2018-01-01 00:00:00 ..
2018-03-22 14:18:28 UTC
2018-03-23 00:10:51 UTC
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ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, today named John L. Hennessy, former President of Stanford University, and David A. Patterson, retired Professor of the University of California, Berkeley, recipients of the 2017 ACM A.M. Turing Award for pioneering a systematic, quantitative approach to the design and evaluation of computer architectures with enduring impact on the microprocessor industry. Hennessy and Patterson created a systematic and quantitative approach to designing faster, lower power, and reduced instruction set computer (RISC) microprocessors. Their approach led to lasting and repeatable principles that generations of architects have used for many projects in academia and industry. Today, 99% of the more than 16 billion microprocessors produced annually are RISC processors, and are found in nearly all smartphones, tablets, and the billions of embedded devices that comprise the Internet of Things (IoT).
Hennessy and Patterson codified their insights in a very influential book, Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach, now in its sixth edition, reaching generations of engineers and scientists who have adopted and further developed their ideas. Their work underpins our ability to model and analyze the architectures of new processors, greatly accelerating advances in microprocessor design.
Telegram, the encrypted messaging app that's prized by those seeking privacy, lost a bid before Russia's Supreme Court to block security services from getting access to users' data, giving President Vladimir Putin a victory in his effort to keep tabs on electronic communications.
Supreme Court Judge Alla Nazarova on Tuesday rejected Telegram's appeal against the Federal Security Service, the successor to the KGB spy agency which last year asked the company to share its encryption keys. Telegram declined to comply and was hit with a fine [paywall] of $14,000. Communications regulator Roskomnadzor said Telegram now has 15 days to provide the encryption keys.
[...] "Threats to block Telegram unless it gives up private data of its users won't bear fruit. Telegram will stand for freedom and privacy," Pavel Durov, the company's founder, said on his Twitter page.
Putin signed laws in 2016 on fighting terrorism, which included a requirement for messaging services to provide the authorities with means to decrypt user correspondence. Telegram challenged an auxiliary order by the Federal Security Service, claiming that the procedure doesn't involve a court order and breaches constitutional rights for privacy, according to documents.
[...] The court decision is intended to make one of the last holdouts among communications companies bow to Putin's efforts to track electronic messaging. Durov in June registered the service with the state communications watchdog after it was threatened with a ban over allegations that terrorists used it to plot a suicide-bomb attack.
What I find interesting is that Telegram has encryption keys to give them. If they do, then in my opinion they're doing it wrong.
Samsung has demonstrated 64 GB RDIMMs using 16 Gb DDR4 memory chips, and plans to make 128 GB and 256 GB modules later this year:
Samsung is demonstrating its 64 GB DDR4 memory module based on 16 Gb chips this week at the OCP U.S. Summit. The 64 GB RDIMM that the company is showcasing is designed for mainstream servers, but ultimately the design will lend itself to build 128 GB and 256 GB memory modules for high-performance servers, the company said.
Samsung's monolithic 16 Gb DDR4 DRAM chips are rated for DDR4-2666 at the industry-standard 1.2 V. The chips are produced using an advanced manufacturing technology, but Samsung does not disclose details at the moment (it is logical to expect Samsung to use its '10-nm-class' tech though). The only thing we do know is that the fabrication process and monolithic die enable 20% lower power consumption of the demonstrated 64 GB RDIMM when compared to a module of the same capacity based on 8 Gb DDR4 chips.
In addition to the new dual-rank 64 GB RDIMM module, Samsung is set to develop quad-ranked 128 GB RDIMMs and octal-ranked 256 GB LRDIMMs. Today's servers running AMD's EPYC or Intel's Xeon Scalable M-suffixed processors feature 12 or 16 memory slots - if the processors were capable of fitting all 256 GB modules, this could lead up to 4 TB per socket. This should be a massive advantage for applications like in-memory databases, virtual desktop infrastructure, and so on.
16 Gb chips may also end up being used in 32 GB memory modules for desktop users.
Also at Samsung.
