Four short links: 28 April 2020
Learning a Language, Vulnerability Assessment, Distributed Consensus, and AI Playing Football
- Learning a Language — this list of questions facing anyone taking a new language for a test run just burns with truth. (Also: encouraging to see how many of these questions are answered by the Cookbook format)
- OpenVAS — Open Vulnerability Assessment Scanner, aka “what a cheap external security assessment vendor will run and then mail you the report from.”
- Paxos vs Raft: Have we Reached Consensus on Distributed Consensus? — We find that both Paxos and Raft take a very similar approach to distributed consensus, differing only in their approach to leader election. Most notably, Raft only allows servers with up-to-date logs to become leaders, whereas Paxos allows any server to be leader provided it then updates its log to ensure it is up-to-date. Raft’s approach is surprisingly efficient given its simplicity as, unlike Paxos, it does not require log entries to be exchanged during leader election. We surmise that much of the understandability of Raft comes from the paper’s clear presentation rather than being fundamental to the underlying algorithm being presented.
- Google Research Football — a novel Reinforcement Learning environment where agents aim to master the world’s most popular sport—football. Modeled after popular football video games, it provides a physics based 3D football simulation where agents control either one or all football players on their team, learn how to pass between them, and manage to overcome their opponent’s defense in order to score goals.