Posts Tagged ‘software’
Programming cells may soon become as easy as programming a computer. Just as computer software designers create programming for computers, scientists have created a programming language that allows them to design DNA-encoded circuits that can give new function to living cells.
Using this language, anyone can write a program for the function they want, such as detecting and responding to certain environmental conditions. They can then generate a DNA sequence that will achieve it.
“It is literally a programming language for bacteria,” says Christopher Voigt, an MIT professor of biological engineering. “You use a text-based language, just like you’re programming a computer. Then you take that text and you compile it and it turns it into a DNA sequence that you put into the cell, and the circuit runs inside the cell.”
In the new software — called Cello — a user first specifies the kind of cell they are using and what they want it to do: for example, sense metabolic conditions in the gut and produce a drug in response. They type in commands to explain how these inputs and outputs should be logically connected, using a computing language called Verilog that electrical engineers have long relied on to design silicon circuits. Finally, Cello translates this information to design a DNA sequence that, when put into a cell, will execute the demands.
The good thing about it is that it’s very simple, without many of the intricacies often encountered in programming.
“You could be completely naive as to how any of it works. That’s what’s really different about this,” Voigt says. “You could be a student in high school and go onto the Web-based server and type out the program you want, and it spits back the DNA sequence.”
For now, all these features have been customized for the E. coli bacteria, one of the most common in studies, but researchers are working on expanding the language to other strands of bacteria.
Using this language, they’ve already programmed 60 circuits with different functions, and 45 of them worked correctly the first time they were tested – which is a remarkable achievement. The circuits were also strikingly fast, and the whole process promises to revolutionize DNA engineering. Before, it could take months or years to design such a circuit. Now, it can be done in less than a day.
Dr. Voigt’s team plans to work on several different applications using this approach — bacteria that can be swallowed to aid in digestion of lactose; bacteria that can live on plant roots and produce insecticide if they sense the plant is under attack; and yeast that can be engineered to shut off when they are producing too many toxic byproducts in a fermentation reactor.
What do you think about this rapidly developing revolutionary computer industry? Can it replace drugs and medicine in future? Can it help to cure cancer and AIDS? Will it make a living cell immortal?
Please feel free to share with us your opinion and thoughts here below.
Business Development Manager
Professional Software Development
Despite the fact that Sweden has not always been a welfare state, now it is quite a stable and prosperous country with a good standard of living, a country, which is constantly developing. Let’s see how this development influences IT market, for example.
Sweden is making large annual investments in education and research and it is well-known for its good education level. Development has also come into information and communications technology, where Sweden is one of the leading countries in the world. However, the current problem in labor market is that there is not enough workforce in service companies, information technology, school system and health care sectors. Despite high technology level, Swedish people love their nature and concern for nature is playing a big role in future decisions. That is why Sweden is also putting a lot of effort to improve the environmental technology, which will be one of the most important industries in the future.
- Swedish IT sector
is strongly bound to the development of society. Sweden has many successful companies in IT and telecommunication sector and the companies have a great capacity of innovation. However from 34 000 of companies in Swedish ICT sector are micro enterprises with under 100 000€ turnover.
IT sector can be divided into four sub-sectors: Software and IT services, Tele-and data communications, manufacture of hardware and retail and services of computer . IT sector in Sweden is mostly dominated by the software market. Most of them have specialized in systems software for communications, business systems and applications software for telecommunications.
Software products and IT services earn 32% of the turnover in IT-sector. The growth in the software products and IT services has been very strong. The turnover has increased 32.5% between the year 2005 and 2009. The second in the IT-sector is Telecom and datacom services with 27.3%, manufacture of hardware comes next with 24.5% and the fourth largest is retail and servicing the hardware.
Swedish IT- sector employs about 3.9% of the total Swedish work force. Despite the economic recession, Swedish IT sector has stayed healthy. The main reason of IT sectors welfare is that the companies in Sweden believe that the IT-services and IT-products are essential for survival in the future. IT solutions are the key factor when it comes to make the business more effective and environmentally friendly. That is why the companies are putting effort to develop the IT solutions. Especially environmentally friendly solutions are the focus in the future in Sweden. Almost every company uses computers (97%) and 96% of them have an access to Internet. Internet has increased its significance in doing business.
- Mobile services
Are an increasing trend in business life. Already 60% of all companies are using mobile Internet connections in 2010. Swedish people are interested in a product which can increase their customers’ competitiveness and increase the company’s value for its owners, customers and another interest groups.
Swedish people are open-minded to test new services and products. The good thing is that they might accept the new product or service very easily, but the challenge is to keep the product or service updated. People in Sweden are well educated and they are looking all the time new innovative ways to run the business.
– The majority of companies cost are spent on software research and development. So they are willing to invest on software if they can see the product useful for the business. The most favorable applications are such as ERP, CRM, financial management and information software, on which the companies are spending about 60% of their founds.
-The environmental study concentrated more on macro indicators which means background forces behind the company’s activities such as social, technological, economical and political environment.
