Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

+ - Does being first still matter in America?->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs (1096431) writes "At the supercomputing conference, SC14, this week, a U.S. Dept. of Energy offical said the government has set a goal of 2023 as its delivery date for an exascale system. It may be taking a risky path with that amount of lead time because of increasing international competition. There was a time when the U.S. didn't settle for second place. President John F. Kennedy delivered his famous "we choose to go to the moon" speech in 1962, and seven years later a man walked on the moon. The U.S. exascale goal is nine years away. China, Europe and Japan all have major exascale efforts, and the government has already dropped on supercomputing. The European forecast of Hurricane Sandy in 2012 was so far ahead of U.S. models in predicting the storm's path that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was called before Congress to explain how it happened. It was told by a U.S. official that NOAA wasn't keeping up in computational capability. It's still not keeping up. Cliff Mass, a professor of meteorology at the University of Washington, wrote on his blog last month that the U.S. is "rapidly falling behind leading weather prediction centers around the world" because it has yet to catch up in computational capability to Europe. That criticism followed the $128 million recent purchase a Cray supercomputer by the U.K.'s Met Office, its meteorological agency."
Link to Original Source

+ - U.S. sets sights on 300 petaflop supercomputer->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs (1096431) writes "U.S. officials Friday announced plans to spend $325 million on two new supercomputers, one of which may eventually be built to support speeds of up to 300 petaflops. The U.S. Department of Energy, the major funder of supercomputers used for scientific research, wants to have the two systems – each with a base speed of 150 petaflops – possibly running by 2017. Going beyond the base speed to reach 300 petaflops will take additional government approvals. If the world stands still, the U.S. may conceivably regain the lead in supercomputing speed from China with these new systems. How adequate this planned investment will look three years from now is a question. Lawmakers weren't reading from the same script as U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz when it came to assessing the U.S.'s place in the supercomputing world. Moniz said the awards "will ensure the United States retains global leadership in supercomputing." But Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.) put U.S. leadership in the past tense. "Supercomputing is one of those things that we can step up and lead the world again," he said."
Link to Original Source

+ - Hypocrisy and White House connections help IT outsourcing firms->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs (1096431) writes "The liberal group Center for American Progress (CAP) advocates restricting the use of H-1B visas by offshore outsourcing firms. Its recommendations are designed to get offshore outsourcing firms to hire more U.S. workers and curb their ability to move jobs out of the U.S. That stance didn't stop one of the center's board members, Carol Browner, from being as a director at Infosys, the Bangalore, India-based IT services firm that is one of the largest users of the H-1B visa. Why would Browner, who served as an assistant to President Obama and director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy from 2009 to 2011, take a position as an Infosys director? CAP backs policies that would hurt outsourcing firms such as Infosys which rely on large numbers of workers on temporary work visas."
Link to Original Source

+ - New book argues automation is making software developers less capable ->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs (1096431) writes "Nicholas Carr, who stirred up the tech world with his 2003 essay, IT Doesn't Matter in the Harvard Business Review, has published a new book, The Glass Cage, Automation and Us, that looks at the impact of automation of higher-level jobs. It examines the possibility that businesses are moving too quickly to automate white collar jobs. It also argues that the software profession's push to "to ease the strain of thinking is taking a toll on their own [developer] skills." In an interview, Carr was asked if software developers are becoming less capable. He said, "I think in many cases they are. Not in all cases. We see concerns — this is the kind of tricky balancing act that we always have to engage in when we automate — and the question is: Is the automation pushing people up to higher level of skills or is it turning them into machine operators or computer operators — people who end up de-skilled by the process and have less interesting work?I certainly think we see it in software programming itself. If you can look to integrated development environments, other automated tools, to automate tasks that you have already mastered, and that have thus become routine to you that can free up your time, [that] frees up your mental energy to think about harder problems. On the other hand, if we use automation to simply replace hard work, and therefore prevent you from fully mastering various levels of skills, it can actually have the opposite effect. Instead of lifting you up, it can establish a ceiling above which your mastery can't go because you're simply not practicing the fundamental skills that are required as kind of a baseline to jump to the next level.""
Link to Original Source

