of Washington, located not far from Microsoft‘s corporate headquarters in Redmond, Wash. Carnegie-Mellon University, MIT, Stanford University, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Maryland are also participating in the program.

“The reason that we’re partnering with universities is that Google is an engineering firm,” said Christophe Bisciglia, a senior engineer at Google and a former University of Washington student. “We’re working with our academic partners to teach [large-scale distributed computing] to students.”

The fundamental architecture of computing is changing, Bisciglia said. Moore’s Law still applies, he said, but now more performance gains come from processor density than transistor density. “You need to design your software to that it scales horizontally,” he said, referring to the challenges of programming for many multicore processors working in parallel.

“In this age of ‘Internet-scale’ computing, the new, evolving problems faced by computer science students and researchers require a new, evolving set of skills,” Bisciglia explained in a
post to Google’s corporate blog on Monday. “It’s no longer enough to program one machine well; to tackle tomorrow’s challenges, students need to be able to program thousands of machines to manage massive amounts of data in the blink of an eye.”

“This is really going to benefit every entity that goes on to take these students,” said Bisciglia. “They’re all going to benefit from this change. They’re all going to need it sooner or later.”

Large-scale distributed computing, also known as cloud computing, has been touted as the future for years now. In a July 2003 paper, Microsoft researcher Jim Gray — who was reported missing at sea earlier this year — noted that IBM and Microsoft were pushing Internet-scale distributed computing as a new model.

Sun Microsystems has also long been an advocate of what it calls grid computing.

In a statement, Samuel J. Palmisano, chairman, president, and CEO of IBM, characterized the effort “to train tomorrow’s programmers to write software that can support a tidal wave of global Web growth and trillions of secure transactions every day.”

Whether IBM and Sun will develop an ad-based revenue stream to support large-scale distributed computing remains to be seen. Unlike Microsoft, neither company has hedged its business model by investing in Internet advertising technology.

As part of the initiative, Google and IBM are providing a cluster of several hundred computers — Google’s custom servers and IBM BladeCenter and System x servers. Over time, the companies expect the cluster to surpass 1,600 processors. The Linux-based servers will run open source software including Xen’s virtualization system and Hadoop, an open source implementation of Google’s distributed file system that’s managed by the Apache Software Foundation.

Although Hadoop was developed by Yahoo
‘s Doug Cutting and can be seen as enabling Google’s competitors, Google says it supports the effort. “We’re made very small contributions to Hadoop for this project and we obviously very strongly support the project,” said Bisciglia.

IBM’s Tivoli software will handle cluster management, monitoring, and resource provisioning.
Students working with the cluster will have access to a
Creative Commons-licensed curriculum for massively parallel computing developed by Google and the University of Washington.

Waqas Ahmed

The Right Way to Use Web 2.0

August 28, 2007

Entrepreneurs are eager to use the rapidly emerging social networks and blogging tools to get closer to their customers, but first they need to develop a business strategy, according to members of a high-profile panel in a recent discussion at the MIT Enterprise Forum of the Northwest. Panelists included representatives of Technorati, Facebook, and Wetpaint, who offered the following suggestions for best using Web 2.0 techniques:

• Define the business goals your business can achieve by creating a community. One panelist described how Victoria’s Secret created a Facebook community around “Pink,” a line of sweat suits, before the line was even launched. The company successfully used “a two-way dialogue” to build up advance sales for the new product.

• Don’t automatically give up on old marketing techniques in favor of Web 2.0. One panelist asked the audience how many have bought products based on TV advertising vs. Web advertising, and the TV side won out by a large margin. “People are sometimes too willing to abandon” tried-and-true marketing tools, noted a panelist.

• Go beyond starting a conversation with customers. While getting people talking is a good start, “You have to listen to people when they come” to a blog, noted a panelist. Because people tend to trust their own personal social networks more than any particular company, entrepreneurs must demonstrate their organizations are worthy of trust by applying feedback to their offerings.

