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. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

More from the Big Data workshop -- crowd wisdom vs. expert wisdom

Yesterday I spent all day in the second day of the Technion Computer Engineering center workshop on big data.  There were a few interesting talks, and the organizers promised to put the slides of all talks on their website (eventually).   I chose to write about an interesting talk given by Tova Milo, from Tel-Aviv University.  Tova talked about her work on crowd wisdom,  and also presented a video in which a contestant in a TV show who did not know an answer used the option of - ask the audience, and followed the audience to the wrong result, and out.   The talk discussed some means of knowledge acquisition, how to phrase questions.   The examples she gave were: what to do when I have headache,  and I am looking for a place to go for children attraction in NYC and a nearby restaurant which is children friendly.  

I asked her whether in the case of constant headache it is not better to ask an expert physician, and her answer was that people trust the crowd wisdom more than they trust their physicians, well I think it is a function of who the person is, and who the physician is.  When we planned the trip to New Zealand ,    We could use crowd wisdom, there is a lot of material on the web, of course, but we chose to go to an expert travel advisor and ask for a trip plan (including all travel arrangements), it certainly saved us time, but if one has enough time,  getting advices from the crowd is useful.   I wonder if somebody researched the trade-offs between expert wisdom and crowd wisdom, and classified the cases in which each should be used. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

My talk in the Technion Big Data workshop

Yesterday, I gave a talk in the Technion Computer Engineering Big Data days --  the talk dealt with three topics:  why  the Internet of things did not happen yet,  very brief introduction to "The Event Model", and a new introduction of the Technological Empowerment Institute.  I'll write more about the institute soon.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Latency might be subjective

Last week I have been in a short visit to England, served as external examiner in a PhD exam (called by the locals: "Viva"). The exam was strange in the sense that it was the first PhD exam I have ever attended where the advisor was not present (actually he was not invited, I guess it is a matter of culture).   The dissertation that was submitted by Jenny Li dealt with performance metrics and benchmark framework for event processing system.  One of the ideas raised in this dissertation is that the measured latency may be subjective in what it means.   It took me some time to understand the idea, so I'll explain it through example.  

Let's assume that the pattern that we are looking for is a sequence of four events, of types E1, E2, E3, E4.
The two common metrics associated with latency are:

Measurement starts at E4, since the consumer expects to see results only when the last event that closes the loop occurs.

Measurement start at any event occurrence, and ends when the system finishes processing the individual event, which can be merely storing it in the buffer.

Note that the first metric is biased towards eager evaluation, doing the minimal work at the end, and preparing sub-patterns, while the second metric is more balanced. 

The proposed metric is -- start measuring in the event most significant to the consumer, and end at the end of the processing of the pattern.   Let's say that the most significant event to the consumer is E2, then the latency starts at the occurrence of E2, and ends either when there is a match of a pattern, or when the event E2 can be discarded since there is no match.   This can be applicable in cases that all events in the sequence typically happen (e.g. when they are time series events) in relatively fixed differences.   This is an interesting metric, we asked the student to define definite criteria for when it is an applicable metric and when it is not.