The U.S. Senate just voted 97-2 to pass the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA, H.R. 1865), a bill that silences online speech by forcing Internet platforms to censor their users. As lobbyists and members of Congress applaud themselves for enacting a law tackling the problem of trafficking, let's be clear: Congress just made trafficking victims less safe, not more.
The version of FOSTA that just passed the Senate combined an earlier version of FOSTA (what we call FOSTA 2.0) with the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA, S. 1693). The history of SESTA/FOSTA—a bad bill that turned into a worse bill and then was rushed through votes in both houses of Congress—is a story about Congress' failure to see that its good intentions can result in bad law. It's a story of Congress' failure to listen to the constituents who'd be most affected by the laws it passed. It's also the story of some players in the tech sector choosing to settle for compromises and half-wins that will put ordinary people in danger.
[...] Throughout the SESTA/FOSTA debate, the bills' proponents provided little to no evidence that increased platform liability would do anything to reduce trafficking. On the other hand, the bills' opponents have presented a great deal of evidence that shutting down platforms where sexual services are advertised exposes trafficking victims to more danger.
Freedom Network USA—the largest national network of organizations working to reduce trafficking in their communities—spoke out early to express grave concerns [.pdf] that removing sexual ads from the Internet would also remove the best chance trafficking victims had of being found and helped by organizations like theirs as well as law enforcement agencies.
For years, executives at France-based Ledger have boasted their specialized hardware for storing cryptocurrencies is so securely designed that resellers or others in the supply chain can't tamper with the devices without it being painfully obvious to end users. The reason: "cryptographic attestation" that uses unforgeable digital signatures to ensure that only authorized code runs on the hardware wallet.
"There is absolutely no way that an attacker could replace the firmware and make it pass attestation without knowing the Ledger private key," officials said in 2015. Earlier this year, Ledger's CTO said attestation was so foolproof that it was safe to buy his company's devices on eBay.
On Tuesday, a 15-year-old from the UK proved these claims wrong. In a post published to his personal blog, Saleem Rashid demonstrated proof-of-concept code that had allowed him to backdoor the Ledger Nano S, a $100 hardware wallet that company marketers have said has sold by the millions. The stealth backdoor Rashid developed is a minuscule 300-bytes long and causes the device to generate pre-determined wallet addresses and recovery passwords known to the attacker. The attacker could then enter those passwords into a new Ledger hardware wallet to recover the private keys the old backdoored device stores for those addresses.
Oops. To be fair, he's a very clever 15 year old.
I'm not saying it was aliens. Not any more:
Tests on a six-inch-long mummified skeleton from Chile confirm that it represents the remains of a newborn with multiple mutations in key genes.
Despite being the size of a foetus, initial tests had suggested the bones were of a child aged six to eight.
These highly unusual features prompted wild speculation about its origin.
Now, DNA testing indicates that the estimated age of the bones and other anomalies may have been a result of the genetic mutations.
Details of the work have been published in the journal Genome Research.
In addition to its exceptionally small height, the skeleton had several unusual physical features, such as fewer than expected ribs and a cone-shaped head.
The remains were initially discovered in a pouch in the abandoned nitrate mining town of La Noria. From there, they found their way into a private collection in Spain.
Some wondered whether the remains, dubbed Ata after the Atacama region where they were discovered, could in fact be the remains of a non-human primate. A documentary, called Sirius, even suggested it could be evidence of alien visitations.
[...] "What was striking and caused us to speculate early on that there was something strange about the bones was the apparent maturity of the bones (density and shape)," said Garry Nolan, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the Stanford University School of Medicine in California.
[...] Prof Nolan says further research into Ata's precocious bone aging could one day benefit patients. "Maybe there's a way to accelerate bone growth in people who need it, people who have bad breaks,"
Whole-genome sequencing of Atacama skeleton shows novel mutations linked with dysplasia (open, DOI: 10.1101/gr.223693.117) (DX)
President Trump has signed a presidential memorandum directing the U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to draw up a list of Chinese products on which tariffs could be imposed. The list will be made public in 15 days, and tariffs will take effect after a 60-day comment period:
The US plans to impose tariffs on up to $60bn (£42.5bn) in Chinese goods and limit the country's investment in the US in retaliation for years of alleged intellectual property theft.
