Online Book Subscriptions Aim to Save the Publishing Industry

As the book industry struggles with plunging prices and a decrease in demand, some publishers are turning to magazines to save their businesses. At SXSW in Austin this week, San Francisco-based literary startup Plympton launched Rooster, a subscription-only online fiction service. The service is an example of the new alternative in packaging books like magazines. A similar service is Plympton’s Daily Lit, which emails customers five-minute installments of classic literature. Continue reading Online Book Subscriptions Aim to Save the Publishing Industry

Carnegie Mellon Computer Can Teach Itself Common Sense

The Never Ending Image Learner (NEIL), a computer program at Carnegie Mellon, searches the Web for images and tries to understand them in order to grow a visual database and gather common sense. This program is part of recent advances in computer vision where computer programs are able to identify and label objects in images, as well as recognize attributes such as color and lighting. This data will help computers comprehend the visual world. Continue reading Carnegie Mellon Computer Can Teach Itself Common Sense

Amazon Elastic Cloud Tech: Stretching the Boundaries of Cloud Computing

  • Cycle Computing demonstrated the potential power of cloud computing by building a 30,000-core cluster running CentOS Linux for molecular modeling using Amazon’s Elastic Cloud 2 (EC2).
  • The cluster, created for an unnamed “Top 5 Pharma” customer, ran about seven hours at a peak cost of $1,279 per hour (including fees to Amazon and Cycle Computing) and performed approximately 10.9 “compute years of work.”
  • “Amazon EC2 and other cloud services are expanding the market for high-performance computing,” reports Ars Technica. “Without access to a national lab or a supercomputer in your own data center, cloud computing lets businesses spin up temporary clusters at will and stop paying for them as soon as the computing needs are met.”
  • The statistics are rather impressive; highlights include 30,472 cores, 26.7TB of RAM and 2PB (petabytes) of disk space. The cluster — dubbed “Nekomata” — ran across data centers in three Amazon regions in the United States and Europe.
  • It is unknown whether or not Nekomata is the largest cluster run on EC2 to date. “I can’t share specific customer details, but can tell you that we do have businesses of all sizes running large-scale, high-performance computing workloads on AWS [Amazon Web Services], including distributed clusters like the Cycle Computing 30,000 core cluster to tightly-coupled clusters often used for science and engineering applications such as computational fluid dynamics and molecular dynamics simulation,” indicated an Amazon spokesperson.