By BeauHD from Slashdot's cheaper-by-the-dozen department
talonyx writes: D-Wave Systems, the contentious but scrappy maker of quantum annealing processors, has launched a cloud-based platform where developers can sign up for free and run problems on their quantum processor unit (QPU). There's an in-depth set of demos, documentation, and an open-source Python SDK to look at. "Leap is the latest addition to the quantum cloud -- services that virtualize quantum computing for almost anyone with a computer and a broadband connection to use," reports IEEE Spectrum. "Leap allows anyone to sign up, giving them one minute of time on a cloud-connected 2000Q each month. That might not sound like much, but a key advantage of quantum computing is to be able to solve in milliseconds problems like factoring large numbers, optimizing routes, or calculating molecular structures that could take traditional computers days or weeks."
"D-Wave estimates that each user's free minute of quantum computing time should be enough to run between 400 and 4,000 jobs each month," the report adds. "If developers want more, the company will charge commercial users $2,000 for one hour of access each month."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's adapting-to-the-times department
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has released a report called "Preparing for the Future of Transportation: Automated Vehicles 3.0," which includes a new set of voluntary guidelines for automated driving systems. According to Engadget, the report "outlines additional safety principles, updates policy and offers guidance to state and local governments." From the report: The report notes that it's meant to be an update to, but not a replacement of, last year's guidance, and it encourages those developing automated driving systems to make public their Voluntary Safety Self-Assessments, which were introduced in last year's report. It also updates the list of best practices for state and local governments considering automated vehicle testing and operation. The agency also takes measures to clarify its policies and roles in regards to autonomous technology implementation. First, it's doing away with the Automated Vehicle Proving Grounds announced last year -- a list of 10 self-driving test sites that were eligible for federal funding. The DOT said that due to the "rapid increase in automated vehicle testing activities in many locations, there is no need for U.S. DOT to favor particular locations."
Additionally, the agency is working on updating language and regulations that it said unintentionally hamper automated vehicle progress. It will adapt its definitions of "driver" and "operator" to reflect that they no longer always refer to humans and can encompass automated systems. The DOT also announced a future notice of proposed rulemaking that will suggest exceptions to certain safety standards that apply only to human drivers -- such as pedals, brakes, mirrors and steering wheels -- for automated systems.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's intentionally-vague-announcements department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Quantum computing represents tremendous promise to completely alter technology as we've known it, allowing operations that weren't previously possible with traditional computing. The downside of these powerful machines is that they could be strong enough to break conventional cryptography schemes. Today, BlackBerry announced a new quantum-resistant code signing service to help battle that possibility. The solution, which will be available next month, is actually the product of a partnership between BlackBerry and Isara Corporation, a company whose mission is to build quantum-safe security solutions. BlackBerry is using Isara's cryptographic libraries to help sign and protect code as security evolves.
"By adding the quantum-resistant code signing server to our cybersecurity tools, we will be able to address a major security concern for industries that rely on assets that will be in use for a long time. If your product, whether it's a car or critical piece of infrastructure, needs to be functional 10-15 years from now, you need to be concerned about quantum computing attacks," Charles Eagan, BlackBerry's chief technology officer, said in a statement. Some of the long-lived assets include aerospace equipment, connected cars, or transportation infrastructure -- basically anything that will still be in use several years from now when quantum computing attacks are expected to emerge.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's far,-far-away department
