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Sci/Tech

Cantor 18.12 – KDE way of doing mathematics

Filed under
KDE
Sci/Tech

Curious to read about Cantor on LabPlot’s homepage? This is easy to explain. Cantor has got quite a lot of development in the last couple of months, also with great contribution from LabPlot developers. There is a close collaboration between these two KDE projects which we hope to intensify even further in future and to make better use of the common code and human resources in order to provide a strong computational and visualization platform for scientific purposes.

In this blog post we want to highlight the more striking new features in Cantor 18.12 that was recently released. Since Cantor can run embedded in LabPlot (see the LabPlot 2.3 release announcement for couple of examples), all the features described below are of course also available for users using Cantor from within LabPlot.

We invested quite a lot into improving the overall usability of Cantor’s worksheet. First improvement we want to mention is the handling of long running and waiting commands. In the past, when executing multiple commands at the same time, there was no feedback for the user which command is being calculated right now and which commands are waiting. In the current release we highlight the currently calculated command entry with a small animation of the prompt. The pending (meaning, queued but not being calculated yet) command entries are also highlighted so the user has the full picture of the processing status.

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How I Quit Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Amazon

Filed under
Hardware
OSS
Sci/Tech

It was just before closing time at a Verizon store in Bushwick, New York last May when I burst through the door, sweaty and exasperated. I had just sprinted—okay I walked, but briskly—from another Verizon outlet a few blocks away in the hopes I’d make it before they closed shop for the night. I was looking for a SIM card that would fit a refurbished 2012 Samsung Galaxy S3 that I had recently purchased on eBay, but the previous three Verizon stores I visited didn’t have any chips that would fit such an old model.

When I explained my predicament to the salesperson, he laughed in my face.

“You want to switch from you current phone to an... S3?” he asked incredulously.

I explained my situation. I was about to embark on a month without intentionally using any services or products produced by the so-called “Big Five” tech companies: Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. At that point I had found adequate, open source replacements for most of the services offered by these companies, but ditching the Android OS, which is developed by Google, was proving difficult.

Most of the tech I use on a day-to-day basis is pretty utilitarian. At the time I was using a cheap ASUS laptop at work and a homebrew PC at my apartment. My phone was a Verizon-specific version of the Samsung Galaxy J3, a 2016 model that cost a little over $100 new. They weren't fancy, but they’ve reliably met most of my needs for years.

For the past week and a half I had spent most of my evenings trying to port an independent mobile OS called Sailfish onto my phone without any luck. As it turned out, Verizon had locked the bootloader on my phone model, which is so obscure that no one in the vibrant Android hacking community had dedicated much time to figuring out a workaround. If I wanted to use Sailfish, I was going to have to get a different phone.

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Innovating Nanotechnology with Open Science and AI

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Sci/Tech

Read how Open Source techniques are driving innovation in Nanotechnology by looking into several aspects through Open Science and AI.
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What Does "Ethical" AI Mean for Open Source?

Filed under
OSS
Sci/Tech

It would be an understatement to say that artificial intelligence (AI) is much in the news these days. It's widely viewed as likely to usher in the next big step-change in computing, but a recent interesting development in the field has particular implications for open source. It concerns the rise of "ethical" AI.

In October 2016, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the European Parliament's Committee on Legal Affairs and, in the UK, the House of Commons' Science and Technology Committee, all released reports on how to prepare for the future of AI, with ethical issues being an important component of those reports. At the beginning of last year, the Asilomar AI Principles were published, followed by the Montreal Declaration for a Responsible Development of Artificial Intelligence, announced in November 2017.

Abstract discussions of what ethical AI might or should mean became very real in March 2018. It was revealed then that Google had won a share of the contract for the Pentagon's Project Maven, which uses artificial intelligence to interpret huge quantities of video images collected by aerial drones in order to improve the targeting of subsequent drone strikes. When this became known, it caused a firestorm at Google. Thousands of people there signed an internal petition addressed to the company's CEO, Sundar Pichai, asking him to cancel the project. Hundreds of researchers and academics sent an open letter supporting them, and some Google employees resigned in protest.

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Programming: ProjectQ and Rust

Filed under
Development
Moz/FF
Sci/Tech
  • Open-Source Software Framework Makes Quantum Computing More Accessible

    To help further this field, Häner and a team at ETH Zurich created ProjectQ, a free, open-source software framework for quantum computing that allows users to implement their quantum programs in the high-level programming language Python using a powerful and intuitive syntax. ProjectQ can then translate these programs to any type of back-end, either a simulator run on a classical computer or an actual quantum chip.