The White House said the actions were necessary to counter unfair competition from China's state-led economy. It said years of talks had failed to produce change. China said it was ready to retaliate with "necessary measures". Beijing also said it would "fight to the end" in any trade war with the US.
US stock markets closed lower on Thursday, as investors responded to the announcement. [...] The White House said it has a list of more than 1,000 products that could be targeted by tariffs of 25%. Businesses will have the opportunity to comment before the final list goes into effect.
Related: US Government Puts Tariffs on Imported Solar Cells, Solar Modules, and Washing Machines
Major US Solar Company Blames Job Cuts On Trump's Solar Import Tariff
U.S. Steel and Aluminum Imports to Face New Tariffs
WSBTV is reporting that a large number of City of Atlanta computers have been infected by ransomware.
The city has been experiencing outages on internal and external networks, that are affecting the ability to pay bills and access court-related information.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security are investigating, and Atlanta Information Management is working with support from Microsoft to resolve the issue
Atlanta COO Richard Cox confirmed the attack in a news conference Thursday afternoon. He said it happened at 5:40 a.m. Cox said several departments have been affected by the attack.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms warned "This is a very serious situation", "We don't know the extent, so I would ask for people to assume that you may be included." She further warned employees to monitor their bank accounts and that possible compromised information may belong to the public.
The European Space Agency's Science Programme Committee has selected ARIEL as its fourth medium-class mission for the Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 program. The spacecraft is scheduled to launch in mid-2028, and will focus on studying the atmospheres of exoplanets:
ARIEL, the Atmospheric Remote‐sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large‐survey mission, was selected by ESA today as part of its Cosmic Vision plan. [...] ARIEL will address fundamental questions on what exoplanets are made of and how planetary systems form and evolve by investigating the atmospheres of hundreds of planets orbiting different types of stars, enabling the diversity of properties of both individual planets as well as within populations to be assessed.
[...] The mission will focus on warm and hot planets, ranging from super-Earths to gas giants orbiting close to their parent stars, taking advantage of their well-mixed atmospheres to decipher their bulk composition. ARIEL will measure the chemical fingerprints of the atmospheres as the planet crosses in front of its host star, observing the amount of dimming at a precision level of 10–100 parts per million relative to the star.
The UK will lead the mission:
Ariel is likely to cost Esa about €460m (£405m) for the spacecraft chassis, the launch vehicle and operations. As is customary for science missions like this, the agency's individual member states pick up the cost of the scientific payload.
The UK will have the technical lead on the project and the instrumentation therefore will be assembled at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory at Harwell in Oxfordshire. Dr Graham Turnock, the chief executive of the UK Space Agency, said: "It is thanks to the world-leading skills of our innovative space community that a UK-led consortium has been chosen to take forward the next ESA science mission. This demonstrates what a vital role we continue to play in European collaboration on research in space."
ARIEL is expected to observe at least 500-1,000 exoplanets, compared to 150-200 for the James Webb Space Telescope during its first five years. Two other European exoplanet missions, CHEOPS and PLATO, are scheduled to launch in 2018 and 2026 respectively.
South Korea is pushing to commercialize 10-gigabit (Gb) transfer speeds for its online network systems, which is 10 times faster than [gigabit] Internet, the fastest broadband service currently available, the ICT ministry said Sunday.
The Ministry of Science and ICT said it will work closely with local IT firms to adopt 10 Gb service, considered the core technology behind fifth-generation wireless technology as well as virtual reality and augmented reality.
[...] Asia's fourth-largest economy and one of the most connected countries in the world is aiming for 50-percent coverage of 10 Gb Internet by 2022.
"Coverage" means availability. Singapore and South Korea currently lead in 1 Gbps availability (although the U.S. leads in the total number of people who could get a 1 Gbps connection):
The United States has the highest number of people with access to gigabit internet (56.4 million) with a population coverage of 17 percent. Singapore currently has the highest proportion of citizens with gigabit internet availability at 95 percent. South Korea has the second highest number of citizens with gigabit internet availability (46.7 million), representing 93 percent of its population.
