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posted by Fnord666 on Monday June 14, @09:02AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the bigGLE-computing dept.

AMD patents a task transition method between BIG and LITTLE processors

The next decade will no longer be dictated by the number of cores, but rather the processor's fabrication node, packaging method, and power efficiency. A big role will also be played by heterogeneous architectures.

Later this year Intel will launch its 12th Gen Core Alder Lake processors for desktop and mobile systems. This is not the first architecture to implement Intel's Hybrid Technology (the first was Lakefield). This is a marketing term for high-efficiency (small) and high-performance (big) core implementation. Most tech users should be more familiar with the term big.LITTLE, which is actually an old name for ARM's heterogeneous computing architecture, now replaced by DynamIQ.

While heterogeneous CPUs have been used in mobile devices for years, this technology isn't exactly a domain of modern desktop PCs, where power efficiency is not exactly the biggest concern. The next-generation Windows operating system is rumored to feature a new task scheduling method for such heterogeneous computing, which might just align with Intel's Alder Lake launch.

While AMD has not really confirmed it is working on such [a] processor design, the leaks have brought us a new codename 'Strix Point', which is associated with [a] Zen5 based APU, supposedly also featuring smaller cores known as Zen4D. The latter is a codename of the smaller core.

Just two days ago, an AMD patent on 'task transition between heterogeneous processors' has been published. This patent was originally filed in December 2019, which suggests AMD has clearly been working on this technology for a long time. The patent covers the most important engineering problem of heterogeneous computing, which is how to schedule or transition tasks between different types of cores.

It looks like both Intel and AMD will adopt heterogeneous x86 microarchitectures in future desktop and mobile processors. Smaller cores can deliver better performance-per-Watt and performance-per-mm2 of die area, allowing for greater potential gains in multi-threaded performance, while big cores deliver better single-thread performance.

Intel's Alder Lake desktop CPUs will have up to 8 big and 8 small cores, and are expected to be announced or launched around October 25. It will support both DDR4 and DDR5 memory depending on the motherboard used. Intel is rumored to follow that up with Raptor Lake CPUs in 2022 featuring 8 big and 16 small cores.

The rumored AMD Strix Point APUs could launch as late as 2024, with a mix of Zen 5 (big) and "Zen 4D" (small) cores on TSMC's "3nm" process.

Also at Tom's Hardware.

Previously: Intel Architecture Day 2020: Tiger Lake, Alder Lake, Discrete GPUs, and More

Original Submission

posted by mrpg on Monday June 14, @05:32AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the taiwan-is-a... dept.

Nikkei Asia:

Andy Wang, an IT engineer at a Shanghai-based gaming company, occasionally felt a pang of guilt about his job.

Most of his hours were spent on a piece of surveillance software called DiSanZhiYan, or "Third Eye." The system was installed on the laptop of every colleague at his company to track their screens in real time, recording their chats, their browsing activity and every document edit they made.

Working from their floor in a downtown high-rise, the startup's hundreds of employees were constantly, uncomfortably aware of being under Third Eye's intent gaze.

The software would also automatically flag "suspicious behavior" such as visiting job-search sites or video streaming platforms. "Efficiency" reports would be generated weekly, summarizing their time spent by website and application.

"Bosses would check the reports regularly," Wang said. Farther down the line, that could skew workers' prospects for promotions and pay rises. They could also be used as evidence when the company looked to fire certain people, he added.

Even Wang himself was not exempt. High-definition surveillance cameras were installed around the floor, including in his office, and a receptionist would check the footage every day to monitor how long each employee spent on their lunch break, he said.

Original Submission

posted by mrpg on Monday June 14, @04:00AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the no-cheese-graters? dept.

NASA Selects New Science Investigations for Future Moon Deliveries:

As NASA continues plans for multiple commercial deliveries to the Moon’s surface per year, the agency has selected three new scientific investigation payload suites to advance understanding of Earth’s nearest neighbor. Two of the payload suites will land on the far side of the Moon, a first for NASA. All three investigations will receive rides to the lunar surface as part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services, or CLPS, initiative, part of the agency’s Artemis approach.

