Solve These Tough Data Problems and Watch Job Offers Roll In

Late in 2015, Gilberto Titericz, an electrical engineer at Brazil’s state oil company Petrobras, told his boss he planned to resign, after seven years maintaining sensors and other hardware in oil plants. By devoting hundreds of hours of leisure time to the obscure world of competitive data analysis, Titericz had recently become the world’s top-ranked data scientist, by one reckoning. Silicon Valley was calling. “Only when I wanted to quit did they realize they had the number-one data scientist,” he says.

Petrobras held on to its champ for a time by moving Titericz into a position that used his data skills. But since topping the rankings that October he’d received a stream of emails from recruiters around the globe, including representatives of Tesla and Google. This past February, another well-known tech company hired him, and moved his family to the Bay Area this summer. Titericz described his unlikely journey recently over colorful plates of Nigerian food at the headquarters of his new employer, Airbnb.

Titericz earned, and holds, his number-one rank on a website called Kaggle that has turned data analysis into a kind of sport, and transformed the lives of some competitors. Companies, government agencies, and researchers post datasets on the platform and invite Kaggle’s more than one million members to discern patterns and solve problems. Winners get glory, points toward Kaggle’s rankings of its top 66,000 data scientists, and sometimes cash prizes.

Ryan Young for Wired

Alone and in small teams with fellow Kagglers, Titericz estimates he has won around $ 100,000 in contests that included predicting seizures from brainwaves for the National Institutes of Health, the price of metal tubes for Caterpillar, and rental property values for Deloitte. The TSA and real-estate site Zillow are each running competitions offering prize money in excess of $ 1 million.

Veteran Kagglers say the opportunities that flow from a good ranking are generally more bankable than the prizes. Participants say they learn new data-analysis and machine-learning skills. Plus, the best performers like the 95 “grandmasters” that top Kaggle’s rankings are highly sought talents in an occupation crucial to today’s data-centric economy. Glassdoor has declared data scientist the best job in America for the past two years, based on the thousands of vacancies, good salaries, and high job satisfaction. Companies large and small recruit from Kaggle’s fertile field of problem solvers.

In March, Google came calling and acquired Kaggle itself. It has been integrated into the company’s cloud-computing division, and begun to emphasize features that let people and companies share and test data and code outside of competitions, too. Google hopes other companies will come to Kaggle for the people, code, and data they need for new projects involving machine learning—and run them in Google’s cloud.

Kaggle grandmasters say they’re driven as much by a compulsion to learn as to win. The best take extreme lengths to do both. Marios Michailidis, a previous number one now ranked third, got the data-science bug after hearing a talk on entrepreneurship from a man who got rich analyzing trends in horseraces. To Michailidis, the money was not the most interesting part. “This ability to explore and predict the future seemed like a superpower to me,” he says. Michailidis taught himself to code, joined Kaggle, and before long was spending what he estimates was 60 hours a week on contests—in addition to a day job. “It was very enjoyable because I was learning a lot,” he says.

Michailidis has since cut back to roughly 30 hours a week, in part due to the toll on his body. Titericz says his own push to top the Kaggle rankings, made not long after the birth of his second daughter, caused some friction with his wife. “She’d get mad with me every time I touched the computer,” he says.

Entrepreneur SriSatish Ambati has made Kagglers a core strategy of his startup, H2O, which makes data-science tools for customers including eBay and Capital One. Ambati hired Michailidis and three other grandmasters after he noticed a surge in downloads when H2O’s software was used to win a Kaggle contest. Victors typically share their methods in the site’s busy forums to help others improve their technique.

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H2O’s data celebrities work on the company’s products, providing both expertise and a marketing boost akin to a sports star endorsing a sneaker. “When we send a grandmaster to a customer call their entire data-science team wants to be there,” Ambati says. “Steve Jobs had a gut feel for products; grandmasters have that for data.” Jeremy Achin, cofounder of startup DataRobot, which competes with H2O and also has hired grandmasters, says high Kaggle rankings also help weed out poseurs trying to exploit the data-skills shortage. “There are many people calling themselves data scientists who are not capable of delivering actual work,” he says.

Competition between people like Ambati and Achin helps make it lucrative to earn the rank of grandmaster. Michailidis, who works for Mountain View, California-based H2O from his home in London, says his salary has tripled in three years. Before joining H2O, he worked for customer analytics company Dunnhumby, a subsidiary of supermarket Tesco.

Large companies like Kaggle champs, too. An Intel job ad posted this month seeking a machine-learning researcher lists experience winning Kaggle contests as a requirement. Yelp and Facebook have run Kaggle contests that dangle a chance to interview for a job as a prize for a good finish. The winner of Facebook’s most recent contest last summer was Tom Van de Wiele, an engineer for Eastman Chemical in Ghent, Belgium, who was seeking a career change. Six months later, he started a job at Alphabet’s artificial-intelligence research group DeepMind.

