2021-07-22 12:14:55 ..
2021-11-29 10:45:50 UTC
2021-11-29 15:25:23 UTC --martyb
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SiFive's Performance P650 licenseable processor IP core will debut to lead partners in Q1'2022 while the general availability is expected in "summer" 2022. Whether the Performance P650 will make its way into any public SiFive developer boards or the like remain unknown, but hopefully they will come out next year with some performant successor to the HiFive Unmatched.
This successor to their Performance P550 is expected to be the fastest RISC-V processor IP core on the market. Over the P550 should be around a 40% performance increase per-clock cycle. Overall there should be around a 50% performance gain over the P550. SiFive is reporting the Performance P650 will be faster than the Arm Cortex-A77.
Building upon the Performance P550 design, the SiFive Performance P650 is scalable to sixteen cores using a coherent multicore complex, and delivers a 40% performance increase per clock cycle based on SiFive engineering estimated performance in SPECInt2006/GHz, thanks to an expansion of the processor's instruction-issue width. The company compares P650 to the Arm family by saying it "maintains a significant performance-per-area advantage compared to the Arm Cortex-A77".
Other architecture enhancements over the previous generation include a higher maximum clock frequency (Liliputing says up to 3.5 GHz), platform-level memory management, interrupt control units, and support for the new RISC-V hypervisor extension for virtualization.
Qualcomm today unveiled the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 and Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3 Compute Platforms that will power the next wave of Windows-on-ARM Always On Always Connected PCs. The Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 is the first 5 nm SoC for the PC and features a 4+4 CPU with Cortex-X1 and Cortex-A78 cores along with other Qualcomm connectivity and security features.
[...] With the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3, PCs are all set to get their first taste of the 5 nm architecture albeit on ARM. According to Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 is about 85% faster in CPU and 60% faster in GPU performance. The exact comparative parameters were not disclosed during the presentation, however.
The Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 is also slated to offer 29+ TOPS of AI performance. Once again, the comparisons aren't really obvious, but we can hazard a guess that this could be with respect to the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2.
Previously, ARM SoCs have had only a single Cortex-X core, with the exception of Google's Tensor, found in the Pixel 6, which has 2x Cortex-X1 cores.
Also at CNX Software.
At this year's Tech Summit from Hawaii, it's time again for Qualcomm to unveil and detail the company's most important launch of the year, showcasing the newest Snapdragon flagship SoC that will be powering our upcoming 2022 devices. Today, as the first of a few announcements at the event, Qualcomm is announcing the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, the direct follow-up to last year's Snapdragon 888.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 follows up its predecessors with a very obvious change in marketing and product naming, as the company is attempting to simplify its product naming and line-up. Still part of the "8 series", meaning the highest end segment for devices, the 8 Gen 1 resets the previous three-digit naming scheme in favor of just a segment and generation number. For Qualcomm's flagship part this is pretty straightforward, but it remains to be seen what this means for the 7 and 6 series, both of which have upwards of several parts for each generation.
As for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, the new chip comes with a lot of new IP: We're seeing the new trio of Armv9 Cortex CPU cores from Arm, a whole new next-generation Adreno GPU, a massively improved imaging pipeline with lots of new features, an upgraded Hexagon NPU/DSP, integrated X65 5G modem, and all manufactured on a newer Samsung 4nm process node.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 notably lacks AV1 decode.
Qualcomm has chipsets for a ton of different devices, and an expansion to gaming was likely always on the cards. Obviously, its most famous chips are those that it makes for smartphones, but it also makes Snapdragon chips for wearables, extended reality (XR) devices, PCs, and even cars. The aim of the Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 gaming platform is to unite all of the Snapdragon Elite Gaming technologies into one cohesive product. It's a chipset built purely for gaming, and Qualcomm says that it's designed to be "the PC gaming rig of mobile games". It has updateable GPU drivers for game optimizations, true 10-bit HDR gaming, support for external displays up to 4K resolution at 144FPS, USB-C for future XR accessories, and supports game streaming from the cloud, from your PC, and from your console. It has support for Qualcomm's 5G mmWave Modem-RF system too.
