• Oracle open sources Graphpipe to standardize machine learning model deployment

    Oracle, a company not exactly known for having the best relationship with the open source community, is releasing a new open source tool today called Graphpipe, which is designed to simplify and standardize the deployment of machine learning models. The tool consists of a set of libraries and tools for following the standard. Vish Abrams, whose background includes helping develop OpenStack at NASA and later helping launch Nebula, an OpenStack startup in 2011, is leading the project. He says as his team dug into the machine learning workflow, they found a gap. While teams spend lots of energy developing a machine learning model, it’s hard to actually deploy the model for customers to use. That’s where Graphpipe comes in. He points out that it’s common with newer technologies like machine learning for people to get caught up in the hype. Even though the development process keeps improving, he says that people often don’t think about deployment. “Graphpipe is what’s grown out of our attempt to really improve deployment stories for machine learning models, and to create an open standard around having a way of doing that to improve the space,” Abrams told TechCrunch. As Oracle dug into this, they identified three main problems. For starters, there is no standard way to serve APIs, leaving you to use whatever your framework provides. Next, there is no standard deployment mechanism, which leaves developers to build custom ones every time. Finally, they found existing methods leave performance as an afterthought, which in machine learning could be a major problem. “We created Graphpipe to solve these three challenges. It provides a standard, high-performance protocol for transmitting tensor data over the network, along with simple implementations of clients and servers that make deploying and querying machine learning models from any framework a breeze,” Abrams wrote in a blog post announcing the release of Graphpipe. The company decided to make this a standard and to open source it to try and move machine learning model deployment forward. “Graphpipe sits on that intersection between solving a business problems and pushing the state of the art forward, and I think personally, the best way to do that is by have an open source approach. Often, if you’re trying to standardize something without going for the open source bits, what you end up with is a bunch of competing technologies,” he said. Abrams acknowledged the tension that has existed between Oracle and the open source community over the years, but says they have been working to change the perception recently with contributions to Kubernetes and the Oracle Functions Project as examples. Ultimately he says, if the technology is interesting enough, people will give it a chance, regardless of who is putting it out there. And of course, once it’s out there, if a community builds around it, they will adapt and change it as open source projects tend to do. Abrams hopes that happens. “We care more about the standard becoming quite broadly adopted, than we do about our particular implementation of it because that makes it easier for everyone. It’s really up to the community decide that this is valuable and interesting.” he said. Graphpipe is available starting today on the Oracle GitHub page.

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  • McAfee’s ‘Unhackable’ Crypto Wallet Hacked

    When John McAfee described the Bitfi crypto wallet as unhackable, it quickly drew many people’s attention. For users in constant fear of having their crypto assets stolen by cybercriminals, it was reassurance. For computer experts, however, McAfee’s proclamation was taken as a challenge. Less than two months later, a number of people have emerged claiming to have cracked the ‘unhackable’ wallet, with the latest being a group of researchers who were able to send signed transactions with the device. This comes just days after a 15-year-old security expert reportedly hacked the wallet and played the renowned shooting game Doom on it. Challenge Accepted John McAfee has become one of the biggest Bitcoin bulls around, having at one time declared that Bitcoin would hit $500,000 by 2020. The computer security pioneer has also backed a number of crypto startups over the past few months, but none as bold as Bitfi. In June, the now executive chairman of Bitfi declared that the company’s hardware wallet was the world’s first unhackable crypto wallet. To illustrate his level of confidence in his bold claim, he announced a $100,000 bounty – later raised to $250,000 – for any hacker who could prove him wrong. And the hackers accepted the challenge. As reported by The Next Web, a group of researchers recently announced that they had hacked the Bitfi wallet. The researchers were able to send signed transactions with the device, throwing into question McAfee’s claims. The group began by gaining root access to the wallet about two weeks ago. McAfee was quick to dismiss this via Twitter, claiming it to be as “useless as a dentist license on a nuclear power plant.” The team then tracked the data being sent from the device for close to two weeks, intercepting it periodically to display silly messages on the screen. According to one of the researchers, Andrew Tierney, intercepting the data was done just to prove that the wallet was connected to the Bitfi servers and that it functioned fully despite the significant modification. Tierney and his group of researchers also used the device to send sensitive data – its private keys and passphrase – to a private server. In doing so, the team believes it has fulfilled all the conditions laid out by McAfee and that it deserves to receive the promised bounty. But will McAfee pay up, or was it all just big talk to grab attention? Days ago, 15-year-old Saleem Rashid also managed to breach the ‘unhackable’ wallet and went ahead to do what teenagers love doing: play a video game. A video of Rashid playing Doom surfaced on Twitter, leading many to question McAfee’s claims. However, Rashid didn’t manage to gain access to any cryptos, a fact that McAfee was quick to point out, terming the hacking claims “utter nonsense.” The Bitfi wallet costs $120, a reasonable price if it proves to be really unhackable. Its security stems from the fact that its security keys aren’t stored on the device. Instead, the wallet allows users to generate their own secret passphrase which is easier to memorize. Once this secret passphrase is keyed in, Bitfi’s algorithm calculates a private key giving the user access to the wallet. The newly-generated private key is not stored on the device and is generated afresh the next time one keys in their secret passphrase.

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