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A company grows, it shrinks, people come and go. Justin Matejka, a research scientist at Autodesk, visualized the changes for where he works.

The OrgOrgChart (Organic Organization Chart) project looks at the evolution of a company's structure over time. A snapshot of the Autodesk organizational hierarchy was taken each day between May 2007 and June 2011, a span of 1498 days.

Each day the entire hierarchy of the company is constructed as a tree with each employee represented by a circle, and a line connecting each employee with his or her manager. Larger circles represent managers with more employees working under them. The tree is then laid out using a force-directed layout algorithm.

Each second in the animation is about one week of activity, and acquisitions are most obvious when big clumps of people join the company. The long-term changes are a little harder to see, because the branches in the network fade into the background. Recomputing the layout each week might be good for the next round.

[Thanks, Justin]

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Google HQ

The best companies around the world are places where employees are truly excited about coming in every day.

Great Places To Work published its list today of the best places to work based primarily on employee surveys combined with an audit of company policies and practices.

In the past year, these companies created 120,000 new jobs.

“They have developed work cultures that align with their business, encourage innovation and support their employees both personally and professionally, and that accomplishment deserves to be recognized," Robert Levering, co-founder of Great Place to Work, told us.

Out of the 25 companies on this year's list, 20 are based in the U.S. and three are from Silicon Valley — Google, Cisco and NetApp.

Microsoft dropped from its top spot, but stayed on the list. Coca-Cola —  ranked #23 in 2011 — dropped from the list and PepsiCo appeared instead.

This year's newcomers are Accor, General Mills, Monsanto, Ernst & Young, PepsiCo, Autodesk and W.L. Gore & Associates.

25. Mars

Headquarters: USA

Employees: 70,000

Why it's great: Mars follows five principles – Quality, Responsibility, Mutuality, Efficiency and Freedom – and makes it a priority to introduce new associates to these principles as a part of the onboarding process and training, which is available in 22 languages.

What employees say: “The one thing that sets Mars apart from other places is the genuine environment where everyone is willing to lend an extra hand, put in the extra hours or shuffle work around to accommodate our fellow employees – whether they [are] in a different segment or even a different country.”

Great Place to Work determined rankings based on the average score from surveys sent to employees and audits based on the company's policies and practices. Countries must be mentioned on lists from at least five national Best Workplaces lists and have at least 40 percent of their workforce outside of their home country.

24. SC Johnson

Headquarters: USA

Employees: 13,000

Why it's great: Each SC Johnson office has its own Now Thanks! program that provides on-the-spot recognition for great work with praise and a monetary award.

What employees say: “Every day when I drive in there is a security guard at the gate who waves hello. Every day! It may be a different guard, but each one waves to every car that passes. Everyone gets a warm welcome. I love starting my day with a smile!”

Great Place to Work determined rankings based on the average score from surveys sent to employees and audits based on the company's policies and practices. Countries must be mentioned on lists from at least five national Best Workplaces lists and have at least 40 percent of their workforce outside of their home country.

23. Quintiles

Headquarters: USA

Employees: 26,676

Why it's great: When it comes to hiring, Quintiles puts a lot of faith and trust in its current employees for recruitment. About one fifth of Quintiles's new hires come through the employee referral program.

What employees say: “From the moment of recruitment right through to joining the company, you can feel and see that Quintiles is a really great place to work. People are genuinely happy, from the security guard up to the top directors – it is the best place I have worked, and I have worked at many good companies in 25 years.”

Great Place to Work determined rankings based on the average score from surveys sent to employees and audits based on the company's policies and practices. Countries must be mentioned on lists from at least five national Best Workplaces lists and have at least 40 percent of their workforce outside of their home country.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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The centuries-old scientific and engineering idea of progress through observing, modeling, testing and modifying is under attack. Now it is better to collect and examine lots of data, looking for patterns, and follow up on the most promising. The latest example: Autodesk says designers should generate a thousand product versions.

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Electronic music making has had several major epochs. There was the rise of the hardware synth, first with modular patch cords and later streamlined into encapsulated controls, in the form of knobs and switches. There was the digital synth, in code and graphical patches. And there was the two-dimensional user interface.

We may be on the cusp of a new age: the three-dimensional paradigm for music making.

