2020-01-01 00:00:00 ..
2020-06-30 21:00:33 UTC
2020-07-01 02:02:58 UTC
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Now, after nearly 25 years of work by chemists at the University of California, Berkeley, those hydrocarbon bonds -- two-thirds of all the chemical bonds in petroleum and plastics -- have fully yielded, opening the door to the synthesis of a large range of novel organic molecules, including drugs based on natural compounds.
"Carbon-hydrogen bonds are usually part of the framework, the inert part of a molecule," said John Hartwig, the Henry Rapoport Chair in Organic Chemistry at UC Berkeley. "It has been a challenge and a holy grail of synthesis to be able to do reactions at these positions because, until now, there has been no reagent or catalyst that will allow you to add anything at the strongest of these bonds."
Hartwig and other researchers had previously shown how to add new chemical groups at C-H bonds that are easier to break, but they could only add them to the strongest positions of simple hydrocarbon chains.
In the May 15 issue of the journal Science, Hartwig and his UC Berkeley colleagues described how to use a newly designed catalyst to add functional chemical groups to the hardest of the carbon-hydrogen bonds to crack: the bonds, typically at the head or tail of a molecule, where a carbon has three attached hydrogen atoms, what's called a methyl group (CH3).
"The primary C-H bonds, the ones on a methyl group at the end of a chain, are the least electron-rich and the strongest," he said. "They tend to be the least reactive of the C-H bonds."
UC Berkeley postdoctoral fellow Raphael Oeschger discovered a new version of a catalyst based on the metal iridium that opens up one of the three C-H bonds at a terminal methyl group and inserts a boron compound, which can be easily replaced with more complex chemical groups. The new catalyst was more than 50 times more efficient than previous catalysts and just as easy to work with.
"We now have the ability to do these types of reactions, which should enable people to rapidly make molecules that they would not have made before," Hartwig said. "I wouldn't say these are molecules that could not have been made before, but people wouldn't make them because it would take too long, too much time and research effort, to make them."
The payoff could be huge. Each year, nearly a billion pounds of hydrocarbons are used by industry to make solvents, refrigerants, fire retardants and other chemicals and are the typical starting point for synthesizing drugs.
Raphael Oeschger, Bo Su, Isaac Yu, Christian Ehinger, Erik Romero, Sam He, John Hartwig. Diverse functionalization of strong alkyl C–H bonds by undirected borylation. Science, 2020; 368 (6492): 736 DOI: 10.1126/science.aba6146
Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:
A major UK government-funded research study suggests particles released from vehicle tyres could be a significant and previously largely unrecorded source of microplastics in the marine environment.
The study is one of the first worldwide to identify tyre particles as a major and additional source of microplastics. Scientists have previously discovered microplastics, originating from microbeads in cosmetics and the degradation of larger items such as carrier bags and plastic bottles, in marine environments globally—from the deep seas to the Arctic.
Following the government's ban on rinse off microbeads, which is one of the toughest in the world, the Defra-funded study [Defra - Dept for the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs] led by the University of Plymouth now reveals vital new information that will improve our scientific understanding of how tiny particles from tyres, synthetic fibres from clothing and maritime gear also enter the ocean.
[...] The study shows the tyre particles can be transported directly to the ocean through the atmosphere, or carried by rainwater into rivers and sewers, where they can pass through the water treatment process. Researchers estimate this could place around 100million m² of the UK's river network—and more than 50million m² of estuarine and coastal waters—at risk of contamination by tyre particles.
Its findings also highlight some of the optimal places for intervention, for example, that fitting filters to washing machines could be less effective than changing fabric designs to reduce fibre loss, with another study at the University having recently shown that normal wear and tear when wearing clothes is just as significant a source of microplastic pollution as release from laundering.
[...] "What this study also does is provide further evidence of the complex problems posed by microplastic pollution. We have looked at three pathways and shown that all of them are substantive pathways to the environment. As we work to understand their potential distribution and impacts it is important to also work together with industry and policy makers to identify potential solutions which may include changes in behaviour, changes in product design and waste management."