[...] Lunar Vertex, one of the three selections, is a joint lander and rover payload suite slated for delivery to Reiner Gamma – one of the most distinctive and enigmatic natural features on the Moon, known as a lunar swirl. Scientists don’t fully understand what lunar swirls are or how they form, but they know they are closely related to anomalies associated with the Moon’s magnetic field. The Lunar Vertex rover will make detailed surface measurements of the Moon’s magnetic field using an onboard magnetometer.

[...] NASA also has selected two separate payload suites for delivery in tandem to Schrödinger basin, which is a large impact crater on the far side of the Moon near the lunar South Pole. The Farside Seismic Suite (FSS), one of the two payloads to be delivered to Schrödinger basin, will carry two seismometers: the vertical Very Broadband seismometer and the Short Period sensor. NASA measured seismic activity on the near side of the Moon as part of the Apollo program, but FSS will return the agency’s first seismic data from the far side of the Moon—a potential future destination for Artemis astronauts.

[...] The Lunar Interior Temperature and Materials Suite (LITMS), the other payload headed to Schrödinger basin, is a suite of two instruments: the Lunar Instrumentation for Thermal Exploration with Rapidity pneumatic drill and the Lunar Magnetotelluric Sounder. This payload suite will investigate the heat flow and electrical conductivity of the lunar interior in Schrödinger basin, giving an in-depth look at the Moon’s internal mechanical and heat flow.

Original Submission

posted by mrpg on Sunday June 13, @11:15PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the partial-recall dept.

How far back are your first memories? You may have been younger than you think:

A new study from a Newfoundland researcher suggests that our earliest memories could be from as far back as 2.5 years of age.

Dr. Carole Peterson, a psychology professor at Memorial University's Faculty of Science, reviewed decades of data from interviews conducted at her laboratory over the last two decades. She published her findings in in the journal Memory last month.

[...] She found that the average age of the earliest memory is around 2.5 years old, challenging the previous notion that our earliest memories start at age 3.5.

[...] In previous studies, Peterson and her colleagues interviewed children and young adults about their earliest memories and compared their answers with interviews with their parents. As the children aged and years had passed, the researchers found that the children would give a later age were when discussing memories, often from before they were four years old.

Journal Reference:
Carole Peterson. What is your earliest memory? It depends [open], Memory (DOI: 10.1080/09658211.2021.1918174)

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Sunday June 13, @06:28PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the shining-a-light-on-dark-matter dept.

How This Supercomputer Will Use A.I. to Map Dark Energy:

The Wall Street Journal reports that the new Perlmutter supercomputer, recently installed at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center in Berkeley, California, will begin working on the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) survey project this summer. The project aims to learn more about dark energy, a hypothesized type of energy that accounts for a whopping 68% of the universe. To do this, the DESI instrument at the Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona will observe the night sky with 5,000 spectroscopic "eyes" which will record the light from 35 million galaxies.

To analyze all of that data, researchers will use the Perlmutter supercomputer. Named after Nobel Prize-winning astrophysicist Saul Perlmutter, the computer is a significant upgrade over the lab's previous supercomputer, Cori, and is predicted to reach 100 petaFLOPS of processing power.

[...] DESI is expected to begin its five-year survey later this year.

It will be interesting to see how far along the installation is when the new Top500 supercomputer list comes out in a couple weeks.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday June 13, @04:50PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

[2021-06-14 02:24:41 UTC; update 2: We made a decision to accept Linode's offer of moving up our migration of fluorine. It appears the migration has completed successfully. YAY!]

[2021-06-14 00:25:32 UTC; update 1: hydrogen appears to have successfully migrated. We had a brief 503 on the site until I bounced varnish. The site seems to be fine, now.--Bytram]

First off please accept my sincere wish for a happy Father's Day to all our dads in the community! (It is celebrated next Sunday in 90 countries.)

