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Research in Computer Vision is advancing rapidly, from the detection and classification of objects in images (goo.gl/8ljXd6) to algorithms that are able to construct natural descriptions of  those images (goo.gl/WmJGGg). 

In the +TED Talk linked below, Stanford Associate Professor Fei-Fei Li (http://goo.gl/wxnD6k)  gives an overview of the evolution and latest advances in computer vision, sharing her thoughts on its potential use and impact.
When a very young child looks at a picture, she can identify simple elements: "cat," "book," "chair." Now, computers are getting smart enough to do that too. What's next? In a thrilling talk, computer vision expert Fei-Fei Li describes the state of the art — including the database of 15 million photos her team built to "teach" a computer to understand pictures — and the key insights yet to come.
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+Gil Julio​ watch and see how it all fits in
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Congratulations to +Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Professor +Michael Stonebraker, winner of the Association for Computing Machinery Alan M. Turing Award in computer science. Given in recognition for his foundational research in database management systems, the Turing Award comes with a $1 million grant from Google.
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Congrats 
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Happy 133rd birthday to German mathematician and physicist Emmy Noether. Among her many contributions to science is Noether’s Theorem (http://goo.gl/Z7CHdJ), which states that if a system has a continuous symmetric properties, then there are corresponding conserved quantities for that system. For example, if a physical system behaves the same way regardless of location in space and time, then that system conserves both linear momentum and energy. Each circle in the Google Doodle below symbolizes a branch of physics or math that Noether contributed to. Head to the Google Doodle page below to learn more.
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She doesn't look a day over 120!
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Announcing the recipients of the Google Computer Science Capacity Awards

One of Google's goals is to surface successful strategies that support the expansion of high-quality Computer Science (CS) programs at the undergraduate level. 

To address issues arising from the dramatic increase in undergraduate CS enrollments, we are pleased to announce the recipients of the Google Computer Science Capacity Awards program.

Head to the Research blog to learn more about the unique approaches the recipients will use to develop sustainable and inclusive educational programs.
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Introducing Distributed Code Jam

After 12 years running Code Jam (g.co/codejam) is making an exciting change to the competition this year with their addition of the new Distributed Code Jam track (DCJ) that requires coding for a distributed environment. 

We sat down with the main creator behind Distributed Code Jam, Google software engineer Onufry Wojtaszczyk,  to learn more about him and the new track.

Research at Google: How long have you been involved with Code Jam?
Onufry Wojtaszczyk: Longer than I’ve been at Google, it’s been my favorite programming contest before I joined the company; I really liked the problem quality there, and I still do. Candy Splitting (http://goo.gl/Kj8XV6) in the Qualification Round of 2011 Code Jam was the first problem I contributed.

R@G: What has your personal experience been with competitive coding competitions?
OW: I started pretty late; I was more focused on math than on computer science during university. I started with Potyczki Algorytmiczne, a once-a-year contest in Poland, and moved on to the Topcoder Open (http://goo.gl/NC1m4u).  I’m less active as a competitor now, and have been preparing problems instead. Google Code Jam and ACM ICPC world finals are the two highest-profile competitions that featured my problems. And now, of course, the Distributed Code Jam.

R@G: How is the DCJ track different than the regular Code Jam track?
OW: I’d like to begin by saying how similar it is. One thing that I was really concerned about was keeping it an algorithmic competition; I didn’t want people to dig into the details of machine architecture, or setting up unix sockets, or whatever.

In terms of what’s different, well, the biggest difference is it’s distributed. That means that when you submit your solution, it will run on a hundred machines,instead of one. Instead of the contestant  downloading the input and running their code individually, in DCJ they will upload their code, which will compile and run on multiple machines for them.

R@G: How did you get the idea for DCJ?
OW: The one thing that programming contests didn’t prepare me for were the distributed computations that are common at Google. Many of the problems Google solves - delivering the best Search results, directions in Maps, making sure our data centers operate efficiently - are at a scale that requires spreading the work across multiple machines. So I started playing around with ideas for what  a competition that included distributed computing could look like, and what the format [would] be. Then I got a few other Googlers excited about the idea, and that’s how Distributed Code Jam was born.