Opinions Divided on Linkedin for Entreprenuers

The networking site gets mixed reviews in a discussion on the Harvard Startups listserv.
One entrepreneur reports he is down on LinkedIn because “it depends on all its members responding to messages when one member wants to contact another beyond their immediate network.… In every case where I tried to contact someone two networks away, I found the gatekeepers asleep, so my messages were never passed along.”

Another says he finds it “to be very static. The network’s in place, but I’m not doing anything with it, partly because I’m not sure how to use it well.… I like having other people I respect in mine in the hopes that they will ‘meet’ each other, but that doesn’t seem to be happening either.”

Others say they’ve had the opposite experience. “As your network grows, the number of gatekeepers available to a given contact grows as well. Perhaps I have just been lucky, but the ones I asked to pass on a referral have been prompt and helpful.” The head of a startup says he uses LinkedIn “almost daily. Anything from finding valuable information about a prospect…to finding the next employee, finding contacts in a particular industry, geography, and much more.”

Must Social-Entrepreneurship Ventures Be Nonprofit?

Not necessarily, argue two Spanish researchers in a paper published in the Journal of World Business. Analysis of three success stories—a bank in Bangladesh, a hospital in India, and an educational organization in Egypt—”reveals a common feature: All three creatively combine resources…to address a social problem and thereby alter existing social structures,” write Johanna Mair and Ignasi Marti of IESE Business School at the University of Navarra. The Bangladesh and Egyptian organizations “fit perfectly with a for-profit scheme,” they maintain. “In sum, whether social entrepreneurs choose a nonprofit or a for-profit vehicle often depends on the particular business model and the specific social needs addressed.”

More Early-Stage Businesses Leverage Emerging Economies

Consulting firm saw the percentage of inquiries for global businesses increase to 22% of the total, from 5% in the year-earlier period, according to the firm’s chief executive officer, Bryan Howe. Examples include not just outsourcing computer programming to India and targeting suppliers in Mexico, but developing condominiums in Montenegro for wealthy Russians and selling agricultural technology to Tanzania.

Waqas Ahmed

Artificial Intelligence Surpassing Human IQ

August 20, 2007

Many specialists in the field of Artificial Intelligence argue when is AI going to surpass human intelligence. Indeed, there is now an AI Checker Playing system that can play a perfect game of checkers, we know that IBM built a Chess playing machine that beat a top human chess player, thus some say that AI has already surpassed human intelligence.

Of course those are just games and a human mind is capable of multiple intelligences, so when will an AI machine be as smart as the World’s Smartest human? Well, this question has been posed and most AI scientists believe it will come around 2020 or 2030. I completely disagree, why you ask?

Well, you know there sure seem to countless pessimists in the ranks of AI niche scientists, in fact it seems that many humans do not achieve what they seek due to this negative feedback. So we really need Artificial Intelligence to design an artificial intelligent system that can surpass all the humans, who are stuck in linear thought convincing themselves that it cannot be done until a prescribed date.

Who can tell us why everyone is convincing everyone else it cannot be done for 2 decades, why? Just because someone says it cannot be done does not mean it is so. When they say such things it only means that they believe they cannot do it in less time and if they believe that, then they are right, but for others to adopt such a line of reasoning simply does not follow any sort of real logic.

Therefore those who cannot think logically, well why are they in the field of AI which combines various human thought processes with machines of logic? Let’s say the upper end human IQ is no more than 210, which really is not that high when you think about it, why couldn’t we develop a system that mimics human thought processes using many combinations of strategies, why is everyone so adamant about their specific methods, which often can only attain a certain level presently.

Having had many original thoughts on the subject that I have not seen in any research papers, it appears to me that we are about a “half a break thru” from cracking the whole thing right now, not in 20 years. It could come at any time, the sooner the better.

The entire subject is interesting really. Those who predict such a long-term point of singularity almost seem to be promoting job security. Twenty years is not good enough, that is unacceptable. We should not promote weakness, laziness, defeatism or attempt to convince ourselves we cannot do something until some far off date when half these niche scientists maybe dead by then? It is time to bring Artificial Intelligent to the forefront now, not in 2-decades. Think on it.

Waqas Ahmed