IBM shrunk Watson to pizza box size

Moving on with Watson (from Forbes):

IBM’s Watson Gets Its First Piece Of Business In Healthcare

Over the past two years, IBM’s researchers have shrunk Watson from the size of a master bedroom to a pizza-box-sized server that can fit in any data center. And they improved its processing speed by 240%.

Even before the Jeopardy! success, IBM began to hatch bigger plans for Watson and there are few areas more in need of supercharged decision-support than health care.

WellPoint’s chief medical officer Samuel Nussbaum said at the press event today that health care pros make accurate treatment decisions in lung cancer cases only 50% of the time (a shocker to me). Watson, since being trained in this medical specialty, can make accurate decisions 90% of the time.

This is just amazing.

Sad tale of leave application system

In a small company, it’s easy to manage 5 employees, their leaves, benefits and training programmes. In a larger organization however, it is becomes impossible to maintain a good overview of how employees are doing as a whole. Larger organizations manages training programmes for different disciplines and recruiting processes. So they implement this information system to support their employees. Employees hated this systems, not the fault of human resources, but largely because these systems are often cumbersome and inpersonal.

The leave application system user interface

In a Singapore company I worked for, the old system to apply for leave involves printing out leave forms, writing the amount of days you want to apply and getting them signed. We moved to a new system using a bespoke web application that basically looks like that:

There are many things wrong with this user interface (UI):

  1. You are allowed to choose a from date that is after the to date. You get an angry error only after submission.
  2. You are allowed to apply a leave for, say, Monday to Tuesday, with Monday Morning and Tuesday Afternoon selected. That counts as 1 day of leave and meant you have to work on Monday afternoon and Tuesday Morning. This is just too complicated.
  3. There are many Leave Types but really 99% of the time, just quoting numbers from thin air, people only use Annual and Medical leaves.
  4. Stand In is bolded for no apparent reasons. Users think it is a required field. It isn’t.
  5. The required fields is not just Leave Type as suggested by the asterisk. From and To dates are required too.

Continue reading “Sad tale of leave application system”

My UOL results are out

My academic results are out. I did better than I expected this year. I am quite surprised by the results. I have rather low expectations this time and thought I may do badly for my “software engineering, algorithm design and analysis” class because I do not really understand what I learnt. For “data communications and enterprise networking”, I spend most of the time scribbling and chose to do those questions that require a lot of writing. The results made me quite happy at this hour. The red ones are the results for this year:

unit code title marks
cis102 mathematics for computing 80.0
cis108 information systems: foundations of e-business 61.0
cis109 intro to java & object-oriented program 78.0
cis110 introduction to computing and the internet 74.0
cis209 database systems 79.0
cis212 programming: advanced topics and techniques 80.0
cis222 data communications and enterprise networking 69.0
cis226 software engineering, algorithm design and analysis 63.0

I think they moderated the results or something.