Category Archive Technology

ByJayanthi

Introduction to Ethereum

Just like Bitcoin, which is highly known, ‘Ethereum’ is yet another open source implementation of the Blockchain concept. However, the similarity between ‘Ethereum’ and ‘Bitcoin’ ends just there. While ‘Bitcoin’ is a cryptocurrency,  ‘Ethereum’ is a decentralized network for implementing ‘Smart contracts’. Recall, that ‘smart contracts’ are similar to normal contract clauses, but are automatically enforced without any interference from third parties.

The ‘Ethereum’ logo was first used in 2014 and the project was live on 30th July 2015 – so,  it is an absolutely brand new blockchain concept!  The ‘Ethereum’ idea was first conceived by Vitalik Buterin.

Now moving onto the article, the basic idea behind the blockchain technology  is the different nodes agreeing on transactions and having the same copy of the transaction. Instead of all the nodes in a network agreeing on the the coins moving towards and  away from a user(like in a Bitcoin), in a Ethereum network, the nodes have to agree on the smart contract transactions.

So, what can we do with a Ethereum blockchain?

Have an idea for an application? You can get it deployed on the ‘Ethereum’ blockchain. It is no longer a huge chore to build blockchain applications and definitely much more easier to get applications deployed on the Ethereum blockchin.

 You can create your own cryptocurrency, voting ballots, crowdsale or any idea of for a decentralized application without feelings and human emotions entwined in it. For more information about creating your own decentralized applications on the Ethereum blockchain please visit: https://www.ethereum.org/

Ethereum

To conclude, here are a few terms associated with ‘Ethereum’:

  1. Ether – is a form of currency that fuels the Ethereum network. It is specifically called as a “crypto fuel” and not as a cryptocurrency as it is used to pay for the smart contract services.
  2. Ethereum wallet – where will the ‘ethers’ be stored? In a Ethereum wallet of course! The Ethereum wallet is also used to “write, deploy and use smart contracts”
  3.  ‘EVM’ or ‘Ethereum virtual machine’- The EVM almost reminds me of the JVM or the ‘Java virtual machine’. The EVM runs on the Ethereum network and is a Turing  software. Similar to the JVM of the 90s, the EVM simplifies the process of creating applications. 

It should be noted that Ethereum  is another rapidly evolving technology. How the world will react to it and how the governments will react to it is left to be seen. This article is largely for informational purposes only!

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ByJayanthi

What are Smart Contracts?

‘Smart Contracts’ is a term that is often used in the Blockchain world. ‘Smart Contracts are similar to legal contracts but are encoded in the ‘Blockchain’ . ‘Ethereum’, the public blockchain is the most popular way to create smart contracts.

We encounter physical ‘contracts’ throughout our life. Contracts are present when we start a new job(detailing the job details and the date of salary payments)  , when we buy a new house(detailing our mortgage payments and the corresponding dates , when we buy a new vehicle(detailing loan payments)

Home loans, car loans and most other critical dealings come with contracts. ‘Contracts’ enable the buyer and seller to keep their word. In a home buying scenario, once the buyer completes all his mortgage payments, the loaner company should release the title and deed and all appropriate paperwork to the buyer. There are lengthy clauses which cover every aspect of our business dealings.

An example of a legal statement might be as follows: ‘If the bill is not paid by a certain due date, then add a corresponding late fee or revoke the license’. 

What if this could be automated and enforced without any manual intervention? Is this possible? yes – by means of smart contracts. 

In a ‘smart contract’ the contract itself is coded and it is further stored and monitored by the Blockchain network.  Once a condition is met, the contract executes automatically. This ensures transparency along with elimination of middlemen.

‘Smart Contracts’ are mostly written in the ‘Solidity’ programming language.

This is just a short glimpse into the world of ‘smart contracts’. Join me as I uncover more technical topics about the ‘Blockchain’ world  in subsequent posts…

 

 

smart contracts
ByJayanthi

What is ‘Ripple’?

‘Ripple’ may be a totally unknown term to you or you know exactly what I am talking about – either way ‘Ripple’ is creating ripples!

What is it?

