Tag Archives: IT

Quantum power

Reading Time: 2 minutes

We all heard about supercomputers that are bigger than some houses and make enormous calculations. Also term of artificial intelligence or machine learning is getting popular. Slowly we are living in a world driven by data and all actions are made by programs.

In order to make more advance operations and use more sophisticated technology we need something different than another bigger computer. Than comes quantum computer

What is a quantum computer?

Our computers work in regular way. They can store information as 1 or 0 states called bits. Simply it means that when we have more data we use more bits and so on. Quantum computer works differently. It stores memory in a superposition of classical states and the basic unit of it is called qubit. They are in an indeterminate state between 0 and 1. It allows to make calculations much faster and efficient, but it’s not the biggest advantage of a quantum computing. Every qubit is connected in some way to other qubits and effect on each other within one computer. It means that there is a much shorter way for information to get through, than in classical computers. It enables to extremely shorten the time needed for all sort of difficult operations. However due to it’s a different state, qubits can sometimes fail and have errors, so they need to be constantly checking each other. It is said that a quantum computer can make calculations that would take 10 thousand years of today’s most powerful computer to solve, in just a few minutes. It opens a way for science and technology to work in completely new fields with a new great power to use. It will be crucial in fields like space travel, machine learning or data science. On the other hand, it is unlikely to be used in every household instead of classic computer.

The first one

Just a few weeks ago it seems that we have a breakthrough point for this industry. Google claimed to create a first fully working quantum computer in the world. The processor that operates this computer is called Sycamore. It works with 53 qubits. When it would be expanded to 70 qubits the biggest computer in the world would need to be the size of a city to reach it’s power. IBM is also working on it’s own project with quantum computing, but it is the Google which is the first. We don’t know yet how to use it for something particular, but we it is powerful.

 

References

Quantum computing’s ‘Hello World’ moment

https://www.ibm.com/quantum-computing/learn/what-is-quantum-computing/

https://ai.google/research/teams/applied-science/quantum/

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/hands-on-with-googles-quantum-computer/

https://www.wired.com/story/why-googles-quantum-computing-victory-is-a-huge-deal-and-a-letdown/

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Minecraft teaches future programmers

Reading Time: 3 minutes

This is not a secret that the IT industry is expanding very quickly. It causes a constant growth of demand for programmers. According to the speculations of the European Committee, EU labour market will not meet this demand until 2030. Because of the money earned by beginner programmists, more and more people older than 30 decide to change their occupancy to “junior programmist”. But it still isn’t enough. The solution is to put kids in the world of programming very early, so when they grow up, part of them will fill the shortage on the labour market.

Microsoft came up with an idea to make young people interested in coding. They developed a learning platform which is Minecraft: Education Edition. Of course, computer science is not the only subject, which can be taught via Minecraft EDU. The platform also contains contents for mathematics, art, science etc. The software is not only dedicated to schools, but also for private educators. Many private institutions have made the use of Minecraft education, creating courses for groups of children.

According to Linkedin data, such skills as mobile development or design of user interface will be in high demand in the coming years. Also, there is no doubt that thanks to programming young children can learn a set of other skills such as problem-solving. What is more teaching computer science in schools is recommended, because it allows students to gain information about the continuously developing technology. However not every child finds programming interesting, probably instead of learning it, they would rather… play some computer game. Here comes MINECRAFT: EE, which combines both, fun and learning. Creators of the content of the lessons of PYTHON developed a set of various tasks, which both make children engaged in it and doesn’t make them bored.

Microsoft and Code.org team up to bring ‘Minecraft’ to Hour of Code (PRNewsFoto/Microsoft Corp.)

The problems, which children need to solve are based on in-game issues. For example, they have to create a script, which will display the number of steps every 10 seconds or they have to build a program, which will build a house in Minecraft on its own. Of course, there are also more complex tasks related to some story: one of them shows a real-world use of AI on an example of predicting a chance of fire.

To conclude, thanks to Minecraft, young learners have an opportunity to gain various practical skills, such as analytical thinking, problem-solving, basics of coding, intermediate programming (AI and python) and understanding the technology. However, such an idea has its dark side. Programming is going to be the next subject in students’ schedule, while they already have plenty of them. Is it appropriate to make young students have more obligations?  Maybe we should abandon some other subjects to avoid making youngsters overworked?

references:

1.https://education.minecraft.net/class-resources/code-with-minecraft/

2.https://zielonalinia.gov.pl/-/boom-na-programistow-potrwa-do-2030-roku-prognoza-ekspertow

3.https://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/features/coding-education-important-implemented/

4.https://www.giganciprogramowania.edu.pl/?gclid=Cj0KCQiA2ITuBRDkARIsAMK9Q7PTgcrGDuP0XnNLAmT_gYWvDIuXFvuDQSfbmpnSP0lIz4Jonkca-EIaAko1EALw_wcB

5.https://education.minecraft.net/wp-content/uploads/HoC_Lesson-Plan.pdf

6.https://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/features/coding-education-important-implemented/

7.https://education.minecraft.net/lessons/teach-python-with-minecraft-pi/

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The Future of Security – Highlights from O. Brodt’s speech at Masters&Robots Conference 2017

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Oleg Brodt works at Deutsche Telekom Innovation Labs in Israel. He comes from the small city called Beersheba, also spelled Beer-Sheva, which also is the largest city in the Negev desert of southern Israel. In the end of October this year he spoke at Masters&Robots Conference in Warsaw, and I would like to present some of the highlights of his speech on cyber security.