  • This Week in Rust 245

    Always wanted to contribute to open-source projects but didn't know where to start? Every week we highlight some tasks from the Rust community for you to pick and get started!

Deep learning and free software

Filed under
Debian
Sci/Tech

Deep-learning applications typically rely on a trained neural net to accomplish their goal (e.g. photo recognition, automatic translation, or playing go). That neural net uses what is essentially a large collection of weighting numbers that have been empirically determined as part of its training (which generally uses a huge set of training data). A free-software application could use those weights, but there are a number of barriers for users who might want to tweak them for various reasons. A discussion on the debian-devel mailing list recently looked at whether these deep-learning applications can ever truly be considered "free" (as in freedom) because of these pre-computed weights—and the difficulties inherent in changing them.

The conversation was started by Zhou Mo ("Lumin"); he is concerned that, even if deep-learning application projects release the weights under a free license, there are questions about how much freedom that really provides. In particular, he noted that training these networks is done using NVIDIA's proprietary cuDNN library that only runs on NVIDIA hardware.

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Meet the Astronaut AI that Runs on Ubuntu

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Sci/Tech
Ubuntu

Meet CIMON (Crew Interactive Mobile CompanioN). This free-floating Ubuntu-based cyber colleague has been designed to “mitigate” the stresses of, and share the work during, long-term spaceflight.

And to do that he’s had to boldly go where no AI assistant has gone before: space.

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How Docker Is Helping to Save The World (Literally)

Filed under
Server
Sci/Tech

There are many different things that individuals might consider to be a life threatening event and then there are extinction level events, for example an asteroid hitting Earth.

While the idea of an asteroid hitting Earth and ending all life is the stuff of Hollywood movie like Armageddon, it's an actual, though remote, possibility that NASA is investigating, with the help of Docker containers.

NASA is currently developing a mission known as DART - the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, which is a spacecraft that will deploy a kinetic impact technique to deflect an asteroid. Christopher Heistand, DART Flight Software Lead, at the The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) that is helping to build the DART ship, detailed how his group is using Docker.

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Google's do no evil AI style likely to clash with open source approach

Filed under
Google
OSS
Sci/Tech
  • Google's do no evil AI style likely to clash with open source approach

    Google outlined its artificial intelligence principles in a move to placate employees who were worried about their work and research winding up in U.S. weapons systems.

    Guess what? It's already too late. There's no way that Google's open source approach and its headline principle to not allow its AI into weapons is going to mesh. Chances are fairly good that the technology already open sourced is in some fledgling weapon system somewhere. After all, TensorFlow and a bunch of other neural network tools are pretty damn handy.

  • Read Google's AI ethics memo: 'We are not developing AI for use in weapons'
  • Google Plans Not to Renew Its Contract for Project Maven, a Controversial Pentagon Drone AI Imaging Program
  • Google promises not to use A.I. for weapons or surveillance, for the most part
  • Google pledges not to develop AI weapons, but says it will still work with the military

    Google has released a set of principles to guide its work in artificial intelligence, making good on a promise to do so last month following controversy over its involvement in a Department of Defense drone project. The document, titled “Artificial Intelligence at Google: our principles,” does not directly reference this work, but makes clear that the company will not develop AI for use in weaponry. It also outlines a number of broad guidelines for AI, touching issues like bias, privacy, and human oversight.

    While the new principles forbid the development of AI weaponry, they state that Google will continue to work with the military “in many other areas.” Speaking to The Verge, a Google representative said that had these principles been published earlier, the company would likely not have become involved in the Pentagon’s drone project, which used AI to analyze surveillance footage. Although this application was for “non-offensive purposes,” and therefore hypothetically permitted under these guidelines, the representative said it was too close for comfort — suggesting Google will play it safe with future military contracts.

Free/Open Source AI Projects

Filed under
OSS
Sci/Tech
  • How open-source computing is making AI affordable

    computing and the cloud have brought many previously unaffordable IT options to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The same is becoming true of artificial intelligence (AI), although it brings new challenges to all sizes of company.

    Even though many of the commercial, high-profile products are aimed at Global 2000 companies, and others marketed at SMEs are perhaps heavier on hype than intelligence, the smarter smaller organisations can learn, build on and use AI techniques right now, with those same open-source and
    .

