Stories for Jul. 31, 2014

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Stories for Jul. 30, 2014
In Brief

A Cambridge, Massachusetts, startup called Nara has released a service the company claims use “deep learning artificial intelligence” to improve online personalization. Essentially, the technology works by scouring customer databases and the web, identifying attributes and connecting the dots between them. Nara’s team has some chops in neuroscience and computer science, but it’s difficult to tell if Nara is actually doing deep learning as it’s usually defined or something based more on mimicking the human brain. Regardless the technology, though, personalization and recommendation systems are currently a major focus of many machine learning efforts both commercial and open source.

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In Brief

Gyft, a mobile gift card company, announced Wednesday that it has been acquired by First Data, an Atlanta-based payments giant. The acquisition terms were not disclosed, as first reported by Pando Daily. While it’s not technically a major acquisition of a bitcoin company, Gyft has been a long-time favorite of bitcoin users because it was one of the easiest ways to exchange the cryptocurrency for digital gift cards to use at everyday businesses. Although First Data may be bitcoin shy itself, Gyft’s CEO Vinny Lingham said in the release that it will continue to accept all kinds of payment for its mobile gift cards.

ScratchJr project from Tufts, MIT
photo: Amanda Strawhacker, Dylan Portelance/Tufts University

ScratchJr is a programming language customized to help very young kids build interactive games and storage. Now a new iPad app brings it to that audience. Read more »

Stories for Jul. 29, 2014
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