Monday, October 28, 2013

#ALGORITHMS: "Bots Defeat CAPTCHA Turing Test"

Now that a bot has defeated the Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart--Captcha--the online world is scrambling to come up with a successor. Captcha protects thousands of web sites like Google, PayPal, Amazon from being hacked by bots by challenging them with a Turing Test that only humans can pass--until now. Vicarious aims to follow up by passing all the other popular Turing Tests--one at a time--until they have developed a robotic brain that is "almost human": R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Vicarious' bot acts like a human when completing the Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart -- Captcha, here used by Yahoo to verify users are human.
Further Reading

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

#CHIPS: "Synthetic Biology to Enhance Semiconductors"

Hybrid bio-chips, that integrate living cells with semiconductors, is the ultimate goal of the Semiconductor Research Corporation's new Semiconductor Synthetic Biology program. Along the way it plans to use DNA to pattern chips and to emulate the low-power efficiency of biological cells with cytomorphic-semiconductor circuit design: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

DNA-templates will guide their self-assembly of chip interconnects at sub-five nanometer nodes.
Further Reading

#MARKETS: "Intel Capital Boost 16 Startups with $65 Million"

At Intel Capital's annual Global Summit 2013 it announced $65 million in investments in 16 companies in nine countries: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

The CEOs of 16 companies accumulated $65 million in investments by Intel Capital today.
Further Reading

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

#SUPERCOMPUTERS: "Powerful Iridis4 HPC Goes Online"

The third most power supercomputer in the U.K. went online last week at the University of Southamptom: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

The 250 teraflop Iridis4 supercomputer houses over 12,200 Xeon cores along with 24 Xeon Phi coprocessors.
Further Reading

#ROBOTICS: "Co-Robot Unveiled by Unbounded Robotics "

Co-robots are one of the goals of the National Robotics Initiative launched last year, but Unbounded Robotics has beaten them to the punch with its just introduced UBR-1, a robot that can safely work alongside humans in applications ranging from warehouse shelve stocker to companions for the elderly: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Unbounded Robotics co-robot is designed to handle any object that humans ordinarily use.
Further Reading

Monday, October 21, 2013

#CHIPS: "Intel ‘Ivy Bridge’ Boost Financial Market Benchmark"

The Securities Technology Analysis Center LLC (STAC) financial benchmarks run 50 percent faster on the new "Ivy Bridge" Xeon chips from Intel: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Further Reading

Friday, October 18, 2013

#CHIPS: "DRAMs on the Rise Again"

Despite the slowdown in the PC market--DRAMs traditional main market--dynamic random access memories are in the black again: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

DRAMS have experienced operating margin rises for six successive periods after a nearly three year slump.
Further Reading

Thursday, October 17, 2013

#SUPERCOMPUTERS: "IBM Cluster Accelerates U.K. Research"

Iridis4--the 250 teraflop supercomputer at University of Southampton rates as one of the most powerful supercomputers in the United Kingdom: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Based an IBM Intelligent Cluster, the Iridis4 supercomputer accelerates research at the University of Southampton.
Further Reading

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

#DISPLAYS: "Applied Materials' Metal-Oxides Enable Ultra-Hi-Rez Displays"

The 4K and 8K televisions, as well as the "retina" calibre tablets and notebooks are switching to metal-oxide backplanes over conventional silicon, according to Applied Materials which just introduced new fabrication equipment suites for metal-oxide displays: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Ultra-high-resolution displays require metal oxide thin-film transistors (TFTs) using indium-gallium-zinc-oxide (IGZO, yellow) as the channel.

Applied Materials'PiVot system fabricate the ultra-high-resolution metal-oxide backplanes.
Further Reading

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

#MEMS: "Personal Crash Detector Protects Helmet Wearers"

Many spots enthusiast are wearing helmets these days to protect that precious noggin, but what to do when a rider is knocked unconscious on a lonely road. Now thanks to MEMS technologies, the ICDdot personal crash detector will detect the crash and contact emergency personnel and lead them to you, even if you are unconscious": R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

The MEMS enable personal crash detector from ICEdot mounts on any helmet to detect head traumas and contact emergency personnel if you are unconscious.
Further Reading

Monday, October 14, 2013

#MEMS: "Invensense Buys ADI's Digital Microphone Business"