  • Free Ebook Offers Insight on 16 Open Source AI Projects

    Open source AI is flourishing, with companies developing and open sourcing new AI and machine learning tools at a rapid pace. To help you keep up with the changes and stay informed about the latest projects, The Linux Foundation has published a free ebook by Ibrahim Haddad examining popular open source AI projects, including Acumos AI, Apache Spark, Caffe, TensorFlow, and others.

    “It is increasingly common to see AI as open source projects,” Haddad said. And, “as with any technology where talent premiums are high, the network effects of open source are very strong.”

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Today in Techrights

Programming Leftovers

  • ThreatMapper: Open source platform for scanning runtime environments - Help Net Security

    Deepfence announced open source availability of ThreatMapper, a signature offering that automatically scans, maps and ranks application vulnerabilities across serverless, Kubernetes, container and multi-cloud environments.

  • Josef Strzibny: Organizing business logic in Rails with contexts

    Rails programmers have almost always tried to figure out the golden approach to business logic in their applications. From getting better at object-oriented design, to service objects, all the way to entirely new ideas like Trailblazer or leaving Active Record altogether. Here’s one more design approach that’s clean yet railsy.

  • Status update, October 2021

    On this dreary morning here in Amsterdam, I’ve made my cup of coffee and snuggled my cat, and so I’m pleased to share some FOSS news with you. Some cool news today! We’re preparing for a new core product launch at sr.ht, cool updates for our secret programming language, plus news for visurf. Simon Ser has been hard at work on expanding his soju and gamja projects for the purpose of creating a new core sourcehut product: chat.sr.ht. We’re rolling this out in a private beta at first, to seek a fuller understanding of the system’s performance characteristics, to make sure everything is well-tested and reliable, and to make plans for scaling, maintenance, and general availability. In short, chat.sr.ht is a hosted IRC bouncer which is being made available to all paid sr.ht users, and a kind of webchat gateway which will be offered to unpaid and anonymous users. I’m pretty excited about it, and looking forward to posting a more detailed announcement in a couple of weeks. In other sourcehut news, work on GraphQL continues, with paste.sr.ht landing and todo.sr.ht’s writable API in progress. Our programming langauge project grew some interesting features this month as well, the most notable of which is probably reflection. I wrote an earlier blog post which goes over this in some detail. There’s also ongoing work to develop the standard library’s time and date support, riscv64 support is essentially done, and we’ve overhauled the grammar for switch and match statements to reduce a level of indentation for typical code. In the coming weeks, I hope to see date/time support and reflection fleshed out much more, and to see some more development on the self-hosted compiler. [...] The goal of this project is to provide a conservative CSS toolkit which allows you to build web interfaces which are compatible with marginalized browsers like Netsurf and Lynx.

  • Monthly Report - September

    The month of September is very special to me personaly. Why? Well, I got married in the very same month 18 years ago. The best part is, I choose the day 11 to get married. I have never missed my wedding anniversary, thanks to all the TV news channel.

  • My Favorite Warnings: uninitialized | Tom Wyant [blogs.perl.org]

    This warning was touched on in A Belated Introduction, but I thought it deserved its own entry. When a Perl scalar comes into being, be it an actual scalar variable or an array or hash entry, its value is undef. Now, the results of operating on an undef value are perfectly well-defined: in a nuneric context it is 0, in a string context it is '', and in a Boolean context it is false. The thing is, if you actually operate on such a value, did you mean to do it, or did you forget to initialize something, or initialize the wrong thing, or operate on the wrong thing? Because of the latter possibilities Perl will warn about such operations if the uninitialized warning is enabled.

today's leftovers

  • CutefishOS Built on Ubuntu Run Through - Invidious

    In this video, we are looking at CutefishOS Built on Ubuntu.

  • CutefishOS Built on Ubuntu

    Today we are looking at CutefishOS Built on Ubuntu. It comes with Linux Kernel 5.11, based on Ubuntu 21.10, and uses about 900MB of ram when idling. Enjoy!

  • Google adds VM support to Anthos, admits not everyone is ready for containerised everything [Ed: Kubernetes becoming increasingly just an openwashing shim for proprietary software with back doors]

    Google has added support for workloads running in virtual machines to its Anthos hybrid Kubernetes platform. "While we have seen many customers make the leap to containerization, some are not quite ready to move completely off of virtual machines," wrote Google Application Modernization Platform vice-presidents Jeff Reed and Chen Goldberg. "They want a unified development platform where developers can build, modify, and deploy applications residing in both containers and VMs in a common, shared environment," the pair added.

