Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 -- A year of change

2014 was for me a year of change, actually many changes...  I have written less in this Blog this year, average of one post per week, while in the past I used to post every couple of days..  Made a note to myself to get better at this in 2015...    

The main nominal change was the change.  In February I wrote a post in this Blog entitled "moving on"  where I reported on career change, after long period in IBM Research I have taken a position to lead societal-academic initiative called "The Institute of Technological Empowerment".  This is a different world,  different in mentality, different in content, and different in the surrounding environment.    The lifestyle is different. I used to go to the office in the morning, spend all day either in my own office or in conference room and get out of work while it is dark outside.  Today there are not two similar days:  I have a nice office (which looks like a combination of a library and art gallery), but I don't go there every day.  I spend a lot of time in meetings outside. I am travelling a lot and driving a lot.  Meeting new people of types I never met -- politicians, educators, artists, media people, subject matter experts in various areas such as agriculture, gerontology, traditional industries etc...  Gaining a new work partners, some of them are amazing people very different from the people I used to work...    

Working now on things related to education and activities to enrich high-school students in the Israeli periphery, something quite remote from what I've done, and getting to some new ideas in multi-disciplinary research...  

Many starts, and 2015 will be a year to accomplish many of the starts....  very curious to read what I'll write a year from today... 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

CEP Market players - end of 2014 - from Paul Vincent

Paul Vincent published the new instance of his series on the genealogy of event processing players, as seen in the picture above.   Note that it includes also streaming platforms like STORM which is not an event processing tool per se, but a platform on which event processing functionality can be programmed.  Such platforms are indeed the most notable shift from previous versions.  

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Starting my own radio show

When asked what do you want to do when you grow up, some people say they want to be pilots, and some say they want to be firefighters.  I was a strange kid and said: I want to work in the radio,  

The years passed and I have gone into computer programming and then into other areas around information technology and gave up my childhood dream, but did not forget it.

A few months ago I discovered that there is a regional radio station located in the campus of the college I am working in. I approached the station manager with the idea to have my own radio show in which I am hosting interesting people talking about technology, societal activities, and the bridge between them.   She agreed to record a pilot and take it from there.    I have recorded three  sessions, and then an opening session, interviewing me (in the picture), and then this week the program went live.    Until this year I have never participated in a radio program, neither as host nor as a participant. Earlier this year I have been interviewed twice in two different radio stations about the activity of the Institute of Technological Empowerment,  Actually I prefer the role of host, it is a lot of fun!. 
Here is a picture in which I am hosting my first interviewer, Rami Gazit.

It is never late to fulfill the childhood dreams....

For those who can read Hebrew, all details are in the Facebook page of the program.    

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

More on storytelling

Ramesh Jain has uploaded his presentation on objective storytelling from the ACM multimedia conference last week.    Ramesh introduces the notion of personicle as "personal chronicle". This notion stands for a collection of events that describe the story of a single person in a specific time context (day, year etc...).  A story is a collection of events that are represented in multimedia fashion, where currently digital pictures are the dominant way of representation.    The objective story is the collection of events documenting the story.  

This is an interesting concept, and I intend to look at the notion of events creating stories also in other areas where events, the interaction between events, and stories interact.   For example: creative adaptive stories using event flows.   I'll write more about this topic at a later phase. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

On the huevent'14 workshop at ACM Multimedia 2014

This is me looks small standing near a slide from my presentation at the huevent'14 workshop.  This was kind of a keynote talk so I could talk for an hour (which is better than a typical conference talk of 20 minutes).  My talk is similar to some recent talks and can be found on slideshare

One new thing is that  I have cited a recent post by Chris Curan entitled: "12 hurdles hampering the Internet of Things".    There is also a position paper co-authored with Fabiana Fournier that is available through the ACM digital library

An interesting keynote given by Ramesh Jain on storytelling.  Ramesh views a story as a flow of events. This is an interesting concept. I guess that the relationship among events is a function of the genre.  For documentary  story events are coming in a sequence of chronological order, in a detective story, the crime is an event, and later events are relating backwards to previous events in the way to solve the mystery.   Other stories have other patterns.  This is an interesting topic to investigate further, and I'll continue to do so in the framework of the work on creative skills which is part of the agenda of my institute.      More about this - later 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Institute of Technological Empowerment -- Newsletter in English

The start of the school year marked also the launch of eight projects within the framework of the institute of technological empowerment.  Typically we report on the activities in Hebrew since most of the stakeholders are in Israel, however it is time to issue a newsletter in English for all the international readers who might be interested in this.  The newsletter reflects the current status at the beginning of November 2014.   

