Archive for the ‘Computational Code’ category

Artificial Intelligence, Deep Neural Networks and Deep Learning: Oh My!!

May 26, 2015

♥In Love with Technology♥

I can’t explain how much I love learning about technological breakthroughs. I’m not scared in the least bit by much when it comes to the forefront of intellectualism. I recently read a hard copy article in the May 2015 issue of The Economist titled Artificial intelligence:
Rise of the machines. The byline says… “artificial intelligence scares people—excessively so?” Really? What a bunch of wimps!! People continue to fight enlightenment, progression and change to stay in boxes they have built. Not me.

At a speech in October 2014 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a scholar said that artificial intelligence (AI) was “summoning the demon.” People are paranoid that machines will take over in employment’s race for productivity. With industry powerhouses like Google and Amazon buying AI start-up companies, maybe human worries are justified? We will just find other jobs right? It’s called perseverance.


•Photo I snapped while reading the article in the library.•

Will computers continue to replace some of the things that people normally do? Probably. I loved this quote. “The torrent of data thrown off by the world’s internet-connected computers, tablets and smartphones, and the huge amounts of computing power now available for processing that torrent, means that their algorithms are more and more capable of understanding languages, recognizing images and the like.” Why didn’t I visit the San Diego Supercomputer Center many years ago when I had the chance? I also could have ditched my conference last October to go there! Now that would have been a real memory to cherish!

The article in The Economist said “signs of the AI boom are everywhere.” Google recently paid $400 million for DeepMind. Have you ever heard of DeepMind? If not, you should so check it out!! Pure awesomeness if you like video games. Just Google it and see. There is also a great article in The New Yorker which discusses how deep neural networks operate. Deep neural networks are used by companies like DeepMind. These artificial networks are much like the neural networks in the human brain. It is amazing to read about.

The newest form of AI tied to deep neural networks is now capable of “deep learning!” Computers can learn through the analysis of large amounts of data using algorithms. Freak out on the algorithm Facebook recently deployed. Did you think you were anonymous in that untagged photo? Think again… DeepFace “can recognise specific human faces in images around 97% of the time, even when those faces are partly hidden or poorly lit.” I want to be that smart and write programs like this. It’s not fair!! Male engineers created DeepFace and I give them tons of respect, but why are intelligent women often seen as  domineering? That’s not fair either.


•Smart Woman Army•

Another thing I found interesting in the article was that since most data is labeled by humans, and algorithms need that data to learn better, another race is on. It is a race to develop “unsupervised-learning” algorithms. This way, the need for human labeling is basically eliminated. How accurate will it be? I guess we will see. Artificial neural networks were invented in the 1950s by people with big brains who wanted bigger, faster, more accurate brains! I lovvvvve brains!! I am so not turned off by them!! Haha… These smart people were simulating the neurons and electrochemicals in a human brain to create artificial intelligence. It worked!!


♦"Just watch! Imma make my perfect woman!" (Dr.J before the chemical waste accident that birthed The Joker and this is not Harley Quinn)♦

If you are a brave fellow intellectual and enjoy all things mind blowing, you should read the article in The Economist. It so so worth the read. You can also learn about the interesting problem with AI. Do you know the one thing people can immediately identify that a computer simply can’t define? Porn… Yes… pornography. I guess machines provide plenty of access to porn, but don’t ask a damn machine to intelligently recognize porn lol. We can leave that type of analysis to the humans!

October 5, 2012

This is absolutely amazing!!!!
I love this… ~F

Virtually Pop Your Top

July 24, 2012

A virtual collection of electronic records which can be sorted using your fingers and a touch screen the size of a movie screen. The data can also be manipulated in various ways to improve collection control. This image was taken at the 2012 E-Records Forum in Austin, Texas. An Open House at the Texas Advanced Computing Center’s Visualization Lab was apparently a “highlight” of the forum.