NB: Video feed is live right now. Launch is scheduled for 1.5 hours from the time this story goes live, i.e.the launch has an instantaneous launch of 20:43 UTC or 16:43 EDT. See yesterday's stories about this launch and for a timeline and additional background information:
According to a tweet by Eric Berger (Ars Technica's writer on all things Space and Weather):
Updated: The plan is to press ahead with today's countdown. Significant weather concerns remain, but there's a chance. The crew will suit up, and SpaceX will continue to prepare the Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon for liftoff at 4:33pm ET.
In other words, should the weather prove to be acceptable at the scheduled launch time, they want to be ready to go.
For today's mission, we need to track weather both at the launch site for liftoff, and down range in case of potential emergencies with the rocket during the countdown or after it launches.
[...] For Kennedy Space Center and SpaceX's Launch Complex 39A, there are 12 different criteria near the pad that must be met before a launch can proceed. These include sustained winds of 30mph or below, no anvil thunderstorm clouds within 10 nautical miles, and various rules about clouds.
When the 45th Space Wing at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida provides the official forecast for a launch, it is basing its percentage solely on conditions for a particular rocket and weather at the launch site. This morning's updated forecast for today's launch attempt of SpaceX's Crew Dragon is decent, with a 50 percent chance of "violating weather constraints" at the time of launch.
However, this forecast does not include several other important considerations, most notably ascent abort weather. This is a really big concern today with the formation of Tropical Storm Bertha off the coast of South Carolina and unsettled weather in Dragon's path.
Assuming the weather cooperates, check out any of these live video links:
The combination of racing drivers and esports is turning out to be full of drama. When COVID-19 put a stop to real-world racing in March, professional series moved the action, using sims like iRacing and rFactor 2 along with streaming platforms like Twitch to give drivers something to do and fans something to watch. But the transition hasn't been a smooth one for some of the professional drivers, particularly those who had little interest or experience in the simulation side of things before the pandemic.
Audi's Daniel Abt is the latest to discover that it's not just a game when you're being paid to show up. The latest incident took place on Saturday in Formula E's Race at Home challenge, where the sport's real-world stars show up to compete in rFactor 2 to raise money for UNICEF. Set in a virtual version of Berlin's Tempelhof airport, Abt qualified well and raced to third place, a performance that was in stark contrast to his previous esports races. This, and the fact that he was obscured from view in his video feed, raised suspicions among some of the other drivers.
Those suspicions had merit. When the esports race organizers investigated, they checked IP address data and discovered the presence of a ringer—sim racing professional Lorenz Hoerzing, who raced pretending to be Abt. Disqualified from the race, Abt was ordered to donate $10,817 (€10,000) to charity. (Hoerzing was also stripped of his sixth-place finish in the companion event held for professional sim racers, and banned from competing in that series again.) After admitting he swapped in Hoerzing, Abt apologized in a statement on Sunday.
"I would like to apologize to Formula E, all of the fans, my team and my fellow drivers for having called in outside help during the race on Saturday. I didn't take it as seriously as I should have. I'm especially sorry about this, because I know how much work has gone into this project on the part of the Formula E organization. I am aware that my offense has a bitter aftertaste, but it was never meant with any bad intention. Of course, I accept the disqualification from the race. In addition, I will donate 10,000 Euros to a charitable project," he said.
[...] While these esports sim racers might just be a game to some, racing drivers are professional athletes under contract to big organizations. And when you're being paid to represent a big brand, there are consequences for making it look bad. Unsporting conduct, smoking weed, and even speaking out politically will get you in hot water in professional esports, and although Abt wasn't signed by Audi to play rFactor 2, he was still representing the organization—which bears his family name, no less—on Saturday. At a time when Twitch streams are bringing many racing stars closer to their fans, it seems like a shame that drivers of the caliber of da Costa and Vanthoor are retreating over someone else's mistake.
US lawmakers will get another vote on whether the FBI must get a warrant before agents can search Americans' search and web-browsing histories.
