Most enterprises aren’t just talking IT Transformation anymore – they are placing big bets and big money on modernizing IT infrastructures. None of this is technology for technology’s sake — senior executives have clear business goals in mind when they invest in IT Transformation. Unfortunately, despite these major investments in time and money, many of them still haven’t found the secret to transformation success or how to deliver concrete business results from these efforts.A new study by Forbes Insights and Dell EMC released today shows that the number of organizations dedicating up to 50% of their budgets to IT Transformation will rise nearly fivefold by 2018. The most critical goals include the drive to reduce IT costs (75% of respondents), be first to market with new products and services (73%) and reallocating funds to strategic business projects (67%). With so much riding on these transformations, it’s critical to understand the potential barriers and how to overcome them.Why? Because leaders – where IT Transformation is established and starting to be viewed as a key strategic priority – are more than 2X as likely to report they are ahead of their competition and 2.5X more likely to report return on investment in 12 months or less.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnLkb__MJKoMany enterprises still aren’t gaining a clear competitive advantage from transformation strategies. In fact, 59% say they’ve achieved parity with competitors. Less than stellar transformation results often center on problems that arise between two pivotal players — CIOs and CFOs, who struggle to work together as a team.According to the study, collaboration problems are exacerbated by conflicts arising from traditional reporting structures and a lack of new incentives aimed at fostering closer cooperation between CIOs and CFOs. CFOs point to problems stemming from a lack of business expertise among CIOs and the conflicting priorities of the two groups – although they also acknowledge that their own attitudes about the role of CIOs are outdated.An astounding 89% of senior executives surveyed acknowledge that significant barriers keep CIOs and CFOs from collaborating more closely on IT Transformation initiatives. Nearly all respondents (96%) see close CIO/CFO collaboration as being important or critical to business success; however less than 40% would describe it as excellent. Interestingly, when asked to rate the effectiveness of CIO/CFO collaboration, nearly three-quarters (72%) of CEOs and 63% of COOs consider it excellent.Realizing the full benefits of IT Transformation requires better CIO/CFO collaboration, but where do you start? The report recommends these 6 steps:Update reporting structures to address the evolving roles of CIOsCultivate change agents among CIOs and CFOsMeasure — and reward — CIO performance according to business outcomesSee ROI calculations as guides, not hard and fast requirementsImplement clear milestones to monitor the progress of higher risk initiativesTurn the IT department into a consultancyWhen CIOs and CFOs are in sync, the biggest benefit according to the respondents is the ability to react more quickly to market changes (22%), attract new customers in current markets (16%) and more quickly introduce new products and services requested by the business (14%). There is a lot at stake with IT Transformation, but with closer collaboration between CIOs and CFOs, leading enterprises can turn it into a strategy for business success.If you’re interested in learning more about the relationship between CIOs and CFOs, and the impact it can have on IT Transformation, download the Forbes Insights report, “IT Transformation: Success Hinges on CIO/CFO Collaboration”.
Deep learning is hard. Between organizing, cleaning and labeling data, selecting the right neural network topology, picking the right hyperparameters, and then waiting – hoping – that the model produced is accurate enough to put into production. It can seem like an impossible puzzle for your data science team to solve.But the IT aspect of the puzzle is no less complicated, especially when the environment needs to be multi-user and support distributed model training. From choosing an operating system, to installing libraries, frameworks, dependencies, and development platforms, building the infrastructure to support your company’s deep learning efforts can be even more challenging than the data science. Add on top of that, the rapid pace of change in deep learning software and supporting libraries – many of which change monthly – creates a recipe for IT headaches.Containerization helps solve some of the IT complexity. Instead of your IT staff cobbling together dozens of libraries and dependent software packages to make your deep learning framework of choice function, you can download pre-configured containers which handle all of that. Or you can have your data scientists build custom containers to meet their specific needs. However, your IT department must still build and configure infrastructure for orchestrating those containers, while providing a resilient, scalable platform for your data science team to be as productive as possible.Nauta Deep Learning PlatformNauta software seeks to solve many of the problems associated with building container orchestration infrastructure for deep learning. Nauta is a containerized deep learning platform which uses Kubernetes for container orchestration. It provides an intuitive command-line interface for building, running, curating and evaluating experiments, and it includes must-have features such as Jupyter notebooks and Tensorboard.We’ve been using Nauta in the Dell EMC HPC & AI Innovation Lab, testing its features, functionality, extensibility, and ease of use. We use Nauta to run many of our cutting-edge deep learning research projects, including scalable convolutional neural network (CNN) training