Daily Archives: June 14, 2017

Literature, Films on Chess Captivates Enthusiasts – High on Sports (blog)

Posted: June 14, 2017 at 4:49 am

Chess is a game which has more books on it than any other books in the world combined. The field of chess literature is so vast that one can go on and on and still not find a way out. The history of books on chess go down to many centuries ago. Even in the seventeenth century when it was played in Europe, the players relied on different books on the sport for strategies. The first world champion, Wilhem Stenietz also created his own collection of books. The book My System by Aron Nimzowitzch has sold millions of copies. It is now considered a treasure to have an original copy of his book.

So, why are chess books so popular? What are some of the recent books on the game which have become popular? The answers to these two questions are in fact quite simple. The chess books are immense in the content that they offer. They are full of details which can be easily understood by the player. In fact, there are different levels of books on the game.

One of the greatest series is authored by none other than the world champion Garry Kasparov called My Great Predecessors. It is a five volume book and talks about Kasparovs greatest predecessors and has their games annotated by the champion himself. This series has been read by most of the worlds top grandmasters and even novices looking to make it big in the sport. Reading chess books makes the player sharper and makes him develop his game. It also helps him analyse various games of the past. Another classic example of a chess book is the book by Bobby Fischer, My Sixty Memorable Games. It shows sixty of his best games and helps the reader understand the logic behind his moves. The reader can enjoy each of Fischers games with relative ease as it is written in a pure and natural text.

These two books are just small examples from the large world of chess books. There are other books on chess which talk about psychology and the mindset of the players during games. One such book is How Life Imitates Chess by Kasparov. It talks about how Kasparov thinks life and chess are co-related. He talks about his life as a chess player and what it meant to be a world champion. He gives insights into his grueling schedule before world championship matches and also his thoughts on what chess meant to him. It is a must read for every book worm whether playing or not.

Chess Books are a great way to improve your game. The biggest advantage with these are that they are self explanatory. One can easily read and understand them. They are the best ways to practice, and books are able to tell the player something that even the worlds best engines cannot say. In fact, a book gives insight knowledge by another human who has been on the same stage earlier and has done his research. Simply relying on computers has never been an effective way to grow and even the worlds best players still rely on these books for enhancing themselves. Thus, chess literature has a whole new future ahead.

Chess in films has risen in the past two decades. One of the earliest films that I can recall seeing was Searching for Bobby Fischer, based on the true life story of International Master Josh Waitzkin. This film is based on the book of the same name by Fred Waitzkin, Joshs father. It showcases the world of a chess player and how the role of a parent is crucial for a childs development in the early part of his or her career. The movie tells Joshs story in such a powerful manner that even a grandmaster can learn a lot by watching it.

A recent film on the game was directed by the acclaimed director Mira Nair called Queen of Katwe. The film has inspired millions of people across the globe, including the world champion, Magnus Carlsen. What makes this film unique is the fact that a young girl from an extremely poor background rises up the ladder and becomes the first player from her country -Uganda- to participate in the Olympiad. All of sixteen, this girl wins the heart of millions by her never say die attitude. She was none other than Phiona Mutesi, who along with her coach, Robert Katende, made the game popular in an area where the people were so stricken with poverty that they had no place to stay in even in the worst conditions. The film showcases how to overcome extreme hardships in life with a positive mind frame.

Another amazing film on chess was Magnus. A film by a Norwegian debutant director Benjamin Ree, this film has the live footage of several important moments in the world no.1s career. It shows how he became a grandmaster at thirteen and how his quest for becoming a world champion came true in 2013. The documentary draws on the experiences of the entire Carlsen family and how they, as a unit, helped the reigning world champion become a phenomenon that he is today.

The above examples are just a few from the world of chess literature and films. It is rightly said that chess is an ocean full of treasures. It not only ignites the mind, but it also helps to develop oneself holistically. The game of chess is not only a sport, it is an art, a science, and a philosophical sea. One can only reap the benefits from this beautiful game.

