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Category: Mechanical Engineering

The EventHorizon Saga – Code as Craft

This is an epic tale of EventHorizon, and how we finally got it to a happy place. EventHorizon is a tool we use to watch events streaming into our system. Events (also known as beacons) are basically clickstream data—a record of actions visitors take on our site, what content they saw, what experiments they were bucketed into, etc. Events are sent primarily from our web & API servers (backend events) and web browsers (frontend events), and logged in Kafka. EventHorizon…

Engineering Ethics Blog: Human And Autonomous Driving: A Deadly Mix?

“Who’s in charge here?”  If people in an organization can’t give a clear answer to that question, chances are the organization is in trouble.  And something along those lines may apply to cars as well as to human organizations.  That’s the lesson we can draw from the preliminary report released by the U. S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) last Thursday, May 24, concerning the fatal collision between a pedestrian and a semi-autonomous vehicle operated by Uber in Tempe, Arizona…

New materials, heated under high magnetic fields, could produce record levels of energy — ScienceDaily

Imagine being able to power your car partly from the heat that its engine gives off. Or what if you could get a portion of your home’s electricity from the heat that a power plant emits? Such energy-efficient scenarios may one day be possible with improvements in thermoelectric materials — which spontaneously produce electricity when one side of the material is heated. Over the last 60 years or so, scientists have studied a number of materials to characterize their thermoelectric…

Pairing AI with optical scanning for real-world product authentication

IBM Crypto-Anchor Verifier, an AI-enabled scanner for visual clues that prove an item’s authenticity. Today IBM Research is introducing IBM Crypto Anchor Verifier, a new technology that brings innovations in AI and optical imaging together to help prove the identity and authenticity of objects. We’re rolling this technology out with one of our first clients, GIA (Gemological Institute of America), to help them evaluate and grade diamonds. The objects and substances that we buy, wear, eat or use every day…

Open-sourcing Katran, a scalable network load balancer – Facebook Code

Katran creates a software-based solution to load balancing with a reengineered forwarding plane that takes advantage of recent innovations in kernel engineering. With billions of people around the globe using Facebook services, our infrastructure engineers have created a range of systems to optimize traffic and to enable fast, reliable access for everyone. Today, we are open-sourcing a component of this work by releasing the Katran forwarding plane software library, which powers the network load balancer used in Facebook’s infrastructure. Katran…

New NIST roadmap charts path to reduced fire hazards from materials

NIST firefighters Justin Grossnickle and Martin Neal look over the end of a controlled test to study the impact of fire on cross-laminated timber buildings. CLT is a construction material identified in a new NIST report as needing more flammability research. Credit: NIST Fire researchers will tell you that there’s a simple solution for reducing fire hazards: eliminate flammable materials. If it doesn’t burn, the experts say, then there won’t be a fire. Of course, that option isn’t very practical…

Annotation tool provides step toward understanding links between disease, mutant RNA — ScienceDaily

Researchers at Oregon State University have developed a computer program that represents a key step toward better understanding the connections between mutant genetic material and disease. Known as bpRNA, the software is a big-data annotation tool for secondary structures in ribonucleic acids. “It’s capable of parsing RNA structures, including complex pseudoknot-containing RNAs, so you end up with an objective, precise, easily-interpretable description of all loops, stems and pseudoknots,” said corresponding author David Hendrix. “You also get the positions, sequence and…

Making LinkedIn’s Organic Feed Handle Peak Traffic

The producer is adding items to the queue (from multiple threads) and the consumer is taking items from the queue (also from multiple threads). Now assume that the producer is producing at a constant rate of 900 Queries Per Second (QPS). The capacity of the consumer is 1,000 QPS; that’s how much it can process. How many items are in the queue? Usually about a couple of items; one or two, maybe up to five. It depends on how threads…

Ultralight science—boundary layer measurements from low-flying source

UW Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Professor Grant Petty takes the Zigolo MG12 ultralight aircraft for the first test flight October 30, 2017. Credit: Jonathan Thom On a grassy runway just outside of Madison, Grant Petty makes the final checks on his skeleton-framed airplane. Once ready, he hits the throttle and lurches forward. After a few 100 feet, the ultralight aircraft is airborne and climbing steadily, the scenery miniaturizing beneath Petty’s feet. He will ultimately reach a cruising speed of around…

How we’re winning the battle against flaky tests

Testing is a crucial part of maintaining a code base, but not all tests validate what they’re testing for. Flaky tests—tests that fail sometimes but not always—are a universal problem, particularly in UI testing. In this blog post, we will discuss a new and simple approach we have taken to solve this problem. In particular, we found that a large fraction of most test code is setting up the conditions to test the actual business-logic we are interested in, and…