About 8,000 light-years away, a giant planet circles an aging star, marching once around its sun in a single Earth-year. But that planet, called Kepler 1625b, might not be traveling completely alone. From a report: Scientists now suspect the planet's skies are filled by an orbiting mega-moon, a stunningly large world the size of Neptune that may be the first moon spotted outside our solar system. Early hints of its existence surfaced in July 2017, when scientists tentatively announced that they'd found some evidence of an orbital companion for Kepler 1625b. But it wasn't until the Hubble Space Telescope aimed its eye at the faraway star a year ago that scientists were able to gather enough data to build the case for the so-called exomoon's presence. Now, the two scientists behind the discovery are hoping for independent confirmation of their finding to really shore up the extraordinary claim. "I'm confident that we've done a thorough job vetting this thing, but I also anticipate there will be things other folks come up with that we might not have considered," says Columbia University's Alex Teachey, who reports the purported alien moon this week in the journal Science Advances. "Whether those other ideas are fatal to the moon hypothesis or not, that remains to be seen." For now, MIT's Sara Seager says she's reserving judgment. "Exomoons are one of the key items remaining on exoplanet researchers' wish list," Seager says. "It's exciting to see the hunt for the first exomoon continue ... and with what would be a shockingly large moon, about the size and mass of Neptune."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's shape-of-things-to-come department
An anonymous reader shares a report: For years, the Environmental Protection Agency's regulation of radiation, carcinogens, and other toxic chemicals has been based on the cautious scientific reasoning that considers even slight exposure to toxins potentially risky to public health. From that premise, the EPA has assessed a wide range of pollution, including lung-clogging particulate matter, Superfund cleanup, water treatment, radiation exposure, and risk assessments for carcinogens like benzene. That time-honored approach may be changing because of easy-to-overlook phrasing within a paragraph buried in the proposed "Strengthening Transparency In Regulatory Science Rule," a regulation that will bar the EPA from considering a wide range of scientific studies in its rule-making. With a few sentences buried in the seven-page Federal Register text, the EPA is opening the door to a new scientific approach that -- in a worst-case scenario -- could further relax regulations because of the assumption that a little pollution is actually beneficial. Some scientists have considered the implications of this paragraph and described a whole array of potential problems to Mother Jones. Because the paragraph is written in incredibly vague language, most scientists were unable to explain which pollutants or regulations were the prime targets.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
XxtraLarGe shares a report: Wind power is booming in the United States. It's expanded 35-fold since 2000 and now provides 8% of the nation's electricity. The US Department of Energy expects wind turbine capacity to more than quadruple again by 2050. But a new study by a pair of Harvard researchers finds that a high amount of wind power could mean more climate warming, at least regionally and in the immediate decades ahead. The paper raises serious questions about just how much the United States or other nations should look to wind power to clean up electricity systems. The study, published in the journal Joule, found that if wind power supplied all US electricity demands, it would warm the surface of the continental United States by 0.24 C. That could significantly exceed the reduction in US warming achieved by decarbonizing the nation's electricity sector this century, which would be around 0.1 C. "If your perspective is the next 10 years, wind power actually has -- in some respects -- more climate impact than coal or gas," coauthor David Keith, a professor of applied physics and public policy at Harvard, said in a statement. "If your perspective is the next thousand years, then wind power is enormously cleaner than coal or gas."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department
On Thursday, the Senate passed the FAA Reauthorization Act, which, among other things, renews funding for the Federal Aviation Administration and introduces new rules for airports and aircraft. But the bill, which now just needs to be signed by the president, also addresses drones. From a report: And while parts of the bill extend some aspects of drone use -- such as promoting drone package delivery and drone testing -- it also gives the federal government power to take down a private drone if it's seen as a "credible threat." The wording comes from another bill, the Preventing Emerging Threats Act of 2018, which was strongly supported by the Department of Homeland Security and absorbed into the FAA Reauthorization Act. In June, as part of its argument as to why it needed more leeway when it comes to drones, the agency said that terrorist groups overseas "use commercially available [unmanned aircraft systems] to drop explosive payloads, deliver harmful substances and conduct illicit surveillance," and added that the devices are also used to transport drugs, interfere with law enforcement and expolit unsecured networks. Video -- What Happens When a Drone Hits an Airplane Wing?Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department
