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Category: Civil Engineering

Scaling Contextual Conversation Suggestions Over LinkedIn’s Graph

We want to find all the paths of maximum length 3 from a starting node (a viewing member) to a destination node (company), and rank them based on the edges’ weights. Note that we only recommend the first degree connections. The first degree connection can be: Directly connected to company: currently or previously working at the company Indirectly connected to company: connected to a person who is directly connected to the company. Since we only recommend first degree connections to…

How acoustics can be an early warning system for bridges

Credit: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Jinying Zhu’s emerging technology is on the ball, off the chain and poised to make bridges safe by sound. The civil engineer has designed and refined an acoustic approach to detecting defects in concrete bridge decks. Her system represents a much faster, more accurate alternative to a conventional method of identifying delamination, a gradual separation of concrete layers that can subtly compromise the structural integrity of a bridge. “When we find this delamination, we…

Bioactive tissue paper made from organs is pliable enough to fold into origami structures — ScienceDaily

Northwestern Medicine scientists and engineers have invented a range of bioactive “tissue papers” made of materials derived from organs that are thin and flexible enough to even fold into an origami bird. The new biomaterials can potentially be used to support natural hormone production in young cancer patients and aid wound healing. The tissue papers are made from structural proteins excreted by cells that give organs their form and structure. The proteins are combined with a polymer to make the…

Understanding corrosion processes in concrete

New Taminabrücke view from below. Credit: flickr/Kecko/CC BY 2.0 Will reinforced concrete bridges still be standing for years to come, or has corrosion already set in? ETH scientists have discovered that previous concrete samples were too small to allow a reliable statement on the condition of reinforced concrete. Taminabrücke opened in June this year following four years of construction. At 475 metres, the reinforced concrete bridge is the longest arch bridge in Switzerland. This is a construction created to last…

Prototyping with React VR – Airbnb Engineering & Data Science – Medium

At Airbnb, we’ve been using React to build user interfaces for our website since 2014. React has radically changed our approach to building UI, and we’ve been active contributors to the open source community with projects such as Enzyme, Hypernova, react-sketchapp, react-with-styles, react-dates, and react-native-maps. React VR provided a unique opportunity to leverage our expertise to rapidly test and iterate many of the VR ideas we’ve been playing with. To do this, we brought together a small team of React…

Cicada wings may inspire new surface technologies

The wings of Megatibicen dorsatus, a prairie-dwelling cicada, are helping engineers design water-repellent surfaces. Credit: Catherine Dana Researchers are looking to insects – specifically cicadas – for insight into the design of artificial surfaces with de-icing, self-cleaning and anti-fogging abilities. Their wings allow cicadas to fly, of course, but they also are good at repelling water – a condition that humans can appreciate, too. “Our work with cicadas is letting us explore a field called bioinspiration,” said Nenad Miljkovic,…

How Uber Engineered a New Feature to Celebrate Drivers

Architecting seamless and enjoyable experiences for our users drives our engineering vision at Uber. As part of this mission, our team constantly develops new ways to better recognize and celebrate drivers. One example is Driver Profiles, a platform designed to enhance the Uber experience by spotlighting driver stories and achievements in the app and creating meaningful connections with riders. From a technical perspective, developing and shipping Driver Profiles seemed straightforward. The data–e.g., name, trip count, and driver-submitted information–that we needed…

Building Migrations for Slack Enterprise Grid

by Eric Vierhaus and Todd Wirth “The Raygun Gothic Rocketship at Pier 14 on the Embarcadero” by Tom Hilton (cc-by) Slack Enterprise Grid lifted off in January 2017, allowing Slack to power the work behind even the largest and most complex companies in the world. To achieve this, our new product allows administrators to link multiple Slack teams together under one organization. When we set out to build the Enterprise product back in 2015, it was clear we’d need an entirely…

Accelerating Services at Airbnb by Building a Blazing Fast Thrift Binding for Ruby

Achieving Bare-Metal Performance in Ruby Writing performant code in Ruby can be difficult due to its dynamic nature: unlike lower-level languages where the idiom is zero-cost-abstractions, pretty much everything in a dynamic language is expensive. As such, it was no surprise that the Ruby Thrift Binding took advantage of an important tool that is often used to improve the performance of libraries in dynamic languages: C extensions. As a kind of abstraction, C extensions hide all the detail of a performant implementation…

Powering Helix’s Auto Rebalancer with Topology-Aware Partition Placement

Partition assignments are critical to a typical distributed data system. A partition’s replicas could be in different states. For example, in the above graph, each partition has three replicas; one of them is the Primary replica, while the other two are Backup replicas.   Apache Helix is a generic cluster management framework used for the automatic management of partitioned and replicated distributed systems hosted on a cluster of nodes. Helix automates the reassignment of partitions in the face of node…