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Nerval's Lobster writes "For most businesses, data analytics presents an opportunity. But for DARPA, the military agency responsible for developing new technology, so-called 'Big Data' could represent a big threat. DARPA is apparently looking to fund researchers who can 'investigate the national security threat posed by public data available either for purchase or through open sources.' That means developing tools that can evaluate whether a particular public dataset will have a significant impact on national security, as well as blunt the force of that impact if necessary. 'The threat of active data spills and breaches of corporate and government information systems are being addressed by many private, commercial, and government organizations,' reads DARPA's posting on the matter. 'The purpose of this research is to investigate data sources that are readily available for any individual to purchase, mine, and exploit.' As Foreign Policy points out, there's a certain amount of irony in the government soliciting ways to reduce its vulnerability to data exploitation. 'At the time government officials are assuring Americans they have nothing to fear from the National Security Agency poring through their personal records,' the publication wrote, 'the military is worried that Russia or al Qaeda is going to wreak nationwide havoc after combing through people's personal records.'"

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Silicon Valley commuter bus route

Taking the bus isn't usually considered a luxury. But Silicon Valley companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, eBay, and Electronic Arts transport their employees to and from work, no matter where they live in San Francisco, on Wi-Fi equipped private buses with cushy, leather seats. 

San Francisco-based design firm Stamen Design tracked those companies' bus routes to figure out where their employees live and how many people rely on those private corporate buses, Geoffrey Fowler of the Wall Street Journal reports.

Stamen mapped out the routes to better understand the connection between San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

"Historically, workers have lived in residential suburbs while commuting to work in the city," the Stamen blog states. "For Silicon Valley, however, the situation is reversed: many of the largest technology companies are based in suburbs, but look to recruit younger knowledge workers who are more likely to dwell in the city."

That understanding of Silicon Valley's topsy-turvy urban geography is itself a bit outdated. When Google pioneered the buses a decade ago, a few hundred employees rode them. Since then, companies like Salesforce.com, Twitter, and Zynga, as well as countless startups have sprung up in San Francisco. What started out as a nice productivity-boosting perk has become an essential weapon for companies based 30 to 40 miles away from San Francisco to court employees.

Regardless, the buses remain popular and essential. Since the routes aren't marked, Stamen utilized Foursquare, the location check-in service, and Field Papers, an online mapping tool, to find the locations for some of the bus stops. Members of the Stamen team also took turns camping out at one of the known Google bus stops on 18th Street in San Francisco. The company even hired bike messengers to follow and track the buses. 

Stamen's research estimated that the buses transport roughly 7,500 tech employees a day, Monday through Friday, and concluded that the unmarked buses ferry a third as many commuters as ride on Caltrain, a commuter train that travels between San Francisco and San Jose. 

Stamen founder Eric Rodenbeck told Fowler that he expected the majority of traffic to come from the Mission District, a young, hip neighborhood in San Francisco, and was surprised to see how much traffic came from other parts of the city. 

"That's a conversation about citywide change," he told Fowler. "Is the city a place where valuable work can happen, or is it just a bedroom for Silicon Valley?"

If you live in the Bay Area, you can visit the "Seeking Silicon Valley" exhibit at the Zero1 Biennial in San Jose until December 8. You can also check out more information about the study on Stamen's blog

 

Silicon Valley commuter bus route 

 

Don't miss: Bravo's 'Start-Ups: Silicon Valley' Shows Geeks Just Want To Have Fun, And That's Simply Not Allowed >

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I am a recent high school graduate, who has been programming in C++ since I was 11. I know x86 Assembler, C/C++ and Java. I won't be learning anything new in CS for the first 2-3 semesters in college. The introduction class, algorithms and data structure classes are prerequisites for the rest of the CS curriculum. I have already taken Data Structures and Algorithms this past year, which was the practical, implementation approach. I am currently watching the algorithms class on MIT OCW to get a grasp of the more theoretical aspects. And I can say that I am understanding it; it's just a bit dry. This summer, I will be watching the multivariable calculus, intro to algorithms and Physics III lectures through MIT OCW. I have had experience in robotics through FIRST; I personally wrote an implemented my interpretations of the PID controller and Kalman Filter, but that's about it. I have followed the first week or two of the Udacity Robot Car class, but never really followed through. What fun thing can I do during summer? Euler's Project is on the list, writing an Android app is on the list. Perhaps, I can really dive into parallel processing through the use of my PS3. But those are all "practical" things.

What can I be doing to learn the more theoretical aspects of CS? To be honest, I really don't know much of what happens on the theoretical side of CS.

submitted by davidthefat
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I'm entering a PhD program in the fall (scientific computing/bioinformatics) and am taking the summer off to travel. As such, I feel like I'm going to have a lot of free time for reading. I'm looking for suggestions for books that I should read that will make me a better computer scientist. I'm not interested in textbooks, since I'll be reading enough of those in the Fall and would prefer topics that I likely wouldn't get exposed to in a class. Also, everything I plan on reading I'm going to have to carry with me for the whole summer, so lighter and smaller is better.

So far I've compiled the following list based off of previous similar discussions:

  • The Soul of A New Machine - Tracy Kidder
  • COMPLEXITY: THE EMERGING SCIENCE AT THE EDGE OF ORDER AND CHAOS - M. Mitchell Waldrop
  • The Society of Mind - Marvin Minsky
  • Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid - Douglas R. Hofstadter
  • Computer Power and Human Reason - Joseph Weizenbaum

What else is there anything else that I definitely should add?

EDIT: Thank you all for your suggestions. I'm definitely going to have a lot of good choices this summer.

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