‘Ripple’ is one of the implementations of ‘Blockchain’. As you may recollect, ‘Blockchain’ is the decentralized network where different nodes agree on transactions. Each node has a copy of the transaction and none of the transactions can be deleted or modified in any way. You can read more about Blockchain here. 

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ByJayanthi

Blockchain lingo!

 Blockchain, AI and machine learning are the latest buzzwords in the IT industry. Building a blockchain is also becoming a need for various businesses. Recall, that a “Blockchain” is the distributed shared ledger for recording and storing transactions. Each of the participant in the business network has a copy of the ledger which is updated regularly.

Before building a blockchain, there are a few keywords that have to be mastered and we will discuss them today.

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Mani Prithiviraj ByMani Prithiviraj

Role of Computer Simulations in Design

 

Introduction – reasons for good design:

When we buy a new car, we may have a number of expectations. e.g. We would like the car to be fuel efficient, comfortable in the cabin, be able to ride well in all kinds of roads, provide us a safe ride. When an airline buys an aircraft, they have expectations. e.g. Trouble free operation with minimal down time, integrity of the structure of the airplane, comfort of passengers in the cabin, reliable operation of the engine (from taxi, take off, ascent, cruise, descent and landing). When the government has a power plant commissioned, they would like to ensure that the plant delivers the required power, has the infrastructure to meet environmental emission standards and has good efficiency (conversion of energy into electricity). When an appliance manufacturer designs a washing machine, they would like to ensure that the system ensures good mixing of the water and detergent, proper agitation to remove dirt from the clothes and good ability to remove water from the clothes during the spin cycle.

All these examples show that a good design is needed for efficient functioning of the appliance/airplane/power plant etc

Methods of good design:

There are two principal methods for ensuring a good design:

a) Testing of Prototypes and the Final Product
b) Performing virtual simulations using a computer.

a. Testing:

The traditional method of design predominantly involved testing. Testing was considered to be the only fool proof method of ensuring a good design. However testing is expensive, time consuming, sometimes not possible in hazardous environments, and has difficulty to replicate all real-world operating scenarios.

b. Virtual simulations

Computer Simulations (also known as Virtual Simulations or Numerical Simulations) provide an attractive alternative. Instead of performing a physical test in a lab, one can perform a virtual test on a computer. The virtual test of course needs to be validated against physical tests (or experiments) to build confidence in the computer simulation. The cost involved for performing Virtual Simulations (typically computer hardware, software license and a trained engineer) is a lot cheaper than the cost involved for performing a physical test.
With the ever increasing power of computing, virtual simulations have become a cheaper and time efficient alternative to physical testing.

Now, there are two classes of problems. A) Problems that have an analytical solution b) Problems that do not have an analytical solution. The second class of problems involve modelling assumptions, and the results need to be interpreted carefully, keeping in mind the modelling assumptions. For both class of problems mentioned above, companies have been making a conscious shift from Physical Testing towards Virtual Simulations over the last 15 years.

Companies and design:

Most companies rely heavily on computer simulations at a very early stage of the design cycle to select a group of good designs. During the final stages of design, they test the good designs predicted by simulations. On successful confirmation of the designs, the product is released to the market. This approach enables companies to keep costs reasonable and also shorten the design cycle resulting in valuable time savings. In an evolving, demanding and competitive market environment, Virtual Simulations play a very important role.

Types of simulations:

Simulations themselves could either be 1D or 3D. 1D simulations are faster to run and enable system level simulations (e.g. Entire Powertrain of a Vehicle). 3D simulations take longer to run, but can provide three dimensional information about the system being analyzed (e.g. The temperature and pressure at every location within an Internal combustion engine). Companies typically use a combination of 1D and 3D simulation tools during the product design phase.

Both domestic and multi-national automotive manufactures have traditionally used Wind Tunnels for drag reduction of their vehicles. Reducing drag improves the fuel economy of the car. The manufacturers now use computer simulations to simulate both wind tunnel as well as on-road driving conditions. A computer simulation can provide the manufacturer detailed pressure, temperature and flow distribution around the car (to the tune of several million locations). It would be prohibitively expensive to get the same information from a wind tunnel test (since pressure and temperature transducers and data collection systems are expensive). The computed data can be visualized on a computer.

Conclusion:

As the expectations from the market keep rising every year, Virtual Simulations are now playing a very important role to help companies to come up with designs meeting customer requirements.

