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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)

Surf the Web Like It's 1990: CERN Rebuilds WorldWideWeb, the First Web Browser

There’s no better way to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the development of the WorldWideWeb by firing up the original 1990 browser, and CERN has made that easy by rebuilding the first web browser and editor as an in-browser app (queue Xzibit Yo Dawg meme). Once upon a time, users had to double click on links.

In December 1990, an application called WorldWideWeb was developed on a NeXT machine at The European Organization for Nuclear Research (known as CERN) just outside of Geneva. This program - WorldWideWeb - is the antecedent of most of what we consider or know of as "the web" today. In February 2019, in celebration of the thirtieth anniversary of the development of WorldWideWeb, a group of developers and designers convened at CERN to rebuild the original browser within a contemporary browser, allowing users around the world to experience the rather humble origins of this transformative technology.

Posted by Megalith February 24, 2019 4:50 PM (CST)

Nokia 9 PureView: The World's First Quintuple Camera Smartphone

Because one, two, three, or even four cameras isn’t enough, Nokia has announced a new PureView phone that boasts five rear sensors: "ZEISS optics on the back, two of which are RGB and the other three - monochrome." These work in unison, capturing lighting, detail, and color data to stitch a 12MP image. "According to HMD, taking a single photo results in at least 60 MP of imaging data being processed."

This is made possible with a dedicated image co-processor, which helps out with the heavy task. Every picture is HDR, can have up to 12.4 stops of dynamic range, and ends up with a full scene 12 MP depth map. Yes, this means that you will be able to use a depth editor to specifically adjust bokeh effects after the photo has already been taken. It'll even allow you to tweak colors and contrast between different depth fields. And yes, it can shoot RAW.

Posted by Megalith February 24, 2019 11:25 AM (CST)

Plans for First Chinese Solar Power Station in Space Revealed

The Chinese are reportedly working on experimental solar power stations that would be launched into space to generate electricity. Planned for launch as early as 2021, they will provide "an inexhaustible source of clean energy for humans," reliably supplying energy "99 percent of the time, at six-times the intensity of solar farms on earth." The final plan is a Megawatt-level space solar power station for 2030.

Pang said technical challenges to be overcome include the weight of a power station, expected to be 1000 tonnes, greater than 400 tonnes of the International Space Station. Researchers are examining whether a space factory using robots and 3D printing technology could construct the power station in space, avoiding the need to launch a heavy structure from earth. Solar energy would be converted to electricity and a microwave or laser beam would transmit the energy to earth.

Posted by Megalith February 16, 2019 3:40 PM (CST)

Tesla Model X Receives Industry First Perfect Crash-Test Rating for a SUV

The Tesla Model X has become the first SUV to receive a perfect safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA.) SUVs are generally safer than cars due to their increased size, but a higher center of gravity causes the vehicles to rollover during tight maneuvering situations or a side impact accident. According to statistics, "rollovers happened in 1% of serious crashes in passenger vehicles but accounted for one-third of collision-related deaths." The Tesla Model X was designed to have a lower center of gravity due to its large battery pack located in the floor of the vehicle. This design choice, along with the larger front crumple zone, allowed the vehicle to receive a perfect rating from the NHTSA. In other Tesla news, Dog Mode has been enabled on Tesla vehicles. This displays a message on the screen in Tesla vehicles that shows the temperature of the car for passersby to know that they don't need to worry about the animals in the vehicle. Tesla also added a Sentry Mode to their cars. When customers enable Sentry Mode, the electric vehicle constantly monitors its environment from a "Standby" state like a home security system works. When the vehicle detects a break-in in progress, it will start recording the event with its cameras, sound the car alarm, blast loud music through the stereo system, and warn the owners of the incident via the Tesla mobile app on their phones. Video of the incident can be downloaded to a USB drive.

If a minimal threat is detected, such as someone leaning on a car, Sentry Mode switches to an "Alert" state and displays a message on the touchscreen warning that its cameras are recording. If a more severe threat is detected, such as someone breaking a window, Sentry Mode switches to an "Alarm" state, which activates the car alarm, increases the brightness of the center display, and plays music at maximum volume from the car's audio system. If a car switches to "Alarm" state, owners will also receive an alert from their Tesla mobile app notifying them that an incident has occurred. They'll be able to download a video recording of an incident (which begins 10 minutes prior to the time a threat was detected) by inserting a formatted USB drive into their car before they enable Sentry Mode.

Posted by cageymaru February 14, 2019 8:52 AM (CST)

Apex Legends Hits 25 Million Players and 2 Million Concurrent Peak in Its First Week

Vince Zampella of Respawn Entertainment has announced that Apex Legends has surpassed the 25 million player mark in its first week. Also the peak number of concurrent players during that week was 2 million over the weekend. He also announced that Season One starts in March and there will be a Battle Pass as well as new Legends, weapons, loot, and more. Events planned in the near future include the Twitch Rivals Apex Legends Challenge which starts on February 12, 2019 and resumes on the following Tuesday, February 19th. 48 of Twitch's biggest personalities will compete on those days. Valentine's day will have limited-time, appropriately-themed loot drops.

What a week! Since we launched Apex Legends last week on Monday we've seen the creation of an Apex Legends community that is excited, thriving, and full of great feedback and ideas. Our goal is to build this game with you, our community, so keep giving us your feedback because we really are listening. From everyone here at Respawn, thank you. The community's excitement for Apex Legends is electric, and we feel it here at the studio. We couldn't have gotten where we are without you and look forward to having you on this journey with us.

