“Wall Street often guards its high-frequency trading strategies as if they were classified matters of national security. Yet the worlds of the quants and the spymasters share more than a penchant for secrecy.
Federal intelligence and defense agencies are increasingly seeking the latest and fastest technology that trading firms use. Technology firms that once served Wall Street or Washington are now supplying both, and some professionals have moved jobs between the two.
The defense and intelligence fields have long relied on computers to help collect and organize data. But a new cross-pollination has flowered with the super-fast automated systems developed by Wall Street. That technology is now being used to search the Internet’s message boards for security threats, comb through bank records for unusual flows of money and gather information used in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Just as military spending on technology has at times led to civilian uses, so the arms race to produce ever-faster and more powerful trading technologies is now serving a broader purpose. “
“Last month the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) posted an RFI looking for quantitative research–and theories and proposals on how to obtain it–on the effectiveness of using virtual worlds for intelligence analyst training. Responses are due April 12 as the agency is aiming to incorporate the information received into a two-day workshop in May. It says the information will help it set an agenda, with some respondents getting an invitation to the workshop itself and an opportunity to set the stage for a multi-year competitive program. “
“One of the trickiest problems in cyber security is trying to figure who’s really behind an attack. Darpa, the Pentagon agency that created the Internet, is trying to fix that, with a new effort to develop the ‘cyber equivalent of fingerprints or DNA’ that can identify even the best-cloaked hackers.
The recent malware hit on Google and other U.S. tech firms showed once again just how hard it is to pin a network strike on a particular person or group. Engineers are pretty sure the attack came from China, and it sure was sophisticated enough to come from a state military like China’s. But it’s hard to say conclusively that the People’s Liberation Army launched the strike.”
This article is a good example of the technology gaps that currently exist in the IC…
“The analysts are stymied, however, by computer systems that cannot easily search automatically — and repeatedly — for possible links, officials said. Even simple keyword searches are a challenge, according to a 2008 report by investigators for the House Committee on Science and Technology.
‘The program not only can’t connect the dots, it can’t find the dots,’ Representative Brad Miller, Democrat of North Carolina and chairman of a House panel that oversees the program, said at the time.”
“The White House report on the failed bombing attempt of a U.S airliner on Christmas Day highlights the challenges U.S intelligence agencies face in correlating terrorism-related information gathered from multiple databases and sources.
The review, released yesterday, identified an overall failure by intelligence agencies to ‘connect the dots,’ despite having enough information at their disposal to have potentially disrupted the botched attack.
The problem, according to the report, was not a lack of information sharing between government agencies but a failure by the intelligence community to ‘identity, correlate and fuse into a coherent story all of the discrete pieces of intelligence held by the U.S. government.’ “
For the past decade, Microsoft researcher Gordon Bell has been moving the data from his brain onto computers — where he knows it will be safe.
Gordon Bell wearing a SenseCam, which automatically records photos throughout the day.
Sure, you could say all of us do this to some extent. We save digital pictures from family events and keep tons of e-mail.
But Bell, who is 75 years old, takes the idea of digital memory to a sci-fi-esque extreme. He carries around video equipment, cameras and audio recorders to capture his conversations, commutes, trips and experiences. Microsoft is working on a SenseCam that would hang around a person’s neck and automatically capture every detail of life in photo form. Bell has given that a whirl. He also saves everything — from restaurant receipts (he take pictures of them) to correspondence, bills and medical records. He makes PDF files out of every Web page he views. (CNN)
“White House Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra will explain how the federal government plans to offer cloud computing services to U.S. agencies at a Silicon Valley press event set for next Tuesday.
The event is a likely setting for Kundra to roll out the first phase of the government’s cloud computing storefront, which will give agencies a central place to acquire simple collaboration and productivity tools. Kundra has been backing cloud computing as a way to cut government IT costs, by making inexpensive and easy-to-deploy computing services available via the Internet.” (Computer World)
Jeff Jonas, the creator of NORA, has just written a fantastic essay on the implications of geo-location data:
Mobile devices in America are generating something like 600 billion geo-spatially tagged transactions per day. Every call, text message, email and data transfer handled by your mobile device creates a transaction with your space-time coordinate (to roughly 60 meters accuracy if there are three cell towers in range), whether you have GPS or not. Got a Blackberry? Every few minutes, it sends a heartbeat, creating a transaction whether you are using the phone or not. If the device is GPS-enabled and you’re using a location-based service your location is accurate to somewhere between 10 and 30 meters. Using Wi-Fi? It is accurate below10 meters. (Jeff’s Blog)
Interesting article on improving the AI of computer games. Can gamers tell the difference between game AI and real humans?
Can a computer fool expert gamers into believing it’s one of them? That was the question posed at the second annual BotPrize, a three-month contest that concluded today at the IEEE Computational Symposium on Intelligence and Games in Milan.
The contest challenges programmers to create a software “bot” to control a game character that can pass for human, as judged by a panel of experts. The goal is not only to improve AI in entertainment, but also to fuel advances in non-gaming applications of AI. The BotPrize challenge is a variant of the Turing test, devised by Alan Turing, which challenges a machine to convince a panel of judges that it is a human in a text-only conversation. [MIT Technology Review]