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Michael Jordan on the delusions of big data

Michael Jordan (the one from Berkeley, not the basketball player) gave an interesting interview to IEEE Spectrum.  it is recommended to read his own words. 

Some of the highlights of Jordan's opinions are:

  1. Using brain metaphors for computing is misleading:   computing does not work like the brain, this is also includes one of Jordan's expertise areas - neural nets.
  2. He says that the advances in computer vision lead us to be able to solve some kind of useful problems, but we are very far from giving machine the vision capabilities of a human
  3. "Big Data" is over-promising.  One can prove many false hypotheses using big data methods.  This is similar to building bridges without a theory of how to build bridges,  some may  survive, and some will collapse... 
  4. If he will have $1B to spend on research, he will invest in natural languages processing...

I think that it adds to some other observations about the overhype of "big data" (for example, see my posting on Noam Chomsky's opinion couple of years ago, or Tim Harford's recent article). 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Physical Web - by Google

Google recently revealed the "Physical Web" project.  This project is aimed at "interaction on demand" which will be a standard way that everybody will be able to consume data from devices connected to the Internet (AKA "Internet of Things") without the intervention of applications.   
This idea reminds of the idea of the grand challenge posed by the Event Processing Manifesto that was the result of the Dagstuhl seminar in 2010 and talked about "event fabric".     The "event fabric" challenge went further than get events on demand and also included processing event patterns on demand which I believe will be the next step to create access for everybody.  The ability to compose patterns on demand by everybody is a key to making this real-time data useful and complete the IoT revolution....  I am planned to give a talk related to this idea in early November in a workshop adjacent to the ACM Multimedia conference in Orlando... Will write more on this later...

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

On the history of STORM by Nathan Marz

Nathan Marz, the guy that is behind the Storm Apache incubator project.
Storm has definitely became the most common stream processing platform.  This year I am scheduled to teach a course about business intelligence, and my view of business intelligence includes the real-time business intelligence.  The students will practice Storm. 

Recently Nathan Marz wrote in his Blog about the history of Storm and lessons learned. 
I think it is worth reading... 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Some insights from the talk of Richard Soley in the IoT summit in INTEROP

The opening speaker in the IoT summit yesterday was Richard Soley, the person behind Object Management Group.  Richard talked about the "industrial Internet". He started his talk by having a nice slide in which the Internet now substitutes many thing we have done in the past
However, not everything changed by the Internet, since in many cases enterprises lack the "Internet thinking".  Examples are: manufacturing, energy grids, jet engines, oil and gas exploration and more are handled exactly as were done before.

This is due to the fact that the people involved including technical people are stuck in the way of thinking of the past.

Richard talked about the Industrial Internet Consortium which is a separate entity and not part of OMG (a correction that Richard made to my original posting). 
It has 85 members (at the time of the talk) and growing.  It is intended to study testbeds  in this area.  The Internet of Things is a crucial component in the industrial internet game.

One more insight from Richard is that "people don't read".  Everybody re-invents the wheel, since the current generation of professional people don't read and are not familiar with the state of the practice.  This is consistent with our finding in the event processing area where people prefer to reinvent the wheel and don't even know the wheel exists.  Another perspective of Richard's talk you can find in the article by Chris Taylor, who was the session organizer.   

Monday, September 29, 2014

My talk in INTEROP 2014

My talk on Internet of Things and Personalization is available on Slideshare.  This is a shorter variation (with some additions) of my DEBS'14 tutorial.  Enjoy!
I am also planned to deliver a variation of this talk twice more this week: in IBM Research at Yorktown Heights,  and in Stony Brooks University. 

I'll write more insights from the other talks - later. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

On the Proasense project

I have not written for a while... Busy days.  I'll write about my daily work in other opportunity.

Last week I've spent a couple of days in Athens, Greece, as a member of the advisory board of the Proasense project.  This project deals with proactive computing, which a paradigm that I have been advocating  for several years.  There are now couple of EU projects I know (the other one is Speedd) in the proactive space.  The proactive idea is that problems can be eliminated or mitigated before they happen.   The Proasense project employs two interesting use cases: one in the manufacturing area, and the other in the oil drilling area, an application that we have investigated a couple of years ago.

