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Oracle Database 21c spotlights in-memory processing and ML, adds new low-code APEX cloud service

ZDNet

Among the messages that Oracle is putting out for its flagship database, adding new access paths for developers has become just as important as adding new data types. This month, Oracle is launching the next version of Oracle Database, version 21c. In a session hosted by Andrew Mendelsohn, executive vice president of database server technologies, the company is also announcing a new cloud-based APEX Service designed to carve a new access path for low-code developers who traditionally thought that writing apps for Oracle was complex and expensive. To induce new developers, Oracle is throwing in a free tier to this new cloud service. As Oracle now numbers its releases according to calendar year, 21c is the next release, which was announced as generally available last month.


Learning to Resolve Conflicts for Multi-Agent Path Finding with Conflict-Based Search

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Conflict-Based Search (CBS) is a state-of-the-art algorithm for multi-agent path finding. At the high level, CBS repeatedly detects conflicts and resolves one of them by splitting the current problem into two subproblems. Previous work chooses the conflict to resolve by categorizing the conflict into three classes and always picking a conflict from the highest-priority class. In this work, we propose an oracle for conflict selection that results in smaller search tree sizes than the one used in previous work. However, the computation of the oracle is slow. Thus, we propose a machine-learning framework for conflict selection that observes the decisions made by the oracle and learns a conflict-selection strategy represented by a linear ranking function that imitates the oracle's decisions accurately and quickly. Experiments on benchmark maps indicate that our method significantly improves the success rates, the search tree sizes and runtimes over the current state-of-the-art CBS solver.


Pair Programming with AI

#artificialintelligence

In a conversation with Kevlin Henney, we started talking about the kinds of user interfaces that might work for AI-assisted programming. This is a significant problem: neither of us were aware of any significant work on user interfaces that support collaboration. However, as software developers, many of us have been practicing effective collaboration for years. It's called pair programming, and it's not at all like the models we've seen for interaction between an AI system and a human. Most AI systems we've seen envision AI as an oracle: you give it the input, it pops out the answer.


Who's Winning the Cloud Database War

#artificialintelligence

Three-quarters of all databases will be deployed or migrated to the cloud within two years, Gartner said today in its much-anticipated report on cloud database management systems. The big cloud companies are winning their share of battles, but there's plenty of market share available for smaller and nimbler database providers too. Gartner turned heads in June 2019 when it declared that the cloud had become the default deployment mechanism for databases. "The message in our research is simple–on-premises is the new legacy," wrote Gartner analysts Adam Ronthal, Merv Adrian, and Donald Feinberg. Fast-forward 17 months, through the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuring lock-down on in-person work, and shift to the cloud has accelerated. Now those Gartner analysts (in addition to Rick Greenwald and Henry Cook) have teamed up for a reprisal of that 2019 report.


Oracle takes a new twist on MySQL: Adding data warehousing to the cloud service

ZDNet

MySQL, the open source relational database that came to Oracle through the Sun Microsystems acquisition, originated as a relatively simple relational database that was known for one task: transaction processing. In an announcement today, Oracle is unveiling an extended version of MySQL that takes it into data warehousing territory. It is releasing a new managed MySQL database service on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) that will support both transaction and analytic processing workloads. That creates a key change for MySQL users. With few if any analytic options open, MySQL users typically resorted to ETL to move data to a separate database if they needed a data warehouse.


C3.ai sets IPO size above half-a-billion dollars

ZDNet

C3.ai, the artificial intelligence services company founded by software pioneer Tom Siebel that filed to go public two weeks ago, this morning set the price for that IPO in a range of $31 to $34, giving the deal a value of over half a billion dollars. C3.ai plans to list under the ticker "AI" on The New York Stock Exchange. The deal is led by investment banks Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, and Bank of America. The formalization of details of the offering comes at the onset of the company's roadshow to woo investors, a common practice in advance of the debut of a public stock. C3.ai said the deal will consist of 15.5 million shares of its Class A common stock, plus an over-allotment option of 2.325 million shares.


Oracle supercomputer AI glitch impacts elections in Brazil

ZDNet

Technical problems in the artificial intelligence (AI) component of a supercomputer set-up provided by Oracle prompted delays in the processing of votes during the first round of municipal elections in Brazil last weekend, the Superior Electoral Court (TSE, in the Portuguese acronym), has said. In 2020, for the first time, the TSE centralized countrywide totalization of votes on a supercomputer using database platforms with artificial intelligence technology provided by Oracle. Previously, each of the 27 regional electoral courts across all the Brazilian states counted the votes and forwarded them over to the TSE. The problems in the equipment during the elections on Sunday (15) meant the process of vote processing suffered a delay of nearly three hours. Brazil is one of the only countries in the world where the voting process is entirely electronic.


4 AI Trends Set To Accelerate In 2021

#artificialintelligence

There's one thing that none of us saw coming this year -- rapid digital transformation that saw years of innovation in about 5-6 months (and in some cases less). We saw companies shifting and technologies getting adopted almost overnight, and I don't think it's going to stop, especially in some areas like AI, which was already seeing rapid acceleration. Those of us working in the tech field see a solid expansion and development of the use of AI in really cool, important, and meaningful ways in 2021 and beyond. While the past few years have allowed many companies to dip their toe into AI, ML, intelligent automation, and other similar solutions, 2020 proved to be the year to dive in headfirst. The proliferation of AI is happening at a great pace both at the chip level and the software level, and make no mistake; the two things are deeply intertwined.


Towards Meta-Algorithm Selection

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Instance-specific algorithm selection (AS) deals with the automatic selection of an algorithm from a fixed set of candidates most suitable for a specific instance of an algorithmic problem class, where "suitability" often refers to an algorithm's runtime. Over the past years, a plethora of algorithm selectors have been proposed. As an algorithm selector is again an algorithm solving a specific problem, the idea of algorithm selection could also be applied to AS algorithms, leading to a meta-AS approach: Given an instance, the goal is to select an algorithm selector, which is then used to select the actual algorithm for solving the problem instance. We elaborate on consequences of applying AS on a meta-level and identify possible problems. Empirically, we show that meta-algorithm-selection can indeed prove beneficial in some cases. In general, however, successful AS approaches have problems with solving the meta-level problem.


C3.ai, machine learning startup backed by software pioneer Tom Siebel, files for IPO

ZDNet

Tom Siebel, an early employee of database giant Oracle, later a billionaire after selling his eponymous software firm to Oracle, says his new venture, C3, is bigger than either of those. C3.ai, the artificial intelligence services company founded by software pioneer Tom Siebel, Friday evening filed for an initial public offering of $100 million worth of its shares, led by investment banks Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, and Bank of America. C3 plans to list under the ticker "AI" on The New York Stock Exchange. The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed offering have not yet been determined, C3 said. Siebel, who was recruited to database giant Oracle in 1983, later founded the eponymous enterprise customer relationship management software firm in 1993.