By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
In one of his first public speaking appearances since joining Facebook to lead its AI initiatives, VP Jerome Pesenti expressed concern about the growing amount of compute power needed to create powerful AI systems. From a report: "I can tell you this is keeping me up at night," Pesenti said. "The peak compute companies like Facebook and Google can afford for an experiment, we are reaching that already." More software innovation will be required if artificial intelligence is to grow unhindered, he said, and optimization of hardware and software -- rather than brute force compute -- may be critical to AI in years ahead. [...] "We still see gains with increase of compute, but the pressure from the problem is just going to become bigger," Pesenti said. "I think we will still continue to use more compute, you will still net, but it will go slower, because you cannot keep pace with 10 times a year. That's just not possible."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's pushing-the-limits department
During the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Electronics Resurgence Initiative 2019 summit in Detroit, Michigan, Intel unveiled a system codenamed "Pohoiki Beach," a 64-chip computer capable of simulating 8 million neurons in total. From a report: Intel Labs managing director Rich Uhlig said Pohoiki Beach will be made available to 60 research partners to "advance the field" and scale up AI algorithms like spare coding and path planning. [...] Pohoiki Beach packs 64 128-core, 14-nanometer Loihi neuromorphic chips, which were first detailed in October 2017 at the 2018 Neuro Inspired Computational Elements (NICE) workshop in Oregon.
They have a 60-millimeter die size and contain over 2 billion transistors, 130,000 artificial neurons, and 130 million synapses, in addition to three managing Lakemont cores for task orchestration. Uniquely, Loihi features a programmable microcode learning engine for on-chip training of asynchronous spiking neural networks (SNNs) -- AI models that incorporate time into their operating model, such that components of the model don't process input data simultaneously. This will be used for the implementation of adaptive self-modifying, event-driven, and fine-grained parallel computations with high efficiency.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's for-what-it-is-worth department
An anonymous reader writes: Twitter today began rolling out a new version of Twitter.com, rebuilt "from the ground up." The company says the project, which impacts the front end and the back end, has been years in the making. Twitter's biggest redesign in nearly seven years is meant to be a clean slate that will help the team more quickly bring new features and functionality to the site. On the front end, that means a faster and more personalized experience. On the back end, that means serving the right experience based on the user and device.
The front end redesign brings Twitter's Explore feature from its apps to the website. That translates to more content like live video and local moments personalized to your location, context with profile information within conversations, and Top Trends in any view. Bookmarks, Lists, and Profile now have their own spots on the side navigation. Whether you have one profile or multiple, the site handles switching between accounts faster, also from the side navigation. You no longer have to login and logout. [...] Twitter has rebuilt the back end to support a site that is "personalized, efficient, faster, and more conversational." The Twitter web team says it needed to rebuild the back end from scratch because many of the problems stemmed from old architectural decisions.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's more-you-know department
You'll be able to complete the trifecta of tiny 16-bit throwback systems on March 19, 2020, when Konami releases the TurboGrafx-16 Mini. From a report: It'll include Dracula X, Bonk's Revenge, Gradius and many more games, including many Japanese exclusives. Konami said last week that it will sell the device exclusively through Amazon, with preorders opening up on Monday, July 15 during the online retailer's "Prime Day" promotion. The U.S. will get the TurboGrafx-shaped device shown above, while Japan will get a version modeled after the PC Engine and Europe's model will be styled after the CoreGrafx revision. No price has been announced for the U.S. model, but the Japanese one will cost 10,500 yen or around $100. The game library will be almost identical across all three systems, including 24 American versions of games and 26 Japanese versions. There is a little bit of overlap between the two -- for example, both the U.S. and Japanese versions of the action RPG Neutopia are included. That means it's not quite 50 games total, but it's still a rich lineup, which even includes CD-ROM games and some games from the Japanese SuperGrafx system.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
Facebook's stock went up after news of a record-breaking $5 billion FTC fine for various privacy violations broke last week. From a report: That, as The New York Times' Mike Isaac points out, is the real story here: the United States government spent months coming up with a punishment for Facebook's long list of privacy-related bad behavior, and the best it could do was so weak that Facebook's stock price went up. From some other perspectives, that $5 billion fine is a big deal, of course: it's the biggest fine in FTC history, far bigger than the $22 million fine levied against Google in 2012. And $5 billion is a lot of money, to be sure. It's just that like everything else that comes into contact with Facebook's scale, it's still entirely too small: Facebook had $15 billion in revenue last quarter alone, and $22 billion in profit last year. The largest FTC fine in the history of the country represents basically a month of Facebook's revenue, and the company did such a good job of telegraphing it to investors that the stock price went up.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's shape-of-things-to-come department