  • The Dell Inspiron 15 3501 supports Linux

    With the Inspiron 15 3501, Dell has a 15.6-inch office laptop in its lineup with its technology housed in a slim, matte-black plastic case. The chassis lacks stability: The lid and the base unit in particular can be twisted a bit too much. The matte display (Full HD, IPS) offers stable viewing angles, good contrast, and decent color reproduction. However, the brightness and color-space coverage are too low. The built-in combination of the Core i7-1165G7 processor, 16 GB of RAM (dual-channel mode), and a 512 GB NVMe SSD (M.2 2230) equips the laptop for office and Internet applications. If the storage space isn't enough, an additional 2.5-inch storage drive can be installed. You can also replace or expand the RAM.

  • Linux Foundation raises USD 10 mln to secure software supply chain
  • ISO establishes SBOM standard for open source development with SPDX

    You’re not getting attention because of your choice of text editor or the number of spaces you use to indent code blocks. However motivating those preferences are for you and me, the non-technical world sees them as private choices. You find your code in the headlines for a different and unpleasant reason: open source dependency management.

  • Printed Piano Mechanism Sure Is Grand | Hackaday

    Do you know how a piano works? Sure, you press a key and a hammer strikes a string, but what are the finer points of this operation? The intricacy of the ingenious mechanism is laid bare in [Mechanistic]’s 3D-printed scale model of a small section of the grand piano keyboard. The ‘grand’ distinction here is piano length-agnostic and simply refers to any non-upright. Those operate the same way, but are laid out differently in order to save space.

  • FPGA Boards Add VGA And HMDI Interfaces To The Original Game Boy | Hackaday

    The classic Game Boy remains a firm favorite in the realm of retrocomputing. Revolutionary as it was at the time, by today’s standards its display is rather primitive, with no backlight and a usable area measuring only 47 mm x 44 mm. [Martoni] figured out a way to solve this, by developing GbVGA and GbHdmi, two projects that enable the Game Boy to connect to an external monitor. This way, you can play Super Mario Land without straining your eyes, and we can also image potential uses for those who stream their gameplay online.

  • Art Project Fast And Fouriously Transforms Audio Into Eye Candy | Hackaday

    The overall build is relatively simple. Audio is acquired via a line-in jack or a microphone, and then piped into an ESP32. The ESP32 runs the audio through the FFT routine, sampling, slicing, and dicing the audio into 16 individual bands. The visual output is displayed on a 16 x 16 WS2812 Led Matrix. [mircemk] wrote several routines for displaying the incoming audio, with a waterfall, a graph, and other visualizations that are quit aesthetically pleasing. Some of them are downright mesmerizing! You can see the results in the video below the break.

IBM/Red Hat Leftovers

  • Reach your open source community with content marketing [Ed: IBM has totally lost direction; this is how they think of Free software...]

    Both startups and more established firms are increasingly turning to content marketing as a way of reaching prospective customers. However, corporate marketers often consider the open source software (OSS) community a challenge to reach. This article features ways your technology and content marketing teams can work together to target and reach the community around an OSS project your organization supports.

  • Why digital transformation demands a change in leadership mindset

    Recently a key retail executive forecast that their industry will change more in the next five years than it has in the past fifty. Another executive believes society will change more in the next fifty years than it has in the last three hundred. A recent headline declared that, “We are approaching the fastest, deepest, most consequential technological disruption in history”, and Ray Kurzweil, Google’s Director of Engineering and co-Founder of Singularity University, has said that there will be fourteen internet size revolutions in the next decade. Whichever way you look at it, things are shifting… fast. When you speak with the visionaries and entrepreneurs actually building the solutions of tomorrow, from on-demand retail to vertical farms, and ask how far into this new era we are, almost universally the reply is: “only one percent”. Imagine then, where we will be ten years from now? How about 50? Major industries, from medicine to energy to travel to entertainment, are radically transforming, putting pressure on others such as manufacturing, construction, transportation, finance, education…frankly, all of it. What an extraordinary opportunity this presents.

  • DevSecOps lessons learned during a pandemic | The Enterprisers Project

    As we’ve seen over the past year and a half, the pandemic has accelerated digital transformation and forever changed workplace culture. Increased reliance on digital tools has elevated the value of DevSecOps, as enterprises of all sizes and across all industries realize the importance of automating and integrating security at every phase of the software development lifecycle – from initial design through integration, testing, deployment, and product delivery. My engineering team was no exception to this shift – we had to quickly prepare to build a new Virtana SaaS platform and deliver several new modules, all while working remotely. Here I’ll share some observations, pain points, and lessons learned to help others intelligently embrace DevSecOps best practices within their teams.