04.09.14

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:59 am by elliot

GENEVA, Switzerland (CNN) — The number of confirmed swine flu cases across the globe kept rising Friday, but some signs of hope emerged in the battle against the worldwide outbreak.
Tourists sunbathe wearing surgical masks in the popular Mexican resort of Acapulco.

Tourists sunbathe wearing surgical masks in the popular Mexican resort of Acapulco.
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Scientists are working to develop vaccines to confront the flu, and one Mexican politician cited evidence that the virus is “letting up.”

The World Health Organization said Friday that the number of confirmed cases stood at 331. That number does not include 32 additional cases the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed in the United States, which brought the American total to 141.

The additional CDC cases would bring the worldwide total to 363 — and counting.

Meanwhile, researchers raced to develop a vaccine for swine flu, which is also known as 2009 H1N1.

The CDC hopes to have a vaccine to manufacturers within a month, said Michael Shaw, lab team leader for the H1N1 response at the CDC.

“We’re doing the best we can as fast as we can,” he said.

Yet it would take four to six months from the time the appropriate strain is identified before the first doses become available, said Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO director of the Initiative for Vaccine Research.

“Of course we would like to have a vaccine tomorrow. We would have wanted to have it yesterday,” she said. “It’s a long journey.”
Don’t Miss

* Swine flu fears close 100 U.S. schools
* TIME.com: If you’re not sick, don’t rush to ER
* Dr. Sanjay Gupta ‘tweets’ on swine flu
* iReport.com: iReports weigh in on swine flu

She said there is “no doubt” that a vaccine can be made “in a relatively short period of time.”

That optimism stems from scientists’ breakthroughs in developing other vaccines.

“The reality is that from the time the potentially pandemic virus is identified, it takes between 4 and 6 months to have the first doses of vaccine coming out of the factory and being available for immunizing people,” said Kieny.

The steps involved in producing a vaccine involve isolating a strain of the virus, which has already been done, and tweaking it so manufacturers can make a vaccine, Kieny said.

The tweaked virus will be shipped to manufacturers, who will fine-tune it. Then come more tests before national regulatory agencies decide whether to approve a vaccine.

As researchers work, at least one politician at the epicenter of the outbreak expressed optimism Friday.

Authorities in Mexico are “beginning to see evidence that the [virus] might be letting up, and the number of people who have been hospitalized has leveled out in regards to people who are contagious, at least as of yesterday,” Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard told reporters. Video Watch how Mexican authorities are dealing with the outbreak »

“I do not say this so that we lower our guard or so that we think that we do not have a problem anymore,” he said.

“We do have a problem, but I say this so that we know where we are as a city after we have done all we have done, and in what direction we are heading and how much we have progressed. And what I can say is that we are heading in the right direction.”

The WHO said Mexico has 156 confirmed cases and nine deaths. Mexican authorities say there have been 15 deaths, at least 358 confirmed cases, and more than 150 deaths suspected to have been caused by the flu. Video Watch Dr. Sanjay Gupta demystify pandemics »

The CDC gave the following state-by-state breakdown of confirmed H1N1 cases for the United States: Arizona, 4; California, 13; Colorado 2; Delaware, 4; Illinois, 3; Indiana, 3; Kansas, 2; Kentucky, 1; Massachusetts, 2; Michigan, 2; Minnesota, 1; Nebraska, 1; Nevada, 1; New Jersey, 5; New York, 50; Ohio, 1; South Carolina, 16; Texas, 28; and Virginia, 2. See where cases have been confirmed »

One death in the United States has been attributed to swine flu — a toddler from Mexico whose family brought him to Texas for medical treatment.

In a Cabinet meeting, President Obama on Friday praised the “extraordinary” government response to the virus but emphasized that “we also need to prepare for the long term.”

“Since we know that these kinds of threats can emerge at any moment, even if it turns out that the H1N1 is relatively mild on the front end, it could come back in a more virulent form during the actual flu season, and that’s why we are investing in our public health infrastructure.” Video Go behind the scenes at the CDC »

He said there are indications from Mexico that “relatively young, healthy people” have died rather than people whose immune systems are compromised and “that’s why we’re taking it seriously.”

“So I just want everybody to be clear that this is why this is a cause for concern but not alarm. We are essentially ensuring that, in the worst case scenario, we can manage this appropriately, government working with businesses and individuals, the private sector, and containing an outbreak and that we can, ultimately, get through this.”

