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Loihi is Intel's brainy chip designed to outthink your PC's Core CPU

PCWorld

Named after an active undersea volcano south of the island of Hawaii, Intel said in a statement Monday that Loihi includes a total of 130,000 silicon "neurons" connected with 130 million "synapses," the junctions that in humans connect the neurons within the brain. "Looking to the future, Intel believes that neuromorphic computing offers a way to provide exascale performance in a construct inspired by how the brain works," he wrote. IBM's DeepNorth brain chip uses 1 million neurons and 256 million synapses, the company said in 2016. We've seen more and more chip generations--including Intel's recent 8th-gen Core chips--manufactured on the same process technology as their predecessors.


Nvidia's new Volta-based DGX-1 supercomputer puts 400 servers in a box

PCWorld

The GPU, the first one based on the brand-new Volta architecture, was introduced at the company's GPU Technology Conference in San Jose, California, on Wednesday. The new supercomputer 40,960 CUDA cores, which Nvidia says equals the computing power of 800 CPUs. The Tesla V100 in the DGX-1 is five times faster than the current Pascal architecture, Huang said. Nvidia has also included a cube-like Tensor Core, which will work with the regular processing cores to improve deep learning.


Facebook's Caffe2 AI tools come to iPhone, Android, and Raspberry Pi

PCWorld

New intelligence can be added to mobile devices like the iPhone, Android devices, and low-power computers like Raspberry Pi with Facebook's new open-source Caffe2 deep-learning framework. Caffe2 can be used to program artificial intelligence features into smartphones and tablets, allowing them to recognize images, video, text, and speech and be more situationally aware. It's important to note that Caffe2 is not an AI program, but a tool allowing AI to be programmed into smartphones. It takes just a few lines of code to write learning models, which can then be bundled into apps. The release of Caffe2 is significant.


Drone software gives offline farmers real-time images

PCWorld

Cloud computing is all well and good for enterprises with big-data applications and consumers with virtual assistants, but it runs into some limits in an isolated cornfield. On farms and other places far from powerful computers and network connections, there's a trend away from centralized computing even while most of the IT world is embracing it. In remote places, the internet of things requires local processing as well as data-center analysis. So-called edge computing is coming to industries including manufacturing, utilities, shipping, and oil and gas. Agriculture is getting it, too.


It's time to dump Moore's Law to advance computing, researcher says

PCWorld

Dumping Moore's Law is perhaps the best thing that could happen to computers, as it'll hasten the move away from an aging computer architecture holding back hardware innovation. That's the view of prominent scientist R. Stanley Williams, a senior fellow in the Hewlett Packard Labs. Williams played a key role in the creation of the memristor by HP in 2008. Moore's Law is an observation made by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore in 1965 that has helped make devices smaller and faster. It predicts that the density of transistors would double every 18 to 24 months, while the cost of making chips goes down.


DARPA's latest idea could put today's Turing-era computers at risk

PCWorld

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has come up with some crazy ideas in the past, and its latest idea is to create computers that are always learning and adapting, much like humans. DARPA's aptly named Lifelong Learning Machine (L2M) program has the ambitious goal to create technology for "new AI systems that learn online, in the field, and based on what they encounter -- without having to be taken offline for reprogramming or retraining for new conditions," according to a document published Thursday detailing the program. An adaptive computer that draws on experience to make decisions has been a "long-standing" goal, said Hava Siegelmann, program manager for the L2M project at DARPA. The ability to give biological intelligence will involve developing new computer architectures and new machine-learning techniques.


SAP adds new features to Vora and readies a cloud version

PCWorld

SAP has added some new capabilities to SAP Vora, its in-memory distributed computing system based on Apache Spark and Hadoop. Version 1.3 of Vora includes a number of new distributed, in-memory data-processing engines, including ones for time-series data, graph data and schema-less JSON data, that accelerate complex processing. Common uses for the graph engine might be analyzing social graphs or supply chain graphs, said Ken Tsai, SAP's head of product marketing for database and data management. One application that would benefit from the new time-series engine is looking for patterns of electricity consumption in smart metering data. "You can certainly do it without the time-series engine, but it's not as efficient," Tsai said.


Intel researches quantum computing and neuromorphic chips for future PCs

PCWorld

Intel realizes there will be a post-Moore's Law era and is already investing in technologies to drive computing beyond today's PCs and servers. One way to resolve that crisis--which all chipmakers face--is to completely change the current computing model in PCs, smartphones, and servers. Some short-term answers can resolve the bottlenecks based on Von Neumann model, including Optane, Intel's new form of super-fast memory and storage. D-Wave recently released a 2,000-qubit quantum computer based on quantum annealing, while IBM has a 5-bit quantum computer accessible via the cloud.


Intel researches tech to prepare for a future beyond today's PCs

PCWorld

Intel realizes there will be a post-Moore's Law era and is already investing in technologies to drive computing beyond today's PCs and servers. One way to resolve that crisis -- which all chipmakers face -- is to completely change the current computing model in PCs, smartphones, and servers. Some short-term answers can resolve the bottlenecks based on Von Neumann model, including Optane, Intel's new form of super-fast memory and storage. D-Wave recently released a 2,000-qubit quantum computer based on quantum annealing, while IBM has a 5-bit quantum computer accessible via the cloud.


5 underrated Microsoft announcements that could change the world

PCWorld

This was a big year for Microsoft. The HoloLens began shipping to developers, Windows 10 made it through its first year intact (though not without controversy), and the company got into the desktop computer market with a stunning mega-touchscreen. But there were a few key announcements that flew under the radar this year. While they may not have the splash factor of a Surface Studio or HoloLens, these developments have the potential to alter Microsoft and the world for years to come. At its Build developer conference, Microsoft outlined a vision for a conversational computing platform.