I am still in the opinion that proactive computing will be a major paradigm in the future, and will follow this project during the next couple of years with interest.   

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

On Fog Computing

Cisco that advocated the term "Internet of Everything" is now advocating the term "Fog Computing". these terms are related.    According to Cisco the cloud computing model is being replaced by the fog model.   
While in cloud computing all computation is done in a remote computing center, in fog computing the computation is distributed between local processing ("at the edge of the network") and remote processing. The relationship to the sensor world is straightforward.   A site might have multiple sensors. Some of the processing can be processed locally, and some need to be processed in a remote place, furthermore, this may be dynamic and tuned in real-time.   The picture above shows the before (cloud model) and after (fog model).   The example is energy system.  There may be processing done in a processor located in a single house which takes into considerations all sensors installed in the house.  There are other types of processing that related to data from multiple houses and need to be processed in a place where all data is available.  

Note that nothing is really new (besides the names).  Cloud computing is a new name for an old computing model that was once called "service bureau".  In the past the "cloud" was a single mainframe, and the edge where collection of dumb terminals.  Now the cloud is a grid, and the edge has processing power, but the principle is the same.    Fog is also an old principle of distributing the work reminding of N-tier middleware. 

I guess that the fog model is indeed more appropriate for IoT scenario than cloud model, in some of the projects that we are now planning within the Institute of Technological Empowerment,  are indeed fog based.  The sensors are going to be communicating with a local processor (which may be as simple as a tablet) with some processing done on the local processor, and some on the cloud.  This brings us back to the idea of event processing on mobile.   

After cloud and fog, we are waiting also for some - wind, rain, and sleet.... 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Gartner hype cycle July 2014

Gartner published its hype cycle report recently.   The "Internet of Things" is now at the top of the hype cycle, defined as "peak of inflated expectation".   "Big Data" which has been there before, and now moved down the line of disillusionment.   Another hype in the height is the "natural language question answering" that was hyped by IBM's Watson.   In the upwords side we can see among other things: software-defined anything, connected home, and prescriptive analytics.    Note that in the right-hand side there are technologies which are considered mature, such as: speech recognition, enterprise 3D printings and in-memory analytics.  "Complex event processing" is moving slowly down the disillusionment path. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

My upcoming talk in INTEROP, September 29, NYC

I was invited to give a talk in the Internet of Things summit that will take place in INTEROP, in NYC September 29. 

My talk will be about "The Internet of Things and Personalization", the area I am investigating nowadays.

Other speakers will be  Richard Soley, CEO of OMG, and John Morris, VP of ComplexIT. 
The moderator is Chris Taylor from TIBCO, a well known writer in this area.

Anybody that wishes to meet me in the NYC area during that week - please let me know. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Book review: The Decline and Fall of IBM

Since I spent more than 16 years in IBM, I read with interest a small book authored by Robert Cringley, a journalist that has investigated the insides of IBM during the last few years. The title is a paraphrase on the famous book: "The decline and fall of the Roman Empire", and indeed when I was young and IBM dominated the IT market it looked like the Roman Empire from the outside.  Cringley starts by surveying IBM's history , getting to Lou Gerstner period where he saved IBM for a while,  while he mentions the good things that Gerstner did for IBM he also mentions some of his mistakes:  building competitive services arm using cheaper labor, which deteriorated the quality, the second mistake is selling the networking business to AT&T, and the biggest mistake according to Cringley is nominating Sam Palmisano to be his successor.

His main criticism is indeed addressed at Palmisano by taking the "shareholder only" approach to extreme (I have written before about the shareholder value myth).  Maximizing the shareholder value, and the "2015 roadmap" making the $20 Earning Per Share as the only game in town.  Kringley claims that by doing it IBM became a cash cow,  Meeting the 2015 roadmap involves financial engineering, such as spending $101 Billion dollars on buying back around third of its shares, inflating the value artificially, moreover, IBM does it with borrowed money.  The problem is not only the financial aspect, constants cutbacks in workforce hurt the quality of service of IBM to customers, and IBM suffered various contract cancellations. He also criticises the HR aspect, IBM is calling its employees "resources" and the workforce reduction is called "resource action".   My note:  once when I worked in IBM we had a meeting of HR director from the USA with all manager, and when she kept talking about people as "resources", one of my colleagues remarked that in the Israeli culture is considered as a big insult, like calling person "it" in English. She tried her best to use the term "people" or "employees", but it was difficult for her, since she really thinks on people as resources, however, people don't like to be treated as resources, and the current policies create a dissonance between the upper management and many employees. Finally he analyzes the areas where IBM is active:  hardware, software, services, analytics, mobile and cloud, analyzes IBM problems in each of the area, and talks about possible solution.    The author's conclusion is quite pessimistic for the future of IBM unless the current CEO Ginni Rommety will make fundamental changes.  He also brings a lot of letters from insiders to reinforce his opinions.