Of the current gigabit installations tracked by Gigabit Monitor, unsurprisingly, 91 percent are based on fiber – with cellular connections accounting for 3.65 percent, HFC accounting for 5.26 percent, and WiFi making up less than 1 percent. However, with many launches of gigabit LTE and 5G expected in the near future, the scale of cellular gigabit connectivity is expected to change significantly.
Also at NBF.
Patients diagnosed with heart failure, stroke, infertility and kidney failure could actually be suffering from rare and undiagnosed genetic diseases.
And now researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center have found a way to search genetic data in electronic health records to identify these diseases in large populations so treatments can be tailored to the actual cause of the illness.
The implications for the findings reported today in the journal Science are broad and numerous -- 14 percent of patients with genetic variants affecting the kidney had kidney transplants and 10 percent with another variant required liver transplants.
If their genetic cause had been diagnosed, those transplants might have been avoided.
"We started with a simple idea: look for a cluster of symptoms and diseases to find an undiagnosed underlying disease," said Josh Denny, MD, MS, professor of Biomedical Informatics and Medicine and director of the Center for Precision Medicine.
"Then we got really excited when we saw how we could systematize it across thousands of genetic diseases to figure out the impact of millions of genetic variants," he said.
The new method, developed by Denny, Lisa Bastarache, MS, and a team of collaborators, creates a phenotype risk score to find patterns of symptoms that may be caused by an underlying genetic variant -- including some genetic variants whose effects were previously unknown.
[...] As genetic testing becomes more common, there is a growing need to understand the impact of genetic variants. Only a fraction of the rare genetic variants found in human beings are well understood. This study shows that looking at outcomes in electronic health records can be helpful in deciding if a variant might be disease-associated.
"Phenotype risk scoring can easily be applied in any electronic medical record system that is linked to DNA," Bastarache said. "Our work looked at only a small sample of the human genome, about 6,000 variants. The opportunity for additional discoveries using this method is huge."
If Elon Musk can increase Tesla's market value 12-fold in the next 10 years, he may be entitled to a maximum of $56 billion in stock awards (likely lower if more shares are sold to the public). This, along with the ballooning of Musk's existing $12 billion share in his company, and his stake in SpaceX and other companies, could help Musk become a Kardashev I trillionaire alongside Jeff Bezos:
A new payment plan for the CEO was approved by Tesla (TSLA) shareholders Wednesday, a spokesperson confirmed. The incentive-based package essentially states that if Musk hits a series of performance milestones between now and January 2028, and he drives his electric car company's market value 12 times higher — taking it from $54 billion to $650 billion — he'll become astronomically rich.
Now, if Musk does drive a 12-fold increase in Tesla's market value, that doesn't necessarily mean the price of a single share in the company will be 12 times larger. The company can do things like issue new stock that could dilute the value of existing shares. But let's assume Musk's Tesla stock would grow at least 10 times more valuable. That would mean just the shares Musk owns today would be worth $120 billion.
Plus, reaching the agreed upon milestones means Musk would get additional stock awards. According to the new compensation plan, Tesla estimates the value of the stock awards to be $2.6 billion, using accounting methods for estimating the cash value of stock options. But if Tesla's market value balloons just as the payment plan hopes, those stock awards could be worth nearly $56 billion, according to a public filing.
Related: Tesla Fires Hundreds of Employees
Tesla Burns More Cash, Fails to Meet Production Targets
Tesla Sued Over Alleged Racism; Deliveries Pushed Back; Semi Truck to be Unveiled
Tesla Semi Truck Will Have a 500+ Mile Range
Tesla Delivers on 100 MW Australian Battery Promise
Elon Musk Vows to Build Tesla Pickup Truck 'Right After' Model Y
Woz Likes his Tesla, Doesn't Trust Elon
Tesla Creating Huge Virtual Power Plant
Elon Musk Expects to Do Coast-to-Coast Autonomous Tesla Drive in 3 to 6 Months
Best Buy will cut ties with Huawei and stop selling Huawei products over the next few weeks. Huawei's smartphones, such as its new flagship Mate 10 Pro, are sold in the U.S. by retailers, but no U.S. wireless service provider will sell them. Now the largest electronics retailer in the U.S. is calling it quits:
The move, after similar actions from U.S. carriers including AT&T Inc, comes as U.S. scrutiny of Chinese tech firms grows amid simmering tensions over U.S.-China trade and concerns of security.