on chest xrays and ultra-scalable multi-head attention network training for language translation. It allows us to go from early proof-of-concept in Juypyter notebooks – to high-performance distributed training using the MPI-based Horovod framework for TensorFlow – to wide hyperparameter analysis for producing the most accurate model possible. Best of all, it’s a scalable platform built on top of Kubernetes and Docker, allowing us to easily share and replicate work between team members.In addition to training neural networks, Nauta also provides a mechanism for testing deployments of trained models. This allows us to evaluate model accuracy, benchmark performance, and test reduced-precision quantization on new hardware, such as the 2nd-Generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processor with Intel® Deep Learning Boost. Nauta allows inference on both batches of data, as well as streaming inference using REST APIs. And while Nauta isn’t expressly designed for production model deployment, the ability to evaluate trained models and experiment with reduced precision is an important component of the overall model development and deployment process.Looking ForwardThe Dell EMC HPC & AI Innovation Lab team continues to use, evaluate, report and resolve issues, and recommend improvements to Nauta. Select customers are also experimenting and evaluating Nauta on Dell EMC hardware, and Nauta will be a central component of future Ready Solutions. In the end, your company’s AI efforts are only going to be successful if the infrastructure is ready to support your data science team. Nauta provides an on-ramp for your IT organization and your data science team to get started training in an on-premises containerized environment quickly and easily.
Dell’s Experience Innovation Group (EIG) believes the future of personal computing lies in the combination of hardware and software to deliver immersive, predictive experiences. Recognizing that form factor plays a significant role in how we interact with technology. We began exploring multi-screen devices around a decade ago and have been working with partners to explore this deeper the last few years.Modern, smart and responsive devices have the potential of unlocking new ways of working; encouraging collaboration and boosting productivity. We have been exploring how to make user interactions with technology simple, natural, and intuitive. Even if it’s just shaving seconds off the log-in process as demonstrated with Dell ExpressSign-in, our aim is to make technology work better and harder for us as our usage models evolve.New category considerations and usesDell’s EIG has expertise in areas of innovation such as narrow display borders, all-day battery life, and revolutionary manufacturing techniques, but dual screen devices bring unique design and engineering considerations.The obvious benefit of having multiple displays is to multi-task. Today, it’s not uncommon for consumers to watch a movie on one device while looking up an actor’s filmography on a second screen. However, those use cases are only scratching the surface.We are designing dual-screen PCs to be productivity enabling experiences. Users will be able to complete multiple tasks more efficiently and seamlessly. For example, artists and architects will be able to create on one screen, while referencing photographs on another. You’ll be able to take notes on one screen, while the other shows the slides on a video call; or use one for composing an email, while another shows the spreadsheets you’re pulling data from. Imagine that in one light, mobile device.Two is better than one…but only if done right. User experience is king, and research plays a vital role in our design journey. We engaged a dedicated team of in-house user experience and behavioral psychology experts early in the concept development process.Psychology and habits play a huge part in the adoption of new technologies, and it is critical to understand how users respond to new product designs and experiences so that we get them right.Our agile development cycles mean that dual screens have taken various forms at Dell – some earlier concepts even made it as far as the prototyping stage back in 2017.Thanks to books, dual screen and foldable formats are familiar to us, and we see dual-screens as a natural evolution of the PC. However, we also know that users today have a strong emotional attachment to physical keyboards. Users will eventually shift to on-screen keyboards in the future or rely on voice-activation or pens. We are exploring ways to bridge these experiences and embrace the new rules of device interaction. We had to consider a range of usage scenarios and input methods: What advancements are needed to handle palm rejection on fully touch enabled surface? How do we make the device accessible for those with special needs?A big question: Since cats love to sit directly on keyboards, where will they park themselves in the future and how would a dual screen device react to their movements?Design iteration to deliver the perfect experienceThe above is only a handful of the factors we’ve had to consider as we work diligently to bring the best dual screen experiences to users. We have spent a lot of time exploring the balance between performance, power and overall aesthetics. For example, larger screens are preferred for productivity tasks, while users will continue to demand thinner and lighter devices. Of course, these all directly conflict with the need for ample battery life.Dell’s EIG will continue to work with partners and design, build, test and repeat. We’re excited about the evolution of the PC and expect applications to take advantage of dual screens to provide an enhanced experience. We are committed to ensuring Dell delivers the best dual-screen experience – one that we are proud to put our name to. Watch this space for further updates!