H2O is trying to bottle some of the lightning that sparks from Kaggle grandmasters. Select customers are testing a service called Driverless AI that automates some of a data scientist’s work, probing a dataset and developing models to predict trends. More than 6,000 companies and people are on the waitlist to try Driverless. Ambati says that reflects the demand for data-science skills, as information piles up faster than companies can analyze it. But no one at H2O expects Driverless to challenge Titericz or other Kaggle leaders anytime soon. For all the data-crunching power of computers, they lack the creative spark that makes a true grandmaster.

“If you work on a data problem in a company you need to talk with managers, and clients,” says Stanislav Semenov, a grandmaster and former number one in Moscow, who is now ranked second. He likes to celebrate Kaggle wins with a good steak. “Competitions are only about building the best models, it’s pure and I love it.” On Kaggle, data analysis is not just a sport, but an art.

Tech

Irish court gives $1 billion Apple data center green light

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Apple may proceed to build a 850 million euro ($ 1 billion) data center in Ireland, the High Court ruled on Thursday, bringing relief for the government after a two-year planning delay which it feared could hurt its reputation with investors.

Apple in February 2015 announced plans to build the data center in a rural location in the west of Ireland to take advantage of rich green energy sources nearby.

Planning permission was granted by the local council six months later, but a series of appeals blocked Apple from beginning work.

High Court judge Paul McDermott on Thursday dismissed two separate appeals against the planning permission, clearing the way for the project to proceed.

Ireland relies on foreign multinational companies for the creation of one in every 10 jobs across the economy and sees major investments such as data centers as a means of securing their presence in the country.

A similar Apple center announced at the same time in Denmark is due to begin operations later this year and Apple has announced it will build a second data center there.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar met Apple executives last month and said they had made clear their frustration with the planning and judicial delays and warned the process would color decisions that they might make about future investments.

The government has said it is considering amending its planning laws to include data centers as strategic infrastructure, thus allowing them to get through the planning process much more quickly.

It has said it will be one of the biggest capital investment projects in the west of Ireland, providing 300 construction jobs and 150 on-site permanent jobs.

Writing by Conor Humphries and Padraic Halpin

Tech

A Woman Asked Tinder for All Its Data on Her. Their 800-Page Reply Will Terrify You

Think about all the information internet companies have collected about you. Now think about all of it being made public. (This shouldn’t be too hard to imagine given the recent, massive Equifax breach.)

Chances are good that the nightmare scenario which flashed through your mind involved sensitive financial data and hackers making lavish purchases or taking out ruinous loans. That indeed is a horrifying picture. But I have bad news for you, this is probably only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to personal secrets stored up and poorly guarded by companies you interact with every day.

Imagine 800-pages of your deepest secrets

At least that’s what you’d have to conclude from a chilling, must-read article by Judith Duportail in the UK Guardian recently. “A typical millennial constantly glued to my phone,” Duportail uses European regulations to request all the data dating app Tinder has collected on her. The company’s response will terrify you:

Some 800 pages came back containing information such as my Facebook “likes”, my photos from Instagram (even after I deleted the associated account), my education, the age-rank of men I was interested in, how many times I connected, when and where every online conversation with every single one of my matches happened …

Reading through the 1,700 Tinder messages I’ve sent since 2013, I took a trip into my hopes, fears, sexual preferences and deepest secrets. Tinder knows me so well. It knows the real, inglorious version of me who copy-pasted the same joke to match 567, 568, and 569; who exchanged compulsively with 16 different people simultaneously one New Year’s Day, and then ghosted 16 of them.

Of course, Tinder, being a dating app, is particularly likely to know extremely personal details about you, but don’t be comforted if you don’t use Tinder. If you use Facebook or other social media apps, the trove of data out there on you is probably even bigger.

“I am horrified but absolutely not surprised by this amount of data,” data scientist Olivier Keyes tells Duportail. “Every app you use regularly on your phone owns the same [kinds of information]. Facebook has thousands of pages about you!”

And while this shouldn’t come as a huge shock — Tinder’s privacy policy comes right out and says they’ll be collecting everything and it won’t necessarily be kept secure– seeing all that information printed out physically was still a wake-up call for Duportail.

“Apps such as Tinder are taking advantage of a simple emotional phenomenon; we can’t feel data. This is why seeing everything printed strikes you. We are physical creatures. We need materiality,” Dartmouth sociologist Luke Stark explains to her.

If you’re not a European citizen (and a journalist with the skills and professional inclination to engage a lawyer and internet rights activist to aid your quest) you’re unlikely to ever see the physical manifestation of the mountains of personal data myriad companies are collecting on you right now. Which is why Duportail’s experiment is such a public service.