Posted by cageymaru February 11, 2019 5:57 PM (CST)

Google Maps Augmented Reality Creates Navigation by Using Real World Landmarks

Wall Street Journal reporter David Pierce was privy to a new form of pedestrian only, augmented reality (AR) navigation that is coming to Google Maps in the future. In the video below, Mr. Pierce takes his phone's camera and uses it to capture images of landmarks around him such as signs, shops, etc. Google then searches through its decade of Street View data to find where he is located. From there he tells the system where he wants to go and large blinking arrows are superimposed over the video feed from the camera on his phone to assist him. Even though the system is similar to the technology that self-driving cars use, it is not meant for driving. And it constantly warns the user to put the phone down as a person could be injured staring at a screen instead of paying attention to their surroundings. Google says it is perfect for those moments when you get out of a taxi cab or off the subway and need to understand exactly where you are.

Someday, when we start buying AR glasses, persistent AR directions might make a lot of sense. And directions aren't the sole point either. AR maps could help you learn more about everything you pass. Tory Smith, product strategy lead for autonomous vehicles at Mapbox, a navigation startup, envisions a possible future in which your windshield could display the nearest parking garage, then tell you how many spots are open, how much it costs and whether there's a good coffee shop nearby. You might someday navigate indoors--where GPS doesn't work--using AR maps, with Google Translate instantly turning every sign you pass into your own language.

Posted by cageymaru February 11, 2019 12:47 PM (CST)

San Francisco May Be the First City in the Nation to Ban Facial Recognition

There already exists some degree of pushback regarding the use of facial recognition technologies by law enforcement and other agencies in San Francisco, as demonstrated by legislation mandating board approval before such surveillance may be used. City supervisor Aaron Peskin doesn’t think current ordinance is enough, however, having proposed a new law that would place "an outright ban on facial recognition technology." If passed, the "Stop Secret Surveillance Ordinance" would make San Francisco the first in the country to make facial recognition illegal.

Civil rights groups have raised concerns about the threat to privacy and safety posed by facial recognition, as well problems with accuracy. "We know that facial recognition technology, which has the biases of the people who developed it, disproportionately misidentifies people of color and women," Peskin said Tuesday. "This is a fact." BART officials came under fire over the summer when they began exploring the implementation of a surveillance system and former BART board member Nick Josefowitz expressed interest in facial recognition software that could help identify specific individuals, such as those with arrest warrants.

Posted by Megalith February 03, 2019 3:00 PM (CST)

NSFW: Nutaku Announces World's First Boob-Shaped Console for Adult Gaming

Adult gaming platform Nutaku, best known for its vast library of hentai titles, has released its first piece of hardware: a breast-shaped, plug-and-play game console featuring more than 200 free-to-play and premium adult games. It’s already sold out, but perverts waiting on new stock can check out a making-of video in the meantime, which explains how the company made a console with a "flesh-like feel" and "nipple-shaped power button."

Turning on the console is pretty straight-forward. You just got to press the nipple. The "boob" is created out of silicone to give it an authentic feel when touched. But it's pretty cool because it comes with two USB ports, one HDMI port, an audio jack and a wireless internet connection. Certainly the perfect console for those who love adult gaming. Priced at US$169, the console comes in limited quantities.

Posted by Megalith February 02, 2019 2:50 PM (CST)

Google Takes Its First Steps toward Killing the URL

Speaking at the Bay Area Enigma security conference this week, Chrome’s usable security lead attempted to address the controversy over Google’s desire to "kill off URLs as we know them." (Alternate source for paywall.) According to Ms. Stark, they’re a liability, in that hackers can easily trick users about the identity of a page (e.g., G00gle rather than Google), scamming them with malicious links that forward them to phishing sites. "People should know easily what site they’re on, and they shouldn’t be confused into thinking they’re on another site. It shouldn’t take advanced knowledge of how the internet works to figure that out."

The Chrome team's efforts so far focus on figuring out how to detect URLs that seem to deviate in some way from standard practice. The foundation for this is an open source tool called TrickURI, launching in step with Stark's conference talk, that helps developers check that their software is displaying URLs accurately and consistently. The goal is to give developers something to test against so they know how URLs are going to look to users in different situations. Separate from TrickURI, Stark and her colleagues are also working to create warnings for Chrome users when a URL seems potentially phishy.

Posted by Megalith February 02, 2019 10:05 AM (CST)

Subnautica's First Expansion Enters Early Access on Epic and Steam

Subnautica left early access on PC early last year, was given away for free on the Epic Store late last year, and even got its own multiplayer mod during the holidays. But developers Unknown Worlds didn't stop with the critically-acclaimed game's release, as they've been churning away on the arctic-themed "Below Zero" expansion for some time. Yesterday, the developers announced that the expansion has entered early access on Steam and on the Epic Games Store. This is one of the first, if not the first, early access game on Epic's Store, and it's certainly the highest profile one I've seen. Some of Steam's first early access games never made it to release, while others were wildly successful, so it'll be interesting to see how the Epic Store fares with their own early access program. The developers streamed the cinematic trailer, as well some in-game-footage, which you can see below:

Dive into a freezing underwater adventure on an alien planet. Set one year after the original Subnautica, Below Zero challenges you to survive a disaster at an alien research station on Planet 4546B. Craft tools, scavenge for supplies, and unravel the next chapter in the Subnautica story.

Posted by alphaatlas January 31, 2019 9:07 AM (CST)

AI Creates a Deep Fake of Steve Buscemi's Face on Jennifer Lawrence's Body

Delaware Destroyer on YouTube has used artificial intelligence (AI) to create a deep-fake of Steve Buscemi's face on Jennifer Lawrence's body. It is amazing how much better these amalgamations are becoming. Thanks @Schtask !

Mashup of Steve Buscemi and Jennifer Lawrence

Posted by cageymaru January 30, 2019 6:23 PM (CST)