How can 5G accelerate manufacturing?With its increased speed, higher bandwidth and lower latency, fifth-generation wireless cellular technology, or 5G, has the potential to be a key enabler and accelerator of the next generation of smart manufacturing. Some advantages of this communications technology for industrial applications include:Higher Bandwidth – modern IIoT gateways and distributed edge compute architectures are creating an explosion of valuable plant data and 5G networks are ideally suited to keep up with this data delugeLower Latency – allowing devices to communicate more quickly and reliably is especially important for machine-to-machine communications to function effectivelyGreater Device Density – 5G has the potential to connect to more devices, up to 1 million per km2, critical for a factory full of sensorsDevice self-registration – time and costs associated with deployment, setup and commissioning will be greatly reducedIncreased Security – cellular networks are more difficult to hack than standard WiFi implementationsFewer Cells – cellular signals can travel farther than WiFi, requiring fewer cells vs access points in an equivalent networkLower Power – the NR (New Radio) specifications have the potential to reduce power consumption by up to 100xWhen will 5G accelerate manufacturing?But the ultimate future of widespread 5G deployments in factories is not necessarily a foregone conclusion. Initial investments in acquiring private spectrum, purchasing hardware and the associated costs with learning and managing a new technology will be significant, especially in the early stages. It will require a total workforce transformation.And while the initial rollout of 5G will be focused on an enhanced mobile broadband (eMMB) experience – mostly targeted at cell phones and tablets, the IIoT enhancements necessary for manufacturing deployments are not scheduled for the next “R-16” release. This includes the ability to use unlicensed spectrum, machine communication protocols (like eMTC enhanced machine-type communication and NB-IoT narrowband Internet of Things) and the lower latency improvements (eURLLC enhanced Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communication) will not be available until late 2021. And the enhancements to the 5G radio for low power sensors and wearables is not expected until mid-2023. The transition to 5G is truly a journey and will not happen overnight.Scheduled Availability of 5G IIoT CapabilitiesWhat about technology we already have?Standard WiFi is not going away either. Newer technologies are on the horizon, offering improvements over existing wireless infrastructures. Following the well-known 802.11ac WiFi standard, the next generation will technically be 802.11ax, but will be known as WiFi 6. WiFi 6 will be up to four times faster in device-dense areas and offer much greater bandwidth than its predecessor.There is no shortage of interest and excitement around 5G for manufacturing, but the debate on its advantages vs WiFi will only intensify as the next generation WiFi 6 is released. Ultimately the market will decide which is the preferred technology to use, and most likely it will be a hybrid combination of the two. In any case, smart manufacturers know that this next generation of wireless connectivity will be enabled and accelerated by a modern infrastructure that includes distributed compute architectures to support the significant data streams being created.No matter the direction, Dell Technologies can help with the transition to whatever the wireless connectivity future holds. Enabling the transformational business outcomes promised by the IIoT will require a next generation digital infrastructure that only the Dell Technologies portfolio of companies and solutions can provide to build a truly integrated, converged, future-proof solution for all industrial customers.
LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — A defense lawyer says a Pakistani court has indicted the owner and editor-in-chief of the country’s largest independent group of newspapers and TV stations, along with two former government officials in a decades-old case related to allegations of tax evasion in a real estate purchase. Mir Shakilur Rehman’s Jang Group of Newspapers, which includes Geo TV, has been critical of the government. He was arrested in March 2020 by the National Accountability Bureau and released months later on bail. His lawyer says Rehman was indicted on Thursday in the city of Lahore. He’s accused of purchasing government land in violation of rules, a charge he denies.