Also, I am happy to report a surge in participation on the site over the past month. I've seen increases in story submissions, subscriptions[*], and participation (comments, moderations, etc.) Community++

[*] NB: I was successful in crediting users for their subscriptions on the site after the server crash. Unfortunately, that failed to account for the dollar amount of their subscriptions in our tracking database table which is used to source our progress against our funding goal. I have a plan for getting those updates in place, but want to run it past other members of staff to make sure everything is accounted for before making any changes.

Read on for the rest of the site's news, or just wait and a new story will be out before too long.

Server Migrations:
We have received word that Linode, our web-hosting provider, will be conducting maintenance on two of our servers in the next 24 hours.

Last night Linode shut down one of our servers (boron), migrated the disk image to a new physical server, and restarted it. All seems to have gone smoothly.

Later on today, two more of our servers are due to be migrated:

  • hydrogen (alternate database server) 4 CPU Cores, 160 GB Storage, 8 GB RAM
    This Linode's physical host will be undergoing maintenance at 2021-06-14 00:00 UTC. During this time, your Linode will be shut down, cold migrated to a new host, then returned to its last state (running or powered off)
  • fluorine (primary database server) 4 CPU Cores, 96 GB Storage, 8 GB RAM
    This Linode's physical host will be undergoing maintenance at 2021-06-14 07:00 UTC. During this time, your Linode will be shut down, cold migrated to a new host, then returned to its last state (running or powered off).

Also of note, we are eligible for a free storage upgrade on fluorine from 96 GB to 160 GB. It is not clear at this moment if we will also conduct the storage upgrade at this time.

Cert Updates:
Our certs (issued by Let's Encrypt) are due to expire June 17, 2021.

We are aware and intend to have updated certs installed before then.

(NB: I may have some terminology errors in what follows, but I believe the overall process/concepts should be correct.)

I have personally installed updated certs twice before on our servers, and if need be, am prepared to do so again. It has been a couple years or so but the process should remain largely the same. The majority of the steps are automated, but historically we've preferred to handle the DNS updates manually. That way, just in case something goes sideways, we are hands-on and can take steps to mitigate problems... instead of finding we have a botched DNS and greatly restricted access the servers. (That is a bit of an overstatement, but as I understand it, it's a lot easier to make changes over SSH connections to running servers than through a console port to one server at a time.)

Also, there has been discussion about using a fully-automated Let's Encrypt cert update process, we'll keep you posted.

Site News:
Behind the scenes we've been hard at work. juggs, mechanicjay, and audioguy have put in many long and thankless hours stabilizing and documenting our service infrastructure. They've made great strides and we continue to make progress. We cannot change what was done (and not done) in the past, but we can learn from it! What services "live" on what servers? How to restart each service? Monitoring of disk usage and CPU usage? All are gradually being documented and site operations knowledge is getting shared all around.

Lastly, here's a shout-out to the editorial staff who strive to keep stories coming to you 24/7. Fnord666 just posted his 6,500th story! Also, thanks to janrinok, mrpg, chromas, and FatPhil who have all pushed out stories this past month! Teamwork++!

[N.B. Let's not forget our Editor-In-Chief martyb, who just posted his 10,100th story! This is in addition to serving as our primary QA person. - Fnord]

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday June 13, @01:45PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the it's-never-ogre dept.

The Human Genome Is—Finally!—Complete

When the human genome was first deemed "complete" in 2000, the news was met with great international fanfare. The two rival groups vying to finish the genome first—one a large government-led consortium, the other an underdog private company—agreed to declare joint success. They shook hands at the White House. Bill Clinton presided. Tony Blair beamed in from London. "We are standing at an extraordinary moment in scientific history," one prominent scientist declared when those genomes were published. "It's as though we have climbed to the top of the Himalayas."