Given the proliferation of gaming on Android, Qualcomm has said that for now, it's focused exclusively on providing its chipset to Android devices. As a result, this doesn't look like it will end up turning into an NVIDIA Tegra/Nintendo Switch competitor — yet. Even still, this is the company's first real push into the gaming market, and it has the potential to grow into a whole lot more into the future. It didn't go too in-depth about the new chipset's capabilities, though given that the company designed a developer kit in tandem with Razer, it's clear that Qualcomm has an idea of the direction it wants to push this in. We're not entirely sure if the G3x is much faster than the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 just yet, but we'll probably find out more about that in the near future.
NVIDIA is now facing the most stringent test yet to its planned acquisition of the chip designer Arm Holdings.
To wit, the US FTC is now suing NVIDIA to block the $40 billion deal. FTC Bureau of Competition Director, Holly Vedova, said in a statement:
"The FTC is suing to block the largest semiconductor chip merger in history to prevent a chip conglomerate from stifling the innovation pipeline for next-generation technologies."
Vedova went on to note:
"Tomorrow's technologies depend on preserving today's competitive, cutting-edge chip markets. This proposed deal would distort Arm's incentives in chip markets and allow the combined firm to unfairly undermine Nvidia's rivals."
Microsoft Edge is now displaying in-browser alerts that discourage users from downloading Google Chrome by bashing the popular browser.
As developers compete for control of browser market share, it is not uncommon for them to try and discourage users from downloading competing browsers.
Last February, Windows 10 started to show messages in the Start Menu that suggeted users to switch to Microsoft Edge when Firefox was installed or configured as the default browser.
[...] A few weeks later, Google began telling Microsoft Edge users to switch to Chrome to use browser extensions more securely.
[...] Fast forward almost a year later, and now Microsoft Edge is displaying in-browser notifications that bash Google Chrome when a user attempts to download it.
As first reported by WindowsLatest, when visiting the Chrome download page using Microsoft Edge, users will see an in-browser notification to convince them not to make the change
[...] For the most part, these in-browser notifications bash Google Chrome by insinuating Edge is a more secure browser, that Chrome is outdated and boring, that Chrome is slower and less reliable, and that you can save more money using Edge.
These notifications are stored in the %LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge SxS\Application\98.0.1092.0\Locales\en-US.pak file [...]
[...] While users are rightfully annoyed by Microsoft's sniping at Google Chrome, it is important to remember that Google performs similar behavior, although not as direct as what we see in Microsoft Edge.
[...] This will likely eat into Google Chrome's market share, and we should expect to see further sniping like this continue between the companies.
Detecting light beyond the visible red range of our eyes is hard to do, because infrared light carries so little energy compared to ambient heat at room temperature. This obscures infrared light unless specialised detectors are chilled to very low temperatures, which is both expensive and energy-intensive.
Now researchers led by the University of Cambridge have demonstrated a new concept in detecting infrared light, showing how to convert it into visible light, which is easily detected.
In collaboration with colleagues from the UK, Spain and Belgium, the team used a single layer of molecules to absorb the mid-infrared light inside their vibrating chemical bonds. These shaking molecules can donate their energy to visible light that they encounter, ‘upconverting’ it to emissions closer to the blue end of the spectrum, which can then be detected by modern visible-light cameras.
The results, reported in the journal Science, open up new low-cost ways to sense contaminants, track cancers, check gas mixtures, and remotely sense the outer universe.
The challenge faced by the researchers was to make sure the quaking molecules met the visible light quickly enough. “This meant we had to trap light really tightly around the molecules, by squeezing it into crevices surrounded by gold,” said first author Angelos Xomalis from Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory.
The researchers devised a way to sandwich single molecular layers between a mirror and tiny chunks of gold, only possible with ‘meta-materials’ that can twist and squeeze light into volumes a billion times smaller than a human hair.
“Trapping these different colours of light at the same time was hard, but we wanted to find a way that wouldn’t be expensive and could easily produce practical devices,” said co-author Dr Rohit Chikkaraddy from the Cavendish Laboratory, who devised the experiments based on his simulations of light in these building blocks.
Angelos Xomalis, Xuezhi Zheng, Rohit Chikkaraddy, et al. Detecting mid-infrared light by molecular frequency upconversion in dual-wavelength nanoantennas, Science 2021; 374 (6572): 1268 (DOI: 10.1126/science.abk2593)
The study revealed that participants were more willing to cooperate with animated avatars than with static figures representing their negotiation partners. It also found -- somewhat surprisingly -- that people were more willing to accept unfair offers from unfriendly avatars than from friendly ones.
"This work is an extension of previous studies exploring how nonverbal cues influence people's perceptions of one another," said Matthew Moore, who led the research at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with psychology professors Florin Dolcos and Sanda Dolcos. The new research was conducted at the U. of I.'s Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, where Moore was a postdoctoral fellow.
"Nonverbal interactions represent a huge part of human communication," Sanda Dolcos said. "We might not be aware of this, but much of the information that we take in is through these nonverbal channels."
Previous studies often used still photos or other static representations of people engaged in social interactions to study how people form opinions or make decisions, Florin Dolcos said.
"By animating the avatars, we're capturing interactions that are much closer to what happens in real-life situations," he said.
[...] "If we better understand the mechanisms involved, then we can better understand things like how to intervene," he said. "So, for example, if we have a goal of increasing cooperation or helping people make adaptive decisions, then we have clearer targets for our interventions."
Moore, Matthew, Katsumi, Yuta, Dolcos, Sanda, et al. Electrophysiological Correlates of Social Decision-making: An EEG Investigation of a Modified Ultimatum Game, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience (DOI: 10.1162/jocn_a_01782)
Scientists can peer at least nine months into a Tasmanian devil's past by studying its whiskers, a new study led by UNSW Sydney has found.
The long, wiry whiskers on these stocky marsupials hold chemical imprints from food they've eaten in the past – records that can help tell broader stories about their foraging habits, habitat use and how they respond to environmental change.
Researchers have now mapped this timescale for the first time, showing that devils' whiskers can capture seasonal dietary changes over at least nine months and potentially up to a year.
[...] Up until now, tracing a devil's culinary history with its whiskers has been a bit like using an out-of-order time machine: scientists could see the chemical records, but couldn't confirm if they were from a week, month, or year ago.
To get a clearer picture of the timeline, the UNSW-led research team fed tablets enriched in heavy stable isotopes – types of atoms that don't decay into other elements over time – to six captive devils at three-month intervals. These stable isotopes acted as timestamps, marking the whiskers with each season's passing.
When more than a year had passed, the team removed the longest whisker from each animal for analysis. They found the whiskers grew fast at first before slowing down, and that whiskers on different parts of their muzzle grew to different maximum lengths. On average, the longest whiskers held at least nine months of the animal's ecological history – but as whisker growth slows over time, the researchers suggest it's likely they can hold up to a year.
Marie R. G. Attard, Anna Lewis, Stephen Wroe, et al. Whisker growth in Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii) and applications for stable isotope studies [open], Ecosphere (DOI: 10.1002/ecs2.3846)
Blockchain startup MonoX Finance said on Wednesday that a hacker stole $31 million by exploiting a bug in software the service uses to draft smart contracts.
The company uses a decentralized finance protocol known as MonoX that lets users trade digital currency tokens without some of the requirements of traditional exchanges. "Project owners can list their tokens without the burden of capital requirements and focus on using funds for building the project instead of providing liquidity," MonoX company representatives say here. "It works by grouping deposited tokens into a virtual pair with vCASH, to offer a single token pool design."
An accounting error built into the company's software let an attacker inflate the price of the MONO token and to then use it to cash out all the other deposited tokens, MonoX Finance revealed in a post. The haul amounted to $31 million worth of tokens on the Ethereum or Polygon blockchains, both of which are supported by the MonoX protocol.
Specifically, the hack used the same token as both the tokenIn and tokenOut, which are methods for exchanging the value of one token for another. MonoX updates prices after each swap by calculating new prices for both tokens. When the swap is completed, the price of tokenIn—that is, the token sent by the user—decreases and the price of tokenOut—or the token received by the user—increases.
By using the same token for both tokenIn and tokenOut, the hacker greatly inflated the price of the MONO token because the updating of the tokenOut overwrote the price update of the tokenIn. The hacker then exchanged the token for $31 million worth of tokens on the Ethereum and Polygon blockchains.
Three former Google software engineers who sued the company yesterday claim they were fired for following Google's famous "Don't be evil" mantra.
"Google terminated each plaintiffs' employment with it for adhering to the directive 'Don't be evil' and calling out activity by Google that they each believed betrayed that directive," according to the complaint filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court by Rebecca Rivers, Sophie Waldman, and Paul Duke. The ex-employees say Google falsely blamed them for a data leak after they circulated an internal petition.