Qualcomm has announced a mid-year refresh of its flagship Snapdragon 855 chipset. The new Snapdragon 855 Plus is further optimized for gaming, VR, AI, and 5G connectivity. From a report: It sticks to the same overall design and chip layout as the 855, but Qualcomm says the Plus's eight-core Kryo CPU runs at higher peak clock speeds of up to 2.96GHz. But more important to gamers is a 15 percent performance improvement from the Adreno 640 GPU. That will likely result in the 855 Plus making its way into the next wave of gaming-focused smartphones like those we've seen from Asus, Razer, and other companies. As for AI and VR improvements, Qualcomm is continuing to talk up its fourth-generation AI Engine that's capable of "more than 7 trillion operations per second." The Snapdragon 855 Plus will deliver "best-in-class cellular performance, superior coverage and all-day battery life in premium 5G devices," according to the company. It's still using two separate modems to get there, however, with both a Snapdragon X24 LTE 4G modem and Qualcomm's X50 5G modem on board. I guess we won't see a more efficient approach until the inevitable Snapdragon 865.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's myth-busted department
Wave723 quotes IEEE Spectrum: Atop a rocky peak in the Swiss Alps sits a telecommunications tower that gets struck by lightning more than 100 times a year, making it perhaps the world's most frequently struck object. Taking note of the remarkable consistency with which lightning hits this 124-meter structure, researchers have adorned it with instruments for a front-row view of these violent electric discharges...
To anyone who has witnessed a lightning strike, everything seems to happen all at once. But [New Mexico Tech's Mark] Stanley's sensor captures several gigabytes of data about the many separate pulses that occur within each flash. Those data can be made into a video that replays, microsecond by microsecond, how "channels" of lightning form in the clouds.... [T]hey intend to use data gathered by the tower's many instruments (which include a collection of six antennas called a lightning mapping array, two Rogowski coils to measure current, two B-Dot sensors to measure the current time-derivative, broadband electric and magnetic field sensors, and a high-speed camera) to reconstruct the total path of strikes soon after they happen, tracing the electromagnetic radiation all the way back to its original source...
The Santis team's work has held particular relevance for wind farm operators. That's because most strikes recorded at the tower are examples of upward lightning -- which travels from ground-to-cloud instead of cloud-to-ground.
They hope to eventually help make progress on predicting where lightning will strike.
And by the end of this year, the team at the tower expect to record their 1,000th lightning strike.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's great-firewalls department
"An American organization founded by tech giants Google and IBM is working with a company that is helping China's authoritarian government conduct mass surveillance against its citizens," the Intercept reports.
The OpenPower Foundation -- a nonprofit led by Google and IBM executives with the aim of trying to "drive innovation" -- has set up a collaboration between IBM, Chinese company Semptian, and U.S. chip manufacturer Xilinx. Together, they have worked to advance a breed of microprocessors that enable computers to analyze vast amounts of data more efficiently. Shenzhen-based Semptian is using the devices to enhance the capabilities of internet surveillance and censorship technology it provides to human rights-abusing security agencies in China, according to sources and documents. A company employee said that its technology is being used to covertly monitor the internet activity of 200 million people...
Semptian presents itself publicly as a "big data" analysis company that works with internet providers and educational institutes. However, a substantial portion of the Chinese firm's business is in fact generated through a front company named iNext, which sells the internet surveillance and censorship tools to governments. iNext operates out of the same offices in China as Semptian, with both companies on the eighth floor of a tower in Shenzhen's busy Nanshan District. Semptian and iNext also share the same 200 employees and the same founder, Chen Longsen. [The company's] Aegis equipment has been placed within China's phone and internet networks, enabling the country's government to secretly collect people's email records, phone calls, text messages, cellphone locations, and web browsing histories, according to two sources familiar with Semptian's work.
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By EditorDavid from Slashdot's looking-at-Libra department
PolygamousRanchKid quotes Reuters:
A proposal to prevent big technology companies from functioning as financial institutions or issuing digital currencies has been circulated for discussion by the Democratic majority that leads the House Financial Services Committee, according to a copy of the draft legislation seen by Reuters. In a sign of widening scrutiny after Facebook Inc's (FB.O) proposed Libra digital coin aroused widespread objection, the bill proposes a fine of $1 million per day for violation of such rules....
Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump criticized Libra and other cryptocurrencies and demanded that companies seek a banking charter and make themselves subject to U.S. and global regulations if they wanted to "become a bank." His comments came after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told lawmakers that Facebook's plan to build a digital currency called Libra could not move forward unless it addressed concerns over privacy, money laundering, consumer protection and financial stability.
The article concedes this proposal "would likely spark opposition" in the House and Senate, but adds that "Nevertheless, the draft proposal sends a strong message to large tech firms increasingly eyeing the financial services space."
The draft legislation's title? The "Keep Big Tech Out Of Finance Act."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's fake-views department
The Guardian profiles 66-year-old Craigslist founder (and former IBM programmer) Craig Newmark, calling him "a survivor from the era of internet optimism."
He's now investing "significant sums" to protect the future of the news industry -- "and rejects the idea his website helped cause journalism's financial crisis"
[H]e firmly rejects any notion that all the philanthropy -- an estimated $50m in the past year including to New York Public Radio, new publication the Markup and local journalism efforts such as the American Journalism Project -- is an attempt to assuage guilt, a reach for atonement. "That takes an active imagination that I don't understand. I have very little imagination...."
Newmark, by his own admission not a journalist, says: "I had great hopes for citizen journalism 10, 15 years ago. It hasn't worked out. One reason is that journalism is a profession. You have to know how to write well. You have to fact-check. You have to know how to develop sources, often over years. You have to have specialised knowledge on a beat like disinformation or crime or birds. Citizen journalists can complement what's going on and, sometimes, citizens come to journalism with skills... Now I think more: what are the practical problems of professional journalism? For example, we've seen a couple of cases where bad actors will try to really hurt a publication by engaging in lengthy, frivolous lawsuits. There is a great need for shared risk pool insurance, media insurance in the US, and I talk to people about that...."
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By EditorDavid from Slashdot's carbon-composites department
Tekla Perry shares an interesting story from the IEEE's "View from the Valley" blog:
Arevo was aiming to get into the aircraft parts business when it started developing software and hardware to print 3D structures using a composite containing continuous carbon fibers. Its technology lays out the lines of the material in ways to maximize strength and minimize the amount of composite used.
Printing out a bike frame? That was just going to be a demo for investors. Now the company is in the e-bike manufacturing business, but thinks the ultimate application of its technology will be flying cars.
That's not a joke, the article explains:
Bheda says the flying car market could turn out to be Arevo's sweet spot. "They will be manufactured in a larger volume than airplanes, the manufacturing technology being used for current aircraft won't scale to that, and they want to use thermoplastic. Our technology is at least three years ahead of any other thermoplastic technology, so we will be ready."
They're now marketing their in-house printing capabilities as a service, "keeping the manufacture of any products in house."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's moon-missions department
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is planning to launch a rocket to the moon. UPDATE: 2:28: The launch "has been called off for today," the ISRO posted on Twitter.
But when the re-schedule launch happens, you can watch it live on two YouTube channels, on Twitter, Facebook, or webcast on the ISRO's web site.
TechCrunch has also embedded a livestreaming video in their report:
Chandrayaan-2 will carry lunar lander Vikram, which will deliver ISRO rover Pragyan to the surface at the pole, with a target landing zone of a plain that covers the ground between two of the Moon's craters, Simpelius N and Manzinus C. The rocket used for the launch is the GSLV Mk-III, India's most powerful launch vehicle ever, and the orbiter used for this mission will relay back information from the lander and rover to Earth via the Indian Deep Space Network, as well as make its own observations during its planned one-year mission lifespan.
The mission will seek to take a number of measurements of the lunar surface, including topographic, mineral makeup, seismographic, chemical analytics and more, with an eye to shedding more light on the Moon's origins. If all goes to plan, the lunar orbiter will make its way to to Moon over the next couple of months and aim to soft land the Vikram at the South Pole target site on September 6, 2019.
This is a historic mission for a few reasons, including being the first ever soft-landing attempt at the Moon's South Pole region, as well as being the first Indian mission to attempt a soft landing using all home-grown lander and rover technology. If successful, India will be only the fourth country ever to have soft-landed a vehicle on the lunar surface.Read Replies (0)