As a veteran IBMer, many of the things he talked about were familiar to me.  I am not qualified to judge IBM strategy,  but there is a general sentiment  among many people inside IBM that is consistent with his conclusions.  However, I believe that IBM which survived more than 100 years will survive this, but probably it will need another Gerstner-like person to get it out of the box it is now...  

Sunday, July 27, 2014


After a 10 days vacation in the black forest in Germany, back to work and to blogging. I have written a few weeks ago about the very unique event of preparing prototypes of devices for disabled people.   
Now they released a short video highlighting the event and some of the most impressive projects. 
Our Institute of Technological Empowerment is going to work with the organizers on additional projects in thee area of using technology to aid disabled people. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Iron Dome: A proactive real-time system that saves our lives

This is a picture of rocket interception by a system called "Iron Dome".    We live in Israel which has been suffering in the last week massive attacks of rockets.  The defense answer to these rockets is an amazing technology developed in Israel which demonstrates the principle of proactive event-driven computing in real life.   The system consists of the detection part which identifies that a rocket has been launched, the prediction part that anticipates where the rocket will hit,  a decision part that decides whether it is necessary to intercept the rocket, this is a cost-benefit analysis.  In many cases the rockets hit empty spaces, in that case it is not cost-effective to intercept them, since each activation of this system is quite expensive.  If the decision is that it is necessary to intercept the rocket, the decision is what is the best point of interception, and  a missile is fired accordingly.  This is a decision support systems with human in the loop.    The missile itself is equipped with electro-optic sensors.    During the last few days this technology has proven very effective and eliminated quite a lot of potential damage to the civilian population.   Many people have been skeptic about the feasibility of this system.  but the results are impressive.  Furthermore it is a good demonstration of the proactive event-based paradigm.    

The blog and myself are going on short vacation in Germany.  Will return in two weeks. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The institute of Technology Empowerment - first meeting

Yesterday we conducted a meeting of people that are interested in the institute of technological empowerment that I am driving, they came from different sectors - academia, high-tech companies, non-profit organization, municipalities and more...  In the meeting I have presented an introduction and initial plan for the institute, and different people presented various aspects -- the societal, the professional behind it, and the various projects we are looking at.   I have posted this presentation on slideshare.  We are also looking for international collaborators.  I'll write more about the type of collaborators we are looking for.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

More on personalization: TOM ISRAEL MAKE-A-THON

Yesterday I attended an interesting event, the conclusion of a three days "make-a-thon" in Nazareth called 
TOM ISRAEL,  where different team made a 72 hours work to create prototypes for products that will aid disabled people using 3D printer technology and various software and sensors.   I attended the final presentations.   Some of them were very impressive, and you may view the challenges on their webpage, although they did not post (yet?) the actual presentations of the teams.    

I have recently written about personalization as the next frontier.   This is a good example of what I meant,  many of these prototypes was highly personalized to the need of a single person  (or maybe a small group of persons).  In the mass production world, there is no business model that can generate those products, however the 3D printer technology can make it possible to create product for individuals or small groups.   

Overall this has been very impressive event, and I'll further work with the organizers to collaborate on projects related to the Institute of Technological Empowerment. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

New interesting slideshare presentations: multimedia & big data and WS02 CEP

Looking at Slideshare, I cam across two new interesting presentations.

The first one by Ramesh Jain, entitled:  "multimedia & big data".  Ramesh used the analog of the "blind men trying to understand what is an elephant" that I also used before in another context, and says that we create silos by the different senses (and media), and discusses the integration of all events grasped by the different senses (and media) to create storytelling.   He discusses some of the challenges of situation modelling and detection in that environment.  The challenges and directions are certainly where I believe the world, and the value of big data are taking us.

