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SK Hynix to Spend $107 Billion on Four New Memory Chip Factories

SK Hynix has announced that it is building four new memory chip plants that will cost $107 billion. Construction of the plants will begin in 2022 at a 4.5 million square meter site that is south of Seoul. SK Hynix is expected to invest $49 billion into 2 existing plants. Next-generation chips and DRAM are expected to be manufactured at the sites. Even though there is a downturn in the memory market now, SK Hynix is preparing for cutting edge technologies such as 5G and self-driving vehicles.

"Though there is not enough chip demand for autonomous cars now, I believe there will be much more demand for self-driving vehicles in the next 10 years or as early as in 2023 or 2024," said analyst Kim Young-gun at Mirae Asset Daewoo. "That will create more chip demand for SK Hynix," as will the commercialization of 5G networks over the next few years, Kim said.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru February 21, 2019 6:49 PM (CST)

Doug Bowser Named New President of Nintendo of America

Current President of Nintendo of America and 15 year veteran of the company, Reggie Fils-Aime, has announced his retirement on April 15th. In his place, current Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Doug Bowser will succeed Reggie as President of Nintendo of America. Shuntaro Furukawa, President of Nintendo Co., Ltd. praised Reggie Fils-Aime for his business leadership during his tenure. "I really appreciate everything Reggie has done for Nintendo," said Shuntaro Furukawa, President of Nintendo Co., Ltd. "Inside and outside our company, Reggie is known as an exceptional leader. We are grateful that he is leaving the business in good shape with strong momentum." Reggie Fils-Aime left a video message to Nintendo fans on Twitter.

"Nintendo owns a part of my heart forever," Fils-Aime said. "It's a part that is filled with gratitude - for the incredibly talented people I've worked with, for the opportunity to represent such a wonderful brand, and most of all, to feel like a member of the world's most positive and enduring gamer community. As I look forward to departing in both good health and good humor, this is not 'game over' for me, but instead 'leveling up' to more time with my wife, family and friends."

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru February 21, 2019 4:37 PM (CST)

Researchers Find a 19 Year Old Bug In WinRAR

Security researchers from Checkpoint have reportedly discovered a bug in WinRAR that just might be older than you. According to their bug report, recent version of WinRAR shipped with an ancient "unacev2.dll" file designed to decompress the equally ancient ACE archive format. A bug in the .dll lets malicious archives extract files to any location on the user's system, including the user's startup folder, which would allow an attacker to remotely execute arbitrary code during the next startup. WinRAR has removed the vulnerable .dll file in the program's latest release, as no one unpacks ACE archives anymore, and it seems that the security researchers may have claimed a substantial bug bounty in the process. Thanks to The Register for spotting the exploit.

A few months ago, our team built a multi-processor fuzzing lab and started to fuzz binaries for Windows environments using the WinAFL fuzzer. After the good results we got from our Adobe Research, we decided to expand our fuzzing efforts and started to fuzz WinRAR too. One of the crashes produced by the fuzzer led us to an old, dated dynamic link library (dll) that was compiled back in 2006 without a protection mechanism (like ASLR, DEP, etc.) and is used by WinRAR. We turned our focus and fuzzer to this "low hanging fruit" dll, and looked for a memory corruption bug that would hopefully lead to Remote Code Execution. However, the fuzzer produced a test case with "weird" behavior. After researching this behavior, we found a logical bug: Absolute Path Traversal. From this point on it was simple to leverage this vulnerability to a remote code execution. Perhaps it's also worth mentioning that a substantial amount of money in various bug bounty programs is offered for these types of vulnerabilities.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas February 21, 2019 12:05 PM (CST)

Obsidian Talks About the Style and Setting of The Outer Worlds

While reading reviews about and commentary on Fallout 76, one of the most common opinions I run into is "We just want more Fallout: New Vegas." In other words, it seems that many players crave the stories and character-based worldbuilding that the single player Fallout experiences delivered, and that Fallout 76 largely skips. In a previous interview, Obsidian mentioned that The Outer Worlds is basically the New Vegas sequel they always wanted to make, and two recent interviews from Game Informer really drive that point home. The first, which dives into the universe of The Outer Worlds, reveals that the game will feature a Fallout-esque constructed world and similar over-the-top jabs at society, and the "1930s Dieselpunk Deadwood" theme mentioned in another interview could easily describe the Mojave desert in New Vegas.

The Outer Worlds is first and foremost a rollicking outer space adventure, but like the original Fallout that Cain and Boyarsky helped create, one of the magic ingredients is a healthy dose of social commentary (often couched in absurdist humor)... Boyarsky: Dieselpunk is very 1930s, and I was like "That's unfortunate, because that almost feels like what we want." I just threw out "Dieselpunk Deadwood," and then we were like, "That's what we have to somehow encapsulate." ...This is where we, as far as the environment goes, really hit where we wanted to go with the project.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas February 21, 2019 11:42 AM (CST)

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.