The lawsuit notes that the Google Code of Conduct "that each full-time Google employee is required to sign as a condition of employment" specifically instructs them not to be evil. The ex-employees say they tried to uphold the "Don't be evil" policy in August 2019 by circulating a petition "requesting that Google affirm that it would not collaborate with CBP [US Customs and Border Protection] or ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] with respect to enforcement of the Trump border control policies."
"[E]ach plaintiff protested Google's engagement in supporting BCP policies that resulted in separation of families and 'caging' of immigrants who were seeking asylum in the United States," the complaint said.
Google's firings of Rivers, Waldman, and Duke are also part of an ongoing case in which the National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint against Google.
(2018-10-13) Google Leak: The Good Censor
(2018-09-14) "Senior Google Scientist" Resigns over Chinese Search Engine Censorship Project
(2018-05-19) "Don't be Evil" Disappearing From Google's Code of Conduct
The patient had mild symptoms that were improving and was in isolation, officials said.
Much remains unknown about the highly mutated variant, which scientists fear could be more transmissible and more resistant to vaccines. The new variant has been identified in more than 20 countries since it was first identified in southern Africa last week.
[...] Federal health officials are expanding a program that offers free coronavirus testing at key U.S. airports, part of strengthened efforts to monitor international arrivals amid growing concerns about the omicron variant.
Under the program, visitors from eight African nations, including those connecting through Europe, who arrive at New York’s John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, San Francisco International and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International airports, will be given the option of taking a test when they arrive. Those who volunteer also will be given the option of an at-home test to take three to five days after arrival.
International arrivals already are required to show proof of a negative virus test before boarding U.S.-bound flights, but Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said during a White House briefing this week that the screening program at four of the nation’s busiest airports will provide additional data that can aid in the agency’s monitoring efforts.
"Genomic sequencing was conducted at the University of California at San Francisco, and the sequence was confirmed at the CDC as being consistent with the omicron variant," said Fauci, the chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden.
[...] The person was fully vaccinated with the Moderna vaccine -- but had not had a booster shot -- and experienced only mild symptoms that are now improving. They are quarantining, and all close contacts have so far tested negative, Fauci said. The person is a resident of San Francisco between the ages of 18 and 49, and was not hospitalized, California Governor Gavin Newsom said during a press conference Wednesday.
"We knew that it was just a matter of time before the first case of omicron would be detected in the United States," Fauci said.
Fauci reiterated that within the next three weeks, there will be a lot more information about the transmissibility and severity of this strain of the disease, as well as the effectiveness of vaccinations and booster shots against the omicron variant. The new variant was first identified in South Africa in late November.
Researchers from The Australian National University (ANU) have identified unique molecular signals in the body that could hold the key to developing a supplement capable of administering the health benefits of exercise to patients incapable of physical activity.
The molecular messages are sent to our brain and potentially our eyes immediately after we exercise.
The ANU team is conducting research to better understand what impact these molecular messages have on retinal health, but also the central nervous system and eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Associate Professor Riccardo Natoli, Head of Clear Vision Research at ANU, says the molecules could potentially be hijacked, recoded and "bottled up" in a pill and taken like a vitamin.
"The beneficial messages being sent to the central nervous system during exercise are packaged up in what are known as lipid particles. We are essentially prescribing the molecular message of exercise to those who physically aren't able to," he said.
"We think that as you age, the ability to communicate between the muscles and the retina starts to be lost. Similar to taking supplements, maybe we can provide genetic or molecular supplementation that enables that natural biological process to continue as we age.
"Our goal is to figure out what these molecules are communicating to the body and how they're communicating."
Joshua A. Chu-Tan, Max Kirkby, Riccardo Natoli. Running to save sight: The effects of exercise on retinal health and function, Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology (DOI: 10.1111/ceo.14023)
A federal judge yesterday blocked a Biden administration COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers, granting a request for preliminary injunction filed by Republican attorneys general from 14 states.
US District Judge Terry Doughty ruled that the government lacks authority to implement the rule that "requires the staff of twenty-one types of Medicare and Medicaid healthcare providers to receive one vaccine by December 6, 2021, and to receive the second vaccine by January 4, 2022." Providers that don't comply face penalties, including "termination of the Medicare/Medicaid Provider Agreement."
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) mandate regulates over 10.3 million health care workers in the US, of which 2.4 million are unvaccinated. The Biden vaccine rule is being challenged by the attorneys general from Louisiana, Montana, Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio. The Republican AGs' lawsuit was filed against CMS and the US Department of Health and Human Services.