In addition to Mexico and the United States, WHO said, the following countries have confirmed cases: Austria 1; Canada 34; Germany 3; Israel 2; Netherlands 1; New Zealand 3; Spain 13; Switzerland 1; and the United Kingdom, 8. Learn about the virus »

Health officials in Denmark and China each said Friday they had confirmed the first cases of swine flu in their respective countries, but the WHO has not yet confirmed those findings.

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Posted in Uncategorized at 5:59 am by elliot

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Posted in Uncategorized at 5:59 am by elliot

GENEVA, Switzerland (CNN) — The number of confirmed swine flu cases across the globe kept rising Friday, but some signs of hope emerged in the battle against the worldwide outbreak.
Tourists sunbathe wearing surgical masks in the popular Mexican resort of Acapulco.

Tourists sunbathe wearing surgical masks in the popular Mexican resort of Acapulco.
Click to view previous image
1 of 3
Click to view next image
more photos »

Scientists are working to develop vaccines to confront the flu, and one Mexican politician cited evidence that the virus is “letting up.”

The World Health Organization said Friday that the number of confirmed cases stood at 331. That number does not include 32 additional cases the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed in the United States, which brought the American total to 141.

The additional CDC cases would bring the worldwide total to 363 — and counting.

Meanwhile, researchers raced to develop a vaccine for swine flu, which is also known as 2009 H1N1.

The CDC hopes to have a vaccine to manufacturers within a month, said Michael Shaw, lab team leader for the H1N1 response at the CDC.

“We’re doing the best we can as fast as we can,” he said.

Yet it would take four to six months from the time the appropriate strain is identified before the first doses become available, said Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO director of the Initiative for Vaccine Research.

“Of course we would like to have a vaccine tomorrow. We would have wanted to have it yesterday,” she said. “It’s a long journey.”
Don’t Miss

* Swine flu fears close 100 U.S. schools
* TIME.com: If you’re not sick, don’t rush to ER
* Dr. Sanjay Gupta ‘tweets’ on swine flu
* iReport.com: iReports weigh in on swine flu

She said there is “no doubt” that a vaccine can be made “in a relatively short period of time.”

That optimism stems from scientists’ breakthroughs in developing other vaccines.

“The reality is that from the time the potentially pandemic virus is identified, it takes between 4 and 6 months to have the first doses of vaccine coming out of the factory and being available for immunizing people,” said Kieny.

The steps involved in producing a vaccine involve isolating a strain of the virus, which has already been done, and tweaking it so manufacturers can make a vaccine, Kieny said.

The tweaked virus will be shipped to manufacturers, who will fine-tune it. Then come more tests before national regulatory agencies decide whether to approve a vaccine.

As researchers work, at least one politician at the epicenter of the outbreak expressed optimism Friday.

Authorities in Mexico are “beginning to see evidence that the [virus] might be letting up, and the number of people who have been hospitalized has leveled out in regards to people who are contagious, at least as of yesterday,” Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard told reporters. Video Watch how Mexican authorities are dealing with the outbreak »

“I do not say this so that we lower our guard or so that we think that we do not have a problem anymore,” he said.

“We do have a problem, but I say this so that we know where we are as a city after we have done all we have done, and in what direction we are heading and how much we have progressed. And what I can say is that we are heading in the right direction.”

The WHO said Mexico has 156 confirmed cases and nine deaths. Mexican authorities say there have been 15 deaths, at least 358 confirmed cases, and more than 150 deaths suspected to have been caused by the flu. Video Watch Dr. Sanjay Gupta demystify pandemics »

The CDC gave the following state-by-state breakdown of confirmed H1N1 cases for the United States: Arizona, 4; California, 13; Colorado 2; Delaware, 4; Illinois, 3; Indiana, 3; Kansas, 2; Kentucky, 1; Massachusetts, 2; Michigan, 2; Minnesota, 1; Nebraska, 1; Nevada, 1; New Jersey, 5; New York, 50; Ohio, 1; South Carolina, 16; Texas, 28; and Virginia, 2. See where cases have been confirmed »

One death in the United States has been attributed to swine flu — a toddler from Mexico whose family brought him to Texas for medical treatment.

In a Cabinet meeting, President Obama on Friday praised the “extraordinary” government response to the virus but emphasized that “we also need to prepare for the long term.”

“Since we know that these kinds of threats can emerge at any moment, even if it turns out that the H1N1 is relatively mild on the front end, it could come back in a more virulent form during the actual flu season, and that’s why we are investing in our public health infrastructure.” Video Go behind the scenes at the CDC »

He said there are indications from Mexico that “relatively young, healthy people” have died rather than people whose immune systems are compromised and “that’s why we’re taking it seriously.”