House reps Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Warren Davidson (R-OH) led the effort over the Memorial Day weekend to propose tacking an amendment onto the proposed USA FREEDOM Act, which is before the House of Representatives. The USA FREEDOM Act, if renewed as it stands, reauthorizes various USA PATRIOT Act surveillance programs.
One cause for concern is the lack of requirement, in section 215 of the legislation, for the Feds to get a search warrant before requesting access to people's internet activities from their ISPs.
Lofgren et al want the House to vote on amending the USA Freedom Act to include that requirement. The act has already passed the Senate without the warrant requirement, though if the House succeeds in tacking on the caveat, the Senate will have to consider it, too.
"After extensive bicameral, bipartisan deliberations, there will be a vote to include a final significant reform to Section 215 that protects Americans' civil liberties," Lofgren said in a statement on Tuesday.
"Our internet activity opens a window into the most sensitive areas of our private life, and, this week, Representatives will be able to vote to prevent the government from using Section 215 to collect the websites we visit, the videos we watch and the searches we make."
The House vote on the amendment will follow a similar attempt to add a warrant requirement in the Senate earlier this month, which fell by a single vote, and caused uproar. One of the authors of that proposed proviso in the Senate, Ron Wyden (D-OR), praised Lofgren for getting the issue on the floor of Congress again:
"I applaud Representative Lofgren for securing a vote on my amendment to ban warrantless collection of Americans' internet activity," the senator said. "There are few things more private than where a person goes on the internet, or what they search for online, so the government must obtain a warrant to get that information. I urge the House to pass it, and the Senate to follow suit."
Updated Users visiting eBay have spotted that the website runs port scans against their computer, using the localhost address to inspect what may be running on your machine.
Fraud is a big issue for eBay, and if the purpose of scanning for remote-control access ports is an attempt to detect criminals logged into a user's computer in order to impersonate them on the tat bazaar, it could have some value. The behaviour, however, was described as "clearly malicious" by security researcher Charles Belmer.
The script attempts WebSocket connections to a number of ports, including 3389 (Microsoft remote desktop), 5931 (Ammy Admin remote desktop), 6333 (VNC remote connection), 7070 (realAudio and Apple QuickTime streaming) and more. The script is running locally so it is not testing for ports exposed to the internet, but rather for what is running on your local network. The port scanning script does not always run. We have only seen it run on Windows, and normally only on the first visit to eBay after some unspecified period.
It is odd, though: not all the code is obfuscated, so if the script's creators really wanted to cover their tracks they could have done a better job.
Nemec did discover several points of interest, however. One is that the source of the script, called check.js, is src.ebay-us.com, which is a CNAME record pointing at h-ebay.online-metrix.net, which belongs to an organisation called ThreatMetrix Inc, part of LexisNexis Risk Solutions.
Following the scan, Nemec observed, the web page requests images, again from the Threat Metrix domain, which return a 204 code meaning "no content". The payload is in the argument accompanying the requests, which when decrypted contains the results of the port scan and other information, including the user agent (browser identifier), public IP address, and "other data, signatures and things I don't recognize," said Nemec.
[...] Updated to add
eBay got back to us to say that it is "committed to creating an experience on our sites and services that is safe, secure and trustworthy," though it has not responded to any specific concerns over privacy or security. We understand that the reason for the port scanning script is fraud prevention, seemingly by flagging up machines that may be under remote control by miscreants.
Twitter said Tuesday that it added a label to President Donald Trump's tweets for containing "potentially misleading information about voting processes," a rare move that shows the social media company is taking a tougher stance against misinformation.
It's the first time that Twitter has displayed a label on Trump's tweets.
On Tuesday, Trump tweeted that "There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-in-Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent," a claim that has been debunked by fact-checkers and news organizations. He continues his remarks in another tweet, stating that it will be a "Rigged election."
