Posts Tagged ‘automation’

Automation Is Making Unions Irrelevant

December 14th, 2012 12:54 admin View Comments

The Almighty Buck

dcblogs writes “Michigan lawmakers just approved a right-to-work law in an effort to dismantle union power, but unions are already becoming irrelevant. The problem with unions is they can’t protect jobs. They can’t stop a company from moving jobs overseas, closing offices, or replacing workers with machines. Indeed, improvements in automation is making the nation attractive again for manufacturing, according to U.S. intelligence Global Trends 2030 report. The trends are clear. Amazon spent $775 million this year to acquire a company, Kiva Systems that makes robots used in warehouses. Automation will replace warehouse workers, assembly-line and even retail workers. In time, Google’s driverless cars will replace drivers in the trucking industry. Unions sometimes get blamed for creating uncompetitive environments and pushing jobs overseas. But the tech industry, which isn’t unionized, is a counterpoint. Tech has been steadily moving jobs overseas to lower costs.”

Source: Automation Is Making Unions Irrelevant

How to Make Ad Hoc Proof Automation Less Ad Hoc

June 22nd, 2012 06:41 admin View Comments

How to Make Ad Hoc Proof Automation Less Ad Hoc

Most interactive theorem provers provide support for some form of user-customizable proof automation. In a number of popular systems, such as Coq and Isabelle, this automation is achieved primarily through tactics, which are programmed in a separate language from that of the prover’s base logic. While tactics are clearly useful in practice, they can be difficult to maintain and compose because, unlike lemmas, their behavior cannot be specified within the expressive type system of the prover itself.

We propose a novel approach to proof automation in Coq that allows the user to specify the behavior of custom automated routines in terms of Coq’s own type system. Our approach involves a sophisticated application of Coq’s canonical structures, which generalize Haskell type classes and facilitate a flexible style of dependently-typed logic programming. Specifically, just as Haskell type classes are used to infer the canonical implementation of an overloaded term at a given type, canonical structures can be used to infer the canonical proof of an overloaded lemma for a given instantiation of its parameters. We present a series of design patterns for canonical structure programming that enable one to carefully and predictably coax Coq’s type inference engine into triggering the execution of user-supplied algorithms during unification, and we illustrate these patterns through several realistic examples drawn from Hoare Type Theory. We assume no prior knowledge of Coq and describe the relevant aspects of Coq type inference from first principles.

If you’ve ever toyed with Coq but run into the difficulties that many encounter in trying to construct robust, comprehensible proof scripts using tactics, which manipulate the proof state and can leave you with the “ground” of the proof rather than the “figure,” if you will, in addition to being fragile in the face of change, you may wish to give this a read. It frankly never would have occurred to me to try to turn Ltac scripts into lemmas at all. This is much more appealing than most other approaches to the subject I’ve seen.

Source: How to Make Ad Hoc Proof Automation Less Ad Hoc

Autralian Mining Companies Increasing Use of UAVs

May 28th, 2012 05:03 admin View Comments


aesoteric writes “Australia’s top miners have opened a new front in their march to automation, flying unmanned aerial vehicles in increasing numbers at remote sites across the country. They’ve been used to inspect a fire-damaged oil rig, perform aerial photography and stockpile surveys. There is also a trend towards non U.S.-built UAVs, due to the lag in receiving export approvals for the aircraft and spare parts.”

Source: Autralian Mining Companies Increasing Use of UAVs

Flying Robots Flip, Swarm and Move In Formation At UPenn

February 2nd, 2012 02:10 admin View Comments


techgeek0279 writes “The University of Pennsylvania’s General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Laboratory has released a video of flying nano quadrotor robots. Inspired by swarming habits in nature, these agile robots avoid obstructions and perform complex maneuvers as a group.”

Source: Flying Robots Flip, Swarm and Move In Formation At UPenn

Startup Testing Mobile Farmbots

November 12th, 2011 11:12 admin View Comments


An anonymous reader writes “Wired reports on Harvest Automation, a Massachusetts company developing small robots that can perform basic agricultural labor. The ones currently being tested in greenhouses and plant nurseries are ‘knee-high, wheeled machines.’ ‘Each robot has a gripper for grasping pots, a deck for carrying pots, and an array of sensors to keep track of where it is and what’s around it. Teams of robots zip around nursery fields, single-mindedly spacing and grouping plants. Key to making the robots flexible and cost-effective is designing them to work only with information provided by their sensors. They don’t construct a global map of their environment, and they don’t use GPS. The robots have sensors that detect boundary markers, a laser range finder to detect objects in front of them, and a gyroscope for navigating by dead reckoning. The robots determine how far they’ve traveled by keeping track of wheel rotations.’”

Source: Startup Testing Mobile Farmbots

Ask Slashdot: Moving From *nix To Windows Automation?

May 6th, 2011 05:55 admin View Comments


Zubinix writes “I have a background in doing automation in a Unix/Linux environment using scripting languages such as perl and bash shell, as well as ssh for remote scripting. My next project will be in the Windows environment so what approach and methodology is best for developing, say, the automation required for a test system? I don’t want to use things like Cygwin, as I need to integrate with Windows applications such as Exchange and Sharepoint. Is there a list of should and should not dos when it comes to Windows automation?”

Source: Ask Slashdot: Moving From *nix To Windows Automation?