Data center equipment run by Amazon Web Services and Apple were subject to surveillance from the Chinese government via a tiny microchip inserted during the equipment manufacturing process, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported Thursday, citing 17 people at Apple, Amazon, and U.S. government security officials, among others. The compromised chips in question came from a server company called Supermicro that assembled machines used in the centers, the report added. The scrutiny of these chips, which were used for gathering intellectual property and trade secrets from American companies, have also been the subject of an ongoing top secret U.S. government investigation, which started in 2015, the news outlet reported. Amazon, which runs AWS, Apple, and Supermicro have disputed summaries of Bloomberg BusinessWeek's reporting. The report states that Amazon became aware of a Supermicro's tiny microchip nested on the server motherboards of Elemental Technologies, a Portland, Oregon based company, as part of a due diligence ahead of acquiring the company in 2015. Amazon acquired Elemental as it prepared to use its technologies for what is now known as Prime Video, its video streaming service. The report adds that Amazon informed the FBI of its findings. From the report: One official says investigators found that it eventually affected almost 30 companies, including a major bank, government contractors, and the world's most valuable company, Apple. Apple was an important Supermicro customer and had planned to order more than 30,000 of its servers in two years for a new global network of data centers. Three senior insiders at Apple say that in the summer of 2015, it, too, found malicious chips on Supermicro motherboards. Apple severed ties with Supermicro the following year, for what it described as unrelated reasons. [...] A U.S. official says the governmentâ(TM)s probe is still examining whether spies were planted inside Supermicro or other American companies to aid the attack. Some background on Supermicro, courtesy of Bloomberg: Today, Supermicro sells more server motherboards than almost anyone else. It also dominates the $1 billion market for boards used in special-purpose computers, from MRI machines to weapons systems. Its motherboards can be found in made-to-order server setups at banks, hedge funds, cloud computing providers, and web-hosting services, among other places. Supermicro has assembly facilities in California, the Netherlands, and Taiwan, but its motherboards -- its core product -- are nearly all manufactured by contractors in China. The company's pitch to customers hinges on unmatched customization, made possible by hundreds of full-time engineers and a catalog encompassing more than 600 designs.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's and-I-would've-gotten-away-with-it-too-if-it-weren't-for-you-meddling-wearables department
By BeauHD from Slashdot's coming-soon-to-a-moon-base-near-you department
Lockheed Martin revealed its concept for a reusable, single-stage spaceship capable of ferrying four astronauts between lunar orbit and the surface of moon. Lockheed's craft weighs roughly five times more than the lunar lander NASA used during the Apollo program. When it's fully fueled, it will weigh 68 tons (62 metric tons). Space.com reports: The Lockheed lander would use as its home base the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway, a small space station that NASA aims to start building near the moon in 2022. The lander would depart from the Gateway, taking astronauts and up to 1.1 tons (1 metric tons) of cargo down to the lunar surface, according to a newly published Lockheed white paper. The craft (and crew) could stay on the surface for up to two weeks, then launch back to the Gateway without the need to refuel. (The lander would be refueled between missions -- eventually, perhaps, with propellant derived from water ice extracted from the moon or asteroids.)
Lockheed's proposed lander could be up and running by the late 2020s, in keeping with the timeline NASA has targeted for getting boots back on the moon, said Rob Chambers, Lockheed Martin Space's director of human spaceflight strategy and business development. The lander would also launch atop the SLS, at least for the foreseeable future, he told Space.com.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's making-progress department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNN: Australia is set to be the first country to eliminate cervical cancer, aided by its national vaccination and screening programs, says a new study. The country is on track to meet the threshold of four or less new cases per 100,000 women each year, effectively eliminating the cancer by 2028, finds the new study published Wednesday. The cancer could be classified as "rare" as early as 2022, meeting a threshold of six new cases per 100,000 and deaths due to the diseases are expected to decline to one new case per 100,000 women by 2034. But this is all contingent on Australia's high vaccination coverage and screening being maintained, write the study authors.
An estimated 99.7% of cervical cancer cases are caused by infection with Human Papillomavirus (HPV), a group of viruses that spread though sexual intercourse and skin-to-skin contact around the genitals. In their new study, the researchers at Cancer Council NSW modeled data on HPV vaccination, natural history of the disease, and cervical screening to estimate the age-incidence of cervical cancer in Australia from 2015 to 2100. Currently, Australia reports seven cases of cervical cancer per 100,000 women, according to the study. As well as eliminating the disease within 20 years, the data showed that the annual incidence of cervical cancer will decrease and remain at fewer than one case per 100,000 women if screening for HPV every five years continues and as long as people have been offered the vaccine.Read Replies (0)