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歐洲研究機構的資助者推動研究論文的開放存取

在「Radical open-access plan could spell end to journal subscriptions」這邊看到歐洲 11 個研究機構資助者成立了「cOAlition S」,推動研究論文的開放存取。

目標是在 2020 年開始,由這些機構所資助的研究都必須投在符合完全開放條件的平台上:

cOAlition S signals the commitment to implement, by 1 January 2020, the necessary measures to fulfil its main principle: “By 2020 scientific publications that result from research funded by public grants provided by participating national and European research councils and funding bodies, must be published in compliant Open Access Journals or on compliant Open Access Platforms.

而現在大約只有 15%:

According to a December 2017 analysis, only around 15% of journals publish work immediately as open access (see ‘Publishing models’) — financed by charging per-article fees to authors or their funders, negotiating general open-publishing contracts with funders, or through other means.

用這種方式降低那些收錢才能下載的平台的影響力...

出租 GPU 的服務...

前陣子在「Rent out your GPU compute to AI researchers and make ~2x more than mining the most profitable cryptocurrency.」這邊看到的消息,服務網站是「Vectordash: GPU instances for deep learning」。

起因是搞計算的弄不到顯卡計算,而雲服務的 GPU 又太貴,所以再找方法解決... 結果注意到 cryptocurrency 計算的獲利與雲服務的 GPU 中間有不少差價,於是就弄出一個服務來媒合手上有顯卡與需要科學計算的人,一邊提供較高的獲利給本來在挖礦的人,另外一邊提供較低的價錢給需要科學計算的人。

目前支援的平台有限 (Nvidia 的顯卡,另外不支援 Windows,不知道是不是 Linux only),其他支援目前都還沒列 ETA,不過感覺是個解決大家痛點的服務 (而且挖礦這邊就是在拼獲利),應該有機會弄得很大...

繼續觀望... XD

Elsevier 讓德國的研究機構在還沒有續約的情況下繼續使用

德國的研究機構在 2017 年年底前,也就是與 Elsevier 的合約到期前,還是沒有續約,但 Elsevier 決定還是先繼續提供服務,暫時性的為期一年,繼續談判:

The Dutch publishing giant Elsevier has granted uninterrupted access to its paywalled journals for researchers at around 200 German universities and research institutes that had refused to renew their individual subscriptions at the end of 2017.

The institutions had formed a consortium to negotiate a nationwide licence with the publisher. They sought a collective deal that would give most scientists in Germany full online access to about 2,500 journals at about half the price that individual libraries have paid in the past. But talks broke down and, by the end of 2017, no deal had been agreed. Elsevier now says that it will allow the country’s scientists to access its paywalled journals without a contract until a national agreement is hammered out.

Elsevier 會這樣做主要是要避免讓德國的學術機構發現「沒有 Elsevier 其實也活的很好」。而不少研究人員已經知道這件事情,在大多數的情況下都有 Elsevier 的替代方案,不需要浪費錢簽那麼貴的費用:

Günter Ziegler, a mathematician at the Free University of Berlin and a member of the consortium's negotiating team, says that German researchers have the upper hand in the negotiations. “Most papers are now freely available somewhere on the Internet, or else you might choose to work with preprint versions,” he says. “Clearly our negotiating position is strong. It is not clear that we want or need a paid extension of the old contracts.”

替代方案有幾個方面,像是自由開放下載的 arXiv 愈來愈受到重視,很多研究者都會把投稿的論文在上面放一份 pre-print 版本 (甚至會更新),而且近年來有些知名的證明只放在上面 (像是 Poincaré conjecture)。而且放在人家家裡比放在自己網站來的簡單 (不需要自己維護),這都使得 arXiv 變成學術界新的標準平台。

除了 arXiv 外,其他領域也有自己習慣的平台。像是密碼學這邊的「Cryptology ePrint Archive」也運作很久了。

除了找平台外,放在自家網站上的論文 (通常是學校或是學術機構的個人空間),也因為搜尋引擎的發達,使得大家更容易找到對應檔案可以下載。

而且更直接的攻擊性網站是 Sci-Hub,讓大家從 paywall 下載後丟上去公開讓人搜尋。雖然因為常常被封鎖的原因而常常在換網址,不過透過 Tor Browser (或是自己設定 Tor Proxy) 存取他們的 Hidden Service 就應該沒這個問題。

希望德國可以撐下去,證明其實已經不需要 Elsevier...

Facebook 自己找人研究,Social Media 是否對人類有害 XDDD

之前看到「Hard Questions: Is Spending Time on Social Media Bad for Us?」這篇,一直不知道要怎麼吐槽... 然後看到 Twitter 上的這則 tweet XDDD

既視感太重了,找了一下其他行業對應的資料:

真的不知道怎麼吐槽 XDDD

歐盟對於盜版是否帶來傷害的研究

歐盟在 2014 年做了關於盜版與銷量的研究,結果一直被壓到最近才發表出來 (於是就大概可以猜到結論了...):「EU Piracy Report Suppression Raises Questions Over Transparency」。

“In general, the results do not show robust statistical evidence of displacement of sales by online copyright infringements,” the study notes.