Invensense--called the world's most successful MEMS startup by IHS--is expanding its portfolio of expertise by acquiring Analog Devices' digital microphone group, leveraging Invensense into big-brand OEMs like Apple (since ADI's mic is used in the iPhone and iPad): R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Invensense will complement its motion tracking MEMS chips with microphones by acquired from Analog Devices digital microphone business.
Further Reading

Friday, October 11, 2013

#CHIPS: "Qualcomm Unveils its Neural Network Chip"

Qualcomm described its neural processing units (NPUs) at the MIT Technology Review's EmTech conference, where Qualcomm chief technology officer (CTO) Matt Grob said that NPUs and design tools for developers will be available next year: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Qualcomm's "Zeroth" neural processing unit (NPU) is named after Isaac Asimov's Zeroth Robot Law--that no robot should harm a human.

Qualcomm aims to deliver both NPU hardware and development tools for its developer community in 2014.

Qualcomm CTO Matt Grob revealed its neural processing unit (NPU) at MIT's EmTech conference.

Further Reading

#MEMS: "Meet the Ideal iPad Add-On for Engineers"

Engineers are constantly being frustrated by the inability to conveniently draw circuit diagrams, but the iSketchnote digitizing iPad cover is the perfect add-on since it allows plain-paper sketches to be automatically uploaded to any iPad. The iSketchnote is enabled by an array of 32 STMicroelectronic magnetometers which locate a passive pen with a ring magnet attached: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

The iSketchnote iPad cover transfers anything written on a plain piece of paper (right) to the iPad screen (left)

A array of 32 STMicroelectronics three-axis magnetometers behind the plain paper holder enables the iSketchnote to track a passive pen with an embedded ring magnet.
Further Reading

Thursday, October 10, 2013

#ALGORITHMS: "IBM Launches Accelerated Discovery Lab"

IBM's Accelerated Discovery Lab takes data mining to the next level with smart analytics derived from its Watson AI combined with deep domain knowledge. The AD Lab's goal is to leverage Big Data to accelerate the pace of discovery in all fields of technology development: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Jeff Welser runs the Accelerated Design Lab for IBM.
Further Reading

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

#MARKETS: "Smart Video Outpacing Global Population"

Smart video players, from smartphones to smart-TVs, will outnumber the total number of people on Earth within four years. The Western world will dominate with over 10 smart video devices per household, but on average there will be 1.1 smart video devices per global capita by 2017: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

The global per capita (yellow) for smart video devices equal the population in 2016 (black dotted line) and outpace it by 2017 (blue), according to IHS.
Further Reading

#CHIPS: "Oracle Sets New World Record for Servers"

A new world’s record for two-socket x86 server performance has been set by Oracle's Sun Server X4 line powered by Intel’s newest Xeon E5-2600 v2 processor recently announced at Intel’s Developers Forum: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Further Reading

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

#ROBOTICS: "Jumping Robots Self-Assemble"

Robots with no wheels or legs nevertheless can move about by jumping in any direction to self-assemble into any shape necessary to solve a problem at hand. Eventually they will be downsized small enough to swarm over the landscape forming smooth arbitrary functions like the "liquid metal" robots in Terminator-II: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Modular robot used internal flywheel (pulled out here) to give it the ability to move without legs or wheels.
Further Reading

Monday, October 07, 2013

#MEMS: "Electronic Nose Sniffs Out Any/All"

Honeywell has enabled a universal electronic nose, with the world's first MEMS vacuum pump, which sniffs out any toxin, biological material or chemical in real time. Small enough to fit inside a smartphone, the electronic nose will eventually enable people to track the time and place of their exposure to everything from hazardous materials to the common cold bugs: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Honeywell's penny-sized vacuum pump (upper right) enables universal electronic noses by virtue of MEMS turbine blades for suction (lower left).
Further Reading

Friday, October 04, 2013

#CHIPS: "Supermicro MicroBlade Packs 896 Atom Cores"

Microservers will play an important part in the future of web hosting, mobile cloud services, data visualization and even in extreme scale-out environments and Intel's Atom C2000 (code-named Avoton) aims to lead the pack the way Xeon leads in the traditional server world. Case in point is SuperMicro's new Microblade which pack 896 energy efficient Atom cores into a single 6U rack: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Supermicro's MicroBlade offers extreme-density 112 octal-core Intel Atom C2000 processors, for a total of 896 cores, in a single 6U chassis just 10-1/2 inches high.
Further Reading

