Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing is the term that is used everywhere. The term “Cloud Computing” is not as complicated as it sounds. It basically means computing via internet. So in a sense, it is a metaphorical description of using internet and network as a storage instead of your personal computers. If the data you store (such as a photo) is on the hard drive, such as laptop, it is not Cloud Computing. But if it is uploaded on the internet, the Cloud Computing stores it instead. Just like the cloud, it is very hard to keep track of where your data is actually physically stored once it is uploaded. And just like the cloud, it can be viewed almost anywhere where there is an internet. It is also used by the companies to store their data due to its benefits.

There are many benefits for using Cloud Computing. Looking from business point of view, it requires less cost to store data compared to using computers to store, not just because there is no need to use expensive IT equipments to store anymore, but also because it requires less staff members to manage the process since the computers to store is not taken care of by the company. Information can just be stored on the internet. Once it is it is uploaded on the internet, it can be viewed anywhere possible where there is an internet (and devices to view it such as mobile phone). So it is very accessible and useful, especially when staff are working off-site, then they can access what they need almost immediately. Using Cloud Computing is also useful for environment since it requires less electricity.

Like everything else in the world, Cloud Computing also has some drawbacks. Most obvious drawback would be its security. Since it is uploaded on Cloud Computing, it is easily accessible by anyone on the server and it is very hard to trace where it is actually stored physically. Another problem is that this will not be available unless there is an internet connection. Since Cloud Computing is an area where things are keep on developing really fast, it is likely that some cloud vendors will go out of business and this is a very big problem for people who were relying on that particular Cloud Computing to store data.

In my opinion, I think for us as a human to innovate further, Cloud Computing is one of the factors that needs to be used to get there. It has some drawbacks for sure, but I think these drawbacks need to be taken care of instead of avoiding this solution entirely. And that is probably the reason why so many people around the world is using it and is working on improving it. During this research, I found out that the term “Cloud Computing” merely means storing via internet. Even though I was very familiar of the way internet works, I still think this was an opportunity for me to reflect on the features of internet itself.


Embedded Systems

Embedded System refers to type of computers that are built specifically for certain purpose. It does not look or work like normal computers we see and use everyday, but it is made up of similar functions. In other words, it may not have a mouse, a keyboard, a speaker, a monitor or any of these sorts, but it will have important key things such as input, output, software and so on. For example, if there is some task to be done (let’s say listening to music), MP3 will need to play the music according to what kind of input its user provide. If the user presses certain button, the MP3 will start playing whereas when user presses certain button, the MP3 will stop playing the music it was playing. The part where it detects which button the user pressed and process what the output needs to be can be one of the examples of embedded system. So it is like a computer in different and small form.

Due to the reason that embedded system is designed for one specific purpose only, it has a lot of benefit as far as finishing off that task is concerned. If only looking at finishing off that task, it can do so almost immediately (especially looking from human point of view). It is also very reliable since it is only built for that specific purpose, and thus there are very small rooms for error to make. Its size will be much more smaller compared to regular computers, because (as mentioned above) it is designed for specific purpose and therefore it will only require necessary components to do that task when it is being built. So in other words, it has the minimum size that is being required to make a computer to do that task. Since its size is smaller, its cost of production will be much lower as well. A lot of these embedded system can be brought along when we are walking around (portable computers), such as calculators, MP3, digital watch and so on. Since it requires only one specific job to be done, it requires much less energy to be doing work, so it requires very low power when it is operating in relative to regular computers. Like anything else, it also has negative views. One of them is quite obvious: its application is very limited since it is built only for specific purpose. Its processing capability will be much lower than regular computers since, again, it doesn’t require that much data processing to do one small task.


Machine Learning

A Machine Learning is very vast aspect of Computer Science, and it is being developed really fast. The concept “Machine Learning” signifies the process in which computer, or a machine, recognizes the pattern from the past and predicts the outcome for the future. In other words, the computer can learn for itself. Based on the brief research I have done, the machine learning is not fully automated, but it is semi-automated. In other words, it involves human thinking skill in its process as well. “Machine learning is the semi-automated extraction of knowledge from data” - Online Definition. The another definition I found online explained the process of the machine learning: “a computer program is said to learn from experience E with respect to some task T and some performance measure P, if its performance on T, as measured by P, improves with experience E.” - Tom Mitchell, Carnegie Mellon University. So in other words, the machine improves via experience it has with the task.

The majority of machine learning can be separated by two types of machine learning: supervised machine learning and unsupervised machine learning. For supervised machine learning, the process has sets of fixed output for a machine to determine so the accurate conclusion can be withdrawn from the data. So it is suitable to be used in the situation that requires the sets of datas to be determined into fixed group of outcome. For example, if we are finding out who survived certain disaster, this is supervised learning since we are determining whether the sets of data (people in concern) are alive or not. For unsupervised machine learning, the process for the sets of data determines no right or wrong answer, but finds the general pattern and relationship of given categories. So for this type of machine learning, it is suitable to be used in the situation where it requires certain analysis of situation, and which requires a pattern recognition. For example, the opinion of customers in certain products cannot only be categorized into “good” and “bad”, it has to have some in between; thus unsupervised machine of learning is suitable for this.

I found this topic really interesting since this aspect of computer science (artificial intelligence) was one of my interests. I am not sure if I have found out a lot about machine learning via this research, but I think it was interesting nevertheless to find out there are certain things happening with making it possible for machine to learn for itself. Next time I research on this topic, I will go more in depth about its history, and how it is looking to improve in future to understand this concept better.


Computer Networks

Computer Networks is a mean of connecting different computers and linking them together to share or transfer digital datas between them. There are different sizes for the Computer Networks, and it can vary a lot depending on how much people make use of them. For example, some group of people can link their computers that are nearby to share data to each other. On the other hand, some people can decide to link hundreds of computer that are far apart and create Computer Networks. So it really varies on what size it will be, what form it will take, what means it use to link to each other and so on. The largest type of this Computer Networks is what we know it as Internet. Internet is one type of Computer Networks that helps different computers around the world to link with each other to transfer or share data among themselves. Internet became so common thing to us that we do not stop and think about the fact that it is merely one of the form that Computer Networks can take. Like mentioned, there can be different type of computer network, and what I mean by this is that there can be local network, such as LAN, it can be wired (wired network is much faster than wireless network), or it can just be WAN (Wide Area Network).

One of the biggest advantages of having Computer Networks is that it allows different computers to communicate better via network. It allowed social media (such as Facebook, Twitter and etc) and instant digital messaging became possible thanks to Computer Networks. It also made a lot of information available and accessible to the public, meaning a lot of people can just go on the internet (which is one of the example of Computer Networks) and search up for information they desire to find out about. It became like a shared library where people can borrow books and return them. It is very time efficient and cost efficient. People will not have to spend a lot of time trying to transfer or share data anymore, and people will now have the means of sending them and receiving them almost immediately. It is also very cost efficient since network is free (except for setting up the network from the first place). It is free for those who are accessing it, for example, we do not need to pay to access information from Google. It can also be used as a means of storing some data. Once uploaded on network, it can be viewed anytime and anywhere in the other parts of the world with other devices. Like everything else, Computer Networks also have some disadvantages. One of them is obviously security. If your personal data is accessible to you on Computer Networks, it is also accessible to other people that are using it. Personal data being revealed is not the only problem with security. Things like viruses can much easily travel through internet these days now Computer Networks are developed. Even though cost of accessing it is free, it cost quite a lot to set it up in the first place, so it can be cost consuming (which kind of contradict what I said earlier). So it is cost efficient for the users, but not for the set up.




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