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MIT’s New Language for Big “Sparse” Data, Uber’s Self-Driving Debut, and More – This Week in Artificial Intelligence 09-16-16

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MIT's New Language for Big "Sparse" Data, Uber's Self-Driving Debut, and More - This Week in Artificial Intelligence 09-16-16

1 – 10 Later-stage Startups Join the Seattle Machine Learning and Data Science Accelerator

Microsoft has launched its fourth Machine Learning Accelerator with 10 late-stage startups in Seattle. Chosen startups, spanning domains from manufacturing to social media, have received an average of $5.3 million in funding with $3 million average annual recurring revenue. Startups will gain access to a number of workshops and coaches, as well as business and customer connections through partnerships with the Sprosty Network and their RetailXelerator program. The startups selected include: Cycle Computing; DataRPM; Daometry; KenSci; LoginRadius; Metric Insights’; Pymetrics; Shareablee; Vision Insights; and Versium.

(The full press release on Microsoft Accelerator’s Blog has been taken down as of the update of this post in September 2017)

2 – Faster Parallel Computing

Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have created a new programming language called Milk that works more efficiently with big data programs. In initial tests on several well-known algorithms, the programs written with Milk were four times speedier than those created with more traditional languages. Big data sets often include sparse data, for which today’s computer memory chips are not optimized. Instead of fetching single pieces of data, computer processors typically grab entire “blocks” of data according to a principle known as locality (also fetches as many adjacent blocks of information as it can hold). This doesn’t work well if an algorithm only wants to select 20 specific books out of an online retailer’s database of 2 million books. Milk works in such a way that when a piece of data is requested, it only goes to data items that it knows it needs. The research team presented its new language this week at the International Conference on Parallel Architectures and Compilation Techniques.

(Read the full article on MIT News)

3 – Pittsburgh, Your Self-Driving Uber is Arriving Now

On Wednesday, Uber sent it’s first batch of self-driving cars out into Pittsburgh (though not without ‘safety’ drivers in case something went wrong). In its press release, Uber cited its recent acquisition of Otto, which creates hardware and software for self-driving trucks for shipment and delivery, as fortifying its self-driving engineering group as one of the strongest in the world. One of Engadget’s writers published an article detailing his own experience in riding in one of Uber’s self-driving cars yesterday, noting that while it made most of the moves autonomously on the 30-minute ride, there were some situations in which it had more difficulty (such as dealing with human error at four-way intersections). No announcements yet on length of the trial or where self-driving Ubers may roll out next.

(Read the full article on UBER Newsroom)

4 – Brain-Sensing Technology Allows Typing at 12 Words Per Minute

Stanford scientists have developed technology that directly reads brain waves and drives a cursor over a keyboard at a rate of 12 words per minute – with monkeys. While slower versions of this technology exist, these new improvements apply to the underlying algorithms that translate eye signals into typed keyboard letters. Using monkeys trained to transcribe text on a computer screen (texts included articles from the The New York Times and sections of Hamlet), these latest tests showed significant improvements in both speed- up to three times faster – and accuracy. Krishna Shenoy, a professor of electrical engineering at Stanford, and postdoctoral fellow Paul Nuyujukian, who designed the technology, are part of the Brain-Machine Interface initiative of the Stanford Neurosciences Institute. The hope is that this new interface, which includes use of a multi-electrode array, can eventually be tested and used with people who have paralysis.

(Read the full article on Stanford News)

5 -NVIDIA Unveils Palm-Sized, Energy-Efficient AI Computer for Self-Driving Cars

NVIDIA unveiled its latest AI-based technology, a palm-sized computer meant to be installed autonomous vehicles for navigation and other auto cruise driving systems. The NVIDIA® DRIVE™ PX 2 AI computing platform builds on NVIDIA’s Drive PX processor, currently being used by 80 automakers, tier 1 suppliers, researchers and startups. This newest technology will serve as the AI engine for Baidu’s self-driving car; a partnership between the two companies was announced last week at Baidu World in Beijing. The DRIVE PX 2 will be available to other production partners in fourth quarter 2016.

(Read the full article at NVIDIA News)

Image credit: MIT Research News

Source: https://emerj.com/mits-new-language-big-sparse-data-ubers-self-driving-debut-week-artificial-intelligence-09-16-16/

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Monero’s former maintainer released from US custody

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Riccardo Spagni, the former lead maintainer of the privacy coin Monero, has reported U.S. officials have released him after more than a month in custody.

In a Sept. 21 tweet, Spagni said he was working with his legal team to return to South Africa to address the allegations against him. Authorities in the U.S. arrested Spagni in August on fraud charges tied to alleged crimes which occurred in South Africa between 2009 and 2011 at a company called Cape Cookies.