Thursday, October 03, 2013

#ALGORITHMS: "IBM Ushers in Era of Cognitive Computing"

The "era of cognitive computing" is upon us, according to IBM which featured an all-star cast of forward-looking thinkers at its Cognitive Systems Colloquium (CSC) this week. There it announced its Cognitive Systems Institute which will enlist academia, industry and government labs worldwide to cooperatively develop brain-like computers that can converse with us using natural language and which will augment human capabilities to cut-through Big Data in the search for solutions to the pressing technological and social problems of our time: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Further Reading

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

#MATERIALS: "Spray-On Sensors for Flexible Electronics"

Spray-on electronics will enable nearly any surface to become a sensor, for instance allowing robots to have sensitive skin or entire walls or curtains to have electronic functions, from changing the pattern of your wallpaper at the touch of a button to converting light coming in the window to power for the room. Now German researchers have proven the concept of spray-on electronics with a gas sensor that detects harmful chemicals, but which could also be used for almost any electronic function: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

German researcher Alaa Abdellah illustrates the flexibility of his spray-on gas sensor.
Further Reading

Monday, September 30, 2013

#CHIPS: "Carbon Nanotube Computer Integrated With CMOS"

The world's first carbon nanotube computer has been integrated onto a CMOS chip by researchers at Stanford University, heralding a new era of carbon-based circuitry on standard silicon wafers. Carbon nanotube transistors are higher speed and lower power than silicon transistors, but until now have been impossible to insert into the CMOS design flow. Now Stanford University researchers claim to have surmounted these problems, enabling carbon nanotube transistors to be integrated into standard cells on CMOS wafers: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Carbon nanotube computers on silicon wafer aim for smaller, more energy-efficient CMOS processors.
Further Reading

Friday, September 27, 2013

#DISPLAYS: "Stretchable, Bendable, Foldable Displays Beacon"

Displays today are most flat, but the future will hold stretchable, bendable, foldable displays that can unfurl like a sail, according to researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) who recently showed two stretchable organic light emitting diode (OLED) prototypes--a lighting panel and a small display: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Researcher wearing purple gloves demonstrates how an OLED lighting panel can be bent while still working undamaged.
Further Reading

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

#MEMS: "Top 12 MEMS Chips Pioneering New Markets"

First MEMS revolutionized the smartphone by allowing it to sense orientation--to switch the screen from portrait to landscape--then to sense motion for gaming and gesture recognition, and next to sense heading for digital compasses and to enhance location-based services even when GPS signals are unavailable like indoors. Now MEMS is poised to pioneer new frontiers in electronics, from automotive to environmental to medical. Here the 12 most significant MEMS chips announced in the past year are recounted, including predictions of how they will change the world of electronics in 2014 and beyond: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Sand 9's chip can be over-molded into the customer's own chip package, along with the chip for which it provides the
timing signals.
Further Reading

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

#ALGORITHMS: "Hacking Medical Implants Foiled"

When vice president Dick Cheney got a pacemaker, the Secret Service is said to have taken extra precautions to prevent hackers from reprogramming it. Now researchers at Rice University wants to provide even better safeguards for the rest of us. A new algorithm that uses the patients own heartbeat as a random password generator is said to prevent hackers from gaining wireless access to pacemakers, insulin pumps,defibrillators, neural implants, and drug delivery systems: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Rice University professor Farinaz Koushanfar (left) and her student Masoud Rostami (right) invented security technique for implantable medical devices that prevents wireless attacks.
Further Reading

Friday, September 20, 2013

#MATERIALS: "Superconducting Quantum Computer Beckons"

A new superconducting material holds promise for enabling quantum computers capable of solving the Big Data problem. According to scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories (Berkeley Labs) a new material called a topological insulator has a top layer that has been found to be superconducting. The hope is that it also harbors Majorana zero modes, which could hold nonvolatile q-bits that do not need the elaborate error correction as with conventional materials for quantum computers: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Bismuth selenide cuprate (Bi2212) heterostructure showed high-temperature superconducting gap on the surface of a bismuth selenide topological insulator.
Further Reading

Thursday, September 19, 2013

#MATERIALS: "Spintronics for Silicon Approaching"