+ - Computer scientists say meme research doesn't threaten free speech->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs (1096431) writes "In a letter to lawmakers Tuesday, five of the nation's top computing research organizations defended a research grant to study how information goes viral. The groups were responding to claims that the government-funded effort could help create a 1984-type surveillance state. The controversy arises over a nearly $1 million research grant to researchers at Indiana University (IU) to investigate "why some ideas cause viral explosions while others are quickly forgotten," particularly on Twitter. The groups, which include Computing Research Association, Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, Association for Computing Machinery, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and USENIX Association, all countered the claims by U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), who heads the science committee, that the effort, known as Truthy, attacks free speech. "We do not believe this work represents a threat to free speech or a suppression of any type of speech over the internet," the letter said. "The tools developed in the course of this research are capable of making no political judgments, no prognostications, and no editorial comments, nor do they provide any capability for exerting any control over the Twitter stream they analyze," the wrote. The controversy over Truthy may be just another sign of the ongoing deterioration between the science community and lawmakers over basic research funding as well as the science itself."
Link to Original Source

+ - HP Unveils Industrial 3D Printer 10X Faster, 50% Cheaper Than Current Systems->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 (935744) writes "HP today announced an 3D industrial printer that it said will be half the cost of current additive manufacturing systems while also 10 times faster, enabling production parts to be built. The company also announced Sprout, a new immersive computing platform that combines a 23-in touch screen monitor and horizontal capacitive touch mat with a scanner, depth sensor, hi-res camera, and projector in a single desktop device. HP's Multi Jet Fusion printer will be offered to beta customers early next year and is expected to be generally available in 2016. The machine uses a print bar with 30,000 nozzles spraying 350 million drops a second of thermoplastic or other materials onto a print platform. The Multi Jet Fusion printer uses fused deposition modeling, an additive manufacturing technology first invented in 1990. the printer works by first laying down a layer of powder material across a build area. Then a fusing agent is selectively applied with the page-wide print bar. Then the same print bar applies a detailing agent at the parts edge to give high definition. The material is then exposed to an energy source that fuses it."
Link to Original Source

+ - If Ebola's a problem here, just imagine it in India->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs (1096431) writes "As the U.S. has discovered, it just takes a few cases of Ebola to turn things upside down. Months into the outbreak in West Africa, federal and state officials are still fighting over quarantine policies and travel bans, and reacting in disruptive fashion to the threat. But an Ebola outbreak in India, for instance, could create problems in the U.S. because of its role as a major IT services provider. "Ebola cases showing up in urban India area would be a nightmare," said Andrew Schroeder, director of research and analysis for Direct Relief, a nonprofit that provides medical assistance to areas in need of help. Dense populations, living in slums with poor sanitation and inadequate medical help, would complicate an Ebola fight. Everest Group, an outsourcing research firm said, that in India, IT organizations often make bus transportation available to team members, and it’s easy to imagine an Ebola-related scenario in which bus transportation is shut down. Working from home may not be an option, since lack of connectivity and security concerns "often make working remotely from homes not possible," said Marvin Newell, a partner at Everest. Craig Wright, a partner at outsourcing consulting firm Pace Harmon, said that a valid response to any such Ebola outbreak would be similar to a tsunami, "where access to facilities and resources within a region may be denied for an extended period of time.""
Link to Original Source

+ - USA Today's Susan Page: Obama admin most 'dangerous' to media in history->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "At some point, a compendium of condemnations against the Obama administration’s record of media transparency (actually, opacity) must be assembled. Notable quotations in this vein come from former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson, who said, “It is the most secretive White House that I have ever been involved in covering”; New York Times reporter James Risen, who said, “I think Obama hates the press”; and CBS News’s Bob Schieffer, who said, “This administration exercises more control than George W. Bush’s did, and his before that.”

USA Today Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page has added a sharper edge to this set of knives. Speaking Saturday at a White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) seminar, Page called the current White House not only “more restrictive” but also “more dangerous” to the press than any other in history, a clear reference to the Obama administration’s leak investigations and its naming of reporter James Rosen as a possible “co-conspirator” in a violation of the Espionage Act."

Link to Original Source

+ - Inexplicably, Feds set to destroy H-1B records->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs (1096431) writes "In a notice posted last week, the U.S. Department of Labor said that records used for labor certification, whether in paper or electronic, "are temporary records and subject to destruction" after five years, under a new policy. There was no explanation for the change, and it is perplexing to researchers. The records under threat are called Labor Condition Applications (LCA), which identify the H-1B employer, worksite, the prevailing wage, and the wage paid to the worker. "Throwing information away is anathema to the pursuit of knowledge and akin to willful stupidity or, worse, defacing Buddhist statues," said Lindsay Lowell, director of policy studies at the Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown University. "It undermines our ability to evaluate what the government does and, in today's world, retaining electronic records like the LCA is next to costless," he said. The cost of storage can't be an issue for the government's $80 billion IT budget: A full year's worth of LCA data is less than 1GB."
Link to Original Source

