The Secret of Airbnb’s Pricing Algorithm

The sharing economy needs machine intelligence to set prices

12 min read
photo of a bed with dollar sign and question marks
Photo: The Voorhees

How much should you charge someone to live in your house? Or how much would you pay to live in someone else’s house? Would you pay more or less for a planned vacation or for a spur-of-the-moment getaway?

Answering these questions isn’t easy. And the struggle to do so, my colleagues and I discovered, was preventing potential rentals from getting listed on our site—Airbnb, the company that matches available rooms, apartments, and houses with people who want to book them.

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How to Turn the Lights Back on After a Blackout

Restarting the grid after a total failure is trickier than it may appear

4 min read
​A grid operator works in a control room.
Jacob Hannah/The New York Times/Redux

Restoring power quickly after a major blackout can mean the difference between life and death, but cold starting an entire electrical grid is a complex and delicate process. A hybrid computer model from Sandia National Laboratories that combines optimization, physical simulations, and cognitive models of grid operators promises to come up with a fast and reliable plan to get the lights back on.

While power outages are always disruptive, they typically impact only smaller portions of the overall grid. A complete loss of power over the entire network is much more serious, and requires operators to effectively jump-start the grid with so-called “black start” generators. This involves a complicated balancing act to avoid mismatches between energy generation and consumption, as different sections of the grid are gradually brought back online. Get it wrong and the grid can collapse again.

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Learn How Global Configuration Management and IBM CLM Work Together

In this presentation we will build the case for component-based requirements management

2 min read

This is a sponsored article brought to you by 321 Gang.

To fully support Requirements Management (RM) best practices, a tool needs to support traceability, versioning, reuse, and Product Line Engineering (PLE). This is especially true when designing large complex systems or systems that follow standards and regulations. Most modern requirement tools do a decent job of capturing requirements and related metadata. Some tools also support rudimentary mechanisms for baselining and traceability capabilities (“linking” requirements). The earlier versions of IBM DOORS Next supported a rich configurable traceability and even a rudimentary form of reuse. DOORS Next became a complete solution for managing requirements a few years ago when IBM invented and implemented Global Configuration Management (GCM) as part of its Engineering Lifecycle Management (ELM, formerly known as Collaborative Lifecycle Management or simply CLM) suite of integrated tools. On the surface, it seems that GCM just provides versioning capability, but it is so much more than that. GCM arms product/system development organizations with support for advanced requirement reuse, traceability that supports versioning, release management and variant management. It is also possible to manage collections of related Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) and Systems Engineering artifacts in a single configuration.

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