The second presentation is by WS02, a Sri-Lanka based company, introducing their complex event processor    AKA Siddhi. This is presented in the context of big data and describes the architecture and the language.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Top five Internet of Things examples according to Nuvem Consulting

Nuvem Consulting published its opinion about the five most useful IoT applications. 
.   According to this article they are:

1. Glowcaps:  The medication taking reminder.
2. bikn:  Help us to find our stuff (keys, phones)... 
3. ParkSight 2.0: Help us find parking.
4. Sightmahine: Help in monitoring manufacturing processes.
5. Airqualityegg:  Monitoring air pollution

Note that the first three is in the consumer space, one in the industry space, and one in the public/  sustainability space.

I guess that the "top 5" is subjective, but all of them are good examples of useful solutions in the IoT space.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

On data centric, decision centric, and situation centric - a response to Chris Taylor's "time and effort we waste on big data"

Some times there are scientific truths,  Nicolaus Copernicus coined the "heliocentric hypothesis", which states that the earth is revolving around the sun, and not vice versa.  His hypothesis was proved as a scientific facts.

The centric orientation is often a question for dispute, in a past post on this blog, I wrote about the dispute between Plato who advocated a society-centric approach, and Aristotle who advocated individual-centric approach.  

Chris Taylor recently wrote in the"Real-time & Complex Event Processing" site a post entitled: "The time and efforts we waste about big data".   Chris used the analog of "Tower of Babel"  and criticized the efforts invested in accumulating data within large warehouses, and the "data centric" approach, advocating another approach  "decision centric" approach. Stating ---  let's architect the "big data" around decisions, identify decisions required first, and then manage data as part of the decision architecture, making it decision centric.

  Let me add another view point here.  

 If we look at the sources of Big Data in 2015, we'll see the most of the data will come from sensors, and the second source is social media, where enterprise data which is the more familiar world became the minority.   If we look at the value of data the "Internet of Things",  one of its main values is the ability to detect situations and act upon them (in either reactive or proactive way).  Thus the center is neither data, nor decision, it is about situations, it becomes situation centric, and the architecture is around -- which situation we wish to identify, and then what data we need for that, and sometimes also what decisions we need when the situation is detected (note, the decision can be trivial, since when a situation occurs there is a single action associated with it, so it is not necessarily decision centric).

We have mentioned data-centric, decision-centric, and situation-centric.   Maybe one of the conclusions we can draw from Chris' analogy of "The Tower of Babel" is that there is no single viewpoint.  

Sometimes there is a need to accumulate data without a-priori knowledge what it will be used for. Medical data, for example, can be accumulated and lead to unexpected results, which will drive new type of decisions, and/or new situations we'll wish to identify.    In this case the data-centric approach is valid. 

In an organized world of structured processes with well-defined decisions, the decision-centric approach makes sense. As an example, when the main process is credit approval, this is a well-defined decision that centers both processes and data around it.

In the new world based on "Internet of Things" - situation-centric might become more dominant, and if we look at where big data really is -- we'll see more and more situation-centric in the universe.

Unlike the "heliocentric hypothesis" which is a scientific fact,  we don't have single scientific truth, but when anybody invests time and effort on big data, one has better to sort out what is the best value, instead of assuming that accumulating data is the value. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Personalization - the next frontier

Back to DEBS 2014.  The last keynote speaker was Manish Gupta, who has been a colleague in IBM Research in the past, and now is is heading the Xerox research center in India.  Manish talked about personalization. He started the talk by saying that in the past everything was personalized - clothes, food, furniture. But only a few rich people could enjoy it.  The industrial revolution brought the mass production.
Indeed most products and services we consume are not tailored to our own individual needs, but rather standard on-the-shelf products.    We are now facing a departure from this mass production trend, and back into personalization.   Manish talked mainly about healthcare   Today, there is a tremendous progress in this area, enabling personalized treatment of some diseases, like personalized cancer treatment based on genetic patterns.  This is true in other areas of life.  We were exposed to personalized advertisement, but in most areas we are still in the mass production.   The current technology enables personalization by understanding individuals context on one hand, and classification of individuals on the other hand.  I'll write more about the technology about personalization, and how the combination of Internet of Things and personalization are changing the world, in subsequent posts. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

DEBS 2014 - the first two days

The picture was taken at the entrance to the computer science building in IIT Bombay where the DEBS 2014 conference is being held.  This is my first visit to India, and it is certainly different from anyplace else I've seen, I'll write about my impressions from India after I'll return.

The first day of the conference is the day of tutorials and PhD students section.   I have already written about my tutorial,  on the second half of the day Nenad Stojanovic delivered a tutorial about event processing on 
 mobile devices, following the start-up he is engaging in now. 