R@G: Can you describe an example of a DCJ problem?
OW: One example would be the “maximum sum substring” problem, where you have a sequence of integers, some positive, some negative, and you have to find a substring of this sequence that has the highest sum available. On a single machine, the way you solve this is by going linearly along the sequence, remembering at each point the largest sum of a substring ending at this point. 

Now what if you have a string of 10¹⁰ integers, and you want your code to run within a 1 second time limit? You’ll need to make use of multiple machines! For example,  you can split the input between the machines - each taking a substring of length 10⁸ to process. If the best substring was contained in one of the parts, the problem is easy. The trick, however, is to notice that if it’s not contained in one of the parts, then it will consist of a suffix of one part, then some number of parts (possibly zero) taken whole, and then a prefix of another part. 

R@G: Would you say DCJ is harder than Code Jam?
OW: Distributed computing is a new field for programming contests. In the regular programming competitions, there’s a number of tricks of the trade that people have learned, and they take for granted; and the body of knowledge can be a bit intimidating for a newcomer. In the distributed competitions, we are discovering a lot of ideas as we go, so I expect the distributed part might actually be simpler in the sense that there’s no established “everybody knows this” body of knowledge that you have to master.

R@G: Is DCJ something you would recommend for a novice programmer or a more experienced programmer?
OW: I’d say that you have to have some skill as a programmer to participate; in general you will need the ability to solve a single-machine version of any problem to solve the multi-machine version. This is one of the reasons we won’t begin Distributed Code Jam with a “Qualification Round”, instead only beginning with people who already passed round 3 in the regular Google Code Jam. I hope the problems should be solvable using good thinking and common sense, and not some advanced programming knowledge.

To register and learn more about Code Jam and Distributed Code Jam, visit g.co/codejam. Good luck!
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+Noam Gonen, to learn more about Onufry, check out his Research at Google profile page http://goo.gl/TQFVIk
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Google is committed to supporting innovation in online learning at scale. We are pleased to announce the recipients of the Google MOOC Focused Research Awards to support research that explores new interactions to enhance learning experience, personalized learning, online community building, interoperability of online learning platforms and education accessibility. Head over to the Google Research blog to learn more.
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A look into the Physical Web

Imagine being able to walk up to a rental car, a vending machine or even a movie poster, and, without downloading any apps, having your smartphone access a service, obtain a product, or get more information from the object you are standing in front of.

This is just one kind of interplay that will be made possible by the Internet of Things (IoT), a vision of the seamless integration of digital devices and systems that communicate with each other in order to support a variety of daily interactions. 

But how will it work, exactly? 

In the video below, Google Developer Advocate +Laurence Moroney chats with Google Interaction Designer +Scott Jenson about the Physical Web (goo.gl/rN1I8E), one of the approaches for providing effortless, on-demand interactions between smart devices that uses BLE technology (http://goo.gl/JAK0sf) to give you access to the information you want, when you want it.
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As a long time web developer I can't wait for this to roll out.

At my company we've been talking to our clients about contextual web and Physical Web meshes perfectly with that.

Basically we're proposing that all websites should have a here page that caters to the visitor based on the context as well as possible. I've written up a bit on it here: https://medium.com/@h4emtfr/web-3-0-4a75b399cf3c
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The Internet of Things: Exploring the Next Technology Frontier

Yesterday, the United States House of Representatives Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade (#subCMT) hosted an Internet of Things Showcase, exploring the potential technology frontiers of the Internet of Things (IoT).

As part of the showcase, vendors demonstrated products that utilized Google open source technologies UriBeacon (http://goo.gl/xHVJpl) and The Physical Web (http://goo.gl/rN1I8E), showing the potential of enabling devices to advertise web-addresses where users can interact with the object, or where further information about the device can be found.

Following the showcase, the subcommittee held a hearing from panel of experts about the possibilities and challenges in developing the IoT, where subcommittee chair Michael C. Burgess stated “[The IoT] promises a world in which digital and physical elements communicate in real-time to predict circumstances, prevent problems, and create opportunities." 

We are excited about the opportunities the IoT presents for future products and services, and support the continuing development of open standards that facilitate ease of use while ensuring user privacy and security (goo.gl/JEYgjH). 