As promised, it is time to mention the most interesting person I had the chance to talk with at the NAGARA/CoSA Conference in Santa Fe last week. I guess when you ask the right questions “they” will come! By they I mean the smart people… 🙂 After one of the sessions, Mark Conrad an Archives Specialist working with the Applied Research Division (Office of Information Services) of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) approached me. He said “aren’t you the one asking about open source solutions?” But of course I was the one! I was so excited to here that NARA is going there!!! I also had the chance to attend a session titled ISO 16363 Audit and Certification of Trustworthy Digital Repositories. The session was delivered by Mark and Technology Specialists from Kentucky. This “Archives Specialist” slash technical guru immediately started rattling off a list of tools and projects that I should take a closer look at. Using his tricked out iPad he started prompting his screen to pop my top. Mark works in the Center for Advanced Systems and Technologies (NCAST). In his position with NARA, he works with computer scientists and engineers from all over the world “to leverage new theories, knowledge, methods, and techniques to advance the lifecycle of electronic records.” Part of the mission of his division includes looking into “emerging technologies.” I must say I about did a back flip when Mark pulled up images of a Visualization Lab in the works. Simply mind blowing! There it was— a virtual filing cabinet. As an archivist, I would be able to process or arrange and describe electronic records by using my fingers and a touch screen. Yes- a touch screen- a virtual system used to arrange collections and sort data- with color codes and all. The volume of records in a particular series is proportional to the amount of data within a particular sector of the collection. In January of 2011, the web administrator of NARAtions: The Blog of the United States National Archives interviewed Mark Conrad. She asked him what he was working on and he said “with the assistance of 17 student interns, I am collaborating on a number of projects. For example, many of the students are currently loading large numbers of files into a testbed that is being used by the computer scientists working on the CI-BER project. The purpose of the project is to provide insights into the management of very large data collections. As the number of files and bytes in a collection goes up some of the systems used to manage the collection break down. This project will help us to identify some of the bottlenecks and look for better ways to build systems that don’t break down as the volume picks up.” He also said he was working with the “Department of Energy, NIST, Naval Sea Systems Command, Army Research Lab, and other Federal Agencies on ways to share information about current and emerging practices for managing and preserving engineering data for as long as it is needed.” Sometimes I am glad that I ask a grippa questions— if I didn’t care about open source solutions, I would have never met one of the most interesting archivists with a technical background ever.

Rock on with the Audacity 2.0 Release

March 21, 2012

Two screen shots of my new version of Audacity 2.0. I downloaded the new version last night. There are some additional features and effects in this 2.0 release. Digital composite created by Felicia (I have such a headphone fetish).

I was so excited to get an email this week about a release of the newest version of one of my very favorite programs (of course aside from Adobe Photoshop). Maybe I should say my favorite open source software, which is cross-platform. The Audacity team released version 2.0 (unicode), which I installed and fully loaded last night. Audacity is a free digital audio editing program written by a team of tech/music junkies from around the world. I guess you could say the volunteer developers are the best of the best. The project is hosted by and Google Code, and the program is available for Windows, Mac, and GNU/Linux (and other Unix-like systems). For those of you who care to know, Audacity has been designed based on code from the following projects: expat; FLAC; iAVC; LAME; libmad; libsndfile; Nyquist; Ogg Vorbis; PortAudio; portsmf; Resample; sbsms; SoundTouch; TwoLAME; Vamp; and wxWidgets.

I have given the new version a couple spins, and it seems good to go!! I fully loaded up this time, and included extras that I was missing on the last version because I didn’t install them correctly… 😦 This time, I made sure to install the additional plug-ins I wanted- including: LADSPA, with close to 100 plug-ins; additional effects and filters; and the LAME MP3 encoder, to export MP3 files. Before upgrading to 2.0, I had to use other programs to get the audio files into the formats I needed. The new version also features an FFmpeg import/export library, which allows the import and export of additional audio formats (AC3, AMR(NB), M4A and WMA). With this option, you can also import audio directly from video files. I can’t wait to mess with that to see how it all works! Looks like a headphones weekend! Now- I’m set…

The New Raspberry: A Computer “Crashing” the Competition

March 1, 2012
There is high demand for the low cost Raspberry Pi as educators in the UK join the open source revolution!

