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Microsoft Reveals Project xCloud: a Vision for Game-Streaming

Microsoft has revealed Project xCloud: its vision of the future of game-streaming. As long as there is a client for the device, the service enables gamers to play the games that they want on the device that they want. Just like music where you have a choice to listen at home, on the commute to work, at work, or at a cafe; Project xCloud seeks to do the same for gaming. The only requirement is a good internet connection and the previously mentioned client, as the Microsoft Azure datacenters will take care of the heavy work of rendering and remotely streaming the exact game experience that the game's creators intended onto the gamer's device. Public trials start this year.

While our vision for the technology is complementary to the ways in which we use consoles today, Project xCloud will also open the world of Xbox to those who may not otherwise own traditional, dedicated gaming hardware. True console-quality gaming will become available on mobile devices, providing the 2 billion-plus gamers around the world a new gateway to previously console- and PC-exclusive content. We can achieve this vision with the global distribution of Microsoft's datacenters in 54 Azure regions and the advanced network technologies developed by the team at Microsoft Research. We're excited about our ability to deliver a best-in-class global streaming technology.

Posted by cageymaru March 13, 2019 10:44 AM (CDT)

Intel's MESO Transistor Project Could See Results in Two to Five Years

Late last year, Intel announced that they were working on a new type of transistor that could offer a massive performance leap over current CMOS chips. "MESO" transistors, as they call them, could operate at voltages as low as 100mV, but at the time, Intel said the technology was at least a decade away from commercialization. Today, in an interview with VentureBeat, an Intel researcher said he is "excited about spin-off results MESO is likely to produce within the next two to five years." AI accelerators are supposedly less complicated an more fault tolerant that traditional chip designs, and MESO's characteristics are "coincidentally' well suited to neural network architectures, meaning they could hit the market sooner rather than later.

Khosrowshahi: CPUs, which are the most commonplace when you're building silicon, are oddly enough the hardest thing to build. But in AI, it's a simpler architecture. AI has regular patterns, it's mostly compute and interconnect, and memories. Also, neural networks are very tolerant to inhomogeneities in the substrate itself. So I feel this type of technology will be adopted sooner than expected in the AI space. By 2025, it's going to be biggest thing... Young: If we can get these improvements in power-performance - MESO will be a 10 to 30 times better power-performance or energy-delay product - but let's say we only get a 2X improvement. That gives us, for a given power into the device, a 2X performance benefit, so it's a huge leg up on the competition. That's what drives this. Not only is this good for my company but it's an opportunity for the industry. The research is open, because we have so much heavy lifting to do with these materials. But if this is a thing that we as an industry can get a hold of, this could be a game changer for the semiconductor industry. It will take it through this curve that has been flattening. We may accelerate again. And that would be really neat.

Posted by alphaatlas February 21, 2019 11:01 AM (CST)

IBM's Project Debater AI Takes on a Human

Yesterday, an IBM "artificial intelligence system" took on human debater Harish Natarajan in a live-streamed debate on the subject of subsidizing preschool. The Project Debater system opened in support of the resolution, and apparently, "she" only had 15 minutes to prepare for the topic beforehand, just like the record-holding human competitor. While Natarajan was technically declared the winner of the debate, IBM's Research Blog notes that 58 percent of the audience thought "Project Debater better enriched their knowledge about the topic at hand, compared to Harish's 20 percent." For those who are interested in the debate bot, IBM is hosting an "experimental cloud-based AI platform for crowdsourcing decision support," which they were undoubtedly hoping to drum up support for with this stunt. Check out a replay of the debate below, and thanks to Jon855 for the tip.

At Intelligence Squared U.S., we've debated AI before - the risks, the rewards, and whether it can change the world - but for the first time, we're debating with AI. In partnership with IBM, Intelligence Squared U.S. is hosting a unique debate between a world-class champion debater and an AI system. IBM Project Debater is the first AI system designed to debate humans on complex topics using a combination of pioneering research developed by IBM researchers, including: data-driven speechwriting and delivery, listening comprehension, and modeling human dilemmas. First debuted in a small closed-door event in June 2018, Project Debater will now face its toughest opponent yet in front of its largest-ever audience, with our own John Donvan in the moderator's seat. The topic will not be revealed to Project Debater and the champion human debater until shortly before the debate begins.

