October 27, 2007

Life is a game of probability

It was a bitter strife between the two rivals.

October 13, 2007

Similar Query Languages.

Google's Sawzall : http://labs.google.com/papers/sawzall.html
Y!'s Pig : http://research.yahoo.com/project/pig
Microsoft LINQ : http://msdn.microsoft.com/data/ref/linq/

But, i don't like these.

Y!'s platform for nimble universal table storage

http://research.yahoo.com/node/212

Nuggets :
- No plans to open source.
- The implemented basic relational operators do not allow for ad-hoc analysis and bulk processing. (use pig, hadoop instead)
- They have a SQL-like language but it’s very basic. (no support for joins, aggregation, etc.)
- It has active participation of yahoo infrastructure team.

October 7, 2007

Oh, God. Craig Venter

http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=1601642007

AN AMERICAN researcher has claimed he is just weeks away from realising a science-fiction dream: the creation of artificial life.

Craig Venter, a controversial and flamboyant DNA scientist, said he is about to produce a synthetic living cell that is capable of reproducing itself.

If Venter delivers on his bold promise it will rank as one of the greatest scientific breakthroughs of recent years. It could open the door to a new generation of artificial life forms designed to tackle everything from disease in humans to environmental crises.

But while the Maryland-based scientist has caused excitement in scientific quarters, he has also prompted a renewed ethical debate on the acceptable limits of research into the building blocks of life. As well as concern over "playing god", some experts fear the creation of a new species could have safety implications.

Chromosomes are at the centre of Venter's breakthrough. In the simplest forms of life, every cell has a chromosome, which is a long string of DNA that "tells" the cell what kind it is, what to do and when. He has used laboratory chemicals to create an artificial chromosome, based on a "stripped-down" version of a bacterium.

The next step involves inserting the artificial chromosome into a natural cell from a bacterium. Venter said the artificial chromosome will take over its host cell, effectively becoming a new artificial form of life. Crucially, it will have the ability to reproduce itself.

Venter believes the technique will work because his team has already successfully transplanted chromosomes from one bacteria cell to another. If the technique works as expected, the next step will be to genetically alter the genetic make-up of the synthetic chromosome to deal with specific real-work tasks. For example, it is theoretically possible to make an artificial life form to consume greenhouse gases.

Venter, a Vietnam veteran and a yachtsman, has provoked controversy in the past because of his flamboyant style and his commercial approach to science. In the 1990s, he turned the human genome project into a competition by effectively racing publicly funded scientists to complete the map of the human gene.

He said: "This will be a very important philosophical step in the history of our species. We are going from reading our genetic code to the ability to write it. That gives us the hypothetical ability to do things never contemplated before."

Venter added he had carried out an ethical review before completing the experiment. He said: "We feel that this is good science. We are not afraid to take on things that are important just because they stimulate thinking. We are dealing in big ideas. We are trying to create a new value system for life. When dealing at this scale, you can't expect everybody to be happy."

Grahame Bulfield, vice-principal of Edinburgh University and professor of genetics, said: "This is a technical tour de force rather than an intellectual breakthrough. But it opens up molecular genetics to a huge range of new possibilities and applications, and should give much more control over how it is done."

James Milner-White, professor of structural bio-informatics at Glasgow University, said: "It's potentially very exciting. I would want to know more about what is happening in the experiments and whether the life forms they create are viable. I note that they haven't mentioned that yet. If the life forms are viable, then it could be very significant."

Dr Mark Bailey, a lecturer in genetics at Glasgow University, said:

"If this work does produce viable bacteria, the next step will be to add genes to them to get them to do what you want them to do. Adding the genes is actually quite straightforward, but getting them to do what you want in the way you want is very challenging. That will take some years of work."

But the news has provoked concern among campaigners who want restraints on the research being pioneered by genetic scientists.

Pat Mooney, director of Canadian bioethics organisation ETC group, said: "Governments, and society in general, are way behind the ball. This is a wake-up call: what does it mean to create new life forms in a test tube?"

He said Venter was creating a "chassis on which you could build almost anything. It could be a contribution to humanity such as new drugs or a huge threat to humanity such as bio-weapons."

October 6, 2007

Sun Patches Critical Java Bugs

Sun Microsystems Inc. patched 11 vulnerabilities in the Windows, Linux and Solaris versions of its Java Runtime Environment and Java Web Start Wednesday, including several rated critical by outside researchers.

The fixes to Java Runtime Environment (JRE) 1.3.1, 1.4.2, 5.0 and 6.0 plug holes that attackers could use to bypass security restrictions, manipulate data, disclose sensitive information or compromise an unpatched machine. Among the JRE bugs, Sun said in several security advisories, are two that allow attack code from malicious sites to make network connections on machines other than the victimized computer. One possible result, according to a paper by several Stanford University researchers that was cited by Sun: circumvented firewalls.

Other vulnerabilities in JRE and Java Web Start, a framework that lets Java-based applications launch directly from a browser, could be used by attackers to read local files, overwrite local files and hide Java-generated warnings.

Although Sun does not assign threat scores or label its advisories with terms such as "critical" or "low," Danish bug tracking vendor Secunia collectively tagged the five advisories and their 11 patches as "highly critical," its second-highest ranking.

Some of the vulnerabilities are limited to specific JRE versions, but pulling action items from the advisories is difficult since Sun does not use an easy-to-understand grid as does Microsoft, for instance, to indicate affected software. Neither JRE nor Web Start includes an automatic update mechanism; users must manually download and apply the updated versions Sun has posted on its Web sitehere.

Mention of Mac OS X was, as usual, absent in the security advisories. Sun does not post updated editions of JRE and other Java components for the Mac operating system. Instead, Apple Inc.'s implementation of Java requires that the company provide Java fixes as part of its own security updates. That's been a sticking point with some Mac users, who have expressed concern that Apple has not updated its Java code since February.

October 4, 2007

conversazione with Zaheda

location : Google Seoul Office.
subject : Open Source Program and Software

Agenda
6:30~7:00: dinner, reception.
7:00~8:30: conversazione.

Zaheda Bhorat,
Open Source Programs Manager, Google, Inc.

Zaheda Bhorat is Open Source Programs Manager at Google, Inc., working on projects to promote the spread of open source software both inside and outside Google. She has been responsible for programs like the Google Summer of Code, Google-O'Reilly Open Source Awards and is driving Google's support of open standards such as Open Document Format (ODF).

She has more than 15 years of experience in technology and software with expertise in open source software, web 2.0, and community building. Before joining Google, Zaheda was responsible for the open source community at OpenOffice.org while at Sun Microsystems. She built the first open source marketing community with volunteers to support the office application, and the first native language community which now boasts 100 languages. Prior this Zaheda was responsible for the (online) Apple Store and building online communities at Apple Computer Inc. while managing the Apple Online Service Division in Europe.

An internationally-known advocate for open source software, Zaheda speaks regularly to educate on open source topics, open standards, particularly in developing countries. She has an engineering degree and would like to encourage open source principles and methods to spread to areas outside of software.