GeekWire Calendar Picks: Open source project led by Sir Tim Berners-Lee; mastering startup pitches; and more

GeekWire Calendar Picks: Open source project led by Sir Tim Berners-Lee; mastering startup pitches; and more

4:23pm, 19th April, 2019
— When he invented the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee had a specific vision for how it would evolve, and things haven’t gone exactly as he planned. At its inception, the web was supposed to be a place to create as much as receive information. But web browsers quickly eliminated the ability to edit pages, essentially cutting out half of Berners-Lee’s vision. While things have been moving in the right direction, Berners-Lee, working with MIT, is looking to continue the trend with a new open-source technology called Solid. The Solid community is hosting a May 2 where developers and anyone interested in the new technology can learn what it’s all about. — For most entrepreneurs, figuring out exactly what you want to do with your business can be the easy part. But bringing that business into reality often takes outside investment. And that’s where it gets tricky. Perfecting your pitch and getting your idea in front of the right people at the right time can be not only a challenge but a frustrating process of trial and error. Odds are, you’re going to need some help along the journey. Volition Events is hosting the inaugural on April 26. Part of the Women in Tech Regatta, the event offers a place where you can practice your 3-minute pitch and get valuable feedback on how to improve it. Here are more highlights from the GeekWire Calendar: : A conference to discuss technology’s future in various life science fields at the Washington State Conference Center in Seattle; Wednesday, April 24 – Thursday, April 25. : An event where five startups pitch their companies to the audience at The Collective in Seattle; 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, April 25. : A shark-tank style event where local entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to earn capital at New Holly Gathering Hall in Seattle; 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, April 25. : An event focused on the preservation of physical as well as digital properties in the event of a disaster at the Living Computers: Museum and Lab in Seattle; Friday, April 26 – Saturday, April 27. : A talk about technology as it applies to air travel at the Sheraton Seattle; 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, April 26. : A presentation for startups about how to cope with business challenges at CoMotion Labs at the University of Washington in Seattle; 12 to 1 p.m. Friday, April 26. A presentation about tactics to have a successful interview for engineering careers at Code Fellows in Seattle; 12:15 to 1 p.m. Friday, April 26. For more upcoming events, check out the , where you can find meetups, conferences, startup events, and geeky gatherings in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Organizing an event? .
Institute for Protein Design wins $45M in funding from TED’s Audacious Project

