The Chess Dominance of Google’s AlphaZero Teaches Us More About Chips Than About Brains

Brad Shimmin – Research Director, Business Technology and Software

Summary Bullets:

• How did a computer algorithm like Google’s AlphaZero manage to learn, master and then dominate the game of chess in just four hours?

• AlphaZero’s mastery of chess stemmed from the sheer, brute force of Google’s AI-specific Tensorflow processing units (TPUs) – 5,000 of them to be exact.

“How about a nice game of chess?” With that iconic line of dialog from what is one of my favorite films, the 1983 cold war sci-fi thriller WarGames, nuclear war was narrowly averted by a machine (named Joshua) capable of teaching itself how to play a game. This week another machine, one of Google’s DeepMind AI offspring, AlphaZero, did something similar in that it took four hours to teach itself how to play chess and then proceeded to demolish the best, highest rated chess computer, Stockfish. After 100 games, AlphaZero racked up 28 wins and zero losses. So much for more than a millenium of human effort in teaching a computer how to play chess. But how was this possible? Was this a fair match? How did a computer algorithm like AlphaZero manage to learn, master and then dominate the game of chess in just four hours? Read more of this post

GlobalData’s Newest MEAP Competitive Landscape Assessment Recognizes Leaders’ Innovation in Integration and ALM

C. Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

  • The newest MEAP platforms are being repositioned to address modern app development issues as operations plays a larger role involving the leveraging of cloud services.
  • New advancements in AI, low-code tools, integration and API management, and serverless computing all play into DevOps’ need to abstract infrastructure complexities while improving management around app deployments.

Application platforms providers are repositioning traditional mobile platforms to address broader, modern app development including web, IoT, and chatbots. Vendors such as IBM, Kony, Oracle, Microsoft, SAP, Salesforce, and Adobe are helping to drive this new era of app development in which modern applications need advanced platform services to respond to continuous integration, continuous deployment (CICD), a prospect which presents enterprises with boundless opportunities to improve businesses, along with extreme challenges. Read more of this post

HPE Discover 2017: Under Antonio Neri, HPE Will Expand Its Focus on the Edge and Intelligent IT

C. Drake

Summary Bullets:

• At its Discover event in Madrid, HPE communicated its vision and strategy and to an industry eager to comprehend the impact of Meg Whitman’s decision to step down as CEO.

• In addition to its goal of making hybrid IT simple for enterprise customers, HPE, under its incoming CEO, Antonio Neri, will strengthen its focus on IoT, what it terms “intelligent IT”, edge computing, converged OT control systems, and analytics.

For HPE, last week’s Discover event in Madrid was an opportunity to communicate its vision and strategy to an industry eager to comprehend the impact of Meg Whitman’s announced decision, the week before, to step down as CEO. In her time as CEO, Whitman oversaw the company’s transformation from a provider of traditional data center infrastructure to a business focused on enterprise cloud and hybrid IT solutions. This transformation saw the creation of HPE at the end of 2014, followed by a further slimming down of the company via the disposal of non-core businesses. At the same time, HPE acquired several new companies, including wireless-network infrastructure provider, Aruba Networks and all-flash hybrid storage array provider, Nimble Storage. Read more of this post

OpenStack Sydney: Community Raises a Call to Action for Improved Integration with Non-OpenStack Technologies

C. Drake

Summary Bullets:

  • The latest OpenStack Summit highlighted the need to improve integration between OpenStack and external technologies for managing containers and edge IT environments.
  • The November Summit also saw a change in the language that’s used to define OpenStack development initiatives, to focus less on projects and more on use cases such as containers and edge infrastructure.

News stemming from the November 2017 OpenStack Summit in Sydney, Australia, reflected the maturity of the OpenStack platform and the stability of its core technologies: Nova for virtual machines, Swift for object storage, Cinder for block storage and Neutron for SDN. However, the Summit discussions also reflected an acknowledgement of the limits of OpenStack and the need to ensure the stack’s integration with a host of additional technologies – including technologies for managing applications and containers and those that support the successful operation of edge IT environments. Read more of this post

Apple Business Chat: The Next Big Disruptive Force in Customer Service?