DynamicOps Raises $11M For Cloud Automation Software, Hires Execs

February 28th, 2011 02:31 admin View Comments

Word leaked out last about cloud automation software maker DynamicOps raising $11.3 million last week, thanks to a pre-announcement SEC filing, but this morning the company confirmed the reports and offered more details.

The Series B round of funding was led by Sierra Ventures, with Next World Capital participating, joining Credit Suisse’s Next II venture group in ownership of the company.

DynamicOps also expanded both its executive management team and its board of directors.

The rapid adoption of virtualization technology is driving demand for private (and public) cloud solutions, forcing IT organizations to reassess how they control, monitor, provision and optimize resources. DynamicOps offers private cloud automation solutions to help companies handle those tasks.

DynamicOps has added industry vets Les Yetton (CMO, previously CEO of Neocleus) and Paul Silver (VP of Sales, Europe, formerly VP of EMEA for EqualLogic) to its executive team. The company has also added Mark Fernandes, Managing Director of Sierra Ventures, to its board.

DynamicOps was founded in 2008 – it spun off from Credit Suisse. The financial institution had five years of large-scale production deployment experience with what is now known as DynamicOps Virtual Resource Manager (VRM) software.

Source: DynamicOps Raises $11M For Cloud Automation Software, Hires Execs

Accel-Backed ScaleXtreme Takes Data Center Management To The Cloud

January 18th, 2011 01:33 admin View Comments

Data center automation is a hulking $14 billion segment of the enterprise IT industry dominated by hulking giants like IBM, HP (through its $1.6 billion Opsware acquisition), BMC (through its $800 million BladeLogic acquisition in 2008), and VMWare. Companies often have thousands of servers, both physical and virtual, that need to be managed, and on top of that they are trying to keep track of virtual machines on Amazon’s EC2 or Rackspace. A new enterprise startup called ScaleXtreme is tooling up to attack IT systems management from the cloud.

It is backed by Accel Partners, which took its entire $2.5 million series A round last August, and its two co-founders have some serious enterprise startup chops. CTO Balaji Srinivasa was the principal product architect for BladeLogic before it was sold to BMC. CEO Nand Mulchandani founded and sold several enterprise startups in the past (Oblix to Oracle, Determina to VMWare), and was also the CEO of OpenDNS and an EIR at Accel.

ScaleXtreme wants to do the same thing to data automation that Salesforce did to CRM. Replace million-dollar deployments that take months with a five minute download that can have a machine being managed from the cloud in five minutes. And instead of an upfront $1,500 licensing fee per machine, plus maintenance and upgrade fees, ScaleXtreme is shooting for something closer to $150 a month per machine. “This is a radically different model,” says Mulchandani, who started out as an enterprise IT sales guy. “You download the agent and you are done—no sales people, no Italian suits flying across the country.”

Mulchandani sees data center automation as a greenfield opportunity for a cloud-based enterprise startup, much like CRM was a decade ago. “The space has atrophied,” he says, “with very long deployment cycles, and millions of dollars spent on deployment. Nothing has happened in data center automation. These larger guys, like IBM and EMC, are tuned for on-premise. For them, the cloud is this bolt-on thing, not built from ground up. A lot of people are spinning up 100 or 1,000 to 10,000 machines on Amazon in bursts and then they go away. These older products are not designed for this rapid escalation and de-escalation of machines.”

There are firewall issues as well, and IT admins want to be able to manage it all from their iPads or Android phones. The service will aslo add social elements, and offer a way for IT admins to share (or sell) scripts for managing different configurations of virtual machines. It will be like an App Store for data automation scripts.

The service will work both on servers inside a company’s data center and virtual servers on Amazon and other cloud computing data centers. When a company spins up a server on Amazon, that virtual machine still has to be managed like any other: software needs to be deployed, patched and updated. The current data center automation software is so expensive that it doesn’t make much sense to use it cloud-based systems that cost pennis per hour. ScaleXtreme’s pricing model is more in line with other cloud services and is built to scale up and back across to virtual machines inside corporate data centers.

It’s a classic disruptive strategy—go after the underserved white space (the enterprise cloud), and then start picking off the main market with a radically lower price (first on the poorly-served edges in remote data centers and branch offices, and then in the main data centers). Now all ScaleXtreme needs to do is pull it off.

Source: Accel-Backed ScaleXtreme Takes Data Center Management To The Cloud

Skytap Raises $10 Million For Cloud Automation Solutions

December 31st, 2010 12:31 admin View Comments

Skytap, which provides cloud automation solutions for enterprises and software vendors to develop, test and demo cloud applications, has raised $10 million in funding, according to this SEC filing.

This brings the total amount of financing raised by the company to a healthy $23 million.

Read the rest of this entry »

Source: Skytap Raises $10 Million For Cloud Automation Solutions

Microsoft Backtracks On Accessibility In Windows Phone 7

December 13th, 2010 12:07 admin View Comments

beetle496 writes “One of the things Microsoft has done well for many years now (since they got called on the carpet about Windows 95) is providing compatibility with assistive technology used by the blind. Their current push is for a set of APIs called User Automation. Many of us in the field have remained skeptical of the early promises, especially those related to cross-platform compatibility. The news that Microsoft is now backtracking is disappointing, but hardly surprising. It looks like IAccessible2 is the way to go.”

Source: Microsoft Backtracks On Accessibility In Windows Phone 7