Friday, November 4, 2011

The Fear Index

This morning I have finished reading "THE FEAR INDEX" by Robert Harris, who is known for his ancient Rome novels.  This time he has a "science fiction" that happens in the present coupled with a thriller.  It concentrates around hedge fund that uses AI for algorithmic trading,  and succeeds to crash the market and make a  huge earning by trading in short.   It is inspired by the 2010 flash crash.  

As I am a big fan of autonomic computing and  it utilization in daily life and in the business world, I often encounter people who have concerns about computers making decisions, and computers taking over.  Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clark wrote the famous plot for the  film of "2001 space odyssey" in which the spaceship computer took over, the computer name was HAL, which is backwardly-removed one letter from IBM.    Some science fiction writers like Asimov also have a vision that computers (in this case android robots) will take over the world, but Asimov considers it as a good property,  since he was not a big fan of the human race.

I am not sure we are close to computers taking over the world, but autonomic systems should be constructed with self-monitoring that can be visible.  This is something that we'll be exploring (among other things) within new proposed project we are doing with many partners.   

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

On video streams and events

I have not written in this Blog for a while, last week I have been in a business trip in Brussels and Luxembourg, had a few hours to play tourist in Brussels and chose to go to mini-Europe, in the picture we see the France section - in the background the atomium, Brussels' iconic site.  Travelling in the train between Brussels and Luxembourg I had two observations:  the train accumulates delay, so it is better to  take a big slack of time if you rely on trains in Belgium, also it was interesting to see in stations the amount of people getting off to take advantage of the 2-3 minutes of stopping in order to smoke,  the amount of smokers in Europe in general, and in Belgium in particular is probably much higher than those we are used to in Israel (and other countries like USA and Canada).   

Getting back to the events business - I have noticed Rainer's posting in the complexevents forum, about video camera on the bus in Ireland that he experienced, actually there are various cameras on buses for various reasons - example video cameras installed on school buses whose aim according to the site is: 

•    Deter bullying, vandalism, and other offenses
•    Reinforce driver accountability
•    Document chain of events
•    Substantiate or refute claims
•    External stop arm activated video of passing motorists.

Realizing these goals there is a need to identify the events that need to be processed/notified/acted upon from the video stream.  Some are required in real-time - for example stop fights or eliminate accidents.  There are various other uses of use of video streams as source of events,  I guess that within the "Internet of Things" infrastructure, cameras are important part - while some work on detecting events out of streams exist (e.g. identify car license plate numbers for automatic tolls in roads),  more work is needed to fully exploit the opportunities here