Links for 2016-04-07

  • “Racist algorithms” and learned helplessness

    Whenever I’ve had to talk about bias in algorithms, I’ve tried be  careful to emphasize that it’s not that we shouldn’t use algorithms in search, recommendation and decision making. It’s that we often just don’t know how they’re making their decisions to present answers, make recommendations or arrive at conclusions, and it’s this lack of transparency that’s worrisome. Remember, algorithms aren’t just code. What’s also worrisome is the amplifier effect. Even if “all an algorithm is doing” is reflecting and transmitting biases inherent in society, it’s also amplifying and perpetuating them on a much larger scale than your friendly neighborhood racist. And that’s the bigger issue. […] even if the algorithm isn’t creating bias, it’s creating a feedback loop that has powerful perception effects.

    (tags: feedback bias racism algorithms software systems society)

  • The revenge of the listening sockets

    More adventures in debugging the Linux kernel:

    You can’t have a very large number of bound TCP sockets and we learned that the hard way. We learned a bit about the Linux networking stack: the fact that LHTABLE is fixed size and is hashed by destination port only. Once again we showed a couple of powerful of System Tap scripts.

    (tags: ops linux networking tcp network lhtable kernel)

  • s3git

    git for Cloud Storage. Create distributed, decentralized and versioned repositories that scale infinitely to 100s of millions of files and PBs of storage. Huge repos can be cloned on your local SSD for making changes, committing and pushing back. Oh yeah, and it dedupes too due to BLAKE2 Tree hashing.

    (tags: git ops storage cloud s3 disk aws version-control blake2)

  • BLAKE2: simpler, smaller, fast as MD5

    ‘We present the cryptographic hash function BLAKE2, an improved version of the SHA-3 finalist BLAKE optimized for speed in software. Target applications include cloud storage, intrusion detection, or version control systems. BLAKE2 comes in two main flavors: BLAKE2b is optimized for 64-bit platforms, and BLAKE2s for smaller architectures. On 64-bit platforms, BLAKE2 is often faster than MD5, yet provides security similar to that of SHA-3. We specify parallel versions BLAKE2bp and BLAKE2sp that are up to 4 and 8 times faster, by taking advantage of SIMD and/or multiple cores. BLAKE2 has more benefits than just speed: BLAKE2 uses up to 32% less RAM than BLAKE, and comes with a comprehensive tree-hashing mode as well as an efficient MAC mode.’

    (tags: crypto hash blake2 hashing blake algorithms sha1 sha3 simd performance mac)

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