The second day started with the first keynote of Minos Garofalakis who talked about the work on reducing communication cost in stream processing by geometric reasoning.  I am familiar with this work that is done in collaboration with the Technion. Minos presented communication as the most scare resource that need to be optimized, but in answer to my question he admitted that this is only one of multiple factors that affect the performance.   

Other interesting talks were the one by Alessandro Margara about learning event processing rules.  The talk was interesting and his results look good,  however his work is restricted to very specific patterns and also to a derived event that is observable.   Many of the derived events are virtual, and the relationships between events that issue the pattern, and also the different dimensions of context, make it difficult in general to use machine learning techniques to automatically generate rules, and I think it is still largely an open issue.
Beate Ottenwälder gave a talk about reuse of patterns for optimization purpose.  This might be useful in some cases (where there are overlaps between patterns). 

 In the beginning of the day the organizers presented some statistics about countries from where the submissions sent from, and for accepted papers.   Not surprisingly, Germany is the largest country of activities in this area - both in submission and acceptance.  This year the acceptance rate was 9%, the lowest ever for the conference.  The organizers also presented some metrics about citations of the conference that are coming close to the major conferences and journals in the distributed computing area. 

More on DEBS 2014 - later.  

Monday, May 26, 2014

My talk in DEBS 2014 on the Internet of Everything

I am writing this post from the hotel "Meluha the Fern" in Mumbai.  Arrived here on Friday and had also an opportunity to do some sightseeing. Will write my impressions from Mumbai at a later phase.
Today DEBS 2014 started, the conference is being held in IIT Bombay.   The first day has been the tutorial day. I have delivered (by myself, my co-authors did not arrive) a tutorial on the "Internet of Everything".

This is the next in the tradition of tutorials that I am giving in DEBS since 2008.   As usual I have posted the tutorial on slideshare.  The problem with the slideshare conversion is that it messes up the animations, but I guess that it is readable anyway.  I'll write about the rest of the conference soon.  Enjoy!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Do we need Asimov's laws?

MIT Technology Review discusses to a recent article entitled "Do we need Asimov laws" by Ulrike Barthelmess and Ulrich Furbach from University Koblenz.    The Asimov laws celebrate now 50 years and this triggered some discussion.  For anybody who forgot (or never read Asimov - my most favorite author), the three laws of Asimov are: 

1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a 
human being to come to harm. 

2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except 
where such orders would conflict with the First Law. 

3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection 
does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

Actually in a later book Asimov made an exception and defined a zeroth law that puts the benefit of humanity above these laws.  

In the science fiction literature, a notable resistance to these laws are shown in the trilogy by Roger Mcbride Allen in the trilogy started with Caliban.

The article discusses that the three laws were dealing with different fears of people from the concept of robots, and asserts that the three laws were not implemented in reality neither in the autonomous vehicles projects nor in other robotic settings.   Furthermore there were other claims that Asimov's three laws cannot protect us.    Today robots also used for military purposes, and thus are by definition contradict Asimov's ideal about Robots as peace generators.       The authors set a moral principle: 
   "It is not allowed to build and to use robots which violate  Asimov’s first law!
Actually a counter opinion is that it is better to jeopardize a robot than to jeopardize a human in combat situation, the implementation of this moral law has nothing to do with robots, it has to do with the culture of settling disputes in violent way, this is what should be eliminated - but this is another story! 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

PEW Research report on the Internet of Things in 2025

PEW Research center published this week a comprehensive report  entitled: "The Internet of Things will strive by 2025".   This report is based on a survey that 1600 responders participate in.

I have copied the Table of Contents of that report:

I am now working on a three hours tutorials on Internet of Everything that I plan to deliver in DEBS 2014 in Mumbai. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

On the shareholder value myth

I came across a small booklet entitled "The Shareholder value myth" by Lynn Stout.   I now have the privilege to look at the corporate world now from the outside so I can write more freely from my academic seat now.   The book starts with the assertion that during the last 20 years there is a common practice to see the "shareholder value" as the only consideration in corporates' strategy.  Actually when I studied in an MBA program in the early eighties,  we learned that there are multiple stakeholders: shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers, regulators and the social environment, and the management needs to balance the interests.    Since that time the equation has changed to have shareholder as the primary stakeholder. The main thesis of this book is that this is actually a wrong thing to do, since it biases towards short term (the speculative shareholder vs. the long-term shareholder).  Since the author is a professor of law, she starts by legal claims that disputes the common thinking that the shareholders own the corporate, and discusses the relations between these two entities.  She claims that the current economy takes it to extreme by saying that the goal of maximizing the value for shareholders is a goal the justifies all means to achieve it. Stout claims that this kind of thinking is typical for psychopaths, and that most people, thus most shareholders are not psychopaths.

