Inside CTO/CIO - August 22nd, 2019 |

Inside CTO/CIO (Aug 22nd, 2019)

Palantir renews ICE contract/Waymo shares autonomous driving data set/Intel chips for AI workloads

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1. Big data company Palantir renewed its contract with ICE to provide the agency with its Investigative Case Management System. The software is used by ICE agents to screen migrants who submit themselves to border officers to request asylum. ICE's system was built using Palantir's commercial Gotham software, which is used for managing, securing, and analyzing data. Palantir runs its databases on Amazon's cloud. Some employees at Amazon have called on the company to stop working with ICE, which they believe is responsible for human rights violations. Under the terms of the renewed contract, worth nearly $50 million, Palantir will also provide testing, data management, security services, software updates, and more to ICE. - BUSINESS INSIDER 

2. Mustafa Suleyman, who runs Google's DeepMind applied AI division, has been placed on leave for unspecified reasons. Suleyman co-founded DeepMind, which Google acquired in 2014. The high-profile AI lab seeks practical uses for its research in health, energy and other fields. DeepMind was criticized for its work in the U.K. health sector for its mobile app to help doctors identify patients at risk of developing acute kidney injury. The U.K.’s data privacy watchdog said DeepMind’s partner in the project, London’s Royal Free Hospital, illegally gave DeepMind access to 1.6 million patient records. Suleyman's applied AI team has essentially been responsible for finding ways for DeepMind to make money but in 2018 DeepMind's pretax losses grew to $570 million with revenues of $125 million. - BLOOMBERG

3. Waymo, which began as the Google Self-Driving Car Project in 2009, released an Open Data set of its massive store of autonomous driving data. It contains data collected from 1,000 driving segments on roads, with each segment representing 20 seconds of continuous driving. That adds up to 200,000 frames per sensor, 12 million 3D object labels and 1.2 million 2D labels. Waymo says it is opening up the data set because there is a lack of suitable data to help researchers improve self-driving vehicle operation. It also has value for helping researchers explore concepts like perception, behavior prediction and scene understanding, all of which could be applied to general computer vision tasks. Waymo said its core business is building the world's most experienced driver, and that it won't be building a self-driving car from the ground up.- ENDGADGET

4. The US Justice Department is working with more than a dozen state attorneys general who are launching their own formal probes into anti-competitive practices by major technology firms. Earlier this summer, eight state attorneys general met with U.S. Attorney General William Barr to discuss the effect that big tech companies -- such as Amazon, Google, and Facebook -- have on competition and other possible antitrust violations. The New York and North Carolina Attorney Generals' offices continue to engage in bipartisan conversations about the unchecked power of large tech companies. - REUTERS

5. The Linux Foundation announced the Confidential Cloud Computing Consortium to boost cloud security. Microsoft, Google, Alibaba, Red Hat, IBM, and Intel are part of the group that will establish standards, frameworks and tools to encrypt data when it’s in use by applications, devices and online services.  Current techniques focus on data at rest, and in transit. Protecting data in use should enable new solutions where data is private from the edge to the public cloud.- GEEKWIRE

6. VMware acquired security startup Intrinsic. The vendor's solution is designed to reduce the attack surface for developers' applications by limiting application privileges. The software works with Amazon public cloud services. VMware says Amazon is its primary cloud partner. - CNBC

7. Intel introduced two new CPUs designed to handle AI workloads in large data center environments. One is designed for training AI systems and the other for handling inference.The two chips are the company's first offerings from its Nervana Neural Network Processor (NPP) line. - TECHRADAR

8. Managed machine learning solutions company raised $72.5 million in its latest funding round. The company is focused on simplifying enterprise AI deployment. On the same day that it announced the infusion of more cash, it also released a new version of its Driverless AI solution. That system automates engineering-focused aspects of the AI pipeline, including data preparation, creating test and validation data sets, comparing models, and deploying the models to production. Aetna,, Comcast, Hitachi, Nationwide Insurance, PwC, and Walgreens all use H2O’s technology. - VENTUREBEAT

9. Research engineers at MIT have created a traffic engineering model to help cloud providers optimize data traffic and help reduce infrastructure costs. The TeaVar model, developed in collaboration with Microsoft, uses stock market financial risk theories to improve the performance of cloud-computing networks through risk awareness calculations. - COMPUTER BUSINESS REVIEW

10. Bitcoin skills earn tech freelancers the highest pay at $215 per hour. Expertise in virtual machine technology and image-object recognition also can earn freelancers top-dollar contract work, according to freelance marketplace Upwork. Systems development skills pay the least ($125 per hour) among the top 20 high-paying tech jobs. - ZDNET

Jennifer Zaino is a freelance writer and editor specializing in business, technology, healthcare and education. 

Editor: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside).

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