Data Science newsletter – January 25, 2019

Newsletter features journalism, research papers, events, tools/software, and jobs for January 25, 2019


Data Science News

Amazon Knows What You Buy. And It’s Building a Big Ad Business From It.

The New York Times, Karen Weise


When a chain of physical therapy centers wanted new patients, it aimed online ads at people near its offices who had bought knee braces recently on Amazon.

When a financial services provider wanted to promote its retirement advisory business, it directed ads to people in their 40s and 50s who had recently ordered a personal finance book from Amazon.

And when a major credit card company wanted new customers, it targeted people who used cards from other banks on the retail site.

The advertisers found those people by using Amazon’s advertising services, which leverage what the company knows better than anyone: consumers’ online buying habits.

Yelp: A Neural Net Killed Our App… /jk



The latest update from crowdsourced review website Yelp has turned heads in the machine learning community. Yelp version 12.27.0 appeared in Apple App Store with an odd notation: “We apologize to anyone who had problems with the app this week. We trained a neural net to eliminate all the bugs in the app and it deleted everything. We had to roll everything back. To be fair, we were 100% bug-free… briefly.”

The announcement seemed too early for April Fools’, but a Yelp spokesperson confirmed with Synced that it was in fact a gag: “we typically use a joking tone when we write our release notes for the app store. Our latest note was meant in jest.”

Joking aside, the note did shine a light on the task of auto debugging code, which continues to challenge machine learning techniques.

How Artificial Intelligence Brings Out the Humanity in CX

Oracle SmarterCX


“The last islands of human employment won’t be based on skills that machines are incapable of; they will be areas where we won’t desire AI replacement.”

These jobs are built on relationships, caring, nurturing, and social interaction.

In other words, AI has the potential to help humans develop a stronger connection to their humanity. Here’s what artificial intelligence empowers for the field of CX.

3 ways to win the online ratings battle

MIT Sloan School of Management, Meredith Somers


Yelp reviews are the bane of every restaurant owner, and thanks to the ease and range of the internet, no industry is safe from caustic customers.

Business owners might think they have only two options: ignore them or confront them on their turf. Jason Greenberg, PhD ’09, offers another option: assuage and engage.

After a decade of studying restaurant reviews in New York City — a notoriously tough market — Greenberg concluded that Yelp’s expansion into the market didn’t increase sales inequalities among restaurants — a relief for places that don’t have a celebrity name or thousands of reviews behind them.

Nvidia Launches New Robotics Lab in Seattle

IEEE Spectrum, Evan Ackerman


Nvidia is not particularly well known for robotics, but that’s about to change. As of just a few weeks ago, Nvidia has established a shiny new robotics research lab in Seattle, within an easy stroll of the University of Washington. The Nvidia AI Robotics Research Lab is led by Dieter Fox, a professor of computer science and engineering at UW, and will eventually grow to house “close to 50 research scientists, faculty visitors, and student interns.” Nvidia’s goal is to help robots make the difficult transition from working in the lab just long enough to publish a paper to working out in the real world in a reliable and useful way.

A Cooler Cloud: A Clever Conduit Cuts Data Centers’ Cooling Needs by 90 Percent

IEEE Spectrum, Tracy Staedter


Data centers are hungry, hot, and thirsty. The approximately 3 million data centers in the United States consume billions of liters of water and about 70 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, or nearly 2 percent of the nation’s total electricity use. About 40 percent of that energy runs air conditioners, chillers, server fans, and other equipment to keep computer chips cool.

Now, Forced Physics, a company based in Scottsdale, Ariz., has developed a low-power system that it says could slash a data center’s energy requirements for cooling by 90 percent. The company’s JouleForce conductor is a passive system that uses ambient, filtered, nonrefrigerated air to whisk heat away from computer chips.

A Swiss startup takes on AI at the sensor edge

Stacey Higginbotham, Stacey on IoT


At CES, I ran into a startup at Avnet’s booth called Octonion. It was showing off a little brick comprised of more than half a dozen sensors that ran software for predictive maintenance and anomaly detection. Avnet was selling the brick, which was designed to help industrial customers get a device connected to the internet and sending data for analysis.

The partnership with Avnet and Octonion also includes STMicroelectronics, whose chip is inside the brick, and a deal with Microsoft to send data to the Azure cloud. While I was at the booth I watched at least two potential customers walk up, hear the pitch, and then try to order development kits. It was pretty compelling.

So when I got back I spoke with Cedric Mangaud, the CEO of Octonion, to find out what his company is about. He said it was created in 2014 in Switzerland to make it easy to build intelligence into sensors.

Boeing’s passenger air vehicle prototype rises into the sky for its first test flight

GeekWire, Alan Boyle


Boeing says it has successfully completed the first test flight of a prototype for its autonomous passenger air vehicle, which could start carrying riders as early as next year.

Nussbaum Uses Berggruen Winnings to Fund Discussions on Challenging Issues

Daily Nous, Justin Weinberg


Martha Nussbaum, Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Philosophy and Law at the University of Chicago, is using some of her Berggruen Prize winnings to fund a series of roundtable discussions at her school on controversial and challenging issues.

The discussions “bring together law students with faculty who have differing views to seed a rigorous and nuanced discussion and promote the values of free expression and open discourse,” according to a press release from the university. Topics of the discussions have included immigration, internet regulation, reforming the NCAA, religious exemptions in antidiscrimination statutes, and the #MeToo movement, among others.