The consequences according to Stout are damaging to corporates, employees, customers and society.  The drive for short-term results, fueled by linking senior executives compensation to short term goals, and cutback of R&D, employee benefits, and quality and affordability for customers.    It also triggers unethical behavior.  The good news according to Stout is that we see first signs that this paradigm starts to decline, however the "Wall Street" culture is still quite pervasive. 

I'll write more opinion about socio-economical issues in time -- still learning it! 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Internet of Things - what's holding us back?

InformationWeek published an article this week by Chris Murphy entitled: "Internet Of Things: What's Holding Us Back".   In this article Murphy describes several reasons that hold us back from exploiting the potential of the IoT.  The reasons he mentions are:

  1. The data is not good enough:  the claim is that the conception that all requested data is readily available is not consistent with reality, where data suffers from quality,  frequency and spatial coverage of the sensors, and data integration issues.
  2. Networks aren't ubiquitous:   The product owners don't have control over the availability of networks
  3. Integration is tougher than analysis:  The main problem is not to analyze the data, but to integrate all data needed for analysis
  4. More sensor innovation needed: The stated areas of required innovation are - combine video sources which today are under-utilized; more-refined and more-affordable environmental sensors; software-defined sensor,a combination of multiple sensors plus computing power that sits out on a network and "calculates rather than measures."
  5. Status quo security doesn't cut it.  Security systems for IoT should be radically different than those developed for traditional IP.
I agree that all of these contribute in one way or another to the difficulties around exploiting the potential of IoT.    Dealing with inexact or uncertain data is a major issue, a link to our tutorial on the topic can be obtained from this blog post.  What Murphy refers as "software defined sensor", is in fact, the ability to use multiple sensors and get sense out of it in real-time,  this is exactly what the event processing discipline produces, furthermore, our work on event modeling contributes to make it simpler. 

I am planned to deliver a tutorial on "Internet of Everything" in DEBS 2014 in Mumbai, where I'll discuss all these issues.  

More - later. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

A webinar on the Event Model with Barbara von Halle

On Tuesday,  May 6,  12:00pm  USA EDT,  Barbara von Halle is going to present a webinar on the "Event Model" that we have developed together (along with Fabian Fournier, Sarit Arcushin and Larry Goldberg).  You can register to the webinar using this link.   I was told that registration to the webinar so far has exceeded the expectation, and Barb is a great speaker.  I look forward to get any feedback on this webinar. 

IoT and the senior citizen

I have not written for a while,  spent a few days in vacation in Rhodes in a family trip - album is available on facebook, and then I was busy preparing a presentation for the board of directors of the college which sponsors the "Institute of Technological Empowerment" which I am now working on establishment.  The presentation is in Hebrew, have not made a lot of presentations in Hebrew recently, and intend to create an English version to share it with larger audience.  When I'll do, I'll post it on slideshare.

I came across a blog post by Stephenson Strategies entitled: "Seniors and the Internet of Things: Empowerment and Security".   As a matter of fact senior citizen are one of the target populations of the institute I am trying to establish, and we are working with experts in gerontology.  The Internet of Things provides opportunities to empower aging population to maintain independent life in various means, by using smart systems that receives events from sensors and determine actions, which are mostly alerts to the person, family, healthcare taker and more.   The cited post relates to health issues, but this can extend to other issues that can improve quality of life and increase the person's security.  I'll write more about concrete projects we are planning later. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

DEBS 2014 tentative program was published

DEBS 2014 will take place in Mumbai, India at the last week of May.   
The tentative program of the conference was published recently on the conference's website
My tutorial on the "Internet of Everything" will be delivered on Monday, May 26th, between 10am - 1pm.
Hope to meet old and new friends there (I'll probably arrive couple of days earlier to tour around).    

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Digital life in 2025

I came across a report entitled "Digital life in 2025", that was produced in Elon University. 