+ - Automation arrives at restaurants, but not because of minimum wage hikes->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs (1096431) writes "McDonald's this week told financial analysts of its plans to install self-ordering kiosks and mobile ordering at its restaurants. This news prompted the Wall Street Journal to editorialize, in " Minimum Wage Backfire ," that while it may be true for McDonald's to say that its tech plans will improve customer experience, the move is also "a convenient way...to justify a reduction in the chain's global workforce." Minimum wage increase advocates, the Journal argued, are speeding along an automation backlash. But banks have long relied on ATMs, and grocery stores, including Walmart, have deployed self-service checkouts. In contrast, McDonald's hasn't changed its basic system of taking orders since its founding in the 1950s, said Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic, a research group focused on the restaurant industry. While mobile, kiosks and table ordering systems may help reduce labor costs, the automated self-serve technology is seen as an essential. It will take the stress out of ordering (lines) at fast food restaurants, and the wait for checks at more casual restaurants. It also helps with upselling and membership to loyalty programs. People who can order a drink refill off a tablet, instead of waving down waitstaff, may be more inclined to do so. Moreover, analysts say younger customers want self-service options."
Link to Original Source

+ - IBM's chip business sale to UAE investor firm to get U.S. security review->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs (1096431) writes "IBM is an officially sanctioned trusted supplier to the U.S. Defense Dept., and the transfer of its semiconductor manufacturing to GlobalFoundries, a U.S.-based firm owned by investors in Abu Dhabi, will get U.S. scrutiny. Retired U.S. Army Brig. Gen. John Adams, who authored a report last year for an industry group about U.S. supply chain vulnerabilities and national security, said regulators will have to look closely. "I don't want cast aspersions unnecessarily on Abu Dubai — but they're not Canada," said Adams "I think that the news that we may be selling part of our supply chain for semiconductors to a foreign investor is actually bad news.""
Link to Original Source

+ - Researchers Scrambling to Build Ebola-Fighting Robots->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 (935744) writes "U.S. robotics researchers from around the country are collaborating on a project to build autonomous vehicles that could deliver food and medicine, and telepresence robots that could safely decontaminate equipment and help bury the victims of Ebola. Organizers of Safety Robotics for Ebola Workers are planning a workshop on Nov. 7. that will be co-hosted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Texas A&M, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the University of California, Berkeley. "We are trying to identify the technologies that can help human workers minimize their contact with Ebola. Whatever technology we deploy, there will be a human in the loop. We are not trying to replace human caregivers. We are trying to minimize contact," said Taskin Padir, an assistant professor of robotics engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute."
Link to Original Source

+ - Property forfeiture used H-1B cases; feds target 'gorgeous contemporary'->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs (1096431) writes "In an H-1B fraud case in Texas, the U.S. is using forfeiture laws to try and extract a heavy price from the defendants. The government's complaint list of the items it's seeking through forfeiture. It includes a large, spacious house in Frisco, Texas, with a home movie theater, gym, large windows and soaring ceilings on a palm tree landscaped property. It's described in a real estate video as "gorgeous." The government has used forfeiture laws in other H-1B cases. In 2011, it sent one man to prison for six months and imposed nearly $300,000 in forfeiture penalties in a New Jersey H-1B fraud case. In August, a California man forfeited $100,000 arising out of his H-1B visa fraud scheme."
Link to Original Source

+ - Bill Gates Thinks Thomas Piketty's Attack On Inequality Is Right->

Submitted by rvw
rvw (755107) writes "Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates essentially concurs with French economist Thomas Piketty's landmark book on income inequality, according to a review Gates published on his own blog Monday. Those "most important" conclusions? High levels of income inequality are bad, capitalism cannot fix inequality on its own, and government action can help break the vicious cycle in which inequality begets more severe inequality.

It's appropriate that Gates reviewed the book, because he and his philanthropic foundation are actually mentioned to buttress Piketty's argument. After he became a very, very rich man, Gates stopped laboring and focused instead on giving away his money. Yet, more than a decade later, his wealth has actually skyrocketed. In 1998, Gates' net worth was valued at $50 billion. By October 2014, that number had increased nearly 60 percent to $79.3 billion, despite his having given away tens of billions of dollars."

Link to Original Source

+ - Journalists Route Around White House Press Office

Submitted by Tailhook
Tailhook (98486) writes "Pool reports written by White House correspondents are distributed to news organizations via the White House Press Office. Reporters have alleged that the Obama White House exploits its role as distributor to `demand changes in pool reports' and has used this power to `steer coverage in a more favorable direction.' Now a group of 90 print journalists has begun privately distributing their work through Google Groups, independent of the Press Office. Their intent is to `create an independent pool-reporting system for print and online recipients.'"

Lo! Men have become the tool of their tools. -- Henry David Thoreau

Working...