Blog

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Build Intelligent Spaces (iSpaces) and Systems with IoT and Wearables

The activity data from wearable devices and sensors can be used to study, analyze and optimize the behavior of individuals and groups to facilitate Intelligent Spaces—for enabling better customer experience and smarter business models.

Tracking, monitoring and building prediction models on top of this data and combining this with the way (humans, organisms, things) interact with other (humans, organisms, things), will enable us to design self-optimizing intelligent spaces and systems.

Welcome to a whole new world of building solutions leveraging computer science, architecture, machine learning, spatial intelligence, sociology, and design.

Let us discuss few implementation scenarios from different domains for examples. 

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Kernels - A New Era

"There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know." : Harry S Truman.

Virtualization is hardware abstraction for operating systems, popularized on x86/x86_64 through VMware/Hyper-V/Xen/KVM. Paravirtualization has gained traction recently with Docker and similar initiatives (Flockport, Spoon, Rocket). Idea of paravirtualization has been around for a long time, like 1968.

A quick review of above CP/CMS wiki could be buzzkill for fans of paravirtualization/Docker, but Docker benefits are enduring nonetheless.

Given that hypervisor and paravirtualization are common knowledge, it is natural for IT industry to explore improvements. Enter Unikernel/Library OS. Given that majority of the apps may not use all features of a typical OS, why bother with VMs, which require full OS installs? What if we had a facility to treat an OS as a library of features from which an app selects only those that it uses? What if an app gets deployed directly on the hypervisor? There are many players in this segment—OSv,(C/C++) MirageOS (OCaml)—that are well known. Similar efforts are made by Erlang on Xen.

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The Cloud (Security) Phobia

"You know, we are a Wall Street firm and folks like us can’t just jump on the Cloud wagon just like that. Some of the stuff I do is mission critical and Cloud can't handle that—whether it is about latency or security," said one of my friends who works in NYC, while trying to brush aside the 'Cloud' topic I had brought up.

I replied mostly in agreement but asked him why he thought nothing from their stable could be moved to the Cloud. He said it was a policy decision and that they were not comfortable with Cloud yet. And our discussion ended there. I see this as a pattern among the cloud naysayers. The easiest excuse for not looking at the benefits of Cloud technology holistically is ‘security’. 

I remember reading a blog, which mused about firing the “cloud blockers”. While I won’t go to that extreme, it is indeed disheartening to see so manyotherwise reasonablepeople falling victims to the 'Cloud phobia’. ’ I frequently come across people who still think that their IT security practices are smarter than AWS, Google, and Azure folks!

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Mission CMMI Level 5 - the Journey of Marlabs from L3 to L5

Marlabs has been appraised at Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) Level 5 using the ‘Standard CMMI Appraisal Methodology for Process Improvement’ approach prescribed by the CMMI institute. Level 5, the optimizing level, is the highest CMMI level. Appraisal at Level 5 recognizes our ability to continually improve process performance through both incremental and innovative technological changes/improvements. 

During late 2011, Marlabs was assessed for CMMI L3, which signified that our processes are well defined and standardized across the company. In accordance with our strategy to achieve business objectives with more advanced, consistent, and well-defined processes, we strive to reach the highest levels of maturity in all aspects. Appraisal at CMMI L5 was the next step towards this in our journey towards continuous improvement. 

We kick-started the mission in mid-2012 aided by external consultants, who analyzed and identified areas of improvement to meet the objectives; gathered the measures and metrics; and evaluated our performance to set goals for improvement. Processes to meet the goals were optimized and deployed in the projects through high maturity process trainings and facilitations to the project managers (PMs). 

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Big Data on Hadoop

The world is moving towards Cloud Computing, a new technological era which has just begun. Have you ever pondered why the word “cloud” is induced as a terminology in the field of Information Technology?

In cloud computing, the word “cloud” is used as a metaphor for “internet”. Having said that, cloud computing is a kind of internet based computing where wide variety of services like storages, servers and applications are offered to the enterprises and individuals through the internet. Typically, cloud computing encompasses multiple computing resources rather than having local servers or dedicated devices to handle complex applications. This mechanism is extremely beneficial by harnessing unused or idle computers in the network to solve problem which is too intensive for any standalone computer.

Over the past few years several designs, prototypes, methodologies have been developed to tackle parallel computing problems. Moreover, specially designed servers were tailored to meet the parallel computing requirements. The major problem was, these servers were too expensive to handle and yet did not produce expected results. With the advent of multi core processors and virtualization technology, the problems seems to be diminishing and hence effective and powerful tools are built to achieve parallelization using the commodity machines. One of such tools is Hadoop.