In the early days of the internet, a famous New Yorker cartoon noted, "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog." The cartoon was making the point that the internet allowed for truly anonymous interactions in a manner we had not seen before. The anonymity of the internet is as much a feature as a bug. The internet was initially designed to be censorship-resistant, and anonymity—by eliminating the possibility of punishing speech—reduced the potential for censorship.
Posted August 11, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has provided most of us with more disruption and change in a few months than we have experienced in decades. The short-term effects of lockdown, health tragedies, and severe economic downturn are all too apparent. But we all know that there will be a post-COVID world, and it makes sense to try and predict what role technology will play in that recovery.
Posted June 10, 2020
In the HBO series "Silicon Valley," Pied Piper CEO Richard Hendricks attempted to return power to the people by creating a peer-to-peer "new internet" in which data and communications are distributed across all the devices on the network with no central point of control. In the real world, several technology companies are trying to do the same thing, and blockchain is the critical enabling technology. Elastos is one of these next-generation blockchain projects.
Posted April 08, 2020
The decade just ended has truly been revolutionary. Technological forces have combined to revolutionize almost every aspect of our daily lives and transform our society—and not always for the better. But although the components of a revolution were in place in 2010, the transformations that would result from the integration of cloud, mobile, and social were far from obvious.
Posted February 10, 2020
Researchers at Google recently announced they had achieved "quantum supremacy" by performing a non-trivial computation on a quantum computer that decisively outperformed a "classical" computer performing the same task. Although IBM disputed some details of the achievement, this announcement will probably stand as a milestone in the development of quantum computing technology. In minutes Google's quantum computer performed the calculation that would have taken most traditional computers thousands of years.
Posted December 01, 2019
Regardless of its long-term prospects, Hadoop remains a pivotal technology in the history of databases. Hadoop was one of the key technologies that broke the stranglehold of relational databases, and it forced a shift in the way in which we think about and store data.
Posted October 01, 2019
After almost a generation of relative stability, database technology has been rocked over the past decade by two megatrends—the end of the one-size-fits-all RDBMS model and the rise of cloud computing.
Posted August 07, 2019
The blockchain technology market is generally believed to be about $2 billion in 2019 and growing at an annual rate in excess of 50%—with projections for the market to exceed $10 billion by the end of 2025. Almost all of that new spending will be cloud-oriented; very few organizations consider running their own blockchain hardware. Therefore, it's not surprising to see cloud vendors actively promoting blockchain solutions.
Posted June 10, 2019
The implications of CAP Theorem, more than anything else, led to the schism in modern database management systems. With the rise of global applications with extremely high uptime requirements, it became unthinkable to sacrifice availability for perfect consistency. Almost in unison, the leading Web 2.0 companies such as Amazon, Google, and Facebook introduced new database services that were only "eventually" consistent but globally and highly available. Google has tried to resolve this database schism with its Spanner SQL database.
Posted April 09, 2019
Virtually all analyst firms, industry experts, and technology authorities still believe that blockchain is a key innovation in computer science and expect blockchain to have a massive impact across multiple industries over the next 10 years. The same authorities also agree that the ultimate success of blockchain technology depends on significant advancements to overcome the limitations inherent in the current implementations. In particular, the environmental impact of the public blockchain is too high, and the throughput of the public blockchain is too low.
Posted February 08, 2019
GraphQL has emerged as the favorite alternative to REST for modern web API design. GraphQL was first used internally at Facebook before being open sourced in 2015. GraphQL is described as a data query and manipulation language which at first glance might suggest more in common with SQL than with REST. However, in reality both GraphQL and REST are applicable across a very similar range of web API scenarios.
Posted December 04, 2018
We've all seen the movie about the kidnap victim whose family asks for a "proof of life." The proof is typically a photograph of the victim posed with a current newspaper. Blockchain technology is now allowing us to provide similar proofs for the existence of digital assets. The immutable nature of the blockchain—the fact that it is impossible to overwrite time-stamped blockchain ledger entries—allows us to create "proof of existence" entries for digital assets.
Posted October 10, 2018
We all know that self-driving cars and other autonomous vehicles are coming. Prototypes of self-driving vehicles can be seen around Silicon Valley, and self-driving features are commercially available in Teslas and other brands. However, there are significant "smart car" features on the way that will affect both human- and self-driven vehicles.
Posted August 08, 2018
It may seem strange to see MongoDB expanding the very features of the relational databases that it originally rejected. In the last few releases, we've seen implementation of joins, strict schemas, and now ACID transactions. However, what this indicates is that MongoDB is increasingly contending for serious enterprise database workloads: MongoDB is expanding the scope of its ambitions.
Posted June 01, 2018
The serverless computing architecture—sometimes called function as a service or FaaS—hides not just the underlying virtual machine, but also the application server itself. The cloud simply agrees to execute your code on demand or in response to an event.
Posted April 12, 2018
The Bitcoin bubble is a mixed bag for blockchain and cryptocurrency enthusiasts. While the incredible increase in Bitcoin's valuation has resulted in a huge windfall for early adopters and enhanced the recognition of blockchain technology, it has also highlighted the volatility of Bitcoin as a currency and the limitations of the underlying blockchain network.
Posted February 01, 2018
Posted December 01, 2017
Virtual reality (VR)—the use of computers to create a complete simulation of a human reality—has been an active concept since the early days of digital computing and a popular theme in science fiction for many decades. The idea became part of mainstream consciousness with the release of The Matrix in 1999, in which the protagonist turned out to be living in a simulation indistinguishable from the real thing.
Posted October 18, 2017
The emergence of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology may prove to be almost as significant an innovation as the internet itself. Blockchain offers a mechanism for the mediation of any transactions that previously would have required trusted third parties, while cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin may eventually become a significant alternative to traditional "fiat" (e.g., government-backed) currencies. These technologies could eventually revolutionize the global banking infrastructure which has underpinned global commerce for centuries.
Posted August 09, 2017
Posted June 01, 2017
There's a wide and growing acceptance that containers are replacing operating systems as the deployment target for application components. While application modules were previously designed to be installed upon a specific version of an operating system on a particular hardware platform, they are now increasingly being designed to run within a virtualized representation of an operating system—most frequently within a Docker container.
Posted April 07, 2017
Imagine you are standing by a railway track near a lever that switches between two sets of tracks. A runaway rail trolley is heading toward the fork in the tracks, and five people are trapped on the currently activated line. You could switch the trolley to the alternative track, but there is a single person trapped there as well. Do you switch the trolley? The artificial intelligence community is increasingly wrestling with similar moral conundrums implicit in the ever-more pervasive algorithms that underlie much of our technological infrastructure.
Posted February 08, 2017