Spintronic enables atom-scale nonvolatile circuitry that remembers its state even when turned off. Until now spintronic materials have not been silicon compatible. But now a new class of dilute magnetic semiconductors could fit the bill, eanbling ultra-dense ulra-low-low power circuitry not otherwise possible today: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Cross-section spintronic material, and epitaxial strontium tin oxide (Sr3SnO) interfaces to cubic yttria-stabilized zirconia (c-YSZ) atop a silicon substrate.
Further Reading

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

#CHIPS: "IBM, Amazon Choose New Intel Xeon for Next-Gen Datacenters"

IBM and Amazon have chosen to put "Intel Inside" their next-generation datacenters using the just released Xeon E5-2600 v2 processor for their servers. IBM's NeXtScale System, for instance, packs 84 dual-socket 12-core Xeon E5-2600 v2 processors–for 2,016 cores total--in a single hyerscale server: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Further Reading

#DISPLAYS: "Flexible and Curved Displays--$27 Billion Market"

After years of research and false starts, flexible and curved displays are starting to take off, according to Touch Display Research, which predicts a $27 billion market by 2023: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Sony promises this curved television will be on store shelves in time for Christmas.

Flexible and curved display market is only $388 million today but will grow to $27 billion by 2023, according to Touch Display Research.
Further Reading

Monday, September 16, 2013

#CHIPS: "Intel Boosts vPro Virtualization, Security at IDF"

Virtualization allows information technology (IT) to remotely manage entire fleets of computers, allowing the to remote management of software updates and secure connectivity. Intel is the only processor maker that enforces virtualization with on-chip hardware--called vPro--that insures users can get the applications they need and the security they require without having make a physical trip to IT. At the Intel Developers Forum 2013, Intel updated its vProp technology, boosting its performance with 4th generation Core technology as well as extending its reach from laptops and desktop PCs to tablets, 2-in-1s, Ultrabooks and all-in-ones: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Intel's 4th generation Core procesors with vPro were described in his keynote at Intel Developer Forum 2013 by Kirk Skaugen, senior vice president and general manager of the PC Client Group.
Further Reading

Friday, September 13, 2013

#MEMS: "STMicrosystems Shaping the Future of MEMS"

"Shaping the Future of MEMS and Sensors", hosted by STMicroelectronics, is the latest micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) conference, where a wide variety of representatives from the MEMS ecosystem presented their views on where MEMS is headed in the consumer electronics, healthcare and wellness markets: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Further Reading

#CHIPS: "Intel Redefining Hyperscale Cloud Datacenters"

Intel's Atom C2000 processor are enbaling low-cost, light-workload "micro-servers" specialized for entry-level networking and “cold” storage using optical-interconnected racks and a software-defined infrastructure (SDI): R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Intel is redefining the hyperscale datacenters of the future with the processors, systems and optically interconnected racks for a software defined infrastructure.
Further Reading

Thursday, September 12, 2013

#MEMS: "iPhone 5-Like Motion Processor for Android/Windows8"

At STMicroelectronics' "Shaping the Future of MEMS and Sensors" conference this week PNI Sensor Corp.(Santa Rosa, Calif.) demonstrated its new Sentral Sensor Fusion Hub for the rest of the world. Similar to Apple's recently announced M7 motion coprocessor chip for the new iPhone 5s, PNI's Sentral will work with any manufacturers sensors and operating system: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

PNI Sensor's Sentral motion processor for any OS was demonstrated the same day Apple unveiled its own M7 motion processor for the iPhone 5s. (Source: PNI
Further Reading

#CHIPS: Overclocking Spotlighted at Intel Developer Forum

Overclocking--the process of temporarily pushing your CPU past it maximum sustainable clock speed--was featured at this week’s Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco. There ASUS introduced its X79-Deluxe motherboard built specifically for the latest Intel Core i7 processors: R. Colin Johnson

Asus designed its X79-Deluxe motherboard specifically for over clocking.
Further Reading

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

#MATERIALS: "Quantum MIIM Diodes Beat Silicon"

Operating at terahertz frequencies is much higher than silicon devices can achieve today, but metal-insulator-metal (MIM) diodes can achieve teraherz frequencies while consuming less power and producing less heat. Unfortnatley, those promising technologies always seem just out of reach. Now Oregon State University (OSU) researchers claim to have invigorated the technology by adding a second insulator layer to produce an MIIM device that aims to solve the problems with MIM devices and come closer to taking the technology mainