Collaborating Authors


The Morning After: Our verdict on the Sonos Roam


The world of smart home audio definitely benefited from all this time we're spending indoors. Sonos has an eye on the future, though. We've just finished reviewing the $170 Roam, which Sonos pitches as a hybrid speaker for beach trips and vacations, and which also integrates with your at-home sound system. It also doesn't look like a giant kettlebell like Sonos' last attempt, the $400 (!) Move. According to Deputy Managing Editor Nathan Ingraham, it sounds good (and sounds even better in a stereo pair) and is as portable as the competition.

Codeplay inks landmark deal with U.S. government to enable next-generation supercomputer


The National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, in collaboration with the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility, is partnering with UK-based Codeplay Software to enhance GPU compiler capabilities for NVIDIA. This collaboration will help NERSC and ALCF users, along with researchers in the high-performance computing community, to produce high-performance applications that are portable across compute architectures from multiple vendors. Today, most artificial intelligence software, including for cars, is developed using graphics processors designed for video games, according to Codeplay. The company provides tools designed to enable software to be accelerated by graphics processors or the latest specialized AI processors. NERSC supercomputers are used for scientific research by researchers working in diverse areas such as alternative energy, environment, high-energy and nuclear physics, advanced computing, materials science and chemistry.

When Hackers Were Heroes

Communications of the ACM

Forty years ago, the word "hacker" was little known. Its march from obscurity to newspaper headlines owes a great deal to tech journalist Steven Levy, who in 1984 defied the advice of his publisher to call his first book Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution.11 Hackers were a subculture of computer enthusiasts for whom programming was a vocation and playing around with computers constituted a lifestyle. Hackers was published only three years after Tracy Kidder's The Soul of a New Machine, explored in my last column (January 2021, p. 32–37), but a lot had changed during the interval. Kidder's assumed readers had never seen a minicomputer, still less designed one. By 1984, in contrast, the computer geek was a prominent part of popular culture. Unlike Kidder, Levy had to make people reconsider what they thought they already knew. Computers were suddenly everywhere, but they remained unfamiliar enough to inspire a host of popular books to ponder the personal and social transformations triggered by the microchip. The short-lived home computer boom had brought computer programming into the living rooms and basements of millions of middle-class Americans, sparking warnings about the perils of computer addiction. A satirical guide, published the same year, warned of "micromania."15 The year before, the film Wargames suggested computer-obsessed youth might accidentally trigger nuclear war.

Could quantum computers fix political polls?


It would be the harbinger of an entirely new medium of calculation, harnessing the powers of subatomic particles to obliterate the barriers of time in solving incalculable problems. You and I are being continually surveyed. We reveal information about ourselves with astonishingly little resistance. Social media has made many of us into veritable slot machines for our own personal data. We're fed a little token of encouragement that someone may yet like us, our arm is gently pulled, and we disgorge something we hope people will find valuable enough for commencing small talk. What personal facts, real or trivial, we do end up disclosing -- perhaps unwittingly -- immediately undergo unceasing analysis. The inferences these analyses draw about us as people are being aggregated, baselined, composited, deliberated, and profiled.

IonQ CEO Peter Chapman on quantum computing adoption, innovation and what's next


IonQ has a plan to commercialize quantum computing and Peter Chapman is CEO expected to make it happen. Chapman, son of a NASA astronaut, started working in the MIT AI Lab when he was 16, invented the first sound card for the IBM PC, wrote software for the FAA and led a Ray Kurzweil company to build tools for the blind. Simply put, Chapman has been ahead of the technology curve. Chapman joined IonQ in the summer of 2018 because he is betting that quantum computing can achieve Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). IonQ recently made news for its roadmap and proposing a new performance metric called Algorithmic Qubit.

On the experimental feasibility of quantum state reconstruction via machine learning Artificial Intelligence

We determine the resource scaling of machine learning-based quantum state reconstruction methods, in terms of both inference and training, for systems of up to four qubits. Further, we examine system performance in the low-count regime, likely to be encountered in the tomography of high-dimensional systems. Finally, we implement our quantum state reconstruction method on a IBM Q quantum computer and confirm our results.

Congress just voted to spend $10 billion on AI, quantum computing


Much of the tech industry's focus on the National Defense Authorization Act has revolved around President Trump's threat to veto the must-pass defense spending bill because it does not repeal Section 230. But the final version of the NDAA, passed by a vast majority of both chambers this week, contains a little-noticed provision that promises to reverberate across the industry: a pledge to increase government spending on artificial intelligence, quantum computing and 5G technology by $10 billion annually over the next five years. It's unclear exactly how much the government spends to bolster those technologies today, but it's likely closer to $1.5 billion. The Industries of the Future Act of 2020, which was supported by IBM and software industry trade group BSA, was introduced earlier this year amid a broader push from the White House -- and Ivanka Trump -- to invest more government resources in "industries of the future," meaning emerging technologies like quantum computing and artificial intelligence. It's part of a broader effort to funnel more resources toward ensuring the U.S. has a leg up on China in the so-called "race" to technological dominance.

Quantum computing: A cheat sheet


Quantum computing--considered to be the next generation of high-performance computing--is a rapidly-changing field that receives equal parts attention in academia and in enterprise research labs. Honeywell, IBM, and Intel are independently developing their own implementations of quantum systems, as are startups such as D-Wave Systems. In late 2018, President Donald Trump signed the National Quantum Initiative Act that provides $1.2 billion for quantum research and development. TechRepublic's cheat sheet for quantum computing is positioned both as an easily digestible introduction to a new paradigm of computing, as well as a living guide that will be updated periodically to keep IT leaders informed on advances in the science and commercialization of quantum computing. SEE: The CIO's guide to quantum computing (ZDNet/TechRepublic special feature) Download the free PDF version (TechRepublic) SEE: All of TechRepublic's cheat sheets and smart person's guides Quantum computing is an emerging technology that attempts to overcome limitations inherent to traditional, transistor-based computers. Transistor-based computers rely on the encoding of data in binary bits--either 0 or 1. Quantum computers utilize qubits, which have different operational properties.

Biden Presidency Expected To Keep AI and Quantum R&D A Priority


As reported by the Wall Street Journal, analysts and members of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) expect that the presidency of Joe Biden will continue to make research and development for AI and quantum computing technologies a priority, although aspects of Biden's approach to regulation and spending are expected to differ. While federal investments in R&D for the Information Technology sector have fallen over the course of the last few decades, in February the White House announced a plan to increasing spending on AI and quantum technologies, and the Biden presidency is expected to continue the commitment. At the moment, total federal research and development funding sits at around $134.1 billion, while the Trump administration had proposed an increase to $142.4 billion for total federal R&D funding. In February the Trump administration announced a plan to increase annual spending on AI by more than $2 billion dollars over the course of the next two years. This was to be accompanied by an increase in funding for quantum information science to the tune of $860 million dollars over the same period.

AI, Quantum R&D Funding to Remain a Priority Under Biden WSJD - Technology

In August, the Trump administration said it was on track to meet its commitment of roughly doubling nondefense research and development spending on AI and quantum information sciences between 2020 and 2022. The White House in February outlined a plan for annual spending on AI to rise to more than $2 billion between 2020 and 2022, and funding for quantum information science to increase to $860 million over that period. Quantum information science is an area of study that includes quantum-based cryptography, communication and quantum computing. "Both parties realize we need to be competitive in these areas," said Ray Wang, an analyst with Constellation Research Inc., a research and advisory firm. The Biden administration is expected to invest more money in AI and quantum information science, in part because overall spending on research and development is expected to be higher, said Robert D. Atkinson, president of the ITIF.