The preliminary injunction they won applies nationwide except for 10 states that "are already under a preliminary injunction order dated November 29, 2021, issued by the Eastern District of Missouri," a court order said. Those states are Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, New Hampshire, Nebraska, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
What states did not participate in this lawsuit and were not covered by the earlier preliminary injunction — i.e. got swept into this decision?
California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District Of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
The trebuchet is a type of catapult that was popular for use as a siege engine before gunpowder became a thing. Trebuchets use a long arm to throw projectiles farther than traditional catapults. The focus has typically been on increasing throwing distance for the size of the projectile, or vice versa. But of course you're here to read about the other thing that trebuchets can be used for: speed.
How fast is fast? How about a whip-cracking, sonic-booming speed in excess of 450 meters [~1480 feet] per second! How'd he do it? Mostly wood and rubber [bands] with some metal bits thrown in for safety's sake. [David]'s video explains in full all of the engineering that went into his trebuchet, and it's a lot less than you'd think. There's a very satisfying montage of full power trebuchet launches that make it audibly clear that the projectile being thrown is going well past the speed of sound, with a report quite similar to that of a small rifle.
Link to 15m45s YouTube video with demo near the end.
Carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) is a synthetic member of a widely used class of food additives, termed emulsifiers, which are added to many processed foods to enhance texture and promote shelf life. CMC has not been extensively tested in humans but has been increasingly used in processed foods since the 1960s. It had long been assumed that CMC was safe to ingest because it is eliminated in the feces without being absorbed. However, increasing appreciation of the health benefits provided by bacteria that normally live in the colon, and thus would interact with non-absorbed additives, has led scientists to challenge this assumption. Experiments in mice found that CMC, and some other emulsifiers, altered gut bacteria resulting in more severe disease in a range of chronic inflammatory conditions, including colitis, metabolic syndrome and colon cancer. However, the extent to which such results are applicable to humans had not been previously investigated.
The team performed a randomized controlled-feeding study in healthy volunteers. Participants, housed at the study site, consumed an additive-free diet or an identical diet supplemented with carboxymethylcellulose (CMC). Because the diseases CMC promotes in mice take years to arise in humans, the researchers focused here on intestinal bacteria and metabolites. They found that CMC consumption changed the make-up of bacteria populating the colon, reducing select species. Furthermore, fecal samples from CMC-treated participants displayed a stark depletion of beneficial metabolites that are thought to normally maintain a healthy colon.
Lastly, the researchers performed colonoscopies on subjects at the beginning and end of the study and noticed that a subset of subjects consuming CMC displayed gut bacteria encroaching into the mucus, which has previously been observed to be a feature of inflammatory bowel diseases and type 2 diabetes. Thus, while CMC consumption did not result in any disease per se in this two week study, collectively the results support the conclusions of animal studies that long-term consumption of this additive might promote chronic inflammatory diseases. Therefore, further studies of this additive are warranted.
Benoit Chassaing, et. al. Randomized controlled-feeding study of dietary emulsifier carboxymethylcellulose reveals detrimental impacts on the gut microbiota and metabolome. Gastroenterology, 2021; (DOI: 10.1053/j.gastro.2021.11.006)
Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:
More funding will be provided to organisations focusing on mission development activities for current and existing space projects under Australia's Moon to Mars initiative.
More federal government grants for space technology initiatives are on the way, according to Minister for Science and Technology Melissa Price, who on Tuesday announced a second round of grants for the Demonstrator Program under the Moon to Mars initiative.
The Demonstrator Program provides funding to Australian industry and research institutions focusing on mission development activities for current and existing space projects. The objectives of the program are to support Australia's ambitions to join NASA's endeavour to go to the Moon and then Mars and accelerate the growth of Australia's space industry.
For this round of grants, organisations will be able to apply for "mission grants" of between AU$750,000 and AU$10 million from a total AU$41 million grant pool.
[...] Beyond the Demonstrator Program, the Moon to Mars initiative also recently launched its flagship Trailblazer program, which entails the Australian government working with NASA to create an Australian-built semi-autonomous rover that will be used in future missions to the moon and Mars.
The federal government said last month that the Trailblazer rover is expected to be capable of operating on the moon, provide lunar regolith to a NASA payload with a "high level of autonomy", and weigh 20kg or less. It also said at the time that the rover could be launched into space as early as 2026.