MediaFile

Charleston Police to use data mining to fight crime

It’s not quite Minority Report but the Charleston Police Department in South Carolina aims to predict and prevent crimes from happening with the help of IBM’s data analytics tools.

To start the CPD wants to focus on reducing the number of burglaries in Charleston which it says often happen at similar times of day and in similar locations.

“The individuals committing these crimes tend to have predictable patterns, and incidents usually take place near their homes or familiar locations. In addition, property crimes are not displaceable crimes, which means the criminals won’t simply move two miles to another location’” the CDP said.

IBM’s predictive analytivcs software aims to uncover hidden patterns and insights from structured and unstructured data to pinpint where and when a crime would be committed. It also promises that its models will help anticipate threats, identify suspicious actors and effectivley allocate resources. Eventually the Charleston police wants to use IBM’s software to localize what it calls criminal hotspots and deploy police officers accordingly to prevent crimes befor they occur.

Charleston has more than 400 police officers who work on evaluating and forecasting crime patterns. It joins cities such as New York, Rochester, Las Vegas, Memphis, Los Angeles, Vancouver or Richmonf that use IBM software to fight crime.

IBM scientists create smallest magnetic memory bit with 12 atoms

In IBM’s Almaden Research Center  in San Jose, California Andreas Heinrich gets to explore. His quest: Demonstrate that very few atoms are needed to store information. Why would anyone care? Because size matters.

Today, to store a single bit — the most basic piece of information a computer understands –  a disk drive needs one million atoms. Heinrich and his team have successfully shown that data can be stored in as few as 12 magnetic atoms.  That’s 12 versus 1 million and it means a hundred times more information can be stored in the same space.

The way it works it? By using a different magnetic structure called antiferromagnetism, Heinrich explains. Instead of atoms pointing (or spinning) in the same direction, Heinrich and his team arranged atoms so they alternately point  in different directions.

Micron enlists IBM to speed up memory chips

Micron has enlisted IBM to help build smart memory chips that could drastically speed up the high-performance computers and networking systems that make up the Internet.

Engineers in recent years have run into a “memory wall” as the increasing efficiency of computer processors outpaces the speed that memory chips can deliver, limiting the overall performance  improvemement of high-end computers.

And one key bottleneck keeping memory chips from being more efficient has been the pathway they use to move data to computers’ processors and back again. 

IBM knows a thing or two about shoes. Retailers, take note.

By Nicola Leske
In the fickle world of fashion, the skill to predict what will be en vogue next is invaluable to retailers around the world.
While some will argue that it takes style and expertise to predict what customers will want to wear even before they know it, IBM begs to differ.
It comes down to science, specifically IBM’s analytics software.
Take shoes for example, in particular the height of heels.
“We used IBM software to identify those who are the influencers online by searching the web for blogs about shoes,” said John Buscemi.
“We found tens of thousands and narrowed it down to those who were linked to a lot and who in turn linked to a lot of other people…if you had a map they would sit at the center of the social network,” Buscemi said.
According to that analysis, heels are coming down.
“Key trend-watching bloggers between 2008 and 2009 wrote consistently about heels from five to eight inches, but by mid 2011 they were writing about the return of the kitten heel and the perfect flat from Jimmy Choo and Louboutin,” said Trevor Davis, a consumer expert with IBM’s Global Business Services.
IBM said the data could be used by shoe manufacturers and retailers looking for insight into the kind of shoes to manufacture and sell in the coming season — and could potentially put fashion consultants out of business.
By the way, high heels have traditionally been linked to a falling economy — think high heel pumps during the Great Depression and stilettos following the dot-com bust a decade ago.
But this time the decline of the heel may not be a sign of an economic upturn but a grudging acceptance of a long road ahead best to be taken on more modest shoes.
“Usually, in an economic downturn, heels go up and stay up – as consumers turn to more flamboyant fashions as a means of fantasy and escape,” Davis said.
“This time, something different is happening — perhaps a mood of long-term austerity is evolving among consumers sparking a desire to reduce ostentation in everyday settings.”

Tech wrap: Apple’s “Siri” spurs iPhone 4S sales

Apple said it sold 4 million iPhone 4S devices in the new smartphone’s first three days on the market, setting up a strong December quarter for the world’s largest technology company. Helped by availability in more countries and on more telecommunications carrier networks, the iPhone 4S, which went on sale last Friday, managed to outshine the iPhone 4, which sold 1.7 million over its first three days. Unveiled just a day before Steve Jobs died, it was initially dubbed a disappointment, partly because it looked identical to its predecessor. But anticipation of its “Siri” voice software helped it set an online record in pre-orders on October 7.

