Thursday, December 1, 2016

Hedger with time on hands bets he can improve boffin computing

Retired billionaire hedge fund manager James H. Simons will fund a research institute to apply advanced computing techniques to scientific problems.

New York Times story by Kenneth Chang, says Simons feels he has identified a weakness in academia, where science students in research so often turn to computer programming only because it is necessary to their research. 

As they move up or out of their profession their software tool creations go too. No V.2.'s 

The software that derives from the “Flatiron Institute’s” efforts will be made available for all scientists, it is said. Up first: Computational biology. Big data analytics seems to be a special focus. 

I am not sure about the premise. So many great programmers started as students in the sciences! So much in high performance computing was driven by academic scientist too. 

Many of the recent advances in big data have happened beyond the ken of science and academia, it’s true. But Spark? Machine learning? Well, much of that work came out of the academy. 

From a press release:

The FI is the first multidisciplinary institute focused entirely on computation. It is also the first center of its kind to be wholly supported by private philanthropy, providing a permanent home for up to 250 scientists and collaborating expert programmers all working together to create, deploy and support new state-of-the-art computational methods. Few existing institutions support the combination of scientists and programmers, instead leaving programming to relatively impermanent graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and none have done so at the scale of the Flatiron Institute or with such a broad scope, at a single location...The institute will hold conferences and meetings and serve as a focal point for computational science around the world.

Would it be good to have a new effort that served as a new hub for advances in scientific computation? Yes. This will be an interesting development to watch. – Jack Vaughan

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Crunch time, Capt.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Moonshot calculations

Catching up with some reading (They promised us jet packs, New York Times Sunday, July 24, 2016). It is discussing Google’s (Alpha’s) shifting strategy regarding Moonshot VC research endeavors. Scattered about in accompanying pictures are erector sets, oscilloscopes, physical things.

Where fail fast once was the mantra it now is fail faster yet.

Head Xman Astro Teller says:  “If you actually want to make the world better – then do what actually makes the world better – and the technology will take care of itself.”

Mr. teller speaks Ted

The key to technology assessment is to segment according to technology employed, vendor
And end use application. Must important may be end use application. But it is not wholly logical. For Google the end use application of the Killer Kilwauskee variety is still advertising. Which is so very based on psychology, or voodoo economics.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Notes for a future article on Mahout

Mahout is changing. Its changed over the years from recommender to core engine for the math part.. What users do is put a surface on it, and tweak the algorithms. Contrast that to using a product like Datameer. It may relatively be a black box in terms of how it does what it does. But there is some assurity that it is a path that is tested and you should have less of an adventure in implementing it.  Just as you may enlist vendor field engineers in order to do the implementation, you may get to a place in your Mahout build, and opt to bring in a consultant.
Let's look at build v buy basics.

Algorithms, audits and CDOs