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Intel Delivers First Exascale Supercomputer to Argonne National Laboratory

Intel Corporation and Cray Inc. have announced that a Cray "Shasta" system will be the first U.S. exascale supercomputer. This $500 million Aurora supercomputer will be coming to the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory in 2021 and will have a performance of one exaFLOP - a quintillion floating point operations per second. In addition, this system is designed to enable the convergence of traditional HPC, data analytics, and artificial intelligence -- at exascale. The program contract is valued at more than $100 million for Cray, one of the largest contracts in the company's history. The design of the Aurora system calls for 200 Shasta cabinets, Cray's software stack optimized for Intel architectures, Cray Slingshot interconnect, as well as next generation Intel technology innovations in compute processor, memory and storage technologies. Intel's Rajeeb Hazra detailed some of the futuristic technology coming to Aurora including a future generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor, the recently announced Intel Xe compute architecture, and Intel Optane DC persistent memory. "Today is an important day not only for the team of technologists and scientists who have come together to build our first exascale computer -- but also for all of us who are committed to American innovation and manufacturing," said Bob Swan, Intel CEO. "The convergence of AI and high-performance computing is an enormous opportunity to address some of the world's biggest challenges and an important catalyst for economic opportunity."

The Aurora system's exaFLOP of performance -- equal to a "quintillion" floating point computations per second -- combined with an ability to handle both traditional high-performance computing (HPC) and artificial intelligence (AI) will give researchers an unprecedented set of tools to address scientific problems at exascale. These breakthrough research projects range from developing extreme-scale cosmological simulations, discovering new approaches for drug response prediction and discovering materials for the creation of more efficient organic solar cells. The Aurora system will foster new scientific innovation and usher in new technological capabilities, furthering the United States' scientific leadership position globally.

Posted by cageymaru March 18, 2019 3:24 PM (CDT)

Get Ready for Targeted Ads on Your Smart TV

Disney, Comcast, NBCUniversal, and other top media companies have teamed up with VIZIO for a new standard that will bring targeted ads to television viewers. VIZIO, which recently lost $2.2 million after being caught tracking and selling viewing data using software on its Smart TVs, claims targeted ads, which are "relevant" to the household, will "drastically enhance" the viewing experience.

The companies are calling themselves a consortium, and they've dubbed this "Project OAR," or Open Addressable Ready. Once developed, the new, open standard will make it possible for all connected TV companies to sell targeted ads in scheduled and on-demand programs. While this will theoretically make ads more successful and therefore more valuable, it also means viewers' data will be shared with third parties. That raises the usual data privacy concerns.

Posted by Megalith March 17, 2019 2:45 PM (CDT)

NVIDIA: RTX GPUs, High-Refresh-Rate Monitors Can Improve Your Kill-Death Ratio

If only to convince gamers to upgrade their GPUs and displays, NVIDIA has published new data supporting the obvious idea that better hardware improves player performance in Battle Royale titles such as Fortnite and Apex Legends. Essentially, players who can manage 144 fps score significantly higher than those limited to 60 fps: the company’s graphs suggest its RTX cards can increase K/D ratio by as much as 53%, while playing on 240 Hz and 144 Hz monitors can improve K/D ratio by 34% and 51%, respectively.

NVIDIA used more than a million sample points collected via anonymous GeForce Experience data, and then analyzed the data (which means no AMD cards). Specifically, NVIDIA is looking at player performance in two popular battle royale games: PUBG and Fortnite. How do you quantify player performance? NVIDIA looked at kill/death ratio and matched that up with number of hours played per week, then finally broke that down into graphics hardware and monitor refresh rate. NVIDIA limited its analysis to 1080p, which provides for the highest refresh rates and also serves to normalize things a bit.

Posted by Megalith March 09, 2019 10:05 AM (CST)

ScaleMP and AMD Announce Collaboration for Scale-Up EPYC Servers

ScaleMP is a leading provider of virtualization solutions such as vSMP Foundation 9.0 for high-end computing. ScaleMP has announced that it is working together with AMD to enable AMD server OEM manufacturers to create systems with 4, 8, and up to 128 processor sockets, up to 8,192 CPUs and 256 terabytes of shared memory. With EPYC processor-based servers available from many leading server vendors, ScaleMP and AMD have partnered to enable cloud, hyperscale, enterprise, and HPC customers to benefit from the superior value provided by AMD EPYC processors, with ScaleMP offering both fabric-based as well as storage-class-memory solutions.