Image courtesy: The Seventh Seal (Movie)

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Galaxies are locked in place by their surroundings – Astronomy Magazine

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Galaxies can be used as tracers for numerous characteristics of the universe, including the cosmic web of hydrogen gas that connects galaxies and follows the distribution of dark matter filaments throughout the cosmos. Looking at where galaxies sit sheds light on these otherwise invisible structures, while also providing clues about the amount of mass in galaxies and how they influence their neighbors over time. Now, astronomers have traced the alignment of massive galaxies back 10 billion years, showing these objects have been in tune with their environment since the universe was just one-third its current age.

The work was led by Lowell Observatory astronomer Michael West, who together with his collaborators used Hubble Space Telescope images of 65 galaxy clusters located billions of light-years away to study the orientation of the massive elliptical galaxies in the centers of these clusters. What they found suggests that the biggest, brightest galaxies in galaxy clusters have been heavily influenced by their unique environment since very early times. The study appears in Nature Astronomy online today.

Galaxy clusters present a very different environment from the field, which is an astronomers term for the majority of the sky, which shows no preferential structure or clustering of galaxies. Inside galaxy clusters, individual galaxies are subjected to intense gravity, a hot intracluster medium of gas, and many more flybys between neighboring galaxies than could ever occur in the less dense field. And while galaxies in the field tend to be oriented any which way, galaxies in clusters are different. The massive galaxies at the centers of clusters show preferential alignment with their neighbors, and astronomers are still looking to find out why.

One reason for this alignment could be that over time, gravity simply tends to orient large galaxies in the same direction as their neighbors. Alternatively, because large galaxies grow by absorbing smaller galaxies, these smaller galaxies could impart orientation on the galaxies that eat them due to the progenitors preferred orientation along the cosmic web.

The results of Wests study dont rule out either scenario, but they do help constrain the alignment by showing that it occurs very early on in galaxy evolution. Its an important new piece of the puzzle, said West in a press release, because it says that whatever caused these alignments happened early.

Whats next? Wests group plans to push the envelope further by trying to observe even more distant galaxies. Despite the precision achievable with Hubble, however, this will be challenging, as even massive galaxies appear fainter and smaller as the distance between Earth and these clusters grows. But such observations at the earliest epochs may help astronomers finally determine the reason for this preferred orientation, helping to complete our picture of early galaxy evolution.


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Get a sneak peak of August’s total solar eclipse – Astronomy Magazine

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This helpful new tool may give you a better idea of where to go to watch the total solar eclipse.

The University of California, Berkeley teamed up with Google to create the Eclipse Megamovie Project, a new simulator that can show what the eclipse will look like from any location, including along the path of totality, which stretches across 11 states and goes up to 72 miles wide.

All you have to do is go to the website, enter the zip code or city you want to see, and youll receive an animation of the Sun in the sky over a three-hour time span. Youll see whether you will stand in the path of totality on eclipse day, or alternatively how much of the Sun will disappear during the partial eclipse visible from other locations.

Dan Zevin, who is on the team leading the project at UC Berkeleys Space Sciences Laboratory, said that while there are other eclipse simulators out there, this one is unique.

There are lots of online animations of the 2017 eclipse, but you cant use them like ours to get a sense of the full experience, including your surroundings, Zevin said in a press release. Our simulation is closer to what one might experience in a planetarium show.

Get a better idea of what the eclipse will look like in your hometown or along the path of totality on August 21, 2017, at this link.

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Mining the Heavens: Astronomers Could Spot Asteroid Prospects – Space.com

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Artist’s illustration of Deep Space Industries’ Harvestor-class spacecraft for asteroid mining.

NEW YORK Smithsonian astrophysicist Martin Elvis would like to see astronomers take on a crucial role for future asteroid mining: as astronomical prospectors scoping out the next big catch.