What should do you do about it?

What should you do about the reality this experiment revealed? As Duportail points out, for many of us, our online and offline lives have grown so entangled it’s basically impossible to share less data without radically overhauling our lifestyles. Though there are, of course, still sensible steps to take to protect important financial data, like setting up fraud alerts, using more secure passwords or a password manager, and enabling two-factor authentication where available.

But the truth is, while these steps might thwart hackers, they won’t prevent businesses from using your data to tailor what they offer you and how much they charge for it, which is completely legal. And that alone worries some.

“Your personal data affects who you see first on Tinder, yes,” privacy activist Paul-Olivier Dehaye tells Duportail. “But also what job offers you have access to on LinkedIn, how much you will pay for insuring your car, which ad you will see in the tube and if you can subscribe to a loan.” Thinking through the implications of this reality and responding appropriately is beyond the scope of any one individual. Instead we’ll have to have society-wide conversations about the dangers and ethics of this sort of ‘big data.

In the meantime though, just visualize that 800-page dossier of secrets to keep you alert to how much you’re really sharing online.

Tech

Deloitte Is the Latest Target of a Cyber Attack With Confidential Client Data at Risk

Global accountancy firm Deloitte has been hit by a sophisticated hack that resulted in a breach of confidential information and plans from some of its biggest clients, Britain’s Guardian newspaper said on Monday.

Deloitte—one of the big four professional services providers—confirmed to the newspaper it had been hit by a hack, but it said only a small number of its clients had been impacted.

The firm discovered the hack in March, according to the Guardian, but the cyber attackers could have had breached its systems as long ago as October or November 2016.

The attack was believed to have been focused on the U.S. operations of the company, which provides auditing, tax advice, and consultancy to multinationals and governments worldwide.

“In response to a cyber incident, Deloitte implemented its comprehensive security protocol and began an intensive and thorough review including mobilizing a team of cybersecurity and confidentiality experts inside and outside of Deloitte,” a spokesman told the newspaper. “As part of the review, Deloitte has been in contact with the very few clients impacted and notified governmental authorities and regulators.”

A Deloitte spokeswoman declined immediate comment, saying that the firm would issue a statement shortly.

Tech

In Broadband Service, ‘Discounts for Data’ Are Pro-Consumer, ITIF…

Broadband Internet service plans that offer discounts to customers in exchange for permission to use their data are decidedly pro-consumer, according to an analysis by the Information Technology and…

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Gemalto & Ponemon Institute Study: Cloud Data Security Still a Challenge for Many Companies

AMSTERDAM, July 26, 2016 – (ACN Newswire) – Despite the continued importance of cloud computing resources to organizations, companies are not …

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Weekend Business Update: Mercari joins the unicorns, Snapchat data leaked, and more.

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It’s the first weekend of March, and spring is around the corner. But if the weather where you live is anything like here in Amsterdam, you’re likely stuck inside hiding from freezing rain, sleet, or some other bothersome, moist form of precipitation. A perfect time to play catch up with the state of the tech industry, in other words. At Index we spend every day gathering news on tech companies from around the world so that there’s a convenient platform for tech enthusiasts everywhere to access that data. In this series, we catch you up every week on what’s been…

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RISC Networks Finds That IT Teams Require More Effective Data than…

Leader in Cloud and Data Center Analytics to demonstrate new Application Centric Visualization technology at AWS re:Invent 2015 in Las Vegas from October 6 – 9, 2015

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IDG Contributor Network: 5 myths about data encryption

It’s a heartache, nothing but a heartache. Hits you when it’s too late, hits you when you’re down. It’s a fools’ game, nothing but a fool’s game. Standing in the cold rain, feeling like a clown.

When singer Bonnie Tyler recorded in her distinctive raspy voice “It’s A Heartache” in 1978, you’d think she was an oracle of sorts, predicting the rocky road that encryption would have to travel.

Just a year earlier in 1977 the Encryption Standard (DES) became the federal standard for block symmetric encryption (FIPS 46). But, oh, what a disappointment encryption DES would become. In less than 20 years since its inception, DES would be declared DOA (dead on arrival), impenetrable NOT.

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Bring your company’s ‘dark data’ to light with this free new tool from Tamr

All the analytics tools in the world won’t do a company much good if it doesn’t know what data it has to analyze. Tamr offers a free, downloadable tool designed to help tackle that “dark data” problem.

Dark data generally refers to all the information an organization collects, processes and stores but doesn’t use for analytics or other purposes. It’s often unstructured or qualitative data that’s harder to keep track of than numerical data is, and by research firm IDC’s reckoning, it can account for as much as 90 percent of an organization’s information assets.