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

Intel Wants to Take You on a Graphics Odyssey

Intel's discrete GPU is still years away, but they're already trying to get the graphics community involved. Chipzilla previously made calls for graphics experts to join their team, but yesterday, Intel Graphics launched a more consumer-centric campaign. Functionally, Intel Graphics' "Odyssey" appears to be a mailing list for gaming-related promotions and giveaways right now, but TechRadar mentions that Intel will send out "invites to company-sponsored events" via the newsletter sometime in the future. As spammy as this effort may or may not seem, we've noted that Intel has totally revamped their public-facing image over the past year, and I prefer this effort to reach out to the community over the company's previous policies of keeping development close to their chest.

The Odyssey is built around a passionate community, focused on improving graphics and visual computing for everyone, from gamers to content creators. And we want voices like yours to help guide us. We're committed to listening to the community, and in return you will get closer to the inner workings of visual technology development than ever before. You'll hear the latest reports first and you'll have access to some amazing offers and exclusive giveaways. The Odyssey is about how we'll work together to build the visual computing solutions you really want. You also have the opportunity to receive the Intel Gaming Access newsletter which gives gamers a VIP pass to killer deals and freebies, preferred beta access, the latest gaming news, and more.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas February 21, 2019 9:19 AM (CST)

Samsung Unveils a Folding Smartphone

What's old is new again. While smaller manufacturers have already "launched" a new generation folding phones, and bigger ones like Xiaomi have teased folding prototypes, Samsung officially unveiled the aptly names "Galaxy Fold" at the Samsung Unpacked event yesterday. Unlike your old flip-phone, the Galaxy Fold features a flexible 7.3 inch display that takes up the phone's entire unfolded face, and it's powered by a "7nm, 64-bit processor" that has more cores and just as much RAM as the desktop I'm typing on. Some sources claim the unspecified processor is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, but Samsung could also follow in the footsteps of the conventional Galaxy lineup and use their home-brewed Exynos 9820 outside the U.S.

The internal screen does not merely bend. It folds. Folding is a more intuitive motion, and a more difficult innovation to deliver. Samsung invented a new polymer layer and created a display around 50 percent thinner than the typical smartphone display. The new material makes Galaxy Fold flexible and tough, built to last...No matter which way you hold-or fold-the device, a camera will be ready to capture the scene, so you never miss the moment. With six lenses-three in the back, two on the inside and one on the cover-the Galaxy Fold camera system has flexibility built in. Galaxy Fold introduces a new level of multitasking, allowing you to use other apps during a video call.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas February 21, 2019 8:47 AM (CST)

Disney Removes Advertising from YouTube in Response to Child Exploitation Videos

The Walt Disney Company, Epic Games, Nestle SA and other corporations have removed their advertising from YouTube in response to a video that detailed how criminals are using the YouTube comments section to run a "soft-core pedophilia ring." Video blogger Matt Watson showed evidence of how these pedophiles are encouraging children to do challenges and upload them. When the videos are uploaded by the child, the criminals upload a copy on their own channel(s). There they create timestamps to the parts that show the children in compromising positions. Also they bombard the comments section with links to pedophilia on other websites and hidden videos. The worst part is that pedophiles are using YouTube's algorithm to find the videos. For example, by searching for bikinis and then clicking on a video of a child, the algorithm "locks" the user into these videos in the recommended section. By interacting with the pedophiles in the comment section, the algorithm shows more disturbing content. Matt Watson calls it a wormhole. YouTube knows this activity is happening, but only disables the comment section of the videos. According to Matt Watson, Youtube doesn't remove the offensive videos or accounts that uploaded them. After the uproar happened, YouTube is now removing the content shown in the blogger's video. But what of the countless others out there? The link to the video from Matt Watson is NSFW and can be found in the Bloomberg article.

"Any content --including comments -- that endangers minors is abhorrent and we have clear policies prohibiting this on YouTube. We took immediate action by deleting accounts and channels, reporting illegal activity to authorities and disabling violative comments," a spokeswoman for YouTube said in an email.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru February 20, 2019 7:28 PM (CST)

Intel Confirms that FinFET MRAM is Production Ready

Late last year, EE Times published a report claiming that Intel was already shipping MRAM products to undisclosed customers. At the time, Intel only confirmed that their MRAM was "production ready" and didn't elaborate any further. But now, the news outlet says that Intel presented a paper on their embedded MRAM at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference. The fast, non-volatile 7Mb memory arrays reportedly achieve "10-year retention at 200C" and have "demonstrated write endurance of more than 1E06 cycles and read disturb error rate of more than 1E12 cycles." While EE Times calls the 22FFL process the MRAM arrays are built on a "22nm" process, semantics in the world of semiconductors are fuzzy, and Wikichip believes that 22FFL actually has more in common with Intel's 14nm processes. "Analysts" still believe that Intel is shipping products with MRAM, but the chip company hasn't elaborated on any of them yet.

