Updates from Georgia Tech

Tiny Vibration-Powered Robots Are the Size of the World’s Smallest Ant
By John Toon – Researchers have created a new type of tiny 3D-printed robot that moves by harnessing vibration from piezoelectric actuators, ultrasound sources or even tiny speakers. Swarms of these “micro-bristle-bots” might work together to sense environmental changes, move materials – or perhaps one day repair injuries inside the human body.

The prototype robots respond to different vibration frequencies depending on their configurations, allowing researchers to control individual bots by adjusting the vibration. Approximately two millimeters long – about the size of the world’s smallest ant – the bots can cover four times their own length in a second despite the physical limitations of their small size.

“We are working to make the technology robust, and we have a lot of potential applications in mind,” said Azadeh Ansari, an assistant professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. “We are working at the intersection of mechanics, electronics, biology and physics. It’s a very rich area and there’s a lot of room for multidisciplinary concepts.”

A paper describing the micro-bristle-bots has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering. The research was supported by a seed grant from Georgia Tech’s Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology. In addition to Ansari, the research team includes George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Jun Ueda and graduate students DeaGyu Kim and Zhijian (Chris) Hao. more>

Related>

Updates from ITU

If we want to solve climate change, water governance is our blueprint
By Elizabeth Taylor – The phrase “fail to prepare or prepare to fail” comes to mind as we enter an era in which governments and communities must band together to mitigate climate change. Part of what makes our next steps so uncertain is knowing we must work together in ways that we have – so far – failed to do. We either stall, or offer up “too little, too late” strategies.

These strategies include cap-and-trade economic incentive programs, like the Kyoto Protocol and other international treaties. Insightful leaders have drawn attention to the issue, but lukewarm political will means that they are only able to defer greenhouse gas emissions-reduction targets in the future. A global crisis demands global commitment. How can we work together to face a universal threat? What of the complex challenges that demand unified monitoring and responses?

One principal impediment is the lack of coherent technical infrastructure.

Currently, our arsenal for facilitating collective action is understocked. Our policies are unable to invoke tide-turning change because they lack a cohesive infrastructure. In the absence of satisfactory tools to make them happen, our policies and pledges become feelgood initiatives rather than reaching full effectiveness.

What tools might lead us to act collectively against climate change? It’s easy to focus on the enormous scale of global cooperation needed, or the up-front investments it will take to mitigate the crisis. But as the writer E.L. Doctorow reminded us, we can’t be intimidated by the process: “Writing a novel is like driving a car at night,” he said. “You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”

We don’t have to possess all the answers as we set out to save our communities. We don’t have to know exactly what we will meet along the way. At a minimum, we must only understand how to use our headlights to see the first few feet ahead of us.

So what is the first step on our path?

It is the substance that underpins our industry, health and survival. It remains a central source of conflict around the world, yet it also creates partnerships. Our first step is water.

Water challenges us with issues of scarcity, quality and distribution. It may seem to be a local issue, but combined with local tensions and a globalized economy, water governance is set to become one of our greatest tests of diplomatic finesse and technological synergy.

If we can properly align local and global water governance and management, we can prepare the tools, the organizational blueprint and the political momentum needed to solve climate change. more>

Related>

Updates from Ciena

How coherent technology decisions that start in the lab impact your network
What is the difference between 400G, 600G and 800G coherent solutions? It seems to be obvious, but is it just about maximum wavelength capacity? Why are different baud, modulations or DSP implementations used, and more importantly, what are the networking implications associated with each?
By Helen Xenos – 32QAM, 64QAM, and hybrid modulation….32, 56, 64, now 95Gbaud? Are they really any different? Fixed grid, flex grid, what’s 75GHz? Is your head spinning yet?

Coherent optical technology is a critical element that drives the amount of capacity and high-speed services that can be carried across networks and is a critical element in controlling their cost. But with multiple generations of coherent solutions available and more coming soon, navigating the different choices can be difficult. Unless you are immersed in the details and relationships between bits and symbols, constellations and baud in your everyday life, it can be confusing to understand how the technology choices made in each solution influence overall system performance and network cost.

To clarify these relationships, here is an analogy that helps provide a more intuitive understanding: consider performance-optimized coherent optical transport as analogous to freight transport.

