Apple Buys AI and Machine Learning Startup Turi

Apple Buys AI and Machine Learning Startup TuriApple Buys AI and Machine Learning Startup Turi
Apple has reportedly acquired Turin for $200 million
Earlier, Turin was known as Dato and GraphLab
Apple had acquired AI firms Perceptio and VocalIQ last year
Apple Inc. seems to be taking strides towards the field of artificial intelligence just like other tech giants from the industry as the Cupertino-based company has reportedly acquired AI firm Turi, which is a machine learning platform for developers and data scientists.

The iPhone manufacturer has bought the Seattle-based startup for a consideration of around $200 million (roughly Rs. 1,335 crores), according to a report by GeekWire. On being contacted about the deal by the website, Apple gave its regular boilerplate statement when making a small acquisition, “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

GeekWire says that it has confirmed from several sources close to the matter that the deal has indeed taken place. Turi’s product offering includes Turi Machine Learning Platform, GraphLab Create, Turi Distributed, and Turi Predictive Services.

All of these products are largely designed to improve data understanding and can be deployed by both large and small scale organisations.
Turin was earlier known as Dato and before that, it was called GraphLab.

Last year in October, the Cupertino-based company acquired artificial intelligence companies Perceptio and VocalIQ. While Perceptio allows phones to do advanced calculations without storing user data in the cloud, VocalIQ is a UK-based startup that builds speech processing technology.

The company’s push in the direction of artificial intelligence indicates that Apple might be planning to enhance the capabilities of its virtual assistant Siri, catch up with competitors in the field of chat bots, or it might also have some other plans regarding the technology altogether. In any of these cases, the company seems to have definitely become more active post the decline in its iPhone sales.

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Tags: AI, Apple, Artificial Intelligence, Siri, Turi


Is Technology Good or Bad for Student Learning? Conflicting Studies Make It Hard to Tell

Image and video hosting by TinyPicWe really, really want to know if all that technology we’re investing in for today’s schools is going to actually improve student learning, and we definitely want to know if it’s going to hinder it. Of course, it’s universally understood that technology cannot replace the very important role of a teacher as a guide and mentor throughout the learning process. But numerous conflicting studies over the years leave enough room for doubt if technology hurts student progress more than it helps. We’ve compiled some of the studies we’ve written about in the past few months for you to be the judge. Students Who Hand Write Notes Do Better Than Students Who Type Them Researchers: Princeton University and the University of California at Los Angeles Study: The researchers placed students from the group of 67 into different groups where one used pen and paper to take notes and the others used a laptop. Results: Students who used handwritten notes performed better on subsequent tests. The researchers speculated that typing notes got in the way of students absorbing and processing information as they hurried to take down verbatim notes. Students Who Use Technology Get Worse Grades Researchers: The United States Military Academy Study: One-third of the economics sections were permitted to use laptops during lecture while one-third was permitted to use tablets and the other was not allowed to use technology at all. Results: Both laptop and tablet users performed worse than students who did not use technology at all. The differences in scores was even more significant for the class’ best and brightest students, who researchers think overestimated their ability to multitask. Research Supports Benefits of One-to-One Initiative on Student Learning Researchers: Michigan State University Study: Researchers gave students his or her own laptop and then tested them in science, writing, math and English. Results: Students who used the laptops approved their learning achievement. Students used the laptops to do more than just note-take, however, and the researchers said there is significance in that. h Social Media Use Through Technology Helps Students Learn Better Researchers: Dr. Richard J. Light of Harvard School of Education Study: “Student research participants who studied in groups, even only once a week, were more engaged in their studies, were better prepared for class, and learned significantly more than students who worked on their own,” which Light says is facilitated by social media use. Results: Light’s report found that social media’s cool value attracts young learners as helps students engage thanks to “virtual study groups.” “Social media platforms enable many engaging classroom activities, including ‘communities of practice’ where learners can interact and share ideas. ‘This group learning format appeals to younger, socially conscious learners and is built around the notion that ‘many minds are better than one,’ the report stated.

HP announces new machine learning as a service offering

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Technology major Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) today announced the commercial launch of Haven OnDemand, a cloud platform that provides advanced machine learning application programme interfaces and services that enable developers, startups and enterprises to build data-rich mobile and enterprise applications.

The company also announced a new version of Idol analytics platform, which applies data analytics and machine learning for organisations to automate and supplement a vast array of manual-based tasks such as trend analysis and video surveillance.

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“Haven OnDemand democratises big data by bringing power of machine learning, traditionally reserved for high-end, highly trained data scientists, to the mainstream developer community,” HPE Vice President for big data platform for Asia Pacific and Japan Darren Ong told reporters here today.

“Now, anyone can leverage our easy to use cloud-based service to harness the rich variety of data available to build applications that produce new insights, differentiate businesses, delight customers and deliver a competitive advantage,” he added.

The products were unveiled at the HPE Advanced Analytics World Tour 2016 here today.

The product has over 12,750 developers who generate millions of API calls a week and have provided feedback to improve and refine the offering.

The company is offering a flexible approach that starts as a freemium service, enabling development and testing for free and extends to a usage and SLA-based commercial pricing model for enterprise class delivery to support production deployments.

Some of the capabilities offered by the new offering are advanced text analysis, format conversion, image recognition and face detection, knowledge graph analysis and speech recognition, among others he said.

Delivered as a service on Microsoft Azure, the offering provides over 60 application programme interfaces or APIs and services that deliver deep learning analytics on a wide range of data, including texts, audio, images, social, web and video.

The new offering combines context-based analytics and visualisation capabilities to empower knowledge workers and help companies take a data-driven approach to every process, operation and customer interaction.