Elvis, a researcher with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Massachusetts, discussed his dream for applied astronomy June 4 here at the Dawn of Private Space Science Symposium. Efficient asteroid mining would jump-start a space economy and bring down costs for exploration and space science, guiding humans into a modern space age, he said.

“My basic goal is just to revolutionize our exploration of the solar system, of the universe,” Elvis said at the conference. [How Asteroid Mining Could Work (Infographic)]

Right now, he said, spaceflight and space science is unsustainably expensive. But asteroid mining could play a critical role in making those endeavors doable on a smaller budget, as private companies like SpaceX have decreased the launch cost per pound of payload.

But asteroid mining will face a critical problem, Elvis said: How to choose which asteroids will be worth the trip. And astronomers can play a crucial role in that determination, he said.

“The problem with asteroids is not many of them are valuable. You’ve got to find the right ones,” he said. “We want to throw away that gray, stony stuff and deal with the carbonaceous or metallic ones, depending on whether you’re looking for water or precious metals like platinum and palladium. So, this is where we [astronomers] come in.”

As an example, Elvis pointed to the twin Magellan 6.5-meter telescopes in Chile. Professional astronomers could use telescopes of that size to characterize a faint asteroid in about 1-2 minutes. Eighty-five percent of asteroids could be thrown out based just on their color, he said, and the remaining 15 percent would be good prospects for sending small, exploratory probes using the data gathered about the objects’ orbits and sizes.

Even a few nights per year would allow for the characterization of about 300 such objects, he said. And as larger telescopes come online, like the European Extremely Large Telescope and the Giant Magellan Telescope, the midsize telescopes could become more accessible for even more space-mining projects, he said.

Asteroids are fascinating for lots of reasons. They contain a variety of valuable resources and slam into our planet on a regular basis, occasionally snuffing out most of Earth’s lifeforms. How much do you know about space rocks?

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Asteroids are fascinating for lots of reasons. They contain a variety of valuable resources and slam into our planet on a regular basis, occasionally snuffing out most of Earth’s lifeforms. How much do you know about space rocks?

“This means astronomers can turn out to be useful again [like] what [they] used to be, back in the days of navigation,” he said. Similar to modern-day mining on Earth, there could be a multistep process of prospecting remotely “you don’t just go straight to start digging rocks” before making a trip, Elvis added.

Such a process could cut asteroid prospecting costs by a factor of 10, he said. That would allow asteroid mining to flourish, lowering the cost commercially to put people and science in space.

On Earth, most of the precious metals, like platinum and palladium, are located 3,700 miles (6,000 kilometers) down, but they can come much nearer to the surface on asteroids. Those metals have dissolved in iron and were drawn to the center of the Earth, Elvis said, and the same thing happened on asteroids but the asteroids were then smashed up enough that it made the precious metals much more accessible. (Comets also contain valuable resources, especially water, Elvis said, but the energy needed to reach those fast-moving bodies makes them less worth the cost to explore.)

So far, Elvis has talked to the asteroid-mining companies Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries, but neither company initially believed that this kind of remote prospecting would be necessary, he said.

“Both of them are dominated by engineers who are very good at building small spacecraft, and I’m sure they will succeed at building interplanetary cubesat-scale spacecraft for prospecting at the asteroid, but they were initially unbelieving of what I just told you,” Elvis said.

They might come around, though, he added. “One of the companies did eventually realize that this was a necessary precursor to their sending out satellites,” he said. “The other still isn’t interested.”

Email Sarah Lewin at slewin@space.com or follow her @SarahExplains. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.

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Data-Driven Astronomy Effort Gets Memory Boost – EnterpriseTech

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(Source: SKA Africa)

An ambitious astronomy effort designed to peer back to the origins of the universe and map the formation of galaxies is underpinned by an emerging memory technology that seeks to move computing resources closer to huge astronomy data sets.