The goal of network providers using coherent is to transport as much capacity as they can, in the most cost-efficient manner that they can, using wavelengths across their installed fiber. This is similar to wanting to be as efficient as possible in freight transport, carrying as much payload as you can using available truck and road resources. more>

Related>

Updates from Chicago Booth

How machine learning can improve money management<
By Michael Maiello – Two disciplines familiar to econometricians, factor analysis of equities returns and machine learning, have grown up alongside each other. Used in tandem, these fields of study can build effective investment-management tools, according to City University of Hong Kong’s Guanho Feng (a graduate of Chicago Booth’s PhD Program), Booth’s Nicholas Polson, and Booth PhD candidate Jianeng Xu.

The researchers set out to determine whether they could create a deep-learning model to automate the management of a portfolio built on buying stocks that are expected to rise and short selling those that are expected to fall, known as a long-short strategy. They created a machine-learning algorithm that built a long-short equity portfolio from the top and bottom 20 percent of a 3,000-stock universe.

They ranked the equities using the five-factor model of Chicago Booth’s Eugene F. Fama and Dartmouth’s Kenneth R. French. Fama and French break down the components of stock returns over time into five factors: market risk, in which stocks with less risk relative to their benchmark outperform those with more risk; size, in which companies with small market capitalizations outperform larger companies; value, where a low price-to-book ratio outperforms high; profitability, where higher operating profits outperform; and reinvestment, in which companies that reinvest outperform those that don’t. more>

Related>

Updates from Siemens

Paragon VTOL Aerospace adopts solutions from Siemens to streamline next-generation design
By Alisa Coffey – The need for increased performance and reduced time-to-market has led Paragon VTOL Aerospace, a global vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft provider for numerous industries, to adopt solutions from Siemens Digital Industries Software through its product development process. Paragon produces industry-specific drone hardware ranging from security applications for agricultural theft and commuter law adherence to human passenger drones.

Paragon is also partnering with Aerotropolis Jamaica, a national project spearheaded by the Hon. L. Michael Henry in the Office of the Prime Minister, to build an ecosystem for Urban Air Mobility (UAM). The company plans to achieve positive results by reducing time and cost of its product development and testing through implementation of key technology from Siemens.

“Our vision is to provide a portfolio of intellectual property, industry specific drones, human passenger drones, and virtual highway platforms in Jamaica,” said Paragon VTOL founder and oil executive Dwight Smith, a native Jamaican and American citizen. “We currently have plans to implement software and hardware programs in 2019 and begin testing their two to four passenger drones by year-end 2019.”

Paragon has been developing their platform and much of the technology through collaboration with Siemens, major American universities, Silicon Valley experts, and ex-military personnel. Siemens is providing an integrated set of software solutions including STAR-CCM+, Simcenter, and NX for Paragon to design, test, produce, and monitor its extensive range of drone systems. more>

Related>

Updates from Adobe

Maria Brzozowska Makes Magical Realities
By Jenny Carless – “My aim is to empower my audience as active storytellers,” Maria Brzozowska says. “It’s very valuable for me when my audiences are able to relate to my illustrations and create or find pieces of their own stories. It’s like an invisible connection between us.”

The Ankara-based artist and book illustrator describes her art as a merging point of fantasy and reality—what she calls magical realism.

“My illustrations allow the audience to encounter new, unknown lands where there is no definite time or space, and in doing that, return to a sense of possibility that we lose as we grow up,” she says.

Brzozowska grew up in a household of creatives, so in many ways her career was an inevitability, she says.

“I remember being encouraged to look at the world through different perspectives and to ask myself ‘what if?’,” she recalls. “Many of the answers to that question I found in the endless possibilities of being a visual storyteller.”

She spent time experimenting with various media before finding a balance between a digital and traditional styles. She started with a digital approach, but with practice and patience developed her manual skills. “The more confident I became, the easier it was for me to do most of my work by hand,” she says. more>

Related>

Optimizing for Human Well-Being


By Douglas Rushkoff – The economy needn’t be a war; it can be a commons. To get there, we must retrieve our innate good will.

The commons is a conscious implementation of reciprocal altruism. Reciprocal altruists, whether human or ape, reward those who cooperate with others and punish those who defect. A commons works the same way. A resource such as a lake or a field, or a monetary system, is understood as a shared asset. The pastures of medieval England were treated as a commons. It wasn’t a free-for-all, but a carefully negotiated and enforced system. People brought their flocks to graze in mutually agreed- upon schedules. Violation of the rules was punished, either with penalties or exclusion.