There is high demand for the low cost Raspberry Pi as educators in the UK join the open source revolution!

*****Now that’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout!!!!!***** I wish I could be a kid in the UK… It’s nice to see the educators there are ready to nerd up. That’s where it’s at! It would be nice to see USA educators do the same, and join the open source revolution!

$35 Computer Goes on Sale
Published by Orion Jones on March 1, 2012 via BigThink at

What’s the Latest Development?

The $35 Raspberry Pi computer, which is now on sale to the public, has been met with extremely high demand. The computer is sold without a keyboard or monitor and is mainly a product of the English academy and the UK tech industry. With ports for a mouse, keyboard and a high-speed internet cable, the device can be connected to any computer monitor. “Massive demand for the computer has caused the website of one supplier, Leeds-based Premier Farnell, to crash under the weight of heavy traffic.” 

What’s the Big Idea?

The Raspberry Pi Foundation envisions that the device, which runs on the open source platform Linux, will be used to teach new generations of school children how to program computers. Its release comes at a time when the UK is considering shifting the direction of its national education agenda to emphasize computer programming skills, which many consider essential in today’s world. Although the Foundation wanted the device to be made in the UK, the computer will be assembled in China. A $25 version will go on sale later in the year. 

Photo credit: wikimedia commons

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FYI: Symantec Has Been Hacked

February 9, 2012

If you are one of the countless people using Symantec enterprise products, this information is for you. It is now confirmed that the Symantec source code was snatched up by a hacker with the code name “Yama Tough” in late January. I read several reports tonight, and it is unclear if the entire source code has been released, or if parts of the code have been released? What is clear is that at least some of the code has been posted to file sharing sites such as BitTorrent. This could compromise your private data if you use Symantec. Some of the products at risk include: Norton Internet Security; Norton Antivirus Corporate Edition; Systemworks; and PCAnywhere. Before releasing the source code through file sharing programs, “Yama Tough” asked for 50 grand to keep the code secret. Apparently the hacker was unhappy with the corporation, and started to share the code. You may want to switch to a new product until all this is ironed out if you are indeed using Symantec products.

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Covert Ops on Ops: Apple’s Possible Move from Intel-based Macs to ARM-based Macs

February 7, 2012

Thesis reveals a secret project on Apple’s OS architecture.

***Apple intern’s thesis leaks secret project to port Mac OS X to ARM processors***

Originally published online via Apple Insider on 2.7.2012 by Josh Ong

An academic paper written by a former Apple intern who now serves as a Core OS engineer at the company has revealed that it was working on a secret experiment to port Mac OS X Snow Leopard to the ARM architecture.

In 2010, Tristan Schaap published a Bachelor thesis on his 12 week stint as an intern with Apple’s Platform Technologies Group, a subdivision of the Core OS department. The thesis was originally embargoed because it contained sensitive information, but it was eventually published by the Netherland’s Delft University of Technology several months ago, as reported by iMore.

According to the paper, Schaap worked with the group to get Darwin, the “lower half” of Apple’s Mac OS X operating system, to boot onto an ARM processor from Marvell. During the course of the project, he achieved his goal of “booting into a multi-user prompt,” though some issues still remained due to a “poor implementation on the debug hardware.”

It is, however, highly possible that Apple’s explorations into porting Mac OS X to the ARM architecture were not meant to ever ship in an actual product. The company has been known to place new engineers on decoy projects in order to determine their trustworthiness.

But, it is interesting to note that, according to Schaap’s LinkedIn profile, he joined Apple as a “CoreOS Engineer” after graduation and has worked there for almost a year and a half. His profile lists his 2009 intern position as an “Embedded Bringup Engineer.”