The Square Kilometer Array (SKA) is an international initiative to build the world’s largest radio telescope. A “precursor project” in the South African desert called MeerKAT consists of 64 44-foot “receptor” satellite dishes. The array gathers and assembles faint radio signals used to create images of distant galaxies.

Once combined with other sites, SKA would be capable of peering back further in time than any other Earth-based observatory. As with most advanced science projects, SKA presents unprecedented data processing challenges. With daily data volumes reaching 1 exabyte, “The data volume is becoming overwhelming,” astronomer Simon Ratcliffe noted during a webcast this week.

In response, Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MU) has come up with a processing platform for handling the growing data bottleneck called the Hybrid Memory Cube (HMC). The memory specialist combined its fast logic process technology with new DRAM designs to boost badly needed bandwidth in its high-density memory system.

Steve Pawlowski, Micron’s vice president of advanced computing, claimed its memory platform delivers as much as a 15-fold increase in bandwidth, a capability that addresses next-generation networking and exascale computing requirements.

Applications such as SKA demonstrate “the ability to put [computing] at the edge” to access the most relevant data, Pawlowski added.

The radio telescope array uses a front-end processor to convert faint analog radio signals to digital. Those signals are then processed using FPGAs. Memory resources needed to make sense of all that data can be distributed using relatively simple algorithms, according to Francois Kapp, a systems engineer at SKA South Africa. The challenge, Kapp noted, is operating the array around the clock along with the “increasing depth and width of memory” requirements. “You can’t just add more memory to increase the bandwidth, ” he noted, especially as FPGAs move to faster interfaces.

Hence, the SKA project is wringing out Micron’s HMC approach as it maps the universe and seeks to determine how galaxies were formed. The resulting daily haul of data underscores what Jim Adams, former NASA deputy chief scientist, called “Big Science.”

The exascale computing requirements of projects such as SKA exceed those of previous planetary missions such as the 2015 New Horizon fly-by of Pluto. Adams said it took NASA investigators a year to download all the data collected by New Horizon.

The technical challenges are similar for earth-bound observatories. “Astronomy is becoming data science,” Ratcliffe added.

Micron positions its memory platform as a “compute building block” designed to provide more bandwidth between memory and computing resources while placing processing horsepower as close as possible to data so researchers can access relevant information.

Micron’s Hybrid Memory Cube moves processing power closer to astronomy data. (Source: Micron Technology)

Meanwhile, university researchers at the University of Heidelberg are attempting to accelerate adoption of new memory approaches like Micron’s through open-source development of configurable HMC controller that would serve as a memory interface.

Research Juri Schmidt noted that the German university’s network-attached memory scheme was another step toward pushing memory close to data by reducing the amount of data movement.

Micron’s Pawlowski noted that the current version of the memory platform is being used to sort and organize SKA data as another way to reduce data movement. The chipmaker is also investigating how to incorporate more logic functionality, including the use of machine learning to train new analytics models.

Computing, memory and, eventually, cloud storage could be combined with Micron’s low-power process technology for energy efficient high-performance computing. While the company for now doesn’t view HMC as an all-purpose platform, it would be suited to specific applications such as SKA, Pawlowski noted.

The astronomy initiative will provide a major test for exascale computing since, according to Adams, SKA “is a time machine,” able to look back just beyond the re-ionization period after the Big Bang when galaxies began to form.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 25 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as Executive Editor for Electronic Engineering Times.

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Amazon.com to open second government cloud-computing region … – The Seattle Times

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The cloud-computing unit of Amazon.com said the new AWS GovCloud Region which can include one or more data centers is expected to open in 2018. It will be located on the East Coast.

Seattle Times business reporter

Amazon Web Services is launching a second cloud-computing region dedicated to hosting sensitive data and workloads from the U.S. government and regulated industries.

The cloud-computing unit of Amazon.com said Tuesday that the new AWS GovCloud Region which can include one or more data centers is expected to open in 2018. It will be located on the East Coast.

