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100TB Tech News: May 15, 2017

Published May 15, 2017 by 100TB Team


This week we have seen some massive large scale plans launched for Facebook, Blackboard and Dell. Facebook has announced a new AI making use of convolutional neural networks that aims to circumnavigate language barriers around the world. The new AI uses Convolution Neural Networks and parallel processing to translate language at an accelerated rate. The technology suggests that the future of AI is looking very bright indeed, with companies like Facebook and Google putting their massive spending power behind the cause.

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Similarly, Blackboard has announced their new joint-cloud venture with Amazon Web Services. Blackboard has provided connectivity to universities and colleges all around the United States, and the Cloud Center of Excellence will lay the foundations of reliable cloud service. Rather than relying on in-house experts, Blackboard’s decision to partner up with AWS has given them access to some of the most prominent cloud experts in the world to improve the reliability of their service.

In addition to Blackboard’s expansion, Dell has announced a massive data server modernization effort at the Dell EMC Show. Dell’s new PowerEdge servers will be significantly faster than anything they’ve showcased before, and reaffirms their commitment to being a major player on the tech scene. The servers will leave Dell well-placed to cope with the demands of modern technologies.


Facebook’s Announces New AI

This week Facebook announced that they have structured a new AI with Convolution Neural Networks (CNN), to form a cohesive piece of artificial intelligence that uses parallel processing to complete complex tasks. Machine-learning expert Yann LeCun, who helps lead and operate Facebook’s AI system, created the CNN technique himself. Based on the information announced, LeCun appears to have done an excellent job, with research indicating that the CNN has nine times the speed of other traditional language translation architectures.

Facebook’s AI has large ambitions, aiming to cover aiming to cover 6,500 languages. Such technology has massive ramifications for the global technological landscape, and the fact that Facebook owns apps like Whatsapp and Instagram suggests that this software will have a high level of market penetration. Facebook’s new AI has come as part of a wider trend of translation systems, with companies like Google creating a translation system drive ‘entirely by neural networks’.

Previous language translation has been completed primarily by recurrent neural networks, which process language word-by-word in a linear fashion (i.e left-to-right or vice versa). CNN doesn’t need to analyze sentences sequentially, and can analyze many different pieces at once. In the past, this technology has been very effective at recognizing objects in photos, which has remained a consistent challenge for AI systems around the worlds. One of the most promising aspects of this announcement is the AI software will be open-source; meaning the door will be left open to future collaborations to create more sophisticated AI systems. The open-source licence means that researchers around the world will have their chance to contribute to AI on an international scale.


Blackboard Launches New Cloud Center with Amazon Web Services

On Monday, the United State’s leading education learning management system Blackboard announced a partnership venture with Amazon Web Services, in the form of The Cloud Center of Excellence. The Cloud Center of Excellence will be constructed with the guidance and oversight of Amazon Web Services. The CCoE is intended to bring about a greater flexibility to the current static LMS model. The partnership highlights a newfound proficiency of SaaS (Software as a service), with Blackboard making use of AWS expertise. As Mark Ryland, Chief Solutions Architect puts it “AWS is excited to support Blackboard’s Cloud Center of Excellence, which will enable to company to build a secure high performing, resilient and efficient infrastructure”. In practice, the CCoE aims to increase campus connectivity and service standards, with the capacity for universities to scale their usage on-demand.

The expertise of AWS will be vital in helping Blackboard to deliver a high standard of service with regular updates and new opportunities for scalability. Highlighting the advantages the software brings to higher education facilities across the United States, Bryan Fendley, Director of Instructional Technology and Web Services at Arkansas University, suggests that they will have more time to focus on other campus duties.


Dell EMC Aims Servers at Data Center Modernization Efforts

This week Dell EMC launched a data center modernization plan with a new generation of PowerEdge servers, designed with new and upgraded capabilities. The new software showcases a reduction in latency that makes it 19 times faster. The move takes place in a shifting landscape of cloud, data analytics and virtualization. Next week Dell plans to unveil the new PowerEdge 14G, a 14th generation of data centers designed to work with advanced technology like virtualization and virtual reality. This week there were more than 13,000 attendees at the Dell EMC World 2017 show. The show was the first since Dell’s $60 billion acquisition of EMC. The release is expected to coincide with Intel’s new Xeon server.

Based on the Dell EMC World event alone, it’s hard to tell if the merger has gone smoothly behind the scenes. Based on the event itself, Dell and EMC appear to be a strong team. Dell EMC World was an opportunity for Dell EMC to draw a line against its own products and highlight the evolution the two companies have seen since the merger. In conjunction will Dell EMC’s commitment to private and hybrid cloud technology, the event acted as an opportunity for Dell EMC to situate themselves as market specialists. Dell EMC World made a statement that the companies are an effective union capable of redefining the next generation of technological infrastructure.

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