Posted by alphaatlas February 13, 2019 8:23 AM (CST)

Project Wingman Releases Uncut VR Gameplay

Ace Combat 7 is out on PC, and by most accounts, it's loads of fun, but the game's VR mode is still limited to a handful of missions separate from the main campaign on Playstation VR. Fortunately, a group of developers have been working on a arcadey, VR flight sim called "Project Wingman" for some time, and they just uploaded a clip of uncut gameplay on YouTube. The project appears to use Unreal Engine 4, and while they don't mention it by name (or in any other potentially infringing way), the UI, mechanics and other features clearly have roots in the Ace Combat series. Thanks to PC Gamer for spotting the footage, which you can see below:

We've mostly been working on other things other than Operation Blackout however, we don't want to show too much too keep you surprised on what the campaign entails so here is an uncut gameplay of Operation Blackout in VR. It's currently running in UE4 Editor itself so the performance and framerate is slightly lower than intended compared to the packaged version. Currently it is running on medium settings. Hopefully in the future, we can show you a few more things with the game overall improvements which some you may be able to observe in this video, and show more of Conquest mode once we've focused development on that aspect.

Posted by alphaatlas February 04, 2019 11:20 AM (CST)

Apple Dismisses over 200 Employees from Project Titan, Its Autonomous Vehicle Group

Apple’s plans for a self-driving car may be either dead, or severely downgraded: CNBC was told the company "cut over 200 employees from Project Titan, its stealthy autonomous vehicle initiative." Those who weren’t laid off have been moved to "other parts of the company, where they will support machine learning and other initiatives, across all of Apple." Comments by Tim Cook suggest the priority is now healthcare technologies.

In August, Apple enlisted a Tesla engineering vice president and Apple veteran, Doug Field, to lead the Titan team alongside Bob Mansfield. This week's dismissals from the group were seen internally as anticipated restructuring under the relatively new leadership. Other employees who were impacted by the restructuring of Project Titan are staying at Apple, but moving to different parts of the company.

Posted by Megalith January 26, 2019 2:55 PM (CST)

Project Sol Part 2 Showcases Real-Time Ray-Tracing on NVIDIA RTX

NVIDIA has released the second installment of its Project Sol real-time ray-tracing cinematic series. It is running on Unreal Engine 4 and features real-time ray-tracing powered by NVIDIA RTX devices.

Project Sol is a showcase of the NVIDIA RTX development platform which highlights cinematic ray-traced scenes running in real time on Unreal Engine 4. In Part 2, Sol ventures forth in his exoskeleton suit.

Posted by cageymaru January 08, 2019 6:37 PM (CST)

FCC Approves Google "Project Soli" Radar Sensor to Operate at Higher Power Levels

The FCC has approved higher radar operating levels for Soli sensors in "Project Soli"; a gesture based system that can capture touchless motion commands from users with mobility, speech and tactile impairments. Project Soli allows the previously mentioned users to operate computers, tablets, cars, wearables, phones and other devices by using gestures in a 3D space and without having to physically touch the screen. The Google technology was opposed by Facebook and others which thought it would interfere with technology such as WiGig networks and satellite. Google was able to get the feature to operate at a lesser peak power limit and subsequently tuned the device to limit the transmit duty cycle to 10 percent in any 33 millisecond interval. They won FCC approval on December 31, 2018 and the devices can even be used on aircraft. The FCC said, "there is a stronger public interest benefit in granting this waiver than in strictly applying the rule" as the devices would assist those with impairments to have a better quality of life.

Imagine an invisible button between your thumb and index fingers -- you can press it by tapping your fingers together. Or a Virtual Dial that you turn by rubbing thumb against index finger. Imagine grabbing and pulling a Virtual Slider in thin air. These are the kinds of interactions we are developing and imagining. Even though these controls are virtual, the interactions feel physical and responsive. Feedback is generated by the haptic sensation of fingers touching each other. Soli has no moving parts, it fits onto a chip and consumes little energy. It is not affected by light conditions and it works through most materials. Just imagine the possibilities...

Posted by cageymaru January 02, 2019 6:57 PM (CST)

Alphabet Project Wing Delivery Drones Sound like F1 Cars According to Angry Aussies

Over 1,000 Australians living in the flight path of the Alphabet Project Wing delivery drone service have signed a petition and submitted it to the local legislative assembly to have the service terminated. Bonython Against Drones is a group of residents that say the cameras on the drones are intrusive, the sound coming from the drones is noisy and the service is unnecessary. Residents liken the sound emitted from the high pitched propellers on the delivery drones as reminiscent to a "chain saw gone ballistic" or "F1 car." 64 year old resident Robyn McIntyre says that she's heard 10 drones fly over her home in a 2 1/2 hour time span. Customers can order items such as coffee, food, hardware supplies, and over-the-counter medications from various local retailers with the autonomous drone service. Some residents stay indoors to avoid the high pitched whine of the drones and wildlife such as the local magpie population launch dive bomb attacks at the drones. Not all of Robyn McIntyre's neighbors are against the drones. Ms. Clarke, who has three children, orders multiple simple items daily such as sunscreen lotion. It takes her 25 minutes to travel to the store and back alone. It only takes 7 minutes for the drone to deliver it. Vietnam veteran Warwick Brooker, 72, said, "If flying burritos bring joy to others, I can live with that." The Wing service is coming to Finland in 2019.