Amazon launched its first region dedicated to sensitive computing needs by U.S. government agencies and their contractors in 2011. Located on the West Coast, it was designed to meet tough compliance requirements and remain isolated from other parts of the public cloud.

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‘Sweden is heaven for cloud computing’: Amazon Nordic chief – The Local Sweden

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Darren Mowry of Amazon Web Services. Photo: AWS

The head of Nordic operations for Amazon Web Services (AWS) has spelled out exactly why the US cloud computing giant chose to locate three state-of-the-art data centers in Sweden.

In April, it emerged that AWS planned to open a new infrastructure region for its cloud computing services in the Stockholm region in 2018.

Swedens enterprise and innovation minister Mikael Damberg hailed the deal as huge for Sweden.

They could do that wherever in the world, but chose to do it here,” he added.

Now the man responsible for expanding AWSs cloud services operations in Sweden, American Darren Mowry, has disclosed the reasoning behind his companys decision to invest in Sweden.

Sweden truly does have it all, Mowry writes in a blog post published on the Data Centers by Sweden website.

But theres more to it than that.

Read his full explanation behind the AWS investment here.

This article was produced byThe Local Client Studioand sponsored by Data Centers by Sweden.

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Indonesia banks have yet to implement cloud computing – Jakarta Post

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As a country that is experiencing exponential growth in data volume, Indonesia and its banking system have yet to fully implement cloud computing technologies due to regulation barriers and a lack of decent infrastructure.

“Major banks in Indonesia, most of which are our clients, have 10 to 40 million customers with hundreds of millions of transactions every day,”IT solution provider Teradata Indonesia president director Erwin Z Achir said in Jakarta on Monday.

Banking services are among the data giants who generate terabytes of data every day and has yet to move to cloud computing technology a type of Internet-based computing with which different services are delivered to an organization’s computers and devices through the internet.

Under Government Regulation No. 82/2012 on the Management of Electronic Transactions and Systems, data and disaster recovery centers for public services must be located within Indonesia, meaning that Indonesian banks must store its customers’ data in the country

Therefore, Indonesian banks that previously operated data centers located overseas must repatriate their information.

According to a 2014 survey by IDC Financial Insights on data centers, most Indonesian banks expect a 10 to 20 percent data volume growth rate per year.

Meanwhile, Fajar Muniandy, Teradata chief solution architect, said moving to clouds has yet to be an option for the companys clients because of their massive amounts of data.

He added that cloud computing was currently being adopted by startups and smaller companies because they had built their systems from the beginning. (dis/bbn)

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The use of cloud computing in the federal government services – Born2Invest

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Traditional IT can call for large data centers and server farms which are a serious investment and require 24/7 IT oversight and energy to power and cool the servers.

Computers and software are now part of everyday life. We constantly use emails and set up websites. Some of us even run our own businesses. We are able to use these services without having to host our own massive IT infrastructure, hiring tons of staff to operate it, spending a lot of money and getting mired in lengthy and complicated procurement processes.

If you can do this easily, why cant the government?

The federalgovernment has an extensive infrastructure, a broad user base in agencies with a variety of missions, and complex suites of applications. To address these challenges, the Federal CIO Council has charged the government to leverage cloud computing services.

According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), cloud computing provides scalable IT capabilities that are offered as a service over the Internet to multiple users. Many users share pooled IT resources, reducing costs and resulting in greater computing efficiency. The federal government is focusing on security, privacy, and procurement as it moves towards cloud computing.

The Federal Government has an extensive infrastructure, a broad user base in agencies with a variety of missions, and complex suites of applications. (Source)

Traditional IT can call for large data centers and server farms which are a serious investment and require 24/7 IT oversight and energy to power and cool the servers. The federal government has hundreds of these centers around the country that often perform similar tasks, such as providing email or web hosting, and are generally used at a fraction of their capability. They typically have large carbon footprints due to their enormous energy consumption and have to comply with strict environmental controls.

