Inside CTO/CIO - September 5th, 2019 |

Inside CTO/CIO (Sep 5th, 2019)

Better training for neural networks/New open source service mesh/EU regulators examine Libra digital currency

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1. Developers at Google have created a new framework to build more accurate models for machine vision, language translation, and predictive analytics. The Neural Structured Learning (NSL) technique is used to capture “structured signals,” which represent the connections or similarities among labeled and unlabeled data samples in neural network training. The process boosts model accuracy, especially when labeled data is lacking. NSL allows TensorFlow users to easily incorporate various structured signals for training neural networks and can be used for supervised, semi-supervised and unsupervised learning. - DATANAMI

2. Kadena is bringing its private, enterprise-grade blockchain service to the Azure Marketplace. The free service is designed to deliver high-transaction performance, providing 2,000 transactions per second across four nodes, and to integrate with traditional back ends. Companies can use it to build Proofs of Concept (PoC) for potential blockchain initiatives without making a significant investment in the tooling. Kadena already offers the service in the AWS Marketplace. - TECHCRUNCH

3. Throwback Thursday: The Voyager 1 probe launched on this day in 1977. As of July 11, 2019, it was 13.6 billion miles from earth. Voyager 1 was the first spacecraft to cross the heliosphere and the first human-made object to venture into interstellar space. It discovered a thin ring around Jupiter and two new Jovian moons: Thebe and Metis. At Saturn, Voyager 1 found five new moons and a new ring called the G-ring. 

Voyager 1 accomplished all that using technology from the caveman days. Let's take a look:

The computers aboard the Voyager probes each have 69.63 kilobytes of memory -- about enough to store one average JPEG file.

  • The probes’ scientific data is encoded on a digital 8-track tape machine. The spacecraft has to write over old data once it's been transmitted to Earth to have enough room for new observations.
  • Data is transmitted back to earth at 160 bits per second. A slow dial-up connection can deliver at least 20,000 bits per second.
  • It can execute about 81,000 instructions per second. A smartphone is probably about 7,500 times faster than that.
  • Its original control and analysis software was written in Fortran 5 and some of the software is still in Fortran.

4. Containous SAS is open-sourcing a new service mesh, dubbed Maesh, to help developers connect, secure and monitor traffic to and from their Kubernetes apps. Maesh facilitates the adoption of microservices, which are the building blocks of modern, containerized applications that can run on any infrastructure. The cloud-native networking company also offers a cloud-native edge router that automates traffic management over both Kubernetes and Docker Swarm container orchestration environments. - SILICONANGLE

5. EU regulators are looking into whether Facebook is violating antitrust rules with Libra, its new digital currency. The crypto-currency, which Facebook announced in June, has not yet launched. But concerns that it will create risks for competition has led the European Competition Commission to examine the conditions for membership in the 28-member Geneva-based Libra Association, which governs the new currency. The ECC also wants to know how Libra-backed products and services will be integrated into Facebook’s platforms, how the consumer data would be used and who would own it. - REUTERS

6. CIOs are taking on responsibility for companies' digital transformation strategies. More than half the respondents to a new survey from database vendor Couchbase say that CIOs have been given that task. Only 36 percent of respondents said that business execs in the C-suite have a hand in crafting a digital transformation strategy. Organizations plan to spend $30 million on digital transformation projects in the next 12 months, compared to $27 million in the previous 12. - CIODIVE  

7. Data protection vendor Commvault has acquired storage software startup Hedvig to accelerate its vision for software-defined storage. It will integrate the Hedvig Distributed Storage Platform, which enables customers to provision iSCSI block storage, NFS file storage and object storage, into its Complete Backup and Recovery and HyperScale scale-out backup products. Commvault says that the $225 million deal represents "the crossroads of storage and data management coming together.” - SEARCH DATA BACKUP

8. An unprotected server was responsible for the exposure of hundreds of millions of phone numbers linked to Facebook accounts, putting users at risk for spam calls and SIM-swapping attacks. Phone numbers have not been public since Facebook restricted access to them over a year ago. This is the latest security lapse involving Facebook data after a string of incidents since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where more than 80 million profiles were scraped to help identify swing voters in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. - TECHCRUNCH

9. Seventeen software industry companies made LinkedIn's list of the hottest 50 startups to work for. Snowflake Computing, which helps companies move their data onto the cloud, is in first place. The vendor is growing revenue by 257 percent and has doubled its valuation to $3.9B in its latest fiscal year. It currently has 85 positions open, including engineering positions. - FORBES

10. The official Thunderbolt-based USB4 specification is finalized, paving the way for compatible products to reach the market in the second half of 2020. USB4 will enable 40Gbps speeds, which is twice as fast as the current USB 3.2  USB4 can be used for driving multiple displays simultaneously and multiple data applications over a single link. - 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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