Category Archives: Technology

F# Meetup – Microservices Chaos Testing

Meetup - Microservice Chaos TestingThis was the first event I’ve attended by the F#unctional Londoners group and the venue at Skillsmatter.com was excellent.

Some of the biggest growing pains we’ve experienced with our microservice architecture at Jet is in preparing for system outages.

In this talk, Rachel will discuss Jet.com’s chaos testing methods and code in depth, as well as lay out a path to implementation that everyone can use.

I haven’t used chaos testing in my own work, but in the world of distributed services, it makes sense to test the robustness of the system to failures on individual nodes. Rachel’s story was quite compelling, even if her own developers aren’t all convinced of the attractions of chaos testing on the production system just yet!

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IET Meetup: Turing Lecture 2016, The Internet of Me, Robert Schukai

IETLogoThis years Prestige Turing Lecture was given by Robert Schukai, Head of Applied Innovation for Thomson Reuters.

TuringTrustAn opening address was given by the great nephew of Alan Turing, on behalf of TuringTrust.co.uk. This organisation builds on the legacy of Turing by distributing pre-owned computing equipment, both in the UK and particularly to schools in Africa who have no facilities.

The lecture hall was completely sold out for this talk and the speaker lived up to his billing, giving a mixed media presentation with great passion and insight. He took the audience on a journey from the introduction and incredible growth of mobile technology, both in terms of number of users, speed of data transfer, and bulk of data stored annually. Then he showed that, with the advent of new applications such as Genomic Profiling, and/or the Internet of Things, today’s data footprint will be blitzed by that of the future.

He introduced Cognitive Computing by way of IBM’s Jon Iwata talking about Watson and Robert Schukaithen illustrated the rate of progress of Artificial Intelligence with reference to Google’s Deep Learning having mastered the game Go a full decade earlier than predicted.

Schukai’s vision for the near future is of “DayFlow“, a seamless user experience where their needs are met across devices, throughout the day, with content being proactively displayed just as the user needs it.

I suspect my iPhone is already there – it volunteers the Bus Timetable app first thing in the morning, just as I’m ready to leave for work.

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IET Meetup – Wireless Charging Buses in the UK

IETLogoThis is the first meeting I’ve been to at the IET since the refurbishment of the premises at Savoy Place, London.

Savoy Place

The location has always been amazing, but now the venue makes the most of it, with new entertainment space on the first floor leading to balconies that overlook the River Thames.

The presentation by Murat Basarir covered a Joint Venture by Arup and Mitsui to trial 8 electric buses on an urban bus route in Milton Keynes. The linear route is 24km long and takes about 50 minutes from one end to the other. Whilst they considered many battery charging options, they decided to install wireless charging plates into the road at the terminals, giving the bus 10 minutes to top-up before it turns round and runs the route in the opposite direction. There’s no need for the driver to physically plug in or swap batteries, so s/he gets a ten minute breaks, as per routine with diesel buses. The regular top-ups increase the range of the bus, so that it only needs a longer, trickle charge overnight back at the depot.

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IET Meetup – Only a Matter of Time

I was lucky to get a ticket to an excellent lecture by Leon Lobo of the National Physical Laboratory – ‘Only a matter of time’ – How time has infiltrated different industries and why it is important to a micro second level. This lecture was partly to celebrate 60 years since Louis Essen developed his atomic clock.

essen-book-coverAll attendees were presented with a copy of Louis Essen’s memoirs. I love reading about the history behind mathematical or scientific advances. This book includes gems such as when Albert Einstein gave a lecture at the National Physical Laboratory and someone had to lend him £5 because he had no money! Also noteworthy is that the great Alan Turing was developing a computer at NPL after the war – he just happened to cross paths with Essen, and repeated a key correction factor calculation for him, doing it far more elegantly and rigorously using waveguide theory.

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Apple Watch – awesome charger for UK

Apparently, the Apple Watch has a foldable charger in the UK. If this is it, it’s certainly innovative and begs the question why no one else has put a slimmer design on the market.

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Flash Boys – One Year On

Traders Magazine notes that it’s now a year since Michael Lewis published “Flash Boys”.

After all, it’s not every day that a book launches attorney general investigations, inspires an exchange president to meltdown on cable news and spur Americans to buy a book that features an obscure trader from the Royal Bank of Canada to figure out why the price of his trades were increasing the instant he placed his order.

I read Flash Boys soon after it came out and thought it was excellent. Now, Traders Magazine points out that they talked to IEX before Lewis brought out his book.

The Vanity Fair article by Michael Lewis is worth a read.

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BCS Meetup: 2015 Lovelace Lecture, Steve Furber

Steve Furber_BrainI was lucky to get a ticket to see Steve Furber receive the Lovelace Medal for 2015, for services to the advancement of computer science. He gave an inspirational lecture about his work, starting with his contribution to ARM and including his latest project, SpiNNaker.

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