SEE ALSO Vital strategies for better managing remote workers

Cloud computing can be viewed as the green computing option, as it promotes sustainability and has a much smaller carbon footprint by limiting duplicated efforts and utilizing computing power more efficiently.

Cloud computing also offers scalability, meaning you can scale capacity and processing power on-demand. It is always evolving and it is not an immediate solution for all government computing needs, but it can give the federalgovernment the same opportunity the private sector enjoys to reduce spending while making better use of staff and resources with a more forward-thinking, environmentally sensitive approach.

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The difference between edge and cloud computing all CIO’s should know – CIO

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By Gary Eastwood, star Advisor, CIO | Jun 13, 2017 11:06 AM PT

Opinions expressed by ICN authors are their own.

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The rise in cloud traffic that is expected as a result of increasing applications of the Internet of Things (IoT) might render cloud computing unmanageable. IoT hinges on processing device generated data and cloud computing involves using data from centralised computing and storage. Thus, this computational model can become overwhelmed if the growth trajectory of IoT continues as it has been.

The unprecedented amount of data generated by IoT devices is putting considerable strain on the internet architecture. Consequently, developers are finding ways to alleviate this network pressure and get around the data problem.

One of the proposed solutions to this issue is edge computing. This data processing archetype involves pushing data handling to the edge of the network, closer to the source of the data. In other words, instead of sending data to the cloud server or central data centre for processing, the device connects through a local gateway device. This allows faster analytics and reduces network pressure.

There are uses for both these types of computing models, but they are inherently different and suited to different niches. Applications for industrial IoT technology where instantaneous decision making is essential is better matched to edge computing, whereas cloud computing is appropriate for big data analytics.

Achieving a stable and sustainable network depends on the balancing act between processing on the edge and the centralized system. Edge computing is generally for custom-built systems and cloud computing is a more universal platform that is usually more compatible with third party and older applications. The industry is not looking to replace one with the other, but use them in their best use roles to complement each other and the devices they power.

For IoT and highly distributed applications the infrastructure comprises the device, network edge and server. The objective is to process near the device, for instantaneous response and subsequent decision making. This is especially true for applications using generated data in algorithms that use machine learning to make autonomous decisions. Sending the data back to the central cloud server, could negate the anticipated value. This approach leverages resources that may not have continuous network access, for example tablets and smartphones in an agricultural setting.

For example, an industrial application of IoT may include sensors in the manufacturing production line or smart traffic lights. Edge devices capture real time information that can be used by the devices themselves to internally process the data to prevent a part from failing, reroute traffic or even optimize production.

Cloud computing is still an important processing paradigm and is useful in applications that are not as sensitive to a timeou response, where the device does not need processing power itself or big data applications. This computing model serves to increase the efficiency of everyday tasks and provides a pathway for the massive amounts of data to travel to its intended endpoint.

Edge computing has benefits for applications where the device has data processing capabilities and needs to quickly process data in response to manufacturing parameters that may or may not be within limits. That said inventory control information is not likely to utilize edge computing. By processing these transactions at the edge of the network would result in a distributed, unsafe and uncontrollable disarray of data.

As mentioned, edge computing does not replace cloud computing. Effectively, the analytic algorithm may be fashioned in the cloud, and then pushed to the edge device. This is often occurs where the device is primarily a sensor gathering data and incapable of analysis.

The trick is to incorporate both models to their best effectiveness: edge computing where time is of the essence, and cloud computing where security and volumes abide. It is imperative that IoT strategies integrate stacks and layering of the computing exemplars to get the best of both worlds and optimize the processing power of IoT.

This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. Want to Join?

Gary Eastwood has over 20 years’ experience as a science and technology journalist, editor and copywriter; writing on subjects such as mobile & UC, smart cities, ICT, the cloud, IoT, clean technology, nanotechnology, robotics & AI and science & innovation for a range of publications. Outside his life as a technology writer and analyst, Gary is an avid landscape photographer who has authored two photography books and ghost-written two others.

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