T. Banting

Summary Bullets:

• Apple Business Chat will launch in 2018; it will allow businesses to add live support features that enable customers to communicate, utilize Apple Pay and more.

• Any iOS 11 user will be able to start a chat thread with businesses they find through Siri, Maps, Safari, and Spotlight search.

The Internet revolution has transformed the way customers shop, share their experiences and look for support. Websites, mobile apps, and social platforms shape the way customers do business. Different customers have different communication preferences and in today’s digital environment, many companies are recognizing this shift in customer preference and are implementing new technology to foster greater customer engagement.
Read more of this post

Salesforce Dreamforce 2017: Salesforce DevOps Focus Acknowledges Next Phase of Cloud Development

C. Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

• Salesforce Lightning brand leveraged to promote low-code, customization capabilities

• Salesforce DX emphasizes advanced dev tools: CLI, Scratch.org, repackaging/distribution

Amidst all the hoopla of a big city mega conference which attracts 135,000 attendees were some very important points about how developers and operations teams wish to proceed over the next year with their cloud native app development/deployment projects. Read more of this post

What Anna Karenina Can Teach Telcos About Scale and Success in the Internet of Things

I. Grant

Summary Bullets:

• When there are more ways to go wrong than right, only the very brave take up the challenge.

• Specialization offers a viable risk mitigation strategy, but choosing it is hard.

Tolstoy opens Anna Karenina, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” By this he means a family must satisfy all of a number of criteria in order to be happy; a failure in any one leads to unhappiness. Thus there are more ways to be unhappy than happy. Read more of this post

Open Source Summit Europe 2017: Microsoft and Docker Increase Support for Kubernetes, but Will AWS Follow Suit?

C. Drake

• Major themes at this year’s Open Source Summit Europe included the continued ascendency of Kubernetes, and the flood of new companies joining the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).

• Following AWS’s decision to join the CNCF many now expect Amazon to start making it easier to run Kubernetes on its infrastructure.

This year’s Open Source Summit Europe – the second such summit to be held in Europe – brought together over 2,000 developers, operators and other IT professionals in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. The major themes of the Summit included the continued ascendency of Kubernetes, which has risen to prominence as the most popular orchestration platform for deploying and managing containerized applications. Other themes included the flood of new companies joining the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), one of several organizations the supported by the Linux Foundation. The CNCF serves as a neutral home for collaboration between vendors and end users and is dedicated to promoting an open source software stack for container orchestration and management. Established in 2015 by founding members that included Google, IBM, Intel and VMware, the CNCF has since seen a steady stream of high-profile cloud companies joining its ranks, with relatively recent members including Microsoft, Oracle, Alibaba, SAP and Amazon Web Services (AWS). Read more of this post

Nokia Innovation Forum: Enabling Digital Transformation Through Telcos

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • Nokia uses its strength and experience in network solutions as well as its strong relationships with telcos to drive digital transformation.
  • In emerging markets where digital transformation is slow, Nokia needs to work more closely with the telcos and focus on particular solutions and verticals.

Nokia held its Asia-Pacific Innovation Forum in Singapore on the October 24, 2017. Various topics and use cases around IoT, 5G, cloud, network and security were discussed by not only Nokia executives, but also its industry partners, its telco customers, start-ups, government agencies and end users. Despite the diverse topics, the presentations and discussions throughout the event focused around digital transformation themes. Read more of this post

New-Look Micro Focus Crafts an Analytics-Driven Enterprise Security Strategy

E. Parizo

Summary Bullets:

  • Micro Focus may not yet be known for enterprise security, but it has become a significant player with the addition of HPE’s software assets.
  • Micro Focus must go beyond touting its size and promote its analytics-centric strategy to better secure users, applications, and data.

Micro Focus may not yet be well known on the enterprise security landscape, but that’s about to change.

The vendor has been around since the ‘80s working on COBOL, but on September 1, 2017, Micro Focus became a new company. That’s when it completed its so-called ‘spin-merger’ with Hewlett Packard Enterprise, absorbing most of the software assets of HPE. Overnight, Micro Focus became a goliath: $4.4 billion in annual revenue, 18,000 employees, and offerings in segments including DevOps, hybrid IT, data management, analytics, and cybersecurity. Read more of this post