A label appears under both tweets that states "Get the facts about mail-in ballots." Clicking on the warning notice directs users to a page that states that fact-checkers say there isn't any evidence that mail-in ballots are linked to voter fraud. Trump also falsely states in the tweets that California will send mail-in ballots to "anyone living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there" when only registered voters will receive ballots. States such as Oregon, Utah and Washington have long conducted elections by mail only, while states such as Nebraska allow any voter to request a ballot and vote by mail without having to provide a reason.
A Twitter spokeswoman said in a statement that the decision is in line with how the company approaches misinformation on its site, which includes adding warning notices and labels depending on the likelihood and severity of harm a tweet could cause.
Twitter's actions against Trump's tweets will also likely increase tensions between the company and conservative users, who allege that the social network suppresses their speech. Twitter has repeatedly denied those allegations. Earlier this month, Trump tweeted that the "Radical Left" is in control of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google and said his administration is working on a solution.
In two tweets, Trump accused Twitter of interfering in the 2020 US presidential election.
"Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!," he tweeted.
The 'Cow' is not alone; with the help of W. M. Keck Observatory on Maunakea in Hawaii, astronomers have discovered two more like it—the 'Koala' and a similar mysterious bright object called CSS161010. This trio of fast blue optical transients (FBOTs) appear to be relatives, all belonging to a highly-luminous family that has a track record for surprising astronomers with their fast, powerful bursts of energy.
The 'Koala,' which is a nickname derived from the tail end of its official name ZTF18abvkwla, suddenly appeared as a bright new source in the optical sky before disappearing within just a few nights. A team of astronomers at Caltech realized this behavior was similar to the 'Cow' and requested radio observations to see if the two were connected.
"When I reduced the data, I thought I made a mistake," said Anna Ho, graduate student of astronomy at Caltech and lead author of the study. "The 'Koala' resembled the 'Cow' but the radio emission was ten times brighter—as bright as a gamma-ray burst!"
Ho and her research team's paper is published in today's issue of The Astrophysical Journal.
Another cosmic explosion of this type, CSS161010, fascinated a team of astronomers led by Northwestern University. Based on radio observations, they calculated this transient launched material into space faster than 0.55 times the speed of light.
"This was unexpected," said Deanne Coppejans, postdoctoral associate at Northwestern University and lead author of the study on CSS161010. "We know of energetic stellar explosions that can eject material at almost the speed of light, specifically gamma-ray bursts, but they only launch a small amount of mass—about 1 millionth the mass of the Sun. CSS161010 launched 1 to 10 percent the mass of the Sun to relativistic speeds—evidence that this is a new class of transient!"
Coppejans and her team's paper is published in today's issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
These three strange events make up a new subtype of FBOTs, which first dazzled the world in the summer of 2018 when the 'Cow,' short for AT2018cow, exploded in the sky.
Three months later, Ho's team captured the 'Koala.' Though the 'Cow' was the first to make world headlines, CSS161010 was actually the first FBOT discovered with luminous radio and X-ray emission, but astronomers did not know how to interpret these findings yet.
"At that time, there was really no theoretical model that predicted bright radio emission from bright FBOTs," said Coppejans. "It wasn't until we conducted follow-up radio and X-ray observations that the true nature of CSS161010 revealed itself. Seeing it at these wavelengths is important because the data showed we were looking at something new and highly energetic."
What makes these luminous FBOTs strange is they look like supernova explosions, but flare up and vanish much faster. They're also extremely hot, making them appear bluer
D. L. Coppejans et al. A Mildly Relativistic Outflow from the Energetic, Fast-rising Blue Optical Transient CSS161010 in a Dwarf Galaxy, The Astrophysical Journal (2020). DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/ab8cc7
Latest version of UnC0ver uses unpatched zero-day exploit to take complete control of devices, even those running iOS 13.5.
A hacker team has released a new method to jailbreak iPhones that they claim uses a zero-day exploit that allows them to jailbreak iPhones running iOS 11 through Apple's most recent version of its mobile operating system – iOS 13.5.
Calling it a "big milestone for jailbreaking," one of its creators, a hacker called Pwn20wnd, heralded the new jailbreak release on Twitter, claiming it's the first zero-day jailbreak for the iPhone platform since iOS 8.