But actually, the human genome was not complete. Neither group had reached the real summit. As even the contemporary coverage acknowledged, that version was more of a rough draft, riddled with long stretches where the DNA sequence was still fuzzy or missing. The private company soon pivoted and ended its human-genome project, though scientists with the public consortium soldiered on. In 2003, with less glitz but still plenty of headlines, the human genome was declared complete once again.

But actually, the human genome was still not complete. Even the revised draft was missing about 8 percent of the genome. These were the hardest-to-sequence regions, full of repeating letters that were simply impossible to read with the technology at the time.

Finally, this May, a separate group of scientists quietly posted a preprint online describing what can be deemed the first truly complete human genome—a readout of all 3.055 billion letters across 23 human chromosomes. The group, led by relatively young researchers, came together on Slack from around the world to finish the task abandoned 20 years ago. There was no splashy White House announcement this time, no talk of summiting the Himalayas; the paper itself is still under review for official publication in a journal. But the lack of pomp belies what an achievement this is: To complete the human genome, these scientists had to figure out how to map its most mysterious and neglected repeating regions, which may now finally get their scientific due.

Telomere-to-telomere consortium
CHM13 T2T v1.1 (NCBI)

See also: A complete human genome sequence is close: how scientists filled in the gaps
Researchers claim they have sequenced the entirety of the human genome — including the missing parts
The Entire Human Genome Finally Sequenced! Here's What This Means (11m21s video)

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday June 13, @09:01AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the ♪can't-touch-this♪ dept.

The Human Brain Is More Like A Testicle Than Any Other Organ:

Hailed as the most complex and exquisite structure in the universe, the human brain is generally considered to be without equal, yet new research suggests it may have finally met its match in the form of the lowly testicle. According to a study published today in the journal Royal Society Open Biology, our brains have a striking number of genes and proteins in common with the male gonads, and are in fact more akin to a goolie than any other organ in the body.

In spite of its many talents, the brain has long been suspected of maintaining a hidden bond with the testicle, with previous research revealing links between intelligence and semen quality. Yet the extent of the kinship between these two wrinkly blobs has never been fully understood.

To shine some light on the issue, the study authors compared the proteomes of 33 different tissue types, including the brain, testis, heart, ovaries, liver, prostate, cervix, and kidneys. Their results indicated that the brain is made up of 14,315 different proteins while the testis consists of 15,687, with the two tissues sharing an incredible 13,442 proteins in common.

[...] And in case you’re wondering, this also applies to the brains of women, which are just as ball-like as those of men.

Journal Reference:
Bárbara Matos, Stephen J. Publicover, Luis Filipe C. Castro, et al. Brain and testis: more alike than previously thought?, Open Biology (DOI:

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday June 13, @04:16AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the buying-your-way-into-the-history-books dept.

Sold! Bidder pays $28m for spare seat on space flight with Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin has sold the spare seat of the company's 20 July New Shepard space rocket blast-off for $28m, the company announced on Saturday.

With 20 active bidders starting at $4.8m during the 10-minute auction, bids escalated in the final three minutes of the sale. Initially, some 7,600 people registered to bid from 159 countries, the company said. The winner, whose identity has not been announced, will join the Amazon founder Bezos and his brother Mark on the flight.

The 11-minute, automated flight – the company's 16th but first carrying humans – will lift off from Van Horn, Texas. The capsule will carry as many as six passengers, though the company has not yet revealed who else will be onboard.

[...] The company has said the auction price will be donated to Blue Origin's foundation, Club for the Future, whose stated mission "is to inspire future generations to pursue careers in Stem (science, technology, engineering, and math) and to help invent the future of life in space".

Also at The Verge and BBC.

Previously: Jeff Bezos' Vision for Space: One Trillion Population in the Solar System
Jeff Bezos Will Fly on Blue Origin's First Human Spaceflight

Related: Branson May Make a Last-Ditch Effort to Beat Bezos Into Space

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Saturday June 12, @11:32PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the Dang-I'm-old dept.