"Supporting AMD-based servers has always been a goal of ours, as AMD has a long history of offering powerful, yet cost-effective solutions. We see a natural fit for ScaleMP technologies and AMD processors, especially with the strong demand for scale-up systems based on AMD EPYC processors," said Shai Fultheim, founder and CEO of ScaleMP. "Through this collaboration, ScaleMP enables AMD customers to create scale-up servers that will deliver breakthrough performance and help lower the TCO for organizations -- enabling customers to use more of their budget for their applications and tackle the most demanding workloads while enjoying a broader choice of multi-socket servers."

Posted by cageymaru March 06, 2019 6:28 PM (CST)

FedEx Unveils Delivery Robots

FedEx just unveiled a robot designed to make "last mile" deliveries without a (human) driver. SameDay Bot, as they call it, features a set of pivoting wheels that allow it to climb shallow stairs, traverse rough sidewalks, and move at speeds of up to 10 miles an hour, according to Reuters' report. FedEx says its working with partners like Walmart, Pizza Hut, AutoZone and Target to determine if "autonomous delivery to them is a viable option for fast, cheap deliveries." This robot can't throw your packages like a FedEx delivery man can, but don't worry, researchers are working on that too.

FedEx is teaming up with DEKA Development & Research Corp, whose founder Dean Kamen invented the Segway stand-up scooter and iBot stair-climbing wheelchair, for its project. The delivery company said the robots could become part of its SameDay service that operates in 1,900 cities around the world... The project must win approval in test cities, including the shipper's hometown of Memphis, and the first deliveries will be between FedEx office stores.

Posted by alphaatlas February 27, 2019 12:35 PM (CST)

How Facebook Tracks Your Ovulation and Heart Rate Through Apps

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that apps are sending sensitive information to Facebook through the Facebook SDK. The Facebook SDK makes it easy for app writers to share information with Facebook through a built-in analytics service called "App Events." 17.6% of the apps on Apple's App Store and 25.4% of the apps on the Google Play Store use the Facebook SDK. These apps are collecting your data to "allow apps to better understand their users' behavior or to collect data to sell targeted advertising." Facebook says it didn't know that health information was being collected and shared as this is violates their policies. Facebook collects the information for market research and advertising campaigns. Users do not even need a Facebook account for their information to be shared with the social media giant. Some of the apps analyzed by The Wall Street Journal shared information such as weight, height, women's period, length of cycle, ovulation, heart rate, when women desire to get pregnant, location and prices of home listings; including which were marked as favorites. Other information shared include; unique advertising identifier that can be matched to a device or profile, email address, which part of the body a person has issues with in regards to weight loss and many other interactions. Within seconds of entering information into an app, Facebook is sent a copy of the information. "Facebook can often match that data with actual Facebook users."

Facebook said some of the data sharing uncovered by the Journal's testing appeared to violate its business terms, which instruct app developers not to send it "health, financial information or other categories of sensitive information." Facebook said it is telling apps flagged by the Journal to stop sending information its users might regard as sensitive. The company said it may take additional action if the apps don't comply. "We require app developers to be clear with their users about the information they are sharing with us," a Facebook spokeswoman said. She said Facebook automatically deletes some sensitive data it might receive, such as Social Security numbers.

Posted by cageymaru February 22, 2019 2:59 PM (CST)

No Link between Violent Video Games and Increased Aggression in Teens, Study Finds

In one of the most "definitive" studies to date, Oxford University has concluded that while video games can provoke "angry feelings or reactions," there was "no correlation found between playing video games and aggressive behaviour in teenagers." Lead researcher and professor Andrew Przybylski accuses previous studies of using cherry-picked results to fabricate a "moral panic" surrounding video games.

...the "idea that violent video games drive real-world aggression is a popular one, but it hasn't tested very well over time". According to the university, this study is set apart from previous work by preregistration, where researchers publish their hypothesis, methods and analysis technique before beginning research. "Part of the problem in technology research is that there are many ways to analyse the same data, which will produce different results," said Przybylski.

Posted by Megalith February 17, 2019 12:05 PM (CST)

"I Don't Want Your Respect": NetherRealm Responds to Mortal Kombat "Going Woke"

There is a growing subset of Mortal Kombat fans who aren’t pleased with the artistic direction in which NetherRealm Studios is taking series. Specifically, they allege the female roster has had their "sex appeal" taken away, a controversy that was reignited this week after NetherRealm revealed a ghastly looking, covered-up Jade. NetherRealm’s community manager has punched back against one fan who called it "disgusting" and how the developer should make the girls "sexy" in order to earn his "money and respect," calling such comments "truly awful." Even female gamers are beginning to agree the characters have been "censored," however.