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — As legal weed becomes a reality across the U.S., Idaho is putting up a fight. A proposed constitutional amendment that would prevent the legalization of pot in the state moved forward on Friday. The Senate State Affairs Committee voted to approve a joint resolution that bans all psychoactive drugs not already legal in the state. Backers say the state Constitution needs to be changed because neighboring states have approved marijuana use, and it could happen in Idaho. Those opposed say medical marijuana is needed for residents suffering from chronic or terminal illnesses. The measure would have to pass the Senate and House with a two-thirds majority before going to voters in Nov. 2022.
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada officials will consider next month whether to rename McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas after former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada. The Las Vegas Sun reports the all-Democratic Clark County Commission is set to consider the proposal at a Feb. 16 meeting. Reid is a Democrat and the former Senate Majority Leader who retired from the Senate in 2016. There have been longstanding calls to rename the airport from its current namesake, former Nevada Sen. Pat McCarran. He served as one of Nevada’s senators from 1933 until his death in 1954, and was known for anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic views.
First the building housed a hospital for women and children in the early 20th century. Then it was a gloomy, dilapidated building in the background of a Sherlock Holmes film. Now it is home to more than 130 Notre Dame students studying abroad in London during the spring semester. University President Fr. John Jenkins and University administrators officially dedicated Conway Hall during a ceremony in London on Friday. The dedication marked the beginning of the building’s second semester as the new residential space for students studying abroad in the capital of the United Kingdom. Since the building officially opened in August 2011, London Program Director Greg Kucich said it has been “a major center for Notre Dame’s international operations in London.” The building had been abandoned and was “an eyesore” when Notre Dame began its renovations, Kucich said. When its first residents moved into the flats last fall, that eyesore was completely transformed. “There was an incredible process of renovating the building over less than a year period actually, a major renovation project to turn it into the very efficient and elegant building that it is now,” Kucich said. “I think you get the impression when you go in there that it looks like a four-star hotel.” The University previously rented accommodations for its students in London, but Kucich said owning a unique property was financially beneficial because of high rental costs in London. Conway Hall’s location set the building apart from other properties, he said. The building is located near Waterloo Station in the middle of the South Bank neighborhood, and students only need to walk about 15 minutes to reach the London Center in Trafalgar Square for their classes. “That not only provides students with a wonderful walk across the bridge every day, but it also integrates the two facilities really nicely so we can do academic events and cultural events at Conway Hall, as well as in the London Center,” he said. “Notre Dame becomes like a colossus with one foot in Trafalgar Square and another foot in South Bank, striding the Thames.” Conway Hall is also located next to one of the campuses of King’s College in London, and students have access to the college’s student union, gym and library facilities. “One of the challenges of the London program traditionally has been for students to move outside of the Notre Dame friend-work of living together, taking classes together, which has its benefits but has its limitations too because as an international student, one really wants to become immersed in local contacts and meet new people,” Kucich said. This opportunity to link with King’s College in this way is accomplishing or fulfilling one of the principle goals for this program, which has been a challenge for many years now. So we are overjoyed at the connection we have now with a British university and its environment.” Students living in Conway Hall are equipped with kitchen and living spaces, and the building also includes small study areas, a chapel and a student activities center for larger gatherings. “You develop community within individual flats and among different flats as well when students get together through meals,” Kucich said. “Along with that … arranging for dinners in your flats means going out in London and shopping in London and going to markets and engaging with London life, rather than just going to a dining hall the way you would at Notre Dame.” Junior Dylan Tramontin said the apartment-style living in Conway Hall helped her get to know the other members of her study abroad program. “I love how it encourages a sense of community, even more so than the dorms,” Tramontin said. Tramontin and junior Kailey Grant, who live together in a flat with eight other girls, said they especially enjoy cooking with their roommates and gathering for meals around their large dinner table. “I love our weekly flat dinners,” Grant said. Conway Hall accommodates a total of 268 students, according to a University press release. Kucich said 132 of those students are Notre Dame undergraduates participating in the London program, six are Notre Dame undergraduates studying at the School of Oriental and African Studies through the University of London and 22 are Notre Dame law students. Students from other universities occupy the remaining spots. At the dedication ceremony, Jenkins said the building strengthens Notre Dame’s historical ties to London. “Notre Dame has had a presence in London since 1968, when our first students came here to study law,” Jenkins said. “Since that time, we have been able to expand our international presence here, enabling the Colleges of Arts and Letters, Business Administration and Engineering to develop their own programs in London as well.” Kucich said the building opens new doors for the expanding international programs at Notre Dame. “The number one issue is Notre Dame’s commitment to expanding and strengthening its international centers, in London in particular because this is the flagship international study abroad program, but also around the world,” he said.