Wing, which has been testing drones in Australia since 2014, said it hopes to improve the service. It is developing a quieter drone. It modified flight paths so the drones, equipped with 12 rotors to hover and two propellers, don't fly over the same houses all the time. And it slowed down the drones, which have a top speed of roughly 78 miles an hour. A Wing-commissioned study from advisory firm AlphaBeta determined that drone deliveries in Canberra alone could reduce delivery costs for businesses by about $9 million annually.

Posted by cageymaru December 28, 2018 2:36 PM (CST)

Samsung to Show Off Bizzare C-Lab Projects at CES

Samsung Electronics generally has a ton of products to show off at CES, but some of their strangest and most experimental projects come from their "Creative Lab" division. Created in 2012, C-Lab is an incubation program that "encourages a creative corporate culture and nurtures innovative ideas," and helps Samsung employees launch their wacky ideas into independent ventures with investments and business advice. This year, Samsung announced several wacky inventions ahead of the show, including an ad service for displays on clothing, a video making services that can identify and use the contexts of different scenes, a service that automatically generates timelines for news feeds, a "perfume blender," and an AI powered desk lamp. One of the most relevant products to PC users is probably the AI powered monitor stand, which you can see in the video below:

'Girin Monitor Stand' is an auto-adjusting monitor stand to ensure users have proper posture while on their computers at work. The sensor embedded stand keeps tracking the user's posture, especially neck and head, in real-time. When the user has a bad posture, it subtly moves the monitor which naturally trains users to assume better posture without noticing the change in monitor position. Users can correct their posture by repeating this pattern to avoid postural strain in the neck, back, and shoulders.

Samsung acts like a good chunk of these experiments eventually make their way into consumer products, but it'll probably be awhile before you can buy a monitor stand that watches your posture. Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas December 27, 2018 9:54 AM (CST)

Microsoft Announces Project Mu: An Open-Source UEFI Creation Tool

Microsoft has announced Project Mu, an open-sourced release of the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) that will allow firmware to be kept up-to-date. Project Mu will support Firmware as a Service (FaaS) which is similar to the Microsoft Windows as a Service initiative. This will allow for UEFI and other system firmware to be kept up to date with post launch features. The idea for Project Mu came from work related to the open-source UEFI implementation TianoCore which wasn't optimized to be deployed across multiple product lines.

Project Mu contributes numerous UEFI features targeted at modern Windows based PCs. It also demonstrates a code structure and development process for efficiently building scalable and serviceable firmware. We look forward to engagements with the ecosystem as we continue to evolve and improve Project Mu to our mutual benefit!

Posted by cageymaru December 20, 2018 3:34 PM (CST)

Intel Begins Multiyear Manufacturing Site Expansion Projects at Its Foundries

Intel has begun planning manufacturing site expansions and improvements to meet the growing demand for Intel products in the datacenter. Intel has shifted focus from a PC-centric company to a data-centric company to compete for the $300 billion total addressable market for silicon in solutions that process, analyze, store and share information. Intel strives to diversify its portfolio of products as it competes for contracts in expanding market sectors such as autonomous vehicles, smartphones, cloud computing, and more. This has led to Intel formulating a plan to have additional fab space at-the-ready to quickly respond to ever changing market demands for products. By negotiating permits with local governments and communities well in advance, Intel will be able to reduce its time to increase supply by 60%. Intel will continue its selective use of foundries for certain technologies. To continue to create the world's best silicon, Intel will have to ensure that it has the global manufacturing footprint necessary to meet demands as its business expands.

This year, we raised our capital expenditures forecast and put that money to work expanding our 14nm manufacturing capacity to increase supply. We also made good progress on the previously announced schedule for Fab 42 fit-out in Arizona, and we made the decision to locate development of a new generation of storage and memory technology at our manufacturing plant in New Mexico. Looking ahead, we are now in the early planning phase for manufacturing site expansions in Oregon, Ireland and Israel, with multi-year construction activities expected to begin in 2019.

Posted by cageymaru December 18, 2018 9:00 AM (CST)

Google Project Stream Participants Get Free PC Copy of Assassin's Creed Odyssey

Sign-ups are currently underway for Google’s Project Stream tech test, which features a fully playable version of Assassin's Creed Odyssey. Ubisoft has announced that those who are accepted will also get a free PC copy of the game linked to their Uplay account. The test, which was developed by Google to check the performance and viability of streaming a AAA video game, concludes January 15.

All game saves and any in-game items earned via gameplay or purchased with the free Helix credits will also transfer over to the free PC copy, but any unspent credits will not transfer. Players that have met the criteria for the free game will receive an email after January 15 with instructions for how to access their free copy in the weeks following the end of the Project Stream test.

Posted by Megalith December 15, 2018 2:10 PM (CST)