-Sweden’s lifestyle and culture form an ideal market place, because they are open-minded to test new services and products. The people are well educated and they are all the time searching for new innovation solutions to run their business. The positive point is that the customers are willing to accept new innovation, but they can also replace it when they can find a better solution. So the major challenge is to keep the product development up.
– Sweden is one of the leading countries in the development of information and communications technology. Almost every company has computer and Internet access and already 60% of all companies had a mobile Internet connection in 2010. So, mobile phones are becoming more and more important on daily business.
– Swedish people are putting a lot of effort to improve the environmental technology, so this “eco” thinking has a strong position in Swedish culture.
– Sweden is making a lot effort to software research and development and they want to be the top leaders in the software markets by 2020.
-The global software leaders Microsoft, International Business Machines (IBM), Oracle and SAP are also leading the Swedish software markets, but they are controlling particular areas of software branch which is why the local companies have also acquired a good position on the market.
-Swedish software and IT services have a larger number of companies than the other sub-sectors, but most of them are small companies.
– IT outsourcing has been a steadily growing part of the Swedish IT market, which is considered to be the largest market within the Nordic region and the 3rd largest in Europe. Every year more Swedish companies decide to outsource. The majority of Swedish companies decide to outsource due to conditions such as a shortage of IT domestic skills and high costs of performing in-house solutions, or a need to re-focus on core competencies. In order to avoid multiplied risks associated to outsourcing.
And what tendencies in Swedish IT market would you like to point out? It is interesting to know your opinion!
Business Development Manager
Professional Software Development
The aims of agile software development are beyond reproach: prioritising rapid delivery of working software that does what the user wants. But the application of agile methodologies can leave a lot to be desired – with frequent delivery of code mistaken for progress and users calling the shots but not understanding what they want. Here are five dangers to look out for when following an agile software development methodology.
1. Two steps forward, one step back
Agile, in the case of one of its commonest forms known as Scrum, breaks down projects into iterations that deliver potentially workable software within two to four weeks. The scope of what is being delivered from iteration to iteration can vary dramatically based on feedback from users.
This flexibility is one of the strong suits of agile. The finished software product doesn’t have to be set in stone years in advance and therefore is more likely to be relevant to a business’ needs on completion.
However, being blind to certain future demands can lead to products being developed in a way that doesn’t support those iterations, says Mike Gualtieri, principal analyst with Forrester.
Gualtieri gives the example of business users who ask developers to allow customers to look up their account history during one iteration, and then in the next iteration ask developers to allow customers to combine their account history with that of family members.
Situations such as this one leave the development team frustrated at having to go back to alter previous work, according to Gualtieri, saying, “I wish you told me that before. I didn’t anticipate that when I created the database structure.”
Also, while agile is supposed to control scope creep, there are reports that the iterative design process can lead to users demanding a multitude of changes at each iteration – making it difficult for developers to deliver.
2. Users don’t know what they want
Agile methodologies are designed to produce the software the user wants, after all the stakeholders are involved in the development process from the start.
However, people are not always the best judges of what they want. As Henry Ford supposedly said about his decision to bring the automobile to the mass market: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
The problem with developers relying too heavily on users to tell them what they want is that users are limited by their understanding of the underlying technology, according to Forrester’s Gualtieri.
“Say there’s a mobile app. A business person can envision the way that mobile app would work but may not be aware there’s an accelerometer and GPS, and how those can be used in combination to do some fabulous things,” he says.
Of course the end product of an agile project is supposed to be the result of a meeting of minds between the developer and the business user, rather than one leading the other.
However, the resulting product is frequently not a joint effort, according to Gualtieri, but instead the result of developers letting the user make the design decisions so they can get on with the coding.
Having business users guide coders is no substitute for a developer with a deep understanding of the business domain, he says.
3. Not ready for automated testing
The rapid delivery cycles under agile make software to automate testing a necessity to keep the quality of the product and the code from slipping.
The cost of adopting automated testing and the hassle in changing ways of working to accommodate it can seem more bother than they’re worth.
But failing to introduce automated testing makes it tricky for manual testing teams to keep on top of bugs during the short delivery times for each iteration of the software – particularly as the overall code grows in size.
4. It’s hard to get buy-in
For businesses with a long history of developing software using alternative methodologies, switching to agile requires a profound change in the way everyone from software maintenance teams to management operate.
Yet people are creatures of habit and getting the maintenance team to drop their demands for a library of documentation isn’t easy.
Getting everyone involved in a project to understand how they and their colleagues can work and mitigate risk without extensive documentation to fall back on will take a long time – for example, in the case of the Wellcome Trust it took 18 months.
Time commitments can also be onerous both for developers and business users. The IT team and the rest of the business will have to be prepared to devote regular blocks of time to discussing project requirements and outcomes, which they need to fit around the daily demands of the job.
5. Agile ignores the creative nature of coding
Critics of the agile movement claim it embodies a wider problem with software development methodologies – that the focus on process ignores the creative nature of programming.
Forrester’s Gualtieri says software development is more akin to making a movie than building cars on an assembly line.
“With these processes and methodologies, people want to take software developers, say they are all created equal, and put them into a process, turn a crank and software will come out,” he says.
