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Tesser - Voronoi diagram, tessern, Tesseract, TESP-ACT

A Wrinkle in Cybercrime

Both tesser and tessellation begin with a ‘T’, but they are light years apart from each other in their application. One is about to star in a new Sci-fi/fantasy film – and the other helps Avira’s Machine Learning and AI identify malware before it reaches your device. Are you ready to tesser?

Tesser into another dimension

A tesseract is the fifth dimension – what happens when you square the fourth dimension of time. It’s a hugely important concept, because with a tesseract, a straight line is no longer the shortest distance between two points. Using a tesseract enables travelers to quickly get around vast distances – a process called tessering – which is quite useful if you are travelling between star systems as do the main characters in Magdeleine L’Engle’s novel A Wrinkle in Time.

Tessering does not always go smoothly, just ask Meg. She tessers over to the planet of Camazotz to rescue her father from the malignant clutches of IT*. And while she is doing this, there are other characters running around such as Mrs. Whatsit who is dropping quotes from a grab bag of notable individuals including St. John, Shakespeare, Seneca – and is doing this in multiple languages.

Complete comprehension is not required

A Wrinkle in Time is the kind of book that has you scratching your head, especially if you read it as a youngster. You are pretty sure that you aren’t completely comprehending everything – but the parts you do are pulling you in. It’s got a bit of everything – teenage geekiness, the battle between good and evil, cool concepts such as tessering, and all of those intriguing quotes which you couldn’t easily fact-check in the days before Google. Rejected by 26 publishers, A Wrinkle in Time is L’Engles most famous work and won her a Newbery Prize for juvenile literature in 1963.

Coming to the screen with Oprah

And there is more to the story. A Wrinkle in Time is finally being made into big-budget Disney movie. The director will be Ava DuVernay, most known for her work in Selma. There will be some big names in the cast including Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, and Mindy Kaling. Filming is set to start later this year at an undisclosed location. What is clear – it will be big.

Just the plane facts

Voronoi tessellation, on the other hand, involves partitioning a plane into individual regions based on the distance from points in a specific subset of the plane. Yes, there is a lot of math involved.
While Voronoi graphics look cool, there are very practical uses to them. Avira uses Voronoi tesselation in its Machine Learning analysis to ID suspicious files with over 7,000 tags and group them into cells for more efficient analysis.

“This is merely clustering similar entities as a pre-processing step for the actual classification algorithms,” explains Marcus Koenig, Manager of Advanced Research and Technologies in the Avira Protection Labs. “It is just one step in our overall Machine Learning approach, and while we have been improving it significantly over previously known implementations, it’s a well-known concept.”

Don’t worry, keep reading

What does it mean for me? It simply means that Avira is harnessing Machine Learning techniques to identify suspect and bad stuff before it can reach your computer … and you don’t have to understand the supporting math.

Instead, you have time to ponder tessering with Meg and to worry about whether or not DuVernay will succeed in bringing the essence of A Wrinkle in Time to the silver screen. We can only hope that her rendition will be as successful as the movie variants of The Name of the Rose and The Princess Bride. After all, we know the long list of unsuccessful adaptations.

So be prepared. Read the book. You can get it yourself or hop over to the local library. Just remember, you won’t be able to tesser your way there.

*No apparent reference to Information Technology – but I could be wrong.

This post is also available in: GermanFrenchItalian

As a PR Consultant and journalist, Frink has covered IT security issues for a number of security software firms, as well as provided reviews and insight on the beer and automotive industries (but usually not at the same time). Otherwise, he’s known for making a great bowl of popcorn and extraordinary messes in a kitchen.