The roundtable discussions, which were started by University of Chicago law professor Tom Ginsburg last year, are, says Nussbaum, “an ingenious way of addressing the serious problem of student political polarization.

Bart De Strooper: ‘Bright young scientists won’t come to join us in UK’

The Guardian, Robin McKie


Bart De Strooper is clear about his decision to accept the post of running Britain’s massive pioneering research project on dementia. “I would have not gone for it had I known what I know now,” the 59-year-old Belgian biologist told the Observer last week.

The cause of his dismay is simple: Brexit has blighted the nation and distorted its attitude to international science, said De Strooper. As a result, his UK Dementia Research Institute, set up in 2016 at a cost of £250m with the aim of turning the UK into a world leader in dementia research, now faces serious funding and recruitment problems.

Novel technology reduces energy consumption of MRAM and AI hardware

Osaka University


Researchers from Osaka University, in collaboration with the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) and Grenoble Alpes University, succeeded in efficiently controlling the direction of a nano-sized magnet by heating at high speed. The researchers also discovered that nano-magnets amplify microwave signals. This group’s achievements will contribute to reducing power consumption of magnetoresistive random access memory (MRAM) and artificial intelligence (AI) devices. This will make AI devices read and write to their memory more efficiently, thereby suppressing the power consumption of AI functions such as machine learning and decision making. This is another step towards achieving a super-smart society.

AI chip startup Hailo Technologies expands series A to more than $20 million

VentureBeat, Kyle Wiggers


Artificial intelligence (AI) chips — that is, microprocessors optimized for machine learning workloads — are poised to attract tens of billions of dollars in investment capital within the next decade. Allied Market Research forecasts that they’ll be a $37.8 billion industry by 2025, fueled by growing demand for faster, cheaper, and higher-efficiency AI model training and inference hardware.

One of the latest to mount a run for the gold is Hailo Technologies, a secretive Israeli firm that emerged last summer with $12.5 million in series A funding. Its laser focus on edge devices and high-resolution sensory processing helped it to stand out in a crowded field, and this week catapulted it to an expanded round of financing.

What bioRxiv’s first 30,000 preprints reveal about biologists

Nature, News, Joshua Rapp Learn


Researchers posted more preprints to the bioRxiv server in 2018 alone than in the four previous years, according to an analysis of the 37,648 preprints posted on the site in its first 5 years.

The analysis also shows that the number of downloads from the site has topped 1 million per month. BioRxiv, which allows researchers in the life sciences to post preliminary versions of studies, turned five last November.

The researchers who led the analysis have launched an interactive database of all the bioRxiv preprints, which is openly available on a new site called Rxivist. The study was itself posted on bioRxiv on 13 January1.

Data Scientist Leads 50 Best Jobs In America For 2019 According To Glassdoor

Forbes, Louis Columbus


“There’s no question that emerging technologies designed to grow and scale business, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation are having an impact on the types of jobs employers are hiring for across the country. As a result, we’re seeing a spike in demand for highly-skilled workers in 2019,” said Glassdoor Economic Research Analyst Amanda Stansell. “With such a healthy job market kicking off 2019, we’re seeing many of these Best Jobs open for people to apply to and get hired at employers across all industries and in all areas of the country.”


Feminist Data Set Workshop

Indiana University Institute for Digital Arts and Humanities


Bloomington, IN February 26, starting at 9:30 a.m., Indiana University Hazelbaker Hall. “Artist and researcher, Caroline Sinders, will lead a workshop with the Feminist Data Set project at the core. The workshop will investigate varying methods for creating a feminist data set.” [registration required]

AI in the Loft with Chris Olah on “How do neural networks see?”

Google Brain Amsterdam


Amsterdam, Netherlands January 30, starting at 5:30 p.m., Claude Debussylaan 34. [registration required]

Expert VC panel: how to get your AI company funded in 2019

Meetup, The Future of AI in IT


Menlo Park, CA February 12, starting at 6 p.m., 111 Independence Drive. [rsvp required]

Using AI to Fight Disinformation in European Elections

Center for Data Innovation


Brussels, Belgium February 20, starting at 9 a.m., Press Club Brussels (Rue Froissart 95, 1000). [free]

AI for Entity Resolution with Jeff Jonas

SAGE Ocean


London, England January 29, starting at 6 p.m., The Nursery Theatre Broadgate (2 Finsbury Avenue). SAGE Ocean Speaker Series #7. [registration required]

Tools & Resources

InfluxDB 2.0 Alpha Release and the Road Ahead

InfluxData, Paul Dix


“We’re releasing the first alpha build of InfluxDB 2.0. Our vision for 2.0 is to collapse the TICK Stack into one cohesive and consistent whole which combines the time series database, the UI and dashboarding tool, and the background processing and monitoring agent behind a single API.”


Tenured and tenure track faculty positions

Assistant Professor in Quantitative Biological Sciences

University of California-Davis; Davis, CA
Full-time positions outside academia

Scientific Director, National Library of Medicine

National Institutes of Health; Bethesda, MD

Director of Engineering, Machine Learning

Major League Baseball; New York, NY
Internships and other temporary positions

We’re hiring for interns!

Epimorphics; Bristol, England

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