According to Intel's ISSCC paper, each 0.0486-um2 transistor to one magnetic tunnel junction (1T1MTJ) MRAM bit cell is 216 x 225 nm2, with two polysilicon word lines. The tunnel-magneto-resistance ratio of the MTJs is 180% at 25C, with a target device-critical dimension between 60 nm and 80 nm. Wei said that the eMRAM design is also tolerant of wide variations in supply voltage. The design achieves a 4-ns read sensing time at 0.9 V but is also capable of 8-ns read sensing time at 0.8 V, she said... In a separate ISSCC paper presented Tuesday, Intel also described the development of resistive RAM (ReRAM) as a low-cost option for embedded non-volatile memory for SoCs used in IoT and automotive. The embedded ReRAM technology - also implemented in a 22-nm FinFET process - demonstrate what the company says is the smallest and highest-density ReRAM subarray and material innovations to allow low-voltage switching without impact to transistor reliability.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas February 20, 2019 11:36 AM (CST)

China Freezes New Game Applications Again

Last year, China stopped approving new video games in an effort to (this is a direct translation) "protect children's eyesight," which created quite a bit of anxiety in the gaming industry. Eventually, the government started approving games again, but the pace was relatively slow, and many worried that the government wouldn't be able keep up with the sheer volume of games coming to market. Now, it appears that those fears have been realized. The eloquently named "State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television of the People's Republic of China" released a new batch of approved games 5 days ago, but like the previous releases, I don't see any major titles from Tencent or western publishers in the list. I spotted a few console and PC titles, but it's largely dominated by a wave of mobile releases which, according to a report by Reuters, may be too much for the government to handle. Reuters' sources claim that the Chinese government stopped approving new games to work through their existing backlog. While investors in Chinese gaming companies will undoubtedly lose sleep over this, China is the world's largest gaming market by a considerable margin, so this freeze is also bad news for outside publishers that want to expand into the booming market. Ironically, it might also be good news for Valve, as much of their existing library is still accessible in the country.

"The regulator asked local authorities to stop submitting applications because there is too much of a backlog for it to deal with at the moment," said one of the people, whose company was informed about the matter by its local authority. The person said the request was made to local authorities nationwide. The regulator approved 1,982 domestic and foreign online games during January-March last year before the freeze, government data showed. That came after approving 9,651 domestic and foreign online games in all of 2017. GAPP has approved 538 games since December. It is likely to approve just 2,000 to 3,000 titles in 2019, said Jefferies analyst Karen Chan in a note to clients. "Generally speaking the whole industry is frightened. There is no sign that regulators will loosen their control, said Beijing-based tech analyst Li Chengdong. "Investors are worried about the red line and risks here."

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas February 20, 2019 10:10 AM (CST)

Facebook Is Allegedly Working on Custom Machine Learning Hardware

Nvidia GPUs are the undisputed king of the machine learning hardware market today, but more and more companies are throwing their hat into the AI ring. Google has already introduced their machine learning-focused TPU, and other giants like Amazon and Intel are reportedly following suit, while a number of smaller startups are filling in niches or taking riskier approaches to compete with the bigger players. Last year, various reports surfaced claiming that Facebook was working on their own, custom ASICs, but an EE Times report said that it was "not the equivalent of [Google's] TPU." Now, according to a Bloomberg report published earlier this week, some of Facebook's upcoming custom silicon may focus on machine learning after all. Facebook's chief AI researcher says that "the company is working on a new class of semiconductor that would work very differently than most existing designs," and mentioned that future chips will need radically different architectures.

"We don't want to leave any stone unturned, particularly if no one else is turning them over," he said in an interview ahead of the release Monday of a research paper he authored on the history and future of computer hardware designed to handle artificial intelligence... LeCun said that for the moment, GPUs would remain important for deep learning research, but the chips were ill-suited for running the AI algorithms once they were trained, whether that was in datacenters or on devices like mobile phones or home digital assistants.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas February 20, 2019 9:35 AM (CST)

Hackers Use Stolen Credentials from Data Breaches to "Hack" a Nest Thermostat

Jonathan Schisler thought his Amazon Alexa or kids had changed the temperature to 90 degrees on his Nest thermostat. But while scrolling through the device to clear a message about changing the air filter, he noticed that the email address on the device wasn't his wife's. Even his phone app was logged in under another person's name as the owner of the account. Nest says the Schisler family was affected by a data breach from another website where the credentials were initially exposed. Because the Schisler family used the same username and password for multiple websites, the hackers were able to commandeer the Nest thermostat. Taking stolen usernames and passwords from data breaches and inputting them into the login page of random websites is known as "credential stuffing."

Nest said it hasn't been breached. Instead, the company, which is owned by Google, said Schisler's password was breached on another website. For example, he was using the same password for his Nest thermostat that he used for another site. "In nearly all cases, two-factor verification eliminates this type of security risk," a Google spokesperson said. "We take security in the home extremely seriously, and we're actively introducing features that will reject compromised passwords, and allow customers to monitor access to their accounts and track external entities that abuse credentials."

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru February 20, 2019 8:02 AM (CST)