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Do you get the picture? – Computer Vision

Why is machine vision a hard problem? As humans, we look at a dog and we see the dog. That’s all there is to it. Surely making machines that do the same isn’t that hard, right?

It actually turns out to be one of the toughest problems around, because that ‘simple’ seeing we do is in fact managed by our brains more than our eyes – and the brain is, well, the most complex object in the universe.

Training the next generation of cybersecurity experts

England’s Bletchley Park, famous for its World War II codebreaking success, is about to put on display some of the actual Nazi messages it decrypted. Bletchley’s National Museum of Computing houses a working replica of the five-tonne ‘Colussus’ decryption engine, of which 10 were in use at the peak of the wartime codebreaking effort. The ‘original and freshly discovered’ messages will be available for visitors to marvel at.

Starving IT researcher? Sniff out bugs for cash

The first ever bug bounty program was launched in 1983. The prize for finding a bug in the software? A Volkswagen Beetle (a bug – geddit?). Such is the pressure on software firms to produce vulnerability-free code that they will offer cash rewards to white hat security researchers who can find and report flaws. Bug-hunting has become an industry, and anyone with the right smarts can try for a slice of the bug bounty pie.

The urban organism: Smart Cities

Smart cities aim to provide their residents with improved public services and better quality of life by investing in digital technologies. They also emphasize community involvement in the running of the city. With the key stakeholders (citizens) participating more directly in matters of infrastructure, mobility, environment, sustainability and economy, their city functions better and serves their needs and desires more efficiently. Digital technology aids citizens by providing real-time monitoring of services and utilities, and the ability to respond to changing needs in real time.

Steve Wozniak launches Woz U

Cuddly Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is the figurehead of a new educational enterprise aimed at training the next generation of tech wizards and fast-tracking the most promising ones.

Smart Transportation nanodegrees from Udacity

It’s official. We now live in the future. Why? Because we have self-driving cars. We even have a few flying cars, that long-fantasised-about sci-fi staple. Pretty soon autonomous vehicles will be mainstream, and the industry will need armies of young boffins to design and engineer them. So it’s about time there were courses that introduced smart young people to the autonomous vehicle industry and prepared them for careers in it.

Can blockchain wipe out shady academic pasts?

A recent survey showed that 21% of job applicants’ resumes in the USA stated fraudulent degrees. So a fifth of job applicants say they have a degree when they in fact haven’t. How can this be happening in 2017?

Deep Learning: the new electricity

Have you ever used Google’s photo search feature? Type in ‘cat’ and it will pretty reliably bring up any cats in your photo collection. It’s not perfect – it mistakes Land Rovers for cats some of the time – but it’s getting better all the time. And that is the point of machine learning. Among much else, machine learning, a subset of which is called deep learning, now powers Google photo search, speech recognition on Android, and video recommendations on YouTube.

Cryptocurrency technology courses flourish as Bitcoin value soars

Digital currencies like Bitcoin are in the middle of an epic explosion. Bitcoin and similar currencies are worth 6 times their value at the beginning of the year. Currently around $6.6 billion of digital tokens changes hands every day, and we could be at the beginning of a global financial realignment as cryptocurrencies go mainstream.

New kid on the block: Minecraft Code Builder

Minecraft is a fun, blocky, Lego-like virtual environment in which to build anything you want, or play as a survival game. Each procedurally-generated world is a unique place to explore, mine for materials, and acquire ever more sophisticated tools. The catchy combination of immersive reality and alchemy has had child and adult geeks hooked since its first release in 2009.

How machine learning is going to revolutionise education

Machine learning is going mainstream, and it is going to impact education. Does that mean we are all going to be taught by AI holograms now? Not necessarily. It seems that machine learning, in the first few years at least, will act as more of a support for human teachers than as a rival.

Welcome to the All You Can Eat Coding Buffet

Still paying piecemeal for your coding classes? Locked into a long academic IT course? Get with it. A new style of pay-once-and-study-all-you-want training offer has hit the web, and here we’ll look at two examples that cost just $50 for a lifetime subscription. Welcome to the All You Can Eat Coding Buffet where you can come in any time you like and snack to your heart’s content, then come back again and again, all for a one-time payment of $50.

There’s code in them thar hills: Toronto’s boot camp boomtown

Canada’s most populous city, Toronto, is undergoing a boom of coding schools. Workers disgruntled with high job churn are seeking to improve their prospects by learning to code. It seems to be working for them: one coding school states that 95% of its graduates are employed within 90 days. Boot camp coding and web development schools require no previous experience or background in computer science. The courses are brief when compared to university coding courses – a few weeks rather than a year or three – and are suitable for a quick career turnaround.

Rent-a-Spook: private detective school

What do private detectives actually do? Well, they don’t spend all their time solving murders. The police tend to deal with that. In reality what private detectives do is work that the police won’t or can’t do, don’t have time and resources for, have failed at, or are not required to do. PIs are also often employed by people who for various reasons do not want the police to be involved. And they are not all men.

Hogwarts for hackers: new Bletchley cyber security college to open in 2018

Bletchley Park, a suburb of Milton Keynes in England, was central to World War Two intelligence efforts. Scientists including Alan Turing designed the first ever electric programmable computer there (Colossus) and used it to crack the Nazi’s Enigma Code. Bletchley Park is synonymous with British codebreaking and also now houses the National Museum of Computing.

The university without any teachers

There are hotels in Europe without any staff. You drive up and check in via a machine that issues your room key, the door unlocks and you go up to your room. Then you eat from vending machines, stay the night and check out, all without any human contact.

This concept has now been brought to classroom education. There’s a coding school – started in Europe, just like the hotels – that offers programming courses without any teachers, and does not issue any diploma or degree qualifications. It’s open 24/7, and it’s very popular.