The commons is not a winner-takes-all economy, but an all-take-the-winnings economy. Shared ownership encourages shared responsibility, which in turn engenders a longer-term perspective on business practices. Nothing can be externalized to some “other” player, because everyone is part of the same trust, drinking from the same well.

If one’s business activities hurt any other market participant, they undermine the integrity of the marketplace itself.

For those entranced by the myth of capitalism, this can be hard to grasp. They’re still stuck thinking of the economy as a two-column ledger, where every credit is someone’s else’s debit. This zero-sum mentality is an artifact of monopoly central currency.

If money has to be borrowed into existence from a single, private treasury and paid back with interest, then this sad, competitive, scarcity model makes sense. I need to pay back more than I borrowed, so I need to get that extra money from someone else. That’s the very premise of zero-sum.

But that’s not how an economy has to work. more>

Your Job Will Be Automated—Here’s How to Figure Out When A.I. Could Take Over

By Gwen Moran – Automation is increasingly making its way into the workplace, raising concerns among employees about the ways technology will change their jobs—or eliminate them entirely. A June 2019 report by Oxford Economics predicts that 8.5% of the world’s manufacturing positions alone—some 20 million jobs—will be displaced by robots by 2030.

Some tasks aren’t easy to evaluate. A 2013 paper, “The Future of Employment: How Susceptible are Jobs to Computerisation?” found that roughly 47% of jobs were at high risk of being automated with advances in artificial intelligence.

Carl Benedikt Frey, Ph.D., co-author of that paper and author of The Technology Trap: Capital, Labor, and Power in the Age of Automation says predictions around automation’s impact have become very polarized: Either you believe that the robots are coming for many jobs—leaving many with no employment—or you believe it’s going to change the nature of work. more>

Updates from Siemens

Electronics manufacturer controls its production with plant simulation
Siemens Manufacturing Karlsruhe uses the Plant Simulation solution in the Tecnomatix portfolio within the framework of its continuous improvement process
Siemens – Electronics can be produced in Germany at competitive market prices only as long as the manufacturing process is continuously improved. For this reason, the Siemens Manufacturing-Karlsruhe (MF-K) plant introduced the Plant Simulation solution in the Tecnomatix® portfolio to support the company’s continuous improvement process. Today, not only are production lines simulated before they are built, but workers actually control daily production using the software.

“Our mission is 100 percent quality, 100 percent delivery performance and 100 percent waste-free,” says Bernd Schmid, plant manager at Siemens MF-K. “That means we want to manufacture our products with as few resources as possible. This requires that the manufacturing processes operate how we envision them to. Plant Simulation is a big help to that end.” For its consistent use of simulation software, Siemens MF-K was recently named one of the winners of “100 Places for Industry 4.0 in Baden-Wuerttemberg.” The jury of experts recognized the company for practical concepts that intelligently combined production and value chains.

Siemens MF-K is a prime example of the challenges that manufacturing companies are mastering with the help of Industry 4.0: a high degree of variance, continuously shrinking batch sizes and fluctuations in order volume that are increasingly difficult to predict.

For example, the plant manufactures 125,000 industrial personal computers (PCs) per year, but the average batch size per order is a mere 1.8. From 90 million different possible variations to choose from in the configurator, approximately 10,000 are actually used. The life of an industrial PC generation is 2.5 years − short compared to the proven SIMATIC controllers, but long compared to industrial communications where a new product has to be produced every two days. more>

Related>

Updates from Datacenter.com

What is a DDoS attack and how to mitigate it?
Datacenter.com – A Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack is a malicious attempt to disrupt the traffic of a targeted server, service or network by overwhelming it with a flood of internet traffic (Cloudflare, 2019).

DDoS attacks are much like traffic on a highway. Imagine regular traffic moving at a steady pace and cars on their way to their desired destination. If a flood of cars enters the highway at a particular point, it significantly delays or prevents the cars behind them from reaching their destination at the time they should.

In 2018, more than 400,000 DDoS attacks were reported worldwide (CALYPTIX, 2018). In 2018’s 4th quarter, Great Britain was responsible for 2.18% of these attacks, a staggering difference compared to 2019’s 1st quarter of 0.66% (Gutnikov, 2019).

The goal of this attack is to create congestion by consuming all available bandwidth utilized by the target to access the wider internet it wishes to interact with (Cloudflare, 2019). Large amounts of data are sent to the target by utilizing a form of amplification or another means of creating massive traffic, such as requests from a botnet (which is a group of devices infected with malware that an attacker has remote control over). more>

Related>