[...] Earlier this year, AT&T was forced to scrap a plan to offer Huawei handsets after some members of Congress lobbied against the idea with federal regulators, sources told Reuters. Verizon Communications Inc also ended its plans to sell Huawei phones last year, according to media reports.
Last month two Republican Senators introduced legislation that would block the U.S. government from buying or leasing telecommunications equipment from Huawei or Chinese peer ZTE Corp, citing concern the firms would use their access to spy on U.S. officials.
Previously: U.S. Lawmakers Urge AT&T to Cut Ties With Huawei
Verizon Cancels Plans to Sell Huawei Phone Due to U.S. Government Pressure
U.S. Intelligence Agency Heads Warn Against Using Huawei and ZTE Products
The U.S. Intelligence Community's Demonization of Huawei Remains Highly Hypocritical
Apple Inc. is designing and producing its own device displays for the first time, using a secret manufacturing facility near its California headquarters to make small numbers of the screens for testing purposes, according to people familiar with the situation.
The technology giant is making a significant investment in the development of next-generation MicroLED screens, say the people, who requested anonymity to discuss internal planning. MicroLED screens use different light-emitting compounds than the current OLED displays and promise to make future gadgets slimmer, brighter and less power-hungry.
The screens are far more difficult to produce than OLED displays, and the company almost killed the project a year or so ago, the people say. Engineers have since been making progress and the technology is now at an advanced stage, they say, though consumers will probably have to wait a few years before seeing the results.
[...] Right now smartphones and other gadgets essentially use off-the-shelf display technology. The Apple Watch screen is made by LG Display. Ditto for Google's larger Pixel phone. The iPhone X, Apple's first OLED phone, uses Samsung technology. Phone manufacturers tweak screens to their specifications, and Apple has for years calibrated iPhone screens for color accuracy. But this marks the first time Apple is designing screens end-to-end itself.
MicroLEDs could have several advantages over today's OLEDs:
microLED, also known as micro-LED, mLED or µLED, is an emerging flat panel display technology. As the name implies, microLED displays consist of arrays of microscopic LEDs forming the individual pixel elements. When compared to the widespread LCD technology, microLED displays offer better contrast, response times, and energy efficiency. [...] Unlike OLED, microLED is based on conventional GaN LED technology, which offers far higher total brightness than OLED produces, as much as 30 times, as well as higher efficiency in terms of lux/W. It also does not suffer from the shorter lifetimes of OLED.
Also at 9to5Mac.
It looks like a fish, moves like a fish, but it's definitely a robot. It's name is SoFi (short for soft robotic fish), and according to its creators at MIT's computer science and AI lab CSAIL, it's the most versatile bot of its kind. And with its built-in cameras, scientists should be able to use SoFi to get close to the ocean's inhabitants without spooking them — hopefully giving us greater insight into the lives of under-observed sea creatures.
SoFi is not the first robot fish designed for scientific use, but it does bring together a number of different innovations that give it a unique advantage. For a start, its housing is made from molded and 3D printed plastics, meaning it's cheap and fast to fabricate. It's got a built-in buoyancy tank full of compressed air that means it can adjust its depth and linger at specific points in the water column (good for stakeouts). It's also got a custom control system, which uses coded audio bursts to transmit instructions from a human operator. SoFi can swim semi-autonomously, and will keep going in a specific direction without oversight, but a handler can steer it left or right, up and down, using a modified SNES controller.
Most important, though, is SoFi's propulsion system. This is a powerful hydraulic actuator that pumps water in and out of a pair of internal chambers, moving its tail fin back and forth. Not only is this quieter than using propellors like a submarine, but it's also less dangerous, as there are no sharp moving parts, and better camouflage. A hydraulic tail is quiet and looks just like the real thing. (Or should that be the real fin.)
Also at NYT.