“So I just want everybody to be clear that this is why this is a cause for concern but not alarm. We are essentially ensuring that, in the worst case scenario, we can manage this appropriately, government working with businesses and individuals, the private sector, and containing an outbreak and that we can, ultimately, get through this.”

In addition to Mexico and the United States, WHO said, the following countries have confirmed cases: Austria 1; Canada 34; Germany 3; Israel 2; Netherlands 1; New Zealand 3; Spain 13; Switzerland 1; and the United Kingdom, 8. Learn about the virus »

Health officials in Denmark and China each said Friday they had confirmed the first cases of swine flu in their respective countries, but the WHO has not yet confirmed those findings.

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mgid.com

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:59 am by elliot

Latest News

Web 3.0 & Disruptive Technology

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:59 am by elliot

I’ve always been fascinated by data — both of the companies I founded have addressed aspects of the “data overload” problem. The first, MimeStar, developed NIDS (Network Intrusion Detection System) technology that analyzed gigabits of network traffic every second, reconstructing every IP frame, TCP session, and application-layer protocol stream — looking for computer intrusions and other inappropriate activity. MimeStar was acquired in early 2000 and our products are still protecting government and corporate networks 10 years later. NIDS is fascinating technology, reducing massive packet flows down to intelligible event/activity streams & security alerts.

My present company builds natural language processing (computational linguistics) technology to make sense of the huge quantities of unstructured text residing across the web and within company data warehouses. We’re helping build the semantic web, by “bootstrapping” unstructured content into a form that is understandable by machines. NLP is an exciting space, with real disruption potential. It’s becoming a critical technology for Semantic & Web 3.0 applications/services.

Huh? You haven’t heard of the Semantic Web? Check out this fantastic video, created by Kate Ray of NYU. Her short documentary does a great job of summing up many of the drivers behind the Semantic Web (such as data overload), and touches upon many of the future applications of this technology.

If disruptive innovation, artificial intelligence, and Web 3.0 are your bread-and-butter, AlchemyAPI is currently hiring. We’re based in Denver, CO and growing rapidly. Join our team and help us build the next generation of semantic technology!

05.25.12

My “Big Data” talk at Gluecon 2012

Posted in Events, Personal, Technology at 9:34 am by elliot

Thanks to everyone who attended my talk at this year’s Gluecon, “Efficient Big Data Analysis: RAM, RAID, SSD”.

I’ve posted the presentation deck to slide-share for those who didn’t have time to write down all the optimization tips contained within:

05.16.12

Google Knowledge Graph: A Tipping Point

Posted in Contextual, News, SemanticWeb at 2:05 pm by elliot

The semantic web / NLProc world is abuzz today with the news of Google’s Knowledge Graph.

I’m thrilled and fascinated by Google’s work in this arena.  They’re taking a true “web scale” approach towards knowledge extraction.  My company (AlchemyAPI) has been working in this area intensely over the past year, examining large swaths of the web (billions of pages), performing language / structural analysis, and extracting reams of factual and ontological data.  We’re using gathered data for different purposes than Google (we’re enhancing our semantic analysis service, AlchemyAPI — whereas Google is improving the search experience for their customers), but we are both using some analogous approaches to find and extract this sort of information.

What’s interesting to me, however, is how this is really a sort of tipping point for Google. We’re witnessing their evolution from “search engine” to “knowledge engine”, something many have expected for years — but which carries a number of consequences (intended and unintended).

Google has always maintained a careful balance of risk/reward with content owners/creators. They provide websites with referral traffic (web page hits), while performing what some may argue is wholesale copyright infringement (copying entire web pages, images, even screenshots of web pages).

This has historically worked out quite well for Google. Website owners get referral traffic — thus can show ads, sell subscriptions, and get paid. Google copies their content (showing snippits/images/etc on Google.com properties) to make this virtuous cycle happen.

Stuff like the “Knowledge Graph” potentially torpedoes this equation. Instead of pointing users to the web page that contains the answer to their search, Google’s semantic algorithms can directly display an answer, without the user ever leaving Google.com.

Say you’re a writer for About.com — spending your time gathering factual information on your topic of choice (aka, “Greek Philosophers”). You carefully curate your About.com page, and make money on ads shown to users who read your content (many of whom are referred from Google.com).