@Draka_: For a "community manager" you don't seem to get how this thing called "community" works and how ridiculously godawful your communications skills are. If you start acting butthurt bc of one negative comment, you ain't exactly helpful to the "community" or the company you represent. @laope_: Gore = Core Values, CG tiddies = TOO OFFENSIVE! @irxson: You don't want your customers respect? I'm less inclined to buy the game now. Of course I will wait and see but I have to agree, Character designs are bad and I loved the older designs, my favorites being from MK9. It is sad to see the team is not going to consider our feedback.

Posted by Megalith February 16, 2019 1:05 PM (CST)

Nvidia Claims Latest BFV Update Can Increase RTX Performance by 40%

EA DICE posted patch notes for Battlefield V yesterday, which briefly mentioned that they were adding DLSS and RTX "optimizations" to the game without going into any detail. But that update was delayed until today, and now, Nvidia just published some more specifics. They claim that, with addition of Deep Learning Super Sampling, framerates in Battlefield V can be increased by up to 40% with RTX on. Thanks to cageymaru for the tip.

DLSS is available with the following GPUs, with DXR ray tracing turned on, at the resolutions listed below: 3840x2160: All RTX GPUs, 2560x1440: RTX 2060, 2070, and 2080, 1920x1080: RTX 2060 and 2070 Now, you can play Battlefield V with DXR ray tracing at higher settings, resolutions and detail levels across our entire range of GeForce RTX GPUs, thanks to the addition of DLSS. The following are our new recommended settings for 60 FPS Battlefield V gameplay: RTX 2060: 2560x1440, High Quality Preset, Medium DXR, DLSS On. RTX 2070: 2560x1440, Ultra Quality Preset, Medium DXR, DLSS On. RTX 2080: 2560x1440, Ultra Quality Preset, Ultra DXR, DLSS On. RTX 2080 Ti: 3840x2160, Ultra Quality Preset, Ultra DXR, DLSS On.

Posted by alphaatlas February 13, 2019 10:18 AM (CST)

Your Privacy and Data are Different Things

Scandals from social media companies and tech giants seem to make the headlines every day, and stories of data breaches or serious vulnerabilities follow right behind them. The publicity is prompting lots of talk about the value of privacy, but a recent article from NBC highlights a critical point in that argument: data is not the same thing as privacy. A smartphone that spies on its owner may represent a breach of privacy, for example, but Aza Raskin points out that tech company don't even need to cross that line to send creepy ads. He says "isn't it more creepy that they can predict what you're talking about without listening in? It's this little model of you. You are super predictable to these platforms. It’s about persuasion and prediction, not privacy." In other words, maybe consumers should be less worried about how tech companies are breaching their privacy, at instead take a closer look at just what predictive models and applications they're building with the mountain of data they already have.

"Privacy as we normally think of it doesn’t matter," said Aza Raskin, co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology. "What these companies are doing is building little models, little avatars, little voodoo dolls of you. Your doll sits in the cloud, and they'll throw 100,000 videos at it to see what's effective to get you to stick around, or what ad with what messaging is uniquely good at getting you to do something."

Posted by alphaatlas February 06, 2019 12:18 PM (CST)

Apple: You Can't Sue Us for Slowing Down Your iPhones Because We're "Contractors"

Apple is in the process of defending itself from a class-action lawsuit alleging they intentionally slowed down processors with an iOS update, but desperation appears to be growing based on their legal team’s newest defense on why they shouldn’t have to pay up. In what is described as a "bizarre" argument, lawyers say Apple is essentially a building contractor: a typical job (iPhone) may involve excessive destruction (degraded hardware), but initial consent (user agreeing to updates) pardons the contractor from such liabilities.

Apple is like a building contractor you hire to redo your kitchen, the tech giant has argued in an attempt to explain why it shouldn't have to pay customers for slowing down their iPhones. Addressing a bunch of people trying to sue it for damages, the iGiant's lawyers told a California court this month: "Plaintiffs are like homeowners who have let a building contractor into their homes to upgrade their kitchens, thus giving permission for the contractor to demolish and change parts of the houses." They went on: "Any claim that the contractor caused excessive damage in the process sounds in contract, not trespass."

Posted by Megalith February 03, 2019 1:40 PM (CST)

Watch Robots and Humans Work Together to Create the 2019 Ford Ranger

Cars BOOM on YouTube has released a video documenting 2019 Ford Ranger production at its Michigan assembly plant. Watch man and machine work together to create vehicles for this iconic American brand.

Ranger production is underway at Michigan Assembly Plant. The truck arrives at dealers nationwide starting in January.

Posted by cageymaru January 31, 2019 6:16 AM (CST)