The KIT ─ Knowledge & Information Technology
Issue No. 44 - 15 March 2011
In This Issue
NIST Cloud Computing Guidelines
Internet Address Shortage
ACM TechPack on Parallel Programming
Cracking the Code
Why IT Does Matter
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NIST Cloud Computing Guidelines
The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has issued a 60-page document, meant for the U.S. federal government but often applicable to private companies as well, "Guidelines on Security and Privacy in Public Cloud Computing."

(Spotted by Vince Polley of KnowConnect)

A Study on the Internet Address Shortage
The limits of the 32-bit address space in version 4 of the Internet Protocol (IPv4) evokes responses ranging from "the end of the world is coming!" to "don't worry, Netflix and the p**n industry have too much at stake to let it happen." Among the more rational analyses is a census report by the USC-ISI (the University of South California's Information Sciences Institute) on the utilization of the address space, and measures that can be taken to temporarily mitigate the address shortage until the ultimate migration to 64-bit IPv6.
ACM TechPack on Parallel Programming
The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) publishes overviews of computing topics containing links to extensive bibliographies. The latest one is on Parallel Programming. If you are an ACM member, you can read or download the TechPack here.
Cracking the Code
Most of us, who learned at least some probability theory during our college years, know that lotteries are hopelessly biased against the players. But Mohan Srivastava, a geological statistician (yes, this is a real job) who got his MS at Stanford University, found to his surprise that a lot of scratch-off games could be beaten. Read the story here.
The Wired article is silent about the almost obvious ethical question: suppose you invent an i-Phone app that can detect whether a lottery ticket is a probable winner by scanning it and computing the odds while you are waiting in line, are you committing a crime? Or is it the lottery company's fault that their algorithm can be broken?
Take That, Nicholas Carr!
The second quote below is a great illustration of why the view of IT as a commodity, a necessary evil that mostly needs to be managed in terms of reducing its cost (in other words, the Nick Carr position that "IT Doesn't Matter") is in many cases incorrect. But our readers are encouraged to look beyond this pithy quote, and to read the entire Sloan Review article, "Value Creation, Experiments, and Why IT Does Matter." In it, Michael Schrage makes many other important remarks. For example, "the cost of experimentation is now the same or less than the cost of analysis."
Seen Recently...
"There is only one failure for you, and that is not to be true to the best you know... You can safely dispense with the more brilliant qualities if you can be depended upon for truthfulness, honesty of purpose."
-- Jane Lathrop Stanford, co-founder of Stanford University
"Jane Stanford: Her Life and Letters" by Gunther W. Nagel, 1977

"Businesses should treat technology like a special effect. If you're James Cameron and you're doing a movie like 'Avatar,' the issue is, 'What kind of world am I trying to create?' Then the question is, 'So how do I get the technology to do that?' The leading question is not, 'Gee, how do I make a cheaper movie faster?'"

-- Michael Schrage, MIT Center for Digital Business,
decrying the tendency to view IT as a commodity
in an MIT Sloan Management Review interview