Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet have become standard tools for teachers who have had to run lessons remotely since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. But they’re not apps necessarily designed for classrooms, and that fact has opened a gap in the market for those looking to build something more fit to the purpose.
Today, a startup called Engageli is coming out of stealth with an app that it believes fills that need. A video conferencing tool designed from the ground up as a digital learning platform, with its own unique take on virtual classrooms, Engageli is aiming first at higher education, and it is launching with $14.5 million in seed funding from Benchmark and others.
If that sounds like a large seed round for a startup that is still only in pilot mode (you can contact the company by email to apply to join the pilot), it might be due in part to who is behind Engageli.
The startup is co-founded by Dan Avida, Serge Plotkin, Daphne Koller and Jamie Nacht Farrell. Avida is a general partner at Opus Capital who in the past co-founded (and sold, to NetApp) an enterprise startup called Decru with Plotkin, who himself is a Stanford emeritus professor. Koller is one of the co-founders of Coursera and also an adjunct professor at Stanford. And Farrell is a former executive from another pair of major online learning companies, Trilogy and 2U.
Avida and Koller, as it happens, are also married, and it was observing their kids in the last school year — when they were both in high school (the oldest is now in her first year at UC Berkeley) — that spurred them to start Engageli.
“The idea for this started in March when our two daughters found themselves in ‘Zoom School.’ One
Intel has used its appearance at the IEEE International Conference on Quantum Computing and Engineering to discuss its “full-stack” approach to quantum innovation, which it has touted spans across hardware, software, and algorithm development.
According to the company, its body of work highlights important advances across those areas, which it said were critical for building scalable commercial-grade quantum systems that can run useful applications.
Dr Anne Matsuura, director of quantum applications and architecture at Intel Labs, said quantum research within Intel Labs has made “solid advances in every layer of the quantum computing stack”, including with spin qubit hardware and cryo-CMOS technologies for qubit control, and software and algorithms research that she said would put researchers on the path to a scalable quantum architecture for useful commercial applications.
“Quantum computing is steadily transitioning from the physics lab into the domain of engineering as we prepare to focus on useful, nearer-term applications for this disruptive technology,” she added.
“Taking this systems-level approach to quantum is critical in order to achieve quantum practicality.”
As quantum is an entirely new compute paradigm, Intel said it requires a new stack of hardware, software, and algorithms in order to run future applications on a full-scale commercial quantum system.
“Simulations can help provide an understanding of how to build all components of the full quantum stack, taking workload requirements into consideration before they get built in real quantum hardware,” Intel said. “Quantum research efforts across this stack are all necessary today so that as the hardware matures, useful applications are ready to run on near-term smaller qubit quantum machines.”
This approach, Intel said, is central to its strategy of taking a “systems-oriented, workload-driven” view of quantum computing, which is the foundation of its vision of quantum practicality.
The company presented its quantum research at IEEE, spanning
We’ve tracked the rise of QAnon-affiliated political candidates, including Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican who is currently on track to be elected to Congress in November. And we’ve tried to debunk QAnon’s most outrageous and dangerous claims — like the obviously false allegation that Hillary Clinton and other Democrats were literally killing and eating children in order to harvest a life-extending chemical from their blood. In the lead-up to the election, The Times has rolled out a feature called “Daily Distortions” aimed partly at debunking misinformation that has gone viral or caused harm offline.
QAnon is clearly a political story, and a story about how internet platforms have amplified dangerous misinformation and conspiracy theories. At the same time, I’m a former religion reporter, and I’m fascinated by the culture of QAnon. It’s not just a conspiracy theory — it’s a real-time, interactive media-making collaboration that gives people community, alleviates their sense of helplessness and unites them in a shared mission. I believe that mission is dangerous and detached from reality, but I also try to be empathetic and understand the forces that might be leading people to participate.
There are lots of other great reporters covering QAnon, both at The Times and other publications, and one particular challenge we face is that the movement is constantly evolving, expanding and narrowing its boundaries to pass itself off as more mainstream. QAnon followers are holding “Save the Children” rallies without mentioning their QAnon ties. QAnon activists are infiltrating communities of yoga moms and natural health fans and seeding ideas about a global cabal, while downplaying the more extreme parts of their belief system. And they’re getting good at laundering ideas into more mainstream conversations.
(A good example is the Trump administration’s recent focus on human trafficking, which, because it feeds into