This is a press release but 28 Ghz boggles my brain. When I started in this field 40+ years ago 10 Mhz was hard to do.

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and NEC Corporation jointly develop a 28-GHz phased-array transceiver that supports efficient and reliable 5G communications. The proposed transceiver outperforms previous designs in various regards by adapting fast beam switching and leakage cancellation mechanism.

With the recent emergence of innovative technologies, such as the Internet of Things, smart cities, autonomous vehicles, and smart mobility, our world is on the brink of a new age. This stimulates the use of millimeter-wave bands, which have far more signal bandwidth, to accommodate these new ideas. 5G can offer data rates over 10 Gbit/s through the use of these millimeter-waves and multiple-in-multiple-out (MIMO) technology--a technology that employs multiple transmitters and receivers to transfer more data at the same time.

With phased array beamforming it seems they no longer need to track your phone. All they need to do is see where the beam points.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Saturday June 12, @06:49PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the puppies! dept.

Mouse sperm on the ISS survives for almost six years, produces healthy space pups:

The most well-travelled mouse sperm in history left the Earth in 2013 on a return journey to the International Space Station (ISS). After spending almost six years on the station, the freeze-dried sperm were returned to Earth in a SpaceX cargo capsule in 2019 and used to breed litters of healthy "space pups."

The study, published in the journal Science Advances on Friday, details the space sperm experiments, which were conducted by a team of Japanese researchers aiming to understand the long term effects of space radiation on mammalian sperm. The freeze-dried sperm were sent to the ISS and spent nearly six years on the orbital laboratory, which zips around the Earth at a distance of around 250 miles.

[...] What did the researchers do? The researchers collected sperm from male mice and placed them in ampules -- small glass vials -- before freeze-drying them to remove all the water. They stored the freeze-dried (FD) sperm on both the International Space Station and, in parallel, in freezers on Earth. Some sperm were returned after nine months on the ISS, to test everything was working as planned, but two other groups of samples spent 1010 and 2129 days on the station.

Once returned, the sperm were rehydrated and a type of mouse IVF was performed to impregnate female mice with space sperm and Earth sperm. Females then delivered their litters and the space pups were compared to "ground control" pups.

"Space pups did not show any differences compared to the ground control pups, and their next generation also had no abnormalities," the team wrote.

The researchers also assessed whether the space sperm differed to the sperm stored on Earth by examining damage to their DNA and gene expression. Under a microscope, space sperm looked identical to those from Earth and the team also report no extra DNA damage occurred to space sperm exposed to radiation. Gene expression profiles were unchanged.

Journal Reference:
Sayaka Wakayama, Daiyu Ito, Yuko Kamada, et al. Evaluating the long-term effect of space radiation on the reproductive normality of mammalian sperm preserved on the International Space Station [open], Science Advances (DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abg5554)

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Saturday June 12, @01:57PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the VGaaS dept.

Microsoft prepares cloud gaming service for Japan launch:

TOKYO -- Microsoft is accelerating its push into cloud-based games with plans to bring next-generation gaming to Japan later this year, a sign that competition is heating up among long-established game makers and tech giants.

The U.S. company announced on Thursday that it will roll out cloud gaming in four countries, including Japan and Australia, through its Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, a subscription service that allows gamers to download more than 100 games to their Xboxes or PCs, or play cloud-based games.

The service has been available in the U.S. and Europe since last year, and some test runs have taken place in Japan. Microsoft plans to work on the development of data centers in Japan as it gets ready to launch the full-scale service by the end of 2021.

[...] In Japan, Sony Group helped pioneer the sector, introducing a cloud gaming service in 2014. The entertainment conglomerate, which has tied up with Microsoft in the cloud gaming market, offers a subscription service called PlayStation Now from which users can stream games to their consoles or PCs. The service now has 3.2 million subscribers, up 78% from a year earlier.