Some of the predictions are:
  1. Information sharing over the Internet will be so effortlessly interwoven into daily life that it will become invisible, flowing like electricity, often through machine intermediaries.
  2.  The spread of the Internet will enhance global connectivity that fosters more planetary relationships and less ignorance.
  3. The Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and big data will make people more aware of their world and their own behavior. 
  4. Augmented reality and wearable devices will be implemented to monitor and give quick feedback on daily life, especially tied to personal health.
  5. Political awareness and action will be facilitated and more peaceful change and public uprisings like the Arab Spring will emerge. 
  6.  The spread of the ‘Ubernet’ will diminish the meaning of borders, and new ‘nations’ of those with shared interests may emerge and exist beyond the capacity of current nation-states to control. 
  7.  The Internet will become “the Internets” as access, systems, and principles are renegotiated
  8. An Internet-enabled revolution in education will spread more opportunities, with less money spent on real estate and teachers.
  9.  Dangerous divides between haves and have-nots may expand, resulting in resentment and possible violence.
  10.   Abuses and abusers will ‘evolve and scale.’ Human nature isn’t changing; there’s laziness, bullying, stalking, stupidity, pornography, dirty tricks, crime, and those who practice them have new capacity to make life miserable for others.
  11.  Pressured by these changes, governments and corporations will try to assert power -- and at times succeed – as they invoke security and cultural norms. 
  12.  People will continue – sometimes grudgingly -- to make tradeoffs favoring convenience and perceived immediate gains over privacy; and privacy will be something only the upscale will enjoy.
  13.  Humans and their current organizations may not respond quickly enough to challenges presented by complex networks.
  14.  Most people are not yet noticing the profound changes today’s communications networks are already bringing about; these networks will be even more disruptive in the future. 
  15.  Foresight and accurate predictions can make a difference; ‘The best way to predict the future is to invent it.’

I like the last one.  I think that the rest are also thought provoking.   Details about each of these predictions can be found in the full report - enjoy!

Monday, April 7, 2014

On latent data

I came across a post by EwanD from Microsoft entitled: “Latent Data” – the secret sauce of the Internet of Things. Since I am interested in both secret sauces and IoT, I was curious to understand what is this sauce. 
It seems that the term latent data refers to data that is typically not available, and also data that does not have any meaning on its own, and need to be aggregated, or joined with other data to be useful.  

Indeed IoT brings to the picture a lot of data that has not been available previously, and in my terminology, much of this data is about event that occur.   Sometimes the raw events are of interest, sometimes the interest is on derived events that are aggregation, transformation, or function that involve multiple events, and possibly also historical data and state information.   Note that when latent data becomes available it is not latent anymore,  and also that latent is a relative term, some piece of data can be available to somebody, and concealed from somebody else.     From this post one can learn what Microsoft sees its role in the IoT era, what I understood is that the role is twofold: both provider of OS for embedded systems, and as a cloud provider.   I am now trying to understand roles of different players in the IoT world, looking for sponsors for my recent activity.  

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Big data - are we making a big mistake

I came across an interesting article by Tim Harford in FT Magazine.   This article in in line of several posts I have made on this Blog, which express some skeptics on the ability of merely looking at statistical correlation in the past to create "big insights". Harford brings some examples for that and concludes that there are some naive believes around the big data hypes.   I'll keep writing more insights about this topic. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Technological Empowerment Institute -- first exposure

I have written a month ago about moving on, I still need to post  a summary of my IBM time, but it will have to wait as I am quite busy in my new role.  The role is an attempt to establish (from scratch) an applied research institute called "The Technological  Empowerment Institute (TEI)".   This is a first of a series of posts about the institute's plan.    

The slide below shows the idea in a nutshell:

The domain that we are looking at is in general, exploiting Internet of Things for societal purposes. 
The mission is to help developing areas, first in the Israeli periphery, in this case, the concentration will be on the northern part of Israel, and developing countries over the world.  

The idea is to create partnership with:

1. Multidisciplinary researchers dealing with technology, the human aspect of creating and consuming smart systems (a topic that anybody  following this blog realized I have been focused in the last couple of years), and the domain oriented research (agriculture, gerontology, healthcare and more). The affiliated researchers will be international.

2. Partnership with high-tech companies for using their platforms and products for the implementation projects (see below).

3. Using students projects and internship program to carry out concrete implementation projects that fit the institute's mission.

4. Partnership with academic institutes in developing countries to collaborate on the above.

In the next series of posts I'll write about each of these items.  I am now spending much of my time in creating all these partnership -- a big challenge, and also fun.