甚至:

The study found that piracy had a slightly positive effect on the videogames industry, suggesting that those who play pirate games eventually become buyers of official content.

另外也描述了現有電影與 TV-series 定價策略偏高:

“Overall, the analysis indicates that for films and TV-series current prices are higher than 80 per cent of the illegal downloaders and streamers are willing to pay,” the study notes.

難怪被壓著...

各種職業與離婚率

也是篇研究,講各種職業的離婚率:「Divorce and Occupation」,副標題「Some jobs tend towards higher divorce rates. Some towards lower.」。拿的是 2015 美國的資料分析出來的:

Using data from the 2015 American Community Survey, for each occupation, I calculated the percentage of people who divorced out of those who married at least once.

依照離婚率,由高往低排:

如果是把中位薪拿出來,把邊界的幾個標出來:

原網頁的資料是互動式的形式,游標移上去可以看到每個點是什麼...

Flat UI 反而造成使用者困擾

在「Flat UI Elements Attract Less Attention and Cause Uncertainty」這邊透過追蹤眼球的技術,發表了研究結果:

Summary: Flat interfaces often use weak signifiers. In an eyetracking experiment comparing different kinds of clickability clues, UIs with weak signifiers required more user effort than strong ones.

其中最明顯的一個例子就是大家被訓練「有底線的文字應該可以按」,這也是最能馬上被想到的問題... 不過這算是 Flat UI 的問題嗎?

The popularity of flat design in digital interfaces has coincided with a scarcity of signifiers. Many modern UIs have ripped out the perceptible cues that users rely on to understand what is clickable.

用 Machine Learning 調校資料庫

AWS AI Blog 在月初上放出來的消息:「Tuning Your DBMS Automatically with Machine Learning」。

Carnegie Mellon Database Group 做的研究,除了預設值以外,另外跟四種不同的參數做比較,分別是 OtterTune (也就是這次的研究)、Tuning script (對於不熟資料庫的人,常用的 open source 工具)、DBA 手動調整,以及 RDS

MySQL

PostgreSQL

比較明顯的結論是:

  • Default 值在所有的 case 下都是最差的 (無論是 MySQL 與 PostgreSQL 平台,以及包括 99% 的 Latency 與 QPS,這樣二乘二的四個結果)。而且 Default 跑出來的數字與其他的差距都很明顯。
  • OtterTune 在所有 case 下跑出來都比 Tuning script 的好。這也是合理的結果,本來就是想要取代其他機器跑出來的結果。

至於有些討論 DBA 會失業的事情,我是樂見其成啦... 這些繁瑣的事情可以自動化就想交給自動化吧 XD

Google 的 Guetzli,對 JPEG 的壓縮演算法

Google Research Europe 推出的演算法,在不動 decoder 的情況下,要怎麼樣壓出又小又清晰的 JPEG 圖片:「Announcing Guetzli: A New Open Source JPEG Encoder」,論文可以在「Guetzli: Perceptually Guided JPEG Encoder」這邊下載,程式碼則可以在 GitHub 上的 google/guetzli 取得。

othree 也寫了一篇「Guetzli: A New Open Source JPEG Encoder」介紹 Guetzli。

Guetzli 在同樣的品質下,比現有的壓縮法可以再壓榨出 29%~45% 的空間,這算是非常驚人的數字:

We reach a 29-45% reduction in data size for a given perceptual distance, according to Butteraugli, in comparison to other compressors we tried.

但代價是需要極為大量的 CPU resource 計算,這使得他沒辦法用在太動態的環境裡:

Guetzli's computation is currently extremely slow, which limits its applicability to compressing static content and serving as a proof- of-concept that we can achieve significant reductions in size by combining advanced psychovisual models with lossy compression techniques.

但只要是在批次處理產生的過程 (不需要太在意要等很久),都可以考慮用這個工具...

DeepMind 跟 Blizzard 合作攻略 StarCraft II

DeepMind 宣佈與 Blizzard 合作,開發了 Star Craft II 的界面讓 AI 可以操作:「DeepMind and Blizzard to release StarCraft II as an AI research environment」:

Today at BlizzCon 2016 in Anaheim, California, we announced our collaboration with Blizzard Entertainment to open up StarCraft II to AI and Machine Learning researchers around the world.

這次比起圍棋更有意義的地方在於,圍棋是在完整資訊的情況下做出決策,但真實世界中經常是沒有完整的資訊就要做決策,這次的 StartCraft II 類似於這樣的環境,更接近於現實生活的情境:

StarCraft is an interesting testing environment for current AI research because it provides a useful bridge to the messiness of the real-world. The skills required for an agent to progress through the environment and play StarCraft well could ultimately transfer to real-world tasks.

另外考慮到電腦可以無限制精細操作每個單位,而人類有「操作速度」的問題,在規劃上會設限每分鐘可以操作的速度:

Computers are capable of extremely fast control, but that doesn’t necessarily demonstrate intelligence, so agents must interact with the game within limits of human dexterity in terms of “Actions Per Minute”.

來拉板凳繼續看下去...

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