 

1. Beersheba – as a Cyber Security Center of Israel

Israeli government decided that Beersheba is going to be a cyber security capital of Israel (being more than 4 times smaller than Warsaw). Therefore, all the cyber security units of military and other agencies were moved to this city. That is what made a great impact on Beersheba’s development and stimulated the inflow of human capital into the city. Nowadays there are 40 multinational companies located in Beersheba. There are also many accelerators, incubators, around 100 Start-Ups and the Ben-Gurion University, which is the only university in Israel offering a cyber security degree. Generally, there are around 400 Start-Ups focused on cyber security in Israel, furthermore, the country attracts 15% of global venture capital financing of cyber security projects.

Beersheba 2007

Beersheba 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Cyber Security Kids – Israeli Programs for Talented Pupils

In Israel children, who are good at math and IT, have a chance to become a part of the educational programs, which are aimed to prepare human resources for Israeli military units. Those are usually kids, who go to 9th grade. If the kid is cherrypicked, he or she attends the after school classes on cyber security twice a week during four years of high school and after this, he or she joins the army unit.

By the time a child finishes a school, he or she is already an expert in cyber security. Moreover, there is a 6-months gap between the kid finishes school studies and joins the military agency, and during that gap, a kid already works on military CS projects in IT labs. Those are the lowest qualified workers in Israeli IT Labs. The IT labs are being headed by professor Yuval Elovici, who is a known academic figure in the field of CS.

3. There are Different Kinds of Attackers in CS

  • Kids (“Script Kiddies”) – just children, who are bored, they have spare time and technical skills to hack you. They have some basic knowledge, and start to play around with CS, however, they are lowly qualified and normally can not do a lot of harm. Moreover, kids are hacking for “FUN”, there is no real money interest in it.
  • State Actors – governments, which hack each other or specific targets. They are extremely highly qualified, and if you are the target – it will be very difficult to defend. Also, they have “unlimited resources” to hack you, which means they are very dangerous and if they really want to hack you, it is a question of time.
  • Cybercriminals – revenue driven hackers, who aim to get a financial benefit from you.
  • Hacktivism – is the subversive use of computers and computer networks to promote a political agenda or a social change. Perhaps the most prolific and well known hacktivist group, Anonymous has been prominent and prevalent in many major online hacks over the past decade.
  • Terror Organizations – not very active in the field of CS yet, but are increasing their activity gradually.

4. Financial Models of Attackers

There are also different ways attackers might harm you and there are some of them:

  • Ransomware – a type of malicious software from cryptovirology that threatens to publish the victim’s data or perpetually block access to it unless a ransom is paid. While some simple ransomware may lock the system in a way which is not difficult for a knowledgeable person to reverse, more advanced malware uses a technique called cryptoviral extortion, in which it encrypts the victim’s files, making them inaccessible, and demands a ransom payment to decrypt them.
  • DDOS-as-a-Service – a new service in the Darknet. If you want to attack your competitor in the internet (for example internet shop), you order such a service in the Darknet from qualified hackers, and than they attack the e-commerce platform of your competitor in a way that it gets too many requests and falls offline.
  • Crypto-Hacks – is something relatively new, and means that hackers attack bitcoins exchangers in order to still their money.
  • Darkweb hacking services – there are even whole price lists for certain violations in the Darkweb. For example, how much does it cost to buy a thousand credit cards, or to hack somebody’s Facebook account.

5. It Is Not Personal – When Hacking You is a Business

  • The hackers, who attack you because of financial motivation are interested only in getting the money. They really do not care who you are, they are not hacking you because you are you, they are hacking you because of your resources. And the most popular way to hack during last two years is ransomware. Due to its “commonness”, there starts to arise a commoditization of the services connected to ransomware, so to say. In other words, hackers, who attack you with ransomware have support centers! So, for example, if you get hacked, and your entire organization data in currently encrypted, you get a message that you have to pay a ransom in bitcoins, but you do not know what actually bitcoin is – you may address hackers’ customer service for help. Yes, you get a phone number on your screen, and if you call on this number – a nice customer service representative guide you through the whole process. Sounds nice, hah?
  • Organizations, which are specialized in negotiations with hackers arise. For example: you are being hacked, and the attacker wants you to pay 5000$ ransom for your files. But how can you know that after the transfer of the money the files will be released? That is where negotiations companies come into play. First, they try to establish a reputation of the hacker – they ask him questions like: “How do I know that you are not going to publish my files in the Darkweb?” or “How do I know that you are not going to sell my files to other organizations?” And what happens next is something surprising – hackers give lists of “previous customers” (people or organizations, which were hacked by them before) to convince the victim that the deal is safe. They also propose to refer to those “customers” to get a recommendation. So there exists so-called recommendation base for hackers, in which new negotiations companies are specialized.

Sources:

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ransomware
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beersheba
  • Oleg’s Brodt Speech at Masters&Robots Conference in Warsaw (26-27 October 2017)

 

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