If Google can directly extract the “essence” of these pages (the actual entities and facts contained within), and show this information to users — what incentive do these same individuals have to visit your About.com page? And where does this leave content creators?

The risk here isn’t necessarily a legal one — there’s quite a bit of established precedent which states that “facts” cannot be easily owned or copyrighted. But sites could start blocking Google’s crawlers. Noone is likely to do this anytime soon as Google’s semantic features are only just getting started and “referral traffic” is still the biggest game in town. But what does the future hold?

I’m guessing Google will work out these sort of bumps in the road on their path towards becoming a true Knowledge Engine. But it’s an interesting point to think about.

PS: Google Squared could be argued as an earlier “tipping point”, but was largely more of an experiment. The Google Knowledge Graph represents a true, web-scale commercial effort in this arena. A real tipping point.

05.11.12

3d Visualization of Semantic Data using MS-Kinect

Posted in Coding, NLP, Personal, SemanticWeb at 1:02 pm by elliot

Here’s a fun little demo app myself and a co-worker built:

This application leverages the MS Kinect to manipulate 3d visualizations of social media data. The application tracks 3d motion of a person’s hand, using it as a virtual mouse cursor.

Social media data mined from tens of millions of news articles and blog posts over a period of 1+ month, using natural language processing algorithms to analyze article/blog contents, identify named entities and trends, and track momentum over time.

Info on this app:

  • real-time 3d visualization of social media data, represented as a force-directed-graph.
  • social media data was mined from tens of millions of news articles and blog posts over a 1+ month period.
  • news / blog data analyzed using natural language processing (NLP) algorithms including: named entity extraction, keyword extraction, concept tagging, sentiment extraction.
  • high-performance temporal data-store enables visualization of connections between named entities (eg, “Nicolas Sarkozy -> Francois Hollande”)
  • system tracks billions of data-points (persons, companies, organizations, …) for tens of millions of pieces of content.

This is an example “20% time” employee project at my company, AlchemyAPI. We do fun projects like this to spur the imagination and as a creative diversion. Other projects (which I’ll get around to posting at some point) involve speech recognition, robots, and other geektacular stuff.

05.18.10

Web 3.0 & Disruptive Technology

Posted in Denver, SemanticWeb at 11:11 am by elliot

I’ve always been fascinated by data — both of the companies I’ve founded have addressed aspects of the “data overload” problem. The first, MimeStar, developed NIDS (Network Intrusion Detection System) technology that analyzed gigabits of network traffic every second, reconstructing every IP frame, TCP session, and application-layer protocol stream — looking for computer intrusions and other inappropriate activity. MimeStar was acquired in early 2000 and our products are still protecting government and corporate networks 10 years later. NIDS is fascinating technology, reducing massive packet flows down to intelligible event/activity streams & security alerts.

My present company builds natural language processing (computational linguistics) technology to make sense of the huge quantities of unstructured text residing across the web and within company data warehouses. We’re helping build the semantic web, by “bootstrapping” unstructured content into a form that is understandable by machines. NLP is an exciting space, with real disruption potential. It’s becoming a critical technology for Semantic & Web 3.0 applications/services.

What’s that? You haven’t heard of the Semantic Web? Check out this fantastic video, created by Kate Ray of NYU. Her short documentary does a great job of summing up many of the drivers behind the Semantic Web (such as data overload), and touches upon many of the future applications of this technology.

Web 3.0 from Kate Ray on Vimeo.

If disruptive innovation, artificial intelligence, and Web 3.0 are your bread-and-butter, AlchemyAPI is currently hiring. We’re based in Denver, CO and are growing rapidly. Join our team and help build the next generation of semantic technology!

01.04.10

Colorado Technology & Entrepreneurship

Posted in Boulder, Colorado, Companies, Denver at 1:02 pm by elliot

Colorado has a truly vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem.  Everywhere you look, new startup companies are being formed to solve interesting technology and clean energy problems.  I cannot stress how much this is truly the case — in my neighborhood, on my street, there are at least three entrepreneurs involved with startup companies.  Truly amazing.

Some talented folks put together a video that details aspects of the startup / technology scene in Boulder, a close neighbor of Denver, CO.  Boulder is a fantastic place (my company has a number of customers in Boulder, so I’m up there quite often).  If you’re interested in what it’s like to work in a technology startup in Boulder, check out this video:


If you’re interested in forming a technology / clean-tech startup and are looking to plant some roots, check out Colorado.  Denver, and its northern cousin, Boulder, are fantastic places to run a startup.

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