[...] In another move toward creating a "Netflix for gaming business," Microsoft revealed that it is developing a dedicated device for cloud-based games that can be connected to a TV or display, as it bids to "reach gamers on any TV or monitor without the need for a console at all."

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Saturday June 12, @09:15AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

Three factors may predict first-year college students' loss of self-control, WVU study finds:

Joining a club that sparks a new interest, playing a new intramural sport or finding a new group of friends may be just as indicative of a college freshman's loss of self-control as drinking or drug use, according to new research at West Virginia University.

Self-control—the ability to exercise personal restraint, inhibit impulsivity and make purposeful decisions—in that first year partly depends on a student's willingness to try new things, including things adults would call "good."

That's a new finding, according to Kristin Moilanen, associate professor of child development and family studies. The study [...] observed 569 first year students ages 18-19 at five points over the course of the academic year. Participants completed the first wave of the study two weeks before arriving on campus and the other four over the course of the year.

The tendency to try new things is one of two indicators—the other is are[sic] maternal attachment—that may gauge which students would benefit from an intervention, the study found.

[...] A third factor, stress, is also likely to blame for college freshmen's loss of self-control, though this was not considered in the study.

"It's probably reflecting fluctuations in stress over the academic year," Moilanen said. "First year students don't have the most accurate representation for what to expect and then they get here and they find that it's fun, but they also find it's stressful."

Stressors, even small ones, Moilanen said, can be more disruptive to self-control than people realize.

Journal Reference:
Kristin L. Moilanen, Katy L. DeLong, Shantel K. Spears, et al. Predictors of initial status and change in self-control during the college transition, Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology (DOI: 10.1016/j.appdev.2020.101235)

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Saturday June 12, @04:29AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

The Hoover Dam Reservoir is at an All-Time Low:

Much of the Western US faces drought, extreme heat, and fire risk

Lake Mead, the reservoir created by the Hoover Dam, that feeds water to 25 million people across Western states, is historically low. On June 9th, the water level dipped to 1,071.57 feet above sea level, narrowly beating a record low last set in 2016.

The lake surface has dropped 140 feet since 2000, leaving the reservoir just 37 percent full. With such a dramatic drop, officials expect to declare an official water shortage for the first time ever. That could affect water and energy that Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam deliver to Arizona, California, and Nevada.

Check out this drought map of the US.

How are things in your area? What steps (if any) have been taken to help improve the situation?

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Friday June 11, @11:45PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

India has more than 28,000 'black fungus' cases: Health Minister:

"From 28 states, we have some 28,252 cases of mucormycosis till now. Out of this, 86 percent, or 24,370 cases, have a history of COVID-19 and 62.3 percent, or 17,601, have a history of diabetes," [Health Minister Harsh] Vardhan said in a meeting with a group of federal ministers.

[...] Mucormycosis causes blackening or discolouration over the nose, blurred or double vision, chest pain, breathing difficulties and coughing of blood. Coronavirus patients with diabetes and a weakened immune system are particularly prone to attack.

[...] Health experts say India's poor air quality and excessive dust in cities, like Mumbai, make it easier for the fungi to thrive, terming the recent spike in cases a matter of "serious concern".

"We and most mainstream hospitals have seen more mucormycosis cases in the past month than in the previous five years," Dr Arvinder Soin, chairman of the Medanta Liver Transplant Institute at Gurugram, told Al Jazeera.

[...] Dr Sumit Mrig, who heads the ENT department at Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital in New Delhi [said] they used to see one or two such cases in a week before the second wave of the pandemic. [...] at present, we are seeing five to six such patients on a daily basis," Mrig said.

[...] "Apart from the high mortality associated with disease which rapidly spreads from nose and sinuses to the eye and brain in a span of 24 to 48 hours, if treatment is not initiated on time, the patient can lose his eyesight. Once it involves the brain, the mortality is approximately 80 percent," Mrig added.

Original Submission