A Boston College professor connected Saint Thomas Aquinas’ themes of solidarity, justice and natural law with contemporary global feminism in a lecture at Saint Mary’s on Thursday. Dr. Lisa Sowle Cahill’s talk, titled “Aquinas and Natural Law: Resources for Women’s Equality,” was part of the College’s 16th Annual Symposium on Aquinas. It took place in the Student Center Lounge. Although Aquinas did not participate in the modern women’s movement, his ideas directly relate to contemporary Catholic social teaching, Cahill said. She said bringing Aquinas’ theory of natural law, which takes a ‘do good, avoid evil’ approach, into modern dialogue aids discussion about feminist theology. “This natural law theory, applied equitably with a 20th century lens, results in a basic notion of justice for all,” Cahill said. “Ethics of natural law offer modern Catholic feminists a solid base to seek equality and combat global problems.” Cahill said human beings must be responsible for each other. Solidarity should extend farther than a neighborhood or community and should cross cultures and religions, she said. Modern-day slavery, also known as human trafficking, is an important issue facing contemporary feminism, Cahill said. “We have all this public rhetoric, but at the concrete level, there are more slaves in the world today than ever before,” she said. In order to increase gender equality, Cahill said the world must value four themes: lifting up women through empowerment and allowing them to prove their own capabilities, focusing on the preferential option for the poor and vulnerable, creating cross-cultural dialogue and calling men and women to seek human flourishing for all persons. “Justice is a virtue that governs right relationships in society,” Cahill said. “Human laws and practices should be based on justice. Justice is rooted in Aquinas’ natural law theory.” Dr. Joseph Incandela, the Joyce McMahon Hank Aquinas Chair in Catholic Theology, sponsored the symposium. “Having Aquinas lectures at a Catholic college is a very significant way of calling attention to the ultimate harmony between faith and reason,” Incandela said. “Catholics colleges are founded on that harmony and work on the convergence of this approach with a significant emphasis on education.”
A sewing circle today at the Snite Museum of Art will allow members of the Notre Dame community to contribute stitches to an art project spearheaded by contemporary artist Marie Watt. The project is part of the “Dreams Wiser than Waking: Recent Acquisitions of Native American Prints” exhibit, according to Cheryl Snay, curator of European art at the Snite. Watt, one of the exhibit’s featured artists, will lead the event from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. At the sewing circle, participants will contribute stitches to a set structure of blankets and fabric that Watt has created, which will eventually culminate into a greater piece of art, Snay said. No sewing experience is necessary, and everyone from the South Bend and Notre Dame communities is invited to join and receive a small silkscreen print from Watt. Snay said this is a great way to promote a welcoming atmosphere and extend the Snite’s outreach in the community. “We want people to come to the Snite and to think of the Snite as a warm and welcoming place where people can share stories and experiences,” she said. “Ultimately, we are trying to cultivate this kind of attitude, and there are many opportunities to participate in art in a variety of fashions.” Furthermore, this sewing circle is a way to tie together Notre Dame students with the surrounding community, Snay said. “This event was designed for all students, not just art students,” she said. “We also want to foster an environment where the general community can come in and interact with the faculty, staff and students. Everyone can benefit from these mutual experiences.” Watt’s idea that art should be participatory and community building is reflected in the nature of the project, Snay said, because everyone that adds a stitch to the structure is contributing to a greater work of art. “Watt considers someone’s stitches their signatures, so she will not change them,” Snay said. “She feels as if their stitches are their contribution.” After hosting the sewing circle at the University, Watt will bring the structure to another museum or campus where more people can add to the piece. While the sewing circle is just for today, the “Dreams Wiser than Waking” exhibit will stay at the Snite until Mar. 17. This exhibit, located in the Milly and Fritz Kaeser Mestrovic Studio, showcases Native American art that is interested in straddling two worlds, Snay said. “They question how they can negotiate between their culture and the “dominant culture,” this is a lot of what their art is about,” she said.