Hackers did not disclose the details of the unpatched iOS flaw their tool relied on. One report on Vice Motherboard said the jailbreak takes advantage of a kernel vulnerability. No matter, the hacker team expect Apple to eventually patch the flaw which is just the "nature" of the business, Pwn20wnd said in the report.
"Even when they release a patch, users can downgrade to the previous iOS version for about two weeks usually, and after that, the users should stay on their versions so that the jailbreak keeps working," according to the hacking team's report of the jailbreak posted to the Unc0ver website. The jailbreak only works on iPhones running iOS 11 through iOS 13.5 and does not work on iOS versions 12.3 to 12.3.2 and 12.4.2 to 12.4.5.
The new jailbreak enables "unrestricted storage access to jailbreak applications for sandbox backwards compatibility," while leaving security restrictions enabled for system and user applications in place, the team said. The new tools also update Phone Rebel case models and bundled packages.
A renowned iPhone hacking team has released a new "jailbreak" tool that unlocks every iPhone, even the most recent models running the latest iOS 13.5.
For as long as Apple has kept up its "walled garden" approach to iPhones by only allowing apps and customizations that it approves, hackers have tried to break free from what they call the "jail," hence the name "jailbreak." Hackers do this by finding a previously undisclosed vulnerability in iOS that break through some of the many restrictions that Apple puts in place to prevent access to the underlying software. Apple says it does this for security. But jailbreakers say breaking through those restrictions allows them to customize their iPhones more than they would otherwise, in a way that most Android users are already accustomed to.
Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:
As physicists developed plans for building an electron-ion collider (EIC)—a next-generation nuclear physics facility to be built at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory for nuclear physics research—they explored various options for accelerating the beams of electrons. One approach, developed by scientists at Brookhaven Lab and Stony Brook University, was to use an energy-recovery linear accelerator (ERL). The ERL would bring the electrons up to the energy needed to probe the inner structure of protons and atomic nuclei, and then decelerate the electrons and reuse most of their energy. The R&D to develop the innovative ERL may end up having a major impact in a different area of physics—high-energy particle physics, where the power needs make its energy-saving features particularly attractive.
"The power consumption of scientific instruments for particle physics experiments has steadily increased. To perform sustainable research, physicists are investigating ways to reduce that power consumption," said Thomas Roser, head of Brookhaven Lab's Collider-Accelerator Department, one of the scientists developing the ERL approach.
In a paper just published in the journal Physics Letters B, the authors describe how their innovations could tame the power requirements of an electron-positron (e-e+) collider—a next-generation high-energy particle physics research facility under discussion for possible future construction in Europe.
[...] The Brookhaven and Stony Brook physicists say their energy-recovery and beam-recycling ERL components could solve key problems of both alternate designs. As described in the new paper, it would cut the electric power needed to operate the 100-km ring-shaped facility under discussion in Europe to one third of what would be required without an ERL. And, by refreshing particle beams while recovering and reusing their energy, it would eliminate the need to dump and replace beams while still allowing single-pass collisions of tightly packed particles for maximum physics impact.
Vladimir N. Litvinenko et al. High-energy high-luminosity e+e− collider using energy-recovery linacs, Physics Letters B (2020). DOI: 10.1016/j.physletb.2020.135394
YouTube is automatically deleting comments that contain certain Chinese-language phrases related to criticism of the country's ruling Communist Party (CCP). The company confirmed to The Verge this was happening in error and that it was looking into the issue.
"This appears to be an error in our enforcement systems and we are investigating," said a YouTube spokesperson. The company did not elaborate on how or why this error came to be, but said it was not the result of any change in its moderation policy.
[...] Comments left under videos or in live streams that contain the words "共匪" ("communist bandit") or "五毛" ("50-cent party") are automatically deleted in around 15 seconds, though their English language translations and Romanized Pinyin equivalents are not.
[...] The accidental censorship is even more puzzling considering that YouTube is currently blocked in China, giving its parent company, Google, even less reason to censor comments critical of the CCP or apply moderation systems in accordance with Chinese censorship laws.