“I am actively working with my attorneys on a way to return to South Africa as soon as possible so I can address this matter and get it behind me once and for all,” said Spagni. “That’s what I’ve always wanted to do.”

The South African government had been seeking Spagni’s extradition on the charges, alleging he “used false information” to create invoices which inflated the prices for certain goods and services and had funds transferred to a bank account he controlled. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison.

Today marks the first time Spagni has tweeted since July, though someone — presumably his lawyers — did retweet a statement posted to his wife’s Twitter account shortly after his arrest. The legal team claimed the arrest was on account of “his alleged failure to appear in court, and nothing more.”

Related: Liquidators seek expanded probe of alleged South African Bitcoin scheme

The lead maintainer of the privacy coin Monero (XMR) until December 2019, Spagni has been involved in the crypto space for more than a decade. Many know him for his colorful social media posts and wry humor on cryptocurrency projects and industry figures.


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Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/monero-s-former-maintainer-released-from-us-custody

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Coinbase Ventures, Samsung NEXT back Metrika’s $14M Series A

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Blockchain intelligence platform Metrika has concluded a $14 million Series A fundraiser to bootstrap the next phase of its growth strategy, further underscoring the venture capital demand for budding blockchain startups. 

Metrika announced Tuesday that the funding will be used to further develop its blockchain intelligence platform, which provides monitoring and analytics for decentralized networks, as well as to expand its user base. The investment round was led by Neotribe Ventures with participation from Coinbase Ventures, Samsung NEXT, Nyca Partners and others.

Combined with its $3.7 million seed round, Metrika has successfully raised $17.7 million to date.

Although Metrika has yet to emerge as a household name in blockchain intelligence, the company boasts several high-profile customers, including Algorand, Solana, Blockdaemon and NBA Top Shot creator Dapper Labs. Metrika provides an operational intelligence service that helps companies to monitor the health of their blockchain networks and improve their performance.

The continued growth of the decentralized economy has created a new demand for blockchain intelligence services. As Cointelegraph recently reported, this demand isn’t limited to just market participants but is true of regulators as well. Last month, a spokesperson from blockchain analytics firm AnChain.AI confirmed that the United States Securities and Exchange Commission had offered the firm a $125,000 annual contract to help monitor and regulate the DeFi industry.

Related: Coinbase signs new $1.36M contract with US Customs enforcement agency

Meanwhile, cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase recently signed its second contract centered around its blockchain analytics service with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

There’s also growing evidence that the payments sector is integrating blockchain intelligence technology as part of its wider embrace of cryptocurrencies. Earlier this month, Mastercard announced it had acquired crypto forensics company CipherTrace for an undisclosed amount.


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Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/coinbase-ventures-samsung-next-back-metrika-s-14m-series-a

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Bitcoin in ‘good shape’ as long as BTC price stays above $40K — Mike Novogratz

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Bitcoin (BTC) won’t be making Galaxy Digital CEO Mike Novogratz “nervous” unless it dips below $40,000.

In an interview with CNBC on Sept. 21, the infamously bullish investor calmed fears about the latest sell-off across cryptocurrency.

Novogratz on institutions: “I see nothing but engagement and activity”

Despite the macro environment wobbling over China and Bitcoin shedding up to 10% this week, there are few bearish voices among well-known crypto industry commentators.

Novogratz is no different, arguing that the price drop was more so a healthy corrective move for a market that had spent several months in “up-only” mode.

“I think the market got itself a little too long — the China news scared people,” he said, also noting concerns over United States regulatory activity.

For the short term, “very important levels to watch” are $40,000 for Bitcoin and $2,800 for Ethereumu2019s coin, Ether (ETH).

“As long as those hold, I think the market’s in good shape,” he continued.

Looking beyond market action, however, the underlying demand from institutional investors has remained untouched.

“I see nothing but engagement and activity from our investing clients and our corporate clients,” Novogratz added, concluding that he is not nervous about crypto.

Dalio joins Bitcoin “value” debate

Other institutional voices have meanwhile been more tame in recent days.

Related: Institutional investors increase their crypto holdings for 5th straight week

In a similar media appearance, Ray Dalio of Bridgewater Associates stressed that Bitcoin has a “perceived” rather than intrinsic value, despite being an investor himself.

Regulation, he warned, could still “kill” the cryptocurrency’s fortunes, likewise pointing to the United States.

Dalio has nonetheless softened his stance on Bitcoin considerably since he first began mentioning it in public and making an allocation.

“We can get into philosophical debates about what value is,” Novogratz said about Bitcoin’s true worth.

“A Matisse painting can run $100 million because a small amount of people decide they’re worth $100 million. Over 150 million people around the world that have decided Bitcoin is worth something. That’s enough for me.”


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Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/bitcoin-in-good-shape-as-long-as-btc-price-stays-above-40k-mike-novogratz

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