Microsoft: Here’s programming language C# 9 preview for .NET plus full Blazor WebAssembly

Among the .NET news out of Microsoft Build 2020 is a new preview of C#, Microsoft’s programming language from the .NET team, plus a fully supported release of Blazor WebAssembly.

According to Microsoft’s lead C# maintainer Mads Torgersen, C# 9.0 strives for “greater clarity and simplicity in common coding scenarios”. But with this release the language is especially focused on “supporting terse and immutable representation of data shapes”.

C# was released in the early 2000s and was created by Microsoft technical fellow Anders Hejlsberg, who also created Microsoft’s popular extension of JavaScript for big applications, TypeScript

The C# 9 preview comes about a year after C# 8’s release, which came alongside Visual Studio 2019 just ahead of Build 2019. C# 8 and F# 4.7 shipped with .NET Core 3.0.  

The work on supporting terse and immutable representation of data shapes focuses on object initializers, which let users

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Bahrain sees fintech take-up surge amid Covid-19 crisis

Bahrain’s mobile payment app has seen a huge surge in take-up during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic as the country’s population is driven to digital payments.

Restrictions introduced to try to reduce the global health crisis are bringing financial technology (fintech) and other digital technologies to the fore as consumers change their day-to-day behaviour and businesses alter how they operate.

For example, use of BenefitPay, the island nation’s national smartphone payments app, has surged by over 1,000% during the pandemic. Today, there are over 444,000 registered users, which is about 28% of Bahrain’s population.

Dalal Buhejji, senior manager for financial services at the Bahrain Economic Development Board, said Bahrain has not had a strict lockdown, but has put in restrictions such as social distancing and encouraging people to work from home.

She said the minimum value needed to make a transaction on BenefitPay had been reduced to encourage its use

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UniSA and UOW to jointly research AI capabilities for Defence

The University of South Australia (UniSA) and the University of Wollongong (UOW) will jointly conduct research into new data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities for the Department of Defence. 

The two Australian universities have signed a memorandum of understanding to deliver new advances using AI and data analytics in the area of informed decision-making and the development of goal-oriented autonomous systems as part of the agreement.

Specifically, the universities will focus on developing: High-level interactions between Defence systems to support battlefield decision making; autonomous systems that can think for themselves and operate in support of mission goals; information ecosystems that allow the integrated management of digital twins across the Defence asset lifecycle; self-aware software and cyber-physical systems that can autonomously assess mission alternatives and support high pressure, rapid decision making; and AI to support data analysis of the location and behavioural patterns of terrorist cells or adversary forces.

UniSA

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UK contact-tracing app set to miss official launch date as Google, Apple release API

The saga of the development of a contact-tracing app to aid the UK’s fight against Covid-19 has taken another step with the news that just as senior members of the UK government concede that the official launch date of 1 June 2020 will not be met, health officials in Northern Ireland and Scotland look to be moving away from the official national strategy.

The UK’s track and trace programme is due to begin, as assured by prime minister Boris Johnson, on 1 June, but a key element of this – the contact-tracing app – is still only in test phase.

A trial of the contract-tracing app developed by NHSX, the digital innovation unit of the National Health Service, began in the Isle of Wight on 4 May. The app uses Bluetooth Low Energy technology to alert people who may have been exposed to the coronavirus.

Once installed, the app logs

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