The automatic deletion of these phrases was highlighted on Tuesday by US technologist and former Oculus founder Palmer Luckey on Twitter. But earlier reports of the issue date back to the middle of May when they were spotted by human rights activist Jennifer Zeng. As mentioned above, though, The Verge also found complaints on YouTube's official help pages dated to October 2019.
Shadows of Project Dragonfly.
For background on the launch, please see: Spacex - Crew Dragon Demo 2 Launch - 2020-05-27 20:33 UTC (16:33 EDT)
Here is the timeline for the upcoming SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo-2 launch slated for an instantaneous launch window of 2020-05-27 20:33 UTC (16:33 EDT):
(Note: all times are approximate)
Min/Sec Event T-45:00 SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for propellant load T-42:00 Crew access arm retracts T-37:00 Dragon's launch escape system is armed T-35:00 RP-1 (rocket grade kerosene) loading begins T-35:00 1st stage LOX (liquid oxygen) loading begins T-16:00 2nd stage LOX loading begins T-07:00 Falcon 9 begins engine chill prior to launch T-05:00 Dragon transitions to internal power T-01:00 Command flight to begin final prelaunch checks T-01:00 Propellant tank pressurization to flight pressure begins T-00:45 SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for launch T-00:03 Engine controller commands engine ignition sequence to start T-00:00 Falcon 9 liftoff Min/Sec Event T+00:58 Max Q (moment of peak mechanical stress on the rocket) T+02:33 1st stage main engine cutoff (MECO) T+02:36 1st and 2nd stages separate T+02:44 2nd stage engine starts T+07:15 1st stage entry burn T+08:47 2nd stage engine cutoff (SECO-1) T+08:52 1st stage landing burn T+09:22 1st stage landing T+12:00 Dragon separates from 2nd stage T+12:46 Dragon nosecone open sequence begins
(NB: A timeline of events before and after the launch are at SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo-2 Launch Timeline)
Crew Dragon Demo-2 (officially known as SpaceX Demo-2) will be the first crewed test flight of the Crew Dragon spacecraft, scheduled for launch to the International Space Station on 27 May 2020 at 20:33:33 UTC (4:33:33 PM EDT). Demo-2 will be the first crewed orbital spaceflight launched from the United States since the final Space Shuttle mission, STS-135, in 2011, on which Douglas (Doug) G. Hurley was the pilot. Hurley will be spacecraft commander on Crew Dragon Demo-2, joined by Robert (Bob) L. Behnken as joint operations commander. Crew Dragon Demo-2 will also be the first two-person orbital spaceflight launched from the United States since STS-4 in 1982.
SpaceX is targeting Wednesday, May 27 for Falcon 9’s launch of Crew Dragon’s second demonstration (Demo-2) mission from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This test flight with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on board the Dragon spacecraft will return human spaceflight to the United States.
The instantaneous launch window opens at 4:33 p.m. EDT, or 20:33 UTC, with backup instantaneous launch opportunities available on Saturday, May 30 at 3:22 p.m. EDT, or 19:22 UTC, and on Sunday, May 31 at 3:00 p.m. EDT, or 19:00 UTC. Tune in here[*] to watch the launch webcast. Coverage will begin about 4 hours before liftoff.
Demo-2 is the final major test for SpaceX’s human spaceflight system to be certified by NASA for operational crew missions to and from the International Space Station. SpaceX is returning human spaceflight to the United States with one of the safest, most advanced systems ever built, and NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is a turning point for America’s future in space exploration that lays the groundwork for future missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.
All Times Are Approximate
Once in orbit, the crew and SpaceX mission control will verify the spacecraft is performing as intended by testing the environmental control and life support systems, the maneuvering thrusters, and thermal control systems, among other things. Crew Dragon will perform a series of phasing maneuvers to position itself for rendezvous and docking with the International Space Station.
The spacecraft is designed to do this autonomously. However, astronauts on board the spacecraft and the space station will be diligently monitoring approach and docking, and can take control of the spacecraft if necessary.