ByJayanthi

Did you know?

‘Whatsapp’  is India’s largest and most convenient chat app. The anonymity to send messages without the whole world to view it and the instantaneous way to communicate made the chat app a total winner. 

But the chat app had  one uncomfortable feature – for the multitude of messages sent across different groups and individuals, there was always that one message that was sometimes sent by mistake. It would always land in a group with 10-50 participants who would all be equally puzzled! 

 

 

Whatsapp has solved the unintended message dilemma by enabling a new feature:

  1. You can delete an unintended message from all group members (or individuals)
  2. The unintended message should be deleted within 7 minutes of sending it
  3. In order to make it work , the message to be deleted has to be “tapped, held and deleted” from groups or individuals
  4. Once the messages are deleted, a message “This message was deleted” will appear in the appropriate group. 
  5. In order for the ‘Delete’ feature to work, all users should have the latest version of Whatsapp installed for their phones or desktops. 
  6. If the deletion is not successful for all members of the group, there will not be a separate notification informing of the same.

Note: There is a possibility that a message will be viewed by the recipient before the sender deletes it.

What do you think of this new feature? 

 

ByJayanthi

The ‘Apple’ of my eye! :)

For most of the Apple lovers possessing iPhones, iPods, Mac books and iPad and so on, this week was an exciting week as it saw the  launch of the iPhone 8, iPhone 8S and iPhone X. How will the new iPhone X be? Pronounced iPhone ’10’ and not iPhone ‘X’, this is the thought for most of the world(if not all!) Till we can lay our hands on it or see someone who lays their hands on it 🙂 we can only surmise a few details as of now:

Features of iPhone XDescription   
Pre-orders starting date in IndiaOctober 27
Sales will start fromNovember 3 in India
Price of iPhone X$ 999 and up

89,000 Rs in India
Wireless charging
Display5.8 inch OLED display

Highest resolution display:

2436x1125 pixels at 458 pixels per inch
Authentication Face ID instead of Touch ID and NO home button

Appearance Durable glass in the front and back

Water and dust resistant


Battery life14 hours of Internet use
ProcessorA11 Bionic chip(can manage 600 billion operations per second)

6 core processor
CameraDual 12MP TrueDepth cameras

Storage64GB

Planning to go somewhere? Try booking flights through ‘Makemytrip‘!!

The most interesting features of the iPhone X  are:

  1. Price – $999 for US markets and a cool lakh for Indian markets(256GB variants)
  2. Processor speed – The iPhone X has the A11 Bionic chip supposedly the most powerful and smartest chip
  3. Battery life – The iPhone X boasts of 14 hrs of Internet usage which will be tested in due time(Scientific American)
  4. Camera – It has a larger and faster megapixel sensor(for camera buffs and geeks, there is plenty in store with the new iPhone X to achieve superior quality pictures) 
  5. Face ID – This is obviously the most talked about authentication feature of the new iPhone X – ‘face recognition’. Apple has done away with the home button and introduced the ‘face recognition’ feature which raises interesting and new questions. While biometrics is always a better way of authenticating a user than the traditional username and password combination(not to forget remembering the umpteen number of passwords) face ID might be much more trickier than  other biometrics.  These are some of the key points regarding Face ID:
  •   For now, only one face ID will be supported per device.
  •   Going by the number of thoughts around the web, what if the device can be unlocked while sleeping or by an identical twin?

           iPhone user experience is always beautiful and in India where owning an iPhone(or any Apple product and any version) is a symbol of pride, it remains to be seen if the new iPhone X will live up to its standards. Most of the details and doubts will only be solved in due course of time – but one final question that is on everyone’s mind – is it too pricey even by Apple standards?

Thanks to Satish for his thoughts, suggestions and tips for this post!

 

 

 

 

 

ByJayanthi

Captcha!

Have a look at the image below:

Are you squinting and trying to hard to figure what is written in the phrase below?

This was the ‘Captcha’ phrase that was used to differentiate between ‘humans’ and ‘bots’. This has been slowly replaced by the new ‘reCaptcha’. Before we get into the details of the ‘reCaptcha’ let us discuss ‘Captcha’ and what it was meant for.

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