Shares of RIM dropped 6.55 percent in the U.S., closing at $22.40, after the company sought to appease disgruntled BlackBerry customers by offering free apps and technical support to make up for last week’s global smartphone outage. RIM said it will offer premium apps worth more than $100 to customers and a month of technical support for businesses free of charge, hoping to stem fresh defections from the BlackBerry, whose market share was already shrinking before the incident. RIM Co-CEO Jim Balsillie declined to estimate how much the offer would cost RIM and said he was unable to say whether RIM might have to revise its earnings forecast for the current quarter, which ends in late November.

IBM’s third-quarter revenue met expectations as corporate spending on information technology held up in the face of economic worries, and the company bumped up its 2011 earnings outlook. Revenue rose 8 percent from a year earlier to $26.2 billion, in line with the average forecast of $26.26 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Nvidia chips in with world’s most powerful computer

Nvidia, which got its start making processors for computer game enthusiasts, has won another victory for parrallel computing with the inclusion of its graphics chips in what is expected to be the world’s fastest supercomputer.

The Titan computer being built for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn should boast a record 20 petaflops of peak performance — that’s about 20 million billion math operations per second.

By the time it is complete in 2013, the computer will be driven by 18,000 Nvidia graphic processor units, or GPUs, along with an equivalent number of central processors made by rival Advanced Micro Devices.

Tech wrap: Apple taps Eddy Cue to boost iAd, iCloud

Apple promoted veteran exec Eddy Cue to oversee Apple’s advertising service called iAd and iCloud, according to a leaked memo published by 9to5Mac. Cue played a major role in creating the Apple online store in 1998, the iTunes Music Store in 2003 and the App Store in 2008, new CEO Tim Cook said in the email to employees.

An Apple employee once again appeared to have lost an unreleased iPhone in a bar, CNET reported. Last year, a misplaced iPhone 4 pre-production model was bought by Gizmodo. Today, two men pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor theft charges relating to that 2010 incident. The latest missing iPhone prototype, which disappeared in San Francisco in late July of this year,  sparked a scramble by Apple security to recover the device over the next few days, CNET wrote, citing a source familiar with the investigation.

A U.S. judge rejected a jury award of $1.3 billion to Oracle in a copyright infringement lawsuit against SAP, paving the way for a possible new trial in a years-long legal dispute. In a ruling released on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton found that Oracle had proven actual damages of only $272 million. She called for a new trial unless Oracle agreed to accept that amount.

Tech wrap: Sony takes a $3.2 billion beating

Sony will post its third straight annual net loss for the year that ended in March after writing off tax credits in the wake of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, the latest in a string of grim headlines on the consumer electronics giant. The firm, which previously forecast a net profit of 70 billion yen for 2010/11, surprised markets on Monday by declaring the need to update investors with revised estimates ahead of its official earnings report on Thursday. Sony said it now expected to post a net loss of 260 billion yen ($3.2 billion). The annual net loss would be Sony’s second-largest ever.

IBM surged past old rival Microsoft in market value for the first time since April 1996, marking the latest twist in the fluctuating fortunes of two of the world’s most storied tech companies. Microsoft’s stock has been stagnant since the tech bubble burst in 2000, as investors doubt its ability to move beyond its Windows operating system and Office suite of software. In the meantime, “Big Blue” has refashioned itself as a specialist in business software, servers and consulting, jettisoning its PC business along the way.

Shares of Apple regrouped after Wall Street brushed off the impact of an explosion last week that shut a Foxconn factory in China producing its iPad.

Tech wrap: Q1 earnings beat expectations, RIM’s PlayBook – not so much

A video wall displays Intel's logos at the unveiling of its second generation Intel Core processor family during a news conference at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas January 5, 2011. REUTERS/Rick WilkingIntel forecast quarterly revenues well above Wall Street’s estimates despite a hiccup in sales of its Sandy Bridge processors after the discovery of a chipset design flaw and defying fears the world’s top chip maker is struggling to find its footing as personal computer sales growth wanes.

IBM raised its profit forecast as the tech giant released quarterly earnings ahead of Wall Street projections, citing strong sales of its mainframe computers and brisk business in emerging markets.

Yahoo posted quarterly earnings that topped Wall Street targets amid threats to the No. 1 provider of online display ads in the U.S. from Facebook and continuing pressure from search leader Google.

With all eyes on Hurd, plenty of praise for new employer

USA/It may have been the most anticipated tech earnings conference call of the year.

It’s a good bet many many folks in Silicon Valley, and tech investors in general, were dialed in to Oracle’s presentation on Thursday, eager to hear the first public utterances of new president Mark Hurd, the recently exiled CEO of technology giant Hewlett-Packard.

And it may have been a bit painful for Hurd’s former colleagues at HP to hear him quickly lavish praise on his new employer:

“I don’t believe there is any other company in the industry better positioned than Oracle,” Hurd said in one of his first public statements as president of the world’s No. 3 software maker.