Archive for the ‘ibm’ Category

Setting up Slack alerts to monitor IBM Event Streams

Sunday, October 7th, 2018

IBM Event Streams brings Apache Kafka to IBM Cloud Private (together with a bunch of other useful stuff to make it easier to run and use Kafka).

Monitoring is an important part of running a Kafka cluster. There are a variety of metrics that are useful indicators of the health of the cluster and serve as warnings of potential future problems.

To that end, Event Streams collects metrics from all of the Kafka brokers and exports them to a Prometheus-based monitoring platform.

There are three ways to use this:

1) A selection of metrics can be viewed from a dashboard in the Event Streams admin UI.
eventstreams-monitoring-20181006-11
This is good for a quick way to get started.

2) Grafana is pre-configured and available out-of-the-box to create custom dashboards
eventstreams-monitoring-20181006-13
This will be useful for long-term projects, as Grafana lets you create dashboards showing the metrics that are most important for your unique needs. A sample dashboard is included to help get you started.

3) Alerts can be created, so that metrics that meet predefined criteria can be used to push notifications to a variety of tools, like Slack, PagerDuty, HipChat, OpsGenie, email, and many, many more.
eventstreams-monitoring-20181006-20
This is useful for being able to respond to changes in the metrics values when you’re not looking at the Monitor UI or Grafana dashboard.

For example, you might want a combination of alert approaches like:

  • metrics and/or metric values that might not be urgent but should get some attention result in an automated email being sent to a team email address
  • metrics and/or metric values that suggest a more severe issue could result in a Slack message to a team workspace
  • metrics and/or metric values that suggest an urgent critical issue could result in creating a PagerDuty ticket so that it gets immediate attention

This post is about this third use of monitoring and metrics: how you can configure alerts based on the metrics available from your Kafka brokers in IBM Event Streams.

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Scratch Day at IBM Hursley

Friday, May 18th, 2018

Scratch is a visual programming language and drag-and-drop coding platform for children.

scratch

Scratch Day is an annual world-wide network of events where kids come together to make things in Scratch.

Their logo sums it up beautifully:

logo

Kids of different ages come together and meet each other. They share their experiences of coding – finding out the differences between what they each learn about coding in their different schools.

They try and make something. It’s basically a hack day for kids – where the kids are encouraged to use Scratch to make their hacks.

Most importantly, they share their experiences. They talk about the things they tried, the challenges they faced, and the things they learned along the way. And they demo the things that worked.

On May 12th that happened around the world, in close to a thousand venues, big and small.

scratchdaymap

One of them was IBM Hursley. We invited local families to the lab to take part in a small local Scratch Day.

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Explaining artificial intelligence to high school students at #IBMAoTTHINK2018

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

Today was the annual IBM Academy of Technology STEM event.

The annual IBM AoT SkillsBuild: STEM event inspires high school students to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Math with live presentations, lightning videos, and hands-on activity kits from IBM Volunteers. It explores how innovation matters in a wide array of industries with fun, cool demonstrations. Train a computer to play its own video game. Play a table top space exploration game with Quantum computing. Build an emotionally empathetic Chatbot with IBM Watson. Protect yourself from cyberbullying. Learn about an Escape room on cybersecurity, and more!

There was a fascinating line-up of talks to educate and inspire the kids. Kids attend in person, and also by watching the talks from their schools via a livestream – allowing thousands of kids to get involved.

I was invited to do a fifteen-minute talk to explain artificial intelligence to the students. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it in person, so I had to resort to contributing a presentation by video for the livestream.

Here was my talk… an attempt to try and help AI make sense to kids, by talking them through machine learning projects that I’ve helped children to make.

Can computers be creative?

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

from: https://tv.theiet.org/?videoid=10995

Machine Learning for Kids event at Hursley

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

On Tuesday, a couple of dozen children (aged 8-14) spent the afternoon at Hursley so I could give them an intro to machine learning using some of the activities I’ve written for machinelearningforkids.co.uk.

I think it went pretty well, so I thought it’d be good to share what we did.


This was what the room looked like before the kids arrived… with just my two kids helping me set up. It all got a lot busier after this!

The general approach was letting them all work at computers, guided by a worksheet to build something that illustrated an aspect of machine learning. And then following this with a group discussion to draw out what they observed and what it meant.

We did this all together for the first couple of activities. Because of the large age range in the group, after this I let them split up and tackle different activities at different speeds, and followed this up by discussing their projects with them in smaller groups.

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MachineLearningForKids.co.uk

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

I’d like to introduce “Machine Learning for Kids“: a tool to help school children learn about machine learning by making things with it.

The video above is a walkthrough of the tool and examples of how I’ve been using it. The rest of this post is a transcript for the video.

machinelearningforkids.co.uk is a simple tool for training a variety of types of machine learning model, and an environment for creating games and other interactive projects that use them.

This is done by extending Scratch: a visual programming environment created to teach coding to kids, that is widely used in schools and other educational organisations like Code Club and Girls Who Code.

It gives students a blank canvas without prescribing what they make. They’re free to use their imagination and creativity to find fun uses for the machine learning models that they train.

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Introducing Machine Learning to kids

Tuesday, July 4th, 2017

Today, I was helping out with a Computing summer school for teachers in London.

As part of this, I gave a presentation about machine learning to a room full of school teachers – about what it is, why I think we should be introducing it in the classroom, and how I think we could do that.

My slides are on Slideshare, but they might not make a lot of sense by themselves, so I’ll jot down here roughly what I said.

slide 1

This morning I want to talk to you about machine learning. In particular, I want to talk with you about machine learning in the context of education and how it could be introduced in the classroom.

slide 2

I’m going to try and cover three main points.

Firstly, a quick level set on what I mean by machine learning.
Then I’d like to talk about why I believe it’s important that we do this.
Finally, I want to talk about the practicalities of how we could effectively introduce machine learning in an accessible way.

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weatherbot

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017

TJBot is an open-source do-it-yourself kit for building a small Raspberry-Pi-powered robot.

Building

In the Easter holidays, we spent an afternoon building it…

…and wiring it…

This gave us a tiny plastic robot with a light in his head, and an arm that can rotate back and forth. He sits on the kitchen shelf next to the Alexa.

This weekend, we tried doing something with it.

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