Schaap wrote in his thesis that he faced three technical issues during the 12-week project. Having to create a build system, including a filesystem and kernelcache, from the ground up was one of the obstacles. A stale kernel source was also a problem, since bugs snuck in due to the ARMv5 branch of XNU not having been exercised “in a long time.” Finally, Schaap said issues with the JTAG debugger resulted in an “entire instruction set” being unusable.

In order to get the product ready to ship, Schaap noted that the L2 cache would need to be reworked. Several more drivers would also need to be written for the hardware in order to “fully utilize the potential.” Also, Schaap recommended that several applications be written or ported from other platforms since the userland the team had ported was “not enough to perform the tasks the unit needs to perform.”

Though rumors that Apple has been interested in switching from Intel-based Macs to ARM-based ones have been around for some time, one analyst poured cold water on that likelihood last week after a meeting with Apple CEO Tim Cook. Citi’s Richard Gardner said he walked away from the meeting “with the impression that Apple feels iPad satisfies–or will soon satisfy–the needs of those who might have been interested in such a product” as an ARM-based MacBook Air.

Misek had previously predicted that Apple would being merging Mac OS X and iOS this year with the release of an A6-powered MacBook Air. Last May, a rumor surfaced that Apple had built a test MacBook Air with the same ARM-based A5 processor that was used in the iPad 2. Company executives reportedly felt the prototype performed “better than expected.”

Speculation that Apple would port OS X to ARM has also been fueled by the fact that Microsoft announced early last year that Windows 8 will run on the ARM architecture. However, Microsoft’s strategy differs from Apple in that it is making plans for tablets with a full desktop operating system accompanied by a Metro UI layer on top that is optimized for touch. For its part, Apple has itself preferred to take inspiration from the iPad and bring it back to the Mac, rather than the other way around.

From PowerPC to Intel

Apple spent years preparing for the last major architecture switch on the Mac: the move from PowerPC to Intel. In fact, former executives revealed that the company’s failed effort to port Mac OS to Intel was one of the circumstances that brought co-founder Steve Jobs back to the company. The failure apparently made it clear to Apple that it needed to modernize its operating system, so it decided to purchase NeXT, which Jobs had founded after leaving Apple, to do so.

Jobs went on to accomplish the company’s goals, first modernizing Mac OS in 2001 with the release of Mac OS X and then announcing the switch to Intel in 2005. Parallel Intel-compatible versions of Mac OS X existed alongside the official PowerPC variants for five years prior to the switch, as Jobs reportedly had wanted to go with Intel back then, though he ultimately decided to adopt the G5 processor.

DARPA Brainz Enhance Reality Using Contact Lenses!

February 5, 2012
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency/US Dept. of Defense... Researchers Create New Contacts

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency/US Dept. of Defense… Researchers Create New Contacts

Yet another one of my dream jobs would be to work for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The agency is part of the United States Department of Defense. These knowledge eaters spit fire and develop mind-blowing computer technology for the military. The agency also has a slick mirrored building as the “headquarters” in Arlington, Virginia. Now check out this hot news. Wow!!! I am amazed by this!!! This is real and unbelievable- really… I am due for an eye appointment- wonder if Dr. B can fit me for some of these puppies???

DARPA researchers design eye-enhancing virtual reality contact lenses

Originally published online by DARPA on January 31, 2012 

Currently being developed by DARPA researchers at Washington-based Innovega iOptiks are contact lenses that enhance normal vision by allowing a wearer to view virtual and augmented reality images without the need for bulky apparatus.  Instead of oversized virtual reality helmets, digital images are projected onto tiny full-color displays that are very near the eye.  These novel contact lenses allow users to focus simultaneously on objects that are close up and far away.  This could improve ability to use tiny portable displays while still interacting with the surrounding environment.

Developed as part of DARPA’s Soldier Centric Imaging via Computational Cameras (SCENICC) program, SCENICC’s objective is to eliminate the ISR capability gap that exists at the individual Soldier level.  The program seeks to develop novel computational imaging capabilities and explore joint design of hardware and software that give war fighters access to systems that greatly enhance their awareness, security and survivability.

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