“But software is a one-off. It isn’t a product of an assembly line. We need to recognize the design and creativity that goes into it.”
This focus on process ignores how important design decisions are when developing software, he says.
“In software development design decisions determine everything from how long it’s going to take to develop the software, to how good the user experience will be.”
It’s well known that Android is fragmented or, as Google CEO Eric Schmidt contends, “Differentiated.” In a bid to codify design principles for the operating system’s look and feel, Google unveiled Android Design at CES 2012.
This website seeks to help app developers create apps with a more uniform look and feel for Android 4.0, also known as “Ice Cream Sandwich.”
“[Google] definitely wants to have a uniform look. They never have provided a style guide before,” Melissa Skrbic-Huss, creative lead at Amadeus Consulting, told LinuxInsider.
“This is Google’s attempt to try and rein in the craziness of how Android apps look,” said Al Hilwa, a research program director at IDC.
The major issue with Android’s fragmentation “is the loss of brand identity,” he told LinuxInsider. “If you call a device an Android device, what does that mean?”
The Android Design website goes into great detail. Among other things, it spells out Google’s creative vision, design principles, style, themes, typography, patterns, gestures, building blocks, and switches and dialogs.
Google has three overarching design goals for its core apps and the Android OS at large.
One is that apps should be sleek and aesthetically pleasing on multiple levels, with crisp, meaningful layout and typography, and clear, fast transitions. The experience should be “magical,” Google said.
The second is that the apps should be intuitive and easy to use, without overwhelming users with too many choices.
Third, the apps should empower people to try new things and use the apps in inventive new ways while feeling personal.
The Android Guide is Google’s attempt to inject a level of standardization in Android’s look and feel. Google is probably trying to resolve some of developers’ complaints about Android.
Developers have to worry about differences in the UI of different versions of Android, differences in hardware specs, and differences in the versions of Android that run on various hardware platforms, Simon Khalaf, president and CEO of Flurry, told LinuxInsider.
“Software and applications are the fuel of an ecosystem, and software developers make that fuel,” he pointed out.
Fragmentation enabled the rapid pace of R&D development — “a key factor in Android’s success,” according to Hilwa — but the problems with the OS “will become more prominent to the extent that the market matures and the growth rates flatten.”
Schmidt’s discussion of fragmentation “is evidence that it’s an issue for the brand and the platform,” he argued.
Posted December 19, 2011on:
We know that Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. Both are real blockbusters, and we don’t need to find any reason why they can’t simultaneously thrive for years to come.
At the moment, with WebOS undergoing an open-source reboot and RIM’s next-generation BlackBerry OS apparently nowhere near completion, only one other phone platform has an immediate shot at being a contender: Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7.5. It isn’t there yet. According to Gartner’s latest worldwide market-share numbers show Windows Phone capturing a piddling 1.5 percent of the market, behind five other rivals.
We came up with some factors to prove it:
Great software. Last year’s Windows Phone 7 was tantalizing but decidedly unfinished. Windows Phone 7.5 is just plain pleasing–utterly original, easy to figure out, and both efficient and fun to use. In terms of overall pleasantness, it’s iOS’s most serious rival. (Google’s Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is easily the best version of Android to date, but it still comes off as a nerdier, clunkier echo of iOS.)
Apps. Lots of them. iOS still has the most programs and the best programs. Android is giving Apple increasingly fierce competition. Both platforms have app selections that number in the hundreds of thousands.
And Windows Phone? Well, it certainly isn’t floundering. After a little over a year, it’s got 40,000 third-party apps to its name, which sounds like at least modest momentum to WPh users.
Of course, Windows Phone doesn’t just need lots of software; it needs the right software. So far, its roster of high-profile apps is spotty. It’s got Netflix and Spotify, for instance, but not Hulu and Pandora.
Support from carriers. Most Americans buy their phones from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, or Verizon Wireless. At the moment, AT&T has five Windows handsets, T-Mobile have two, and Sprint and Verizon have just one apiece. These companies don’t necessarily need to stock gazillions of models–hey, the iPhone is available only in one new version and two older ones–but they need to go out of their way to tell shoppers what Windows Phone is and why they might prefer it over an iPhone or an Android handset. Wireless merchants don’t have a fabulous track record, however, when it comes to handling products that require a bit of explanation.
Buzz. Windows Phone won’t surge unless people get excited over it. And one survey showed that Windows Phone 7 owners were happy, or at least happier than Android users. But with Windows Phone sales so meager to date, there simply aren’t enough consumers out there showing off their handsets to their buddies and raving about them.
We remain cautiously optimistic that Windows Phone will catch on. For one thing, Microsoft can afford to be patient with it–and the world’s leading software company really can’t afford to abandon the smartphone software market.
More important, Windows Phone 7.5 is a fine operating system that deserves to be successful. Sooner or later, good products usually do okay. If Windows Phone doesn’t, it might be a sign that the dynamics of the smartphone business aren’t going to let anything that isn’t iOS or Android do well anytime soon.
You could read more at http://news.cnet.com/8301-33200_3-57340072-290/windows-phone-7.5-what-will-make-it-a-winner/
Business Development Manager
Professional Software Development