What future opportunities or services do you think the IoT presents?
WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, chaired by Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), today explored the next technology frontier: the Internet of Things (IoT). Members of the subcommittee kicked off the day at the Internet of Things Showcase where they saw ...
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Yay Texas! I love our gold eagle seal on a green background. The USA has the BEST seals! :o)
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From New Zealand to Chile to Australia - read about a +Project Loon balloon’s non-stop, 20,000 km guided journey around the world, designed to test its ability to provide internet connection in remote areas using only the wind for steering.
 
One of Project Loon’s earliest Eureka moments was the idea that we could provide continuous Internet connection not by keeping balloons stationary over a given location (which would require lots and lots of energy to work against the wind) but by coordinating a fleet of balloons to work with the wind, such that when one balloon leaves a location another moves into its place to continue providing connectivity. In theory, this means that any individual balloon would provide connection in one place and then, days later, provide connection at another location at the opposite end of the world. In our latest long distance LTE test this is exactly what we achieved!

Launched from New Zealand, our globe-connecting balloon made the first leg its journey travelling 9000 km over the Pacific Ocean. Approaching our test location in Chile at a speed of 80 km/h, a command was sent for the balloon to rise into a wind pattern that slowed it down to a quarter of its speed, allowing it to drift overhead members of the Loon operations team who were able to connect to the balloon via smartphones on our test-partner mobile network. 

Hanging around for half an hour to complete the connection testing, the balloon was then sent off on the winds over the South Atlantic ocean towards its next test location, over 10,000 km away in Australia! Our balloon completed this second leg of the journey in just 8 days, travelling over 1000 km per day and reaching a top speed of 140 km/h while whizzing over the ocean south of Africa. Once at the east coast of Australia the Loon Mission Control team implemented a series of altitude maneuvers to catch different winds and reverse the balloon path, lining it up to directly overfly our test location. Having travelled over 20,000 km around the world the balloon flew overhead at a ground distance of less than 500 meters away from our target (well within the 40,000 meter radius required for connection) to provide over 2 hours of Internet connection. That level of precision is like hitting a hole-in-one in golf from over 4 km away!

Tests like this give us real insight into how Project Loon can work at scale. With more balloons in the stratosphere and more Telco partners around the world capable of supporting Loon internet traffic, our ability to provide continuous connection in rural and remote areas will only increase. 
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The same concept was discussed fie or six years ago over the Sahara, due to circular winds, and can work also around the north or south Atlantic.
The challenge is to get the people form different places to do joint projects.
Is nice to read that the technical team is innovating to solve scenarios.
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Will you be in Vienna in April? Join us for a free Geo for Research and Higher Education Workshop during the week of the annual European Geosciences Union meeting (http://www.egu.eu/). 

This workshop will be held on Monday, 13 April 2015, from 18:00 - 22:00, and will provide a hands-on introduction to Google Earth Engine for geospatial data analysis. Applications to attend are due by 24 March 2015.
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Our University Relations and Education Engineering teams are excited to welcome +UC Santa Cruz Astrophysics Professor +Puragra Guhathakurta, who will be spending the next eight months at Google working to expand and diversify the Science Internship Program (SIP), which embeds high-school students in real computation-based STEM research projects. Learn more at the link below.
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Awesome move !!
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+The Verge put together a nice video about +Project Loon, and its progress in trying to bring high speed internet access to the most remote corners of the globe. Learn more about the project's evolution, from strapping a router to a single balloon, to switching from routers to LTE antennae, to making sure the balloons stay aloft for 6 months at a time. You can also read the full article at goo.gl/54OuXf
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Awesome project ! All the very best !!
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Introduction
Google is full of smart people working on some of the most difficult problems in computer science today. Most people know about the research activities that back our major products, such as search algorithms, systems infrastructure, machine learning, and programming languages. Those are just the tip of the iceberg; Google has a tremendous number of exciting challenges that only arise through the vast amount of data and sheer scale of systems we build.

What we discover affects the world both through better Google products and services, and through dissemination of our findings by the broader academic research community.  We value each kind of impact, and often the most successful projects achieve both.