AudioGL, a spectacularly-ambitious project by Toronto-based engineer and musician Jonathan Heppner, is one step closer to reality. Three years in the making, the tool is already surprisingly mature. And a crowd-sourced funding campaign promises to bring beta releases as soon as this summer. In the demo video above, you can see an overview of some of its broad capabilities:

  • Synthesis, via modular connections
  • Sample loading
  • The ability to zoom into more conventional 2D sequences, piano roll views, and envelopes/automation
  • Grouping of related nodes
  • Patch sharing
  • Graphical feedback for envelopes and automation, tracked across z-axis wireframes, like circuitry

All of this is presented in a mind-boggling visual display, resembling nothing more than constellations of stars.

Is it just me, or does this make anyone else want to somehow combine modular synthesis with a space strategy sim like Galactic Civilizations? Then again, that might cause some sort of nerd singularity that would tear apart the fabric of the space-time continuum – or at least ensure we never have any normal human relationships again.

Anyway, the vitals:

  • It runs on a lowly Lenovo tablet right now, with integrated graphics.
  • The goal is to make it run on your PC by the end of the year. (Mac users hardly need a better reason to dual boot. Why are you booting into Windows? Because I run a single application that makes it the future.)
  • MIDI and ReWire are onboard, with OSC and VST coming.
  • With crowd funding, you’ll get a Win32/64 release planned by the end of the year, and betas by summer (Windows) or fall/winter (Mac).

I like this quote:

Some things which have influenced the design of AudioGL:
Catia – Dassault Systèmes
AutoCAD – Autodesk
Cubase – Steinberg
Nord Modular – Clavia
The Demoscene

Indeed. And with computer software now reaching a high degree of maturity, such mash-ups could open new worlds.

Learn about the project, and contribute by the 23rd of March via the (excellent) IndieGogo:


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From Autodesk Research, Citeology is an interactive that visualizes connections in academic research via paper citations:

The names of each of the 3,502 papers published at the CHI and UIST Human Computer Interaction (HCI) conferences between 1982 and 2010 are listed by year and sorted with the most cited papers in the middle. In total, 11,699 citations were made from one article to another within this collection. These citations are represented by the curved lines in the graphic, linking each paper to those that it referenced.

The interactive repsonds slowly to clicks and only works in Firefox for me, but it's interesting to play around even if you aren't familiar with CHI and HCI papers. It works better if you select one to three generations instead of all. Click on a specific paper and you get citations for that paper on the right (brown) and the papers that the selected cited on the left (blue).

Color-coding for categories, authors, or subject could add another level of meaning to this. For example, do we see the subject evolve? Do papers that focus on a certain subject site outside of the main topic?

[Citeology via infosthetics]

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NeoAxis Group is pleased to announce that NeoAxis Engine and it's SDK was updated to version 1.1. NeoAxis Engine is an all-purpose 3D engine for game development, simulation and visualization systems creation. New version introduced significant improvements in rendering as well as new pathfinding system, toolset localization support and some...

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Exporting 3D Scenes from Maya to WebGL Using Clang and LLVM

Google Tech Talk (more info below) November 17, 2011 Presented by Jochen Wilhelmy ABSTRACT This talk presents a way to export 3D scenes from Autodesk Maya directly to WebGL. This aims at simplifying the process of content creation for the new WebGL standard which is important for its wide adoption. A key insight is that Maya's dependency graph can be seen as a graphical programming language which is then translated to JavaScript and GLSL using Clang and LLVM. A public beta is online at . Note that the frame rate of the slides and demos in the video is poor due to technical issues. Please visit the following links to try the demos on your own computer. Slides: "Azathioprine" demo: ABOUT THE SPEAKER Jochen Wilhelmy is well known in the so-called demo scene for creating innovative realtime rendering algorithms and drew many first and second prizes in demo competitions. He also developed the engine for the "Singles" computer games.

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Science & Technology

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xmojox writes "I would like to learn more about Artificial Intelligence and Game Theory. I know these are both large areas of study; however, my main interest is in how these affect decisions in the world. This would include politicians, business people, and general society. I'm not looking for a career or anything; this is just a personal interest of mine. Where are good places to start in these areas for somebody new to them? I'm aware of the Stanford on-line classes, but those don't work with my current schedule."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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