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Bring your company’s ‘dark data’ to light with this free new tool from Tamr

All the analytics tools in the world won’t do a company much good if it doesn’t know what data it has to analyze. Tamr offers a free, downloadable tool designed to help tackle that “dark data” problem.

Dark data generally refers to all the information an organization collects, processes and stores but doesn’t use for analytics or other purposes. It’s often unstructured or qualitative data that’s harder to keep track of than numerical data is, and by research firm IDC’s reckoning, it can account for as much as 90 percent of an organization’s information assets.

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DRI Applied Innovation Center Data and Climate Team to Exhibit at…

Data scientists and climate experts from DRI’s Applied Innovation Center (AIC) today announced that they will be exhibiting at TechCrunch Disrupt and Hackathon in San Francisco from September 21-23 at…

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Open Automation Software Enables Secure Data Hosting over the internet using

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Today Open Automation Software is proud to announce the release of its Live Data Cloud application which harnesses the power of open standards to enable secure real-time, and historical, data hosting utilizing a standard Internet connection.
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Vimeo Adds Customizable Music Options And A New, Cloud-Based Enhancer Tool
The main point of the tool for now is the ability for creators to instantly add music to their videos, straight from the Vimeo web site. In addition to adding music, they can also update audio levels and control the start- and end-point of a song.
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WebHostRanking.com Expands Services to VPS, Dedicated, and Cloud Hosting Providers
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A thousand reasons for Giacom to celebrate
STAFF at a leading cloud computing company were celebrating today after its network of resellers hit the 1000 mark. Giacom ThinkCloud has the largest team of IT support firms selling Hosted Exchange under their own brands in the UK.
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Fuzzy Keyword Search over Encrypted Data in Cloud Computing

Fuzzy Keyword Search over Encrypted Data in Cloud Computing project is a IEEE 2010 cse project. Get this project for 50% off from 1000projects.org
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Cloud Computing - 28/02/12

Description: Recent disaster events throughout the country and even internationally have highlighted the need for businesses to ensure regular backups of essential data, and to seek alternative ways of working particularly in regards to using software which is accessible anywhere, any time on the internet to ensure minimal business down time. Many businesses use cloud computing on a day to day basis without even realising it — your emails may well be accessible via webmail or online programs such as gmail, yahoo, Hotmail or similar. Whilst some businesses utilise expensive servers, often requiring specialist IT staff to ensure it’s continual operation, many business owners are turning to cloud computing – renting capacity in a provider’s data centre, and connecting to it over the internet, often on a month to month basis. This allows a business agility in a fast moving technological world, and the right cloud computing solutions can improve a business’s efficiencies across the board significantly. Join our informative one hour webinar on cloud computing and learn: • What cloud computing is and how you can get started with it • What types of activities you might be able to conduct ‘in the cloud’ and why this could be advisable for your business • What cloud computing solutions exist and which ones might suit your business • How much different cloud computing solutions cost • How to choose the right solution/s for your business • Whether cloud computing is secure • How to
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How Cloud Computing is Forcing Us to Rethink Data Security

Traditional IT security models focus on building a secure perimeter around corporate infrastructure. This is akin to the classic fortress mentality of putting up walls and surrounding those walls with additional defenses. If anything gets inside the walls, all bets are off. HP Enterprise & Cloud Security Strategist, Rafal Los, argues that this model is flawed and should be changed with or without cloud computing. Cloud computing amplifies the issue, because the concept of boundraies has changed, necessitating the switch to role-based security. One key area where this change needs to happen is in rethinking application development with a focus on authorization to access data, rather than simply authenticating access to data. LockerGnome’s Jake Ludington has an interesting coversation with Rafal about cloud security, what’s the same, what’s different, and what some best practice scenarios involve in planning for security in the cloud.
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www.cisco.com An animation telling the story of datacenter traffic growth, through the scope of the back office of a cupcake bakery. Transcript: How big will cloud computing be in 2015? Consider the cupcake. When you interact with a business — such as a bakery — your request is sent to a datacenter. The order entry datacenter stores your information, authenticates it, and synchronizes it with other systems. For many businesses, this internal processing can generate as much as 80% of the datacenter traffic. From there, another 15% of your baker’s datacenter traffic comes from sending the order to the factory datacenter where it’s put into production. Finally, the last 5% of traffic is generated by the confirmation notice of your cupcake order. So while you don’t see it, the total traffic generated from a single order can multiply exponentially, and that can be a challenge for businesses and service providers to handle. This global datacenter traffic reached 1.1 zettabytes in 2010, and will grow more than four-fold to 4.8 zettabytes by 2015. Of that, Cloud traffic is growing two-times faster than traditional data center traffic. While in 2010, only 21% of workloads were processed through the cloud, by 2015, that figure will jump to 57%. More workloads moving to the cloud means less complexity in the datacenter, improved economies of scale, and most importantly, more cupcakes.
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