“Traditional databases are not designed to analyse human information and so lack the key capabilities necessary to effectively and reliably understand unstructured data. With the addition of next generation artificial intelligence, neural networks and machine learning-based capabilities, we now enable organisations to harness 100 per cent of their data,” Ong said.

New Idol 11 empowers businesses to perform self service analytics and shortens time to insight with intuitive, easy to use visualisation functionality. It also automatically discovers relationships between entities including people, places and companies, to reveal insightful linkages and shared traits.


Start-up studies: Learning to be an entrepreneur

IIM-B is ready to make entrepreneurship education part of its flagship PG programme from the coming academic year. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

IIM-B is ready to make entrepreneurship education part of its flagship PG programme from the coming academic year. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

Two years into her job in a leading information technology (IT) company, Varsha Ramachandran, 27, got bored and decided to quit for a creative career—a start-up that would help organizations and companies “redefine green spaces,” preferably in an organic way.

“I was a bio-technology student, joined an IT company and did coding work till late in the night every day. I completely lost interest and resigned to start a gardening start-up along with a friend,” said Ramachandran, from Chennai.

“Soon, I realized it takes guts to start a start-up and more so to sustain it,” she said. “With no background in business and little knowledge of management, I found myself lacking in understanding the basics. That’s when I decided to go to IIM (Indian Institute of Management) Bangalore,” she added.

After completing her certificate course in entrepreneurship in 2015, Ramachandran now feels much more “business-like” in her approach and has launched another start-up—a health food cafe in Bengaluru, with plans to go to other cities.

“Ideas are plenty but somebody has to validate your ideas, give you confidence and tell you whether your business model is scalable and how to achieve scale. That’s what IIM Bangalore did to me and perhaps to all my 29 other classmates,” she added.

As more and more young Indians now seek to become what Prime Minister Narendra Modi calls job creators, educational institutions—from business schools and education foundations to universities—are rolling out enabling courses.

Besides revamping its two certificate courses, IIM Bangalore, for instance, is ready to make entrepreneurship education part of its flagship postgraduate programme from the coming academic year. Chicago Booth School of Business is looking to offer a customized programme aimed at the growing start-up community in the country through its University of Chicago centre in India. While XLRI Jamshedpur is running a certificate course on entrepreneurship, IIM Udaipur is starting a course on “empowering women entrepreneurs”.

The human resources development ministry has asked the 40-plus central universities to start courses on women entrepreneurship. Recently the Union budget for 2016-17 gave a push to entrepreneurship education through open learning and vocational education.

“Entrepreneurship education and training will be provided in 2,200 colleges, 300 schools, 500 government ITIs and 50 vocational training centres through Massive Open Online Courses,” finance minister Arun Jaitley said in his budget speech on 29 February.

G. Sabarinathan, professor and chairperson, NS Raghavan Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning at IIM Bangalore, said young Indians are ready to take more risks and that the desire to grow big is driving them toward entrepreneurship.

He said there are two categories of people who come to IIM Bangalore—those who are already in business and those who are into new businesses but want to grow in a structured way.

“While the first category of people want to polish their business acumen, learn from bigger companies the tricks to scale up and adopt new business strategies, the other group is where we invest a lot—in personal involvement, mentorship, connecting them with investors and validation of ideas. Above all constant motivation to boost their confidence that ‘yes you can’,” said Sabarinathan.

“This is a good situation but aspiring and young entrepreneurs must keep in mind that success lies in sustained growth rather than in bubbles. Some want to become unicorns quickly. But we teach them that aspiration is not bad but it is better to achieve sustainable growth,” added Sabarinathan.

He said the recent central government push for Start up India and Stand up India has done a lot of good for entrepreneurship. “When the prime minister pushes for an idea, you feel energized,” he said adding that from the coming academic session IIM-B will teach entrepreneurship as part of the core MBA programme, and not just electives.

As of January 2016, India had 19,400 technology-enabled start-ups, of which 5,000 were launched in 2015 alone, according to the Economic Survey 2015-16.

It’s a good environment and both the central and state governments are pushing for entrepreneurship, leadership development etc., said William Kooser, associate dean (global outreach) at Chicago Booth School of Business.

“We are looking to offer some customized courses. We are planning to bring an entrepreneurship boot camp to India and can offer knowledge on leadership, global business mindset, strategic thinking, innovation and creativity, and issues about funding,” said Kooser, adding that his school will draw faculty from its US campus and rope in Booth Schools alumni and established entrepreneurs from India. The school did not divulge a timeline for their plan, saying it will be announced soon.

How does an entrepreneurship course help a budding entrepreneur? “In several ways – in giving us confidence, validating ideas, providing mentors, connecting with angel investors and providing a network,” said Ramachandran.

But can entrepreneurship be taught in classrooms? “I was skeptical earlier but when you join the course, you realize that you do not know several things—your mentor, teacher or peers teach you new things and give you new business ideas that gels with your plan,” said Mamta Joseph, who runs a merchandise start-up in Bengaluru with products ranging from home decor to apparel “with a Christian theme”. Joseph, also went to IIM-Bangalore for a certificate course.

So what’s the future of such courses? “Youngsters are ready to take risks, hence you see this start-up boom. But they do need handholding,” said Siby Joseph, general manager (human resources) at Birlasoft (India) Ltd, a Noida-based IT company.

“Earlier, it was largely tech-based start-ups, but now you see a diverse range of such companies—from lifestyle to hobby and daily needs related. Youngsters will continue to diversify and educational institutions can work as catalysts,” said Ramachandran.