Institute for Protein Design wins $45M in funding from TED’s Audacious Project

7:14pm, 16th April, 2019
University of Washington biochemists David Baker and Neil King show off molecular models of proteins at UW’s Institute for Protein Design. (UW IPD Photo / Ian Haydon) The era of engineering proteins for medical applications just got a lot closer, thanks to a five-year, $45 million grant from at TED to the at the University of Washington School of Medicine. The institute, headed by UW biochemist , is among eight recipients of Audacious grants announced today at the annual TED conference in Vancouver, B.C. “We’re really thinking of this as a protein design revolution, parallel to the digital revolution at Bell Labs. … If you can design proteins exactly to order from first principles, you can solve a lot of problems that are facing humans today — primarily in medicine, but also in materials and energy,” Baker told GeekWire. Among the potential products are a , , smart proteins capable of or the out-of-control cells that cause , potential and self-assembling proteins for or . “They are things that we’ve been thinking about for a while, and are starting to work toward,” said Neil King, who leads the institute’s vaccine design efforts. “We’re really excited by the opportunity that’s opening up here because of this additional funding, to scale up and focus our efforts toward solving these ‘grand challenge’ problems.” That fits right in with the mission of The Audacious Project, which was launched by TED’s organizers last year with support from The Bridgespan Group. The project pulls together philanthropic funds from a variety of contributors — including the Skoll Foundation, Virgin Unite and the Dalio Foundation — and distributes the money to boost bold ideas. The five-year grant adds to funding that the institute receives from the likes of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. Right now, the institute has about 100 people on its staff, “and we are going to be ramping that number up considerably,” Baker said. Baker’s reference to Bell Labs — which pioneered innovations ranging from transistors and lasers to radio astronomy and photovoltaic cells in the mid-20th century — isn’t merely a historical allusion. He sees Bell Labs as the model for what he wants to do with the Institute for Protein Design, and expects to collaborate with other research institutions in the Seattle area and around the world. “We want to build dream teams for all of these areas,” Baker said. “Coming back to the Bell Labs analogy, an important part of this is recruiting. We’re really excited about attracting people at all levels, ranging from visiting students to graduate students to postdoctoral fellows to people later in their careers to faculty.” One of the priorities will be to upgrade the institute’s Rosetta protein design software, which has spawned a citizen-science program called Rosetta at Home as well as a . “We’re incredibly indebted to the Rosetta at Home participants who have really contributed a huge amount to our efforts through the donation of spare cycles on their computers,” Baker said. “In fact, we will be even more dependent on them as we scale up and have more designs to test.” The extra funding should raise the game to another level for Foldit’s puzzle-solving players, who are already designing virtual proteins from scratch. Baker and King say they’ll be raising their game as well. “We’re looking at this as a catalytic event,” King said. “This influx of resources and talent … is going to take us up a level, but it’s not a perpetual funding source. Once we take that step or two up, we’ll have to continue to attract traditional funding, or maybe alternative forms of funding, to keep things going at that higher level.” So when will The Audacious Project’s $45 million bet pay off? How long will it be before the institute has a universal flu vaccine ready for testing? “I think single-digit years,” King said. “Not double-digit years.” This year’s eight Audacious projects were chosen from more than 1,500 applications. The financial commitments made to the eight projects over the next five years add up to more than half a billion dollars, said Chris Anderson, curator of TED Conferences. The other seven 2019 Audacious projects include: Center for Policing Equity, which plans to use data capture technology to bring measurable behavior changes to police departments that collectively serve 100 million people a year — approximately one in three Americans — by 2024. Educate Girls, which is partnering with 35,000 village-based volunteers to address collective mindsets and persuade parents and elders in remote, rural communities of India to register all out-of-school girls for school and support them so that they stay enrolled. The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, which aims to improve the ability of plants to capture and store carbon in their roots in a long-lived molecule calledsuberin — better known as cork. The END Fund, which proposes to bring deworming treatment to 100 million people and support partnerships to increase access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene education. The Nature Conservancy, which intends to protect 4 million square kilometers of the ocean over the next five years by buying up the of debt of 20 island and coastal nations — in exchange for governmental commitments to use the savings to protect at least 30% of their marine areas. Thorn, which seeks to eliminate child sexual abuse material from the internet by empowering those on the front lines with the technology and data they need to find children faster, and end the circulation of violent abuse content before it starts. Waterford UPSTART, which hopes to provide access to early education to 250,000 children across the country. Waterford UPSTART empowers parents through proactive family coaching and provides personalized learning for every child, preparing them for kindergarten.
Microsoft shows off Project xCloud with Forza running on an Android phone

Microsoft shows off Project xCloud with Forza running on an Android phone

6:05am, 13th March, 2019
has shared some more and the first at . The company has been working on a cloud game streaming service for a while. Microsoft is preparing the future of gaming platforms with a device-agnostic service that lets you stream games made for the Xbox One. And the first demo is Forza Horizon 4 running in a data center and then streamed to an Android phone attached to an Xbox One controller via bluetooth. "Anywhere we have a good network connection, we'll be able to participate in Project xCloud,” Microsoft head of gaming cloud Kareem Choudhry said in the video. While Forza Horizon 4 is a demanding game and an Android phone is a tiny device, it won’t be limited to extreme scenarios like that. Choudhry compared Project xCloud to a music streaming or video streaming service. When you have a Spotify account, you can log in from any device, such as your phone, your computer or your work laptop, and find the same music library and your personal music playlists. You can imagine an Xbox-branded service that you could access from any device. Even if your computer has an integrated Intel GPU, you could log in and play a demanding game from that computer. Everything would run in a data center near you. It’s easy to see how Project xCloud would work with Microsoft’s existing gaming services. The company promises the same games with no extra work for developers. You’ll access your cloud saves, your friends and everything you’re already familiar with if you’re using an Xbox or the Xbox app on your PC. If you’ve bought an Xbox, an Xbox 360 and an Xbox One, there will be more Xbox consoles in the future. “It's not a replacement for consoles, we're not getting out of the console business,” Choudhry said. Other companies have been working on cloud gaming. French startup Blade has been working on , the most promising service currently available. Shadow lets you access a Windows 10 instance running in a data center. Microsoft wants to associate technology with content. The company already sells a subscription service. With the , you can play Xbox One and Xbox 360 games for $10 per month. Let’s see how Project xCloud and the Xbox Game Pass work together when Microsoft starts public trials later this year.