Big Techday the Thirteenth - anything but ordinary
Coming soon: TNG presents the annual Big Techday. The science and technology conference, with a focus on IT, will stream live online on Friday May 8th, 2020. We are excited to present talks on subjects such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing, programming languages as well as on trends and topics far removed from the regular everyday of IT consulting, e.g. the interaction of science and philosophy. The Big Techday offers an opportunity to think outside the box and gain insights into many varied and highly interesting fields. This year our speakers include, Pawel Kmiec "The Story of Glomar Explorer in a Giant LEGO Version", Joseph Viehauser and Maximilian Bode "Creating a Data-Driven, Cloud-Native Ecosystem at the BMW Group", as well as many more. Further information including the complete timetable and abstracts of the talks can be found here. We are already looking forward to a uniquely interesting and entertaining Big Techday.
TNG goes virtual
Sometimes, we have to make a virtue of necessity. In view of the spreading SARS-CoV-2 virus TNG started an experiment last Friday, a “Virtual Techday.” This consisted of virtual workshops, presentations and even a virtual “Weekly half-hour,” an informative in-house event hosted by the TNG partners. The Weekly Half-hour had previously been streamed, in addition to the actual presentation. However this was the first time as a purely virtual video conference. Up to 230 colleagues attended simultaneously, applauded via emoticons, and posted comments in the chat.
The feedback on the virtual Techday experiment was extremely positive. However, we are all looking forward to meeting again in person.
Remedy for Performance Issues
The colleagues will talk about this topic at the Virtual Big Techday on May 8th, 2020.
Black Friday: every year this top-selling day poses a unique challenge to our rapidly growing customer in the online retail industry. The webshop must operate reliably under an unprecedented load. Despite a hardware upgrade, in 2019 there were already short service disruptions observed at peak times prior to Black Friday. Trouble was clearly imminent.
We identified and resolved multiple performance bottlenecks. The configuration of the application was then optimised in an iterative fashion. This was done using a JMeter test plan with request distribution modelled on customer behaviour. Executing it from the cloud directly against the production servers enabled us to test different load scenarios. At the same time, technical and organisational measures were taken to ensure that customer shopping remained undisturbed. Elastic Stack, Prometheus & Grafana served as the main tools to identify and analyse backend metrics.
Ultimately the improvements yielded the desired result. The throughput doubled, but the system withstood this crucial phase without any issues. The new monitoring processes allows future performance problems to be detected, understood, and rapidly solved.
Conferences und User Groups
TNG colleagues were still out and about towards the end of the year, giving lectures at various conferences, for instance at the ContainerConf 2019 with the lecture "Tools for building container images". At the ObjektForum in Munich two colleagues supported the heroic mission to "Rescue the Mudolith". Colleagues were also pleased to speak in front of enthusiastic listeners at the WiMa Congress in Ulm and ML Conference in Berlin.
Deep Fakes in real time
Deep Fakes are imitations of pictures and video, created using artificial intelligence. Common scenarios include exchanging faces in order to create the illusion to see another person in a video. Within the scope of a research project, the TNG Innovation Hacking team investigated Deep Fakes to better understand what is technically feasible. Furthermore, we wanted to explore the limitations of the technology - especially if and with what image quality it is possible to create Deep Fakes in real time.
Our research shows that it is possibled to exchange the face of a person filmed via a real-time video streamwith the face of another person, including applying facial expressions and movements of the person filmed.
By applying various techniques from the area of computer vision and neural networks, faces in the video feed are recognized, transformed and embedded in the video output. The project uses autoencoder networks trained in Keras. They were trained using so called GANs (Generative Adversarial Networks). Aditionally, the developers used different neuronal networks for face recognition and segmentation.
Conferences and User Groups
In September and October our colleagues were out and about again presenting the topics "Deep Fakes" and Style Transfer in showcases and lectures: at the NerdNite and Media Days in Munich, the Autumn Campus in Nuremberg, the JavaZone Conference in Oslo, the KanDDDinsky in Berlin and the JFall in Ede.
Colleagues also gave lectures on diverse topics, such as "7 ways to run Apache Flink on AWS" or "Automated Testing of an Angular Application" at various conferences. TNG was preset at the AWS Community Day Germany, the WDC Conference and the Open Source Summit Europe.
TNG also took part in Meetups and User Groups in September and October: the Piazza Meetup, the Software Architecture Meetup Nuremberg and Meetup der Wardley Mapping Community. We again organized the Haskell Hackathon MuniHac in September.