Upon conclusion of the mission, Crew Dragon will autonomously undock with the two astronauts onboard the spacecraft and depart the Space Station. After jettisoning the trunk and conducting its deorbit burn, which lasts approximately 12 minutes, Dragon will reenter Earth’s atmosphere.
Upon splashdown just off Florida’s Atlantic Coast, Dragon and the astronauts will be quickly recovered by one of SpaceX’s recovery vessels and returned to Cape Canaveral.
Researchers at Delft University of Technology have developed a sensor that is only 11 atoms in size. The sensor is capable of capturing magnetic waves and consists of an antenna, a readout capability, a reset button and a memory unit. The researchers hope to use their atomic sensor to learn more about the behaviour of magnetic waves, so that hopefully such waves can one day be used in green ICT applications.
In theory, engineers can make electronic data processing much more efficient by switching to spintronics. Instead of using electrical signals, this technology makes use of magnetic signals to transmit data. Unfortunately, magnetism tends to get incredibly complicated, especially at the tiny scale of computer chips. A magnetic wave can be viewed as millions of compass needles performing a complex collective dance. Not only do the waves propagate extremely quickly, causing them to vanish in mere nanoseconds, the tricky laws of quantum mechanics also allow them to travel in multiple directions at the same time. This makes them even more elusive.
Elbertse, R.J.G., Coffey, D., Gobeil, J., et al. Remote detection and recording of atomic-scale spin dynamics, (DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.3759448)
The sensor is intended to help make progress with spintronics.
Today for Arm's 2020 TechDay announcements, the company is not just releasing a single new CPU microarchitecture, but two. The long-expected Cortex-A78 is indeed finally making an appearance, but Arm is also introducing its new Cortex-X1 CPU as the company's new flagship performance design. The move is not only surprising, but marks an extremely important divergence in Arm's business model and design methodology, finally addressing some of the company's years-long product line compromises.
[...] The new Cortex-A78 pretty much continues Arm's traditional design philosophy, that being that it's built with a stringent focus on a balance between performance, power, and area (PPA). PPA is the name of the game for the wider industry, and here Arm is pretty much the leading player on the scene, having been able to provide extremely competitive performance at with low power consumption and small die areas. These design targets are the bread & butter of Arm as the company has an incredible range of customers who aim for very different product use-cases – some favoring performance while some other have cost as their top priority.
All in all (we'll get into the details later), the Cortex-A78 promises a 20% improvement in sustained performance under an identical power envelope. This figure is meant to be a product performance projection, combining the microarchitecture's improvements as well as the upcoming 5nm node advancements. The IP should represent a pretty straightforward successor to the already big jump that were the A76 and A77.
[...] The Cortex-X1 was designed within the frame of a new program at Arm, which the company calls the "Cortex-X Custom Program". The program is an evolution of what the company had previously already done with the "Built on Arm Cortex Technology" program released a few years ago. As a reminder, that license allowed customers to collaborate early in the design phase of a new microarchitecture, and request customizations to the configurations, such as a larger re-order buffer (ROB), differently tuned prefetchers, or interface customizations for better integrations into the SoC designs. Qualcomm was the predominant benefactor of this license, fully taking advantage of the core re-branding options.
[...] At the end of the day, what we're getting are two different microarchitectures – both designed by the same team, and both sharing the same fundamental design blocks – but with the A78 focusing on maximizing the PPA metric and having a big focus on efficiency, while the new Cortex-X1 is able to maximize performance, even if that means compromising on higher power usage or a larger die area.
While Cortex-A78 will only improve performance by around 7% from microarchitectural changes alone, Cortex-X1 will improve performance by up to 30% due to a wider design, doubling of most cache sizes, and other changes. Cortex-X1 cores are also expected to reach 3 GHz on a "5nm" node, delivering even more performance. The Cortex-X1 cores could use up to 50-100% more power than Cortex-A77/A78. Cores could be arranged in a 1+3+4 or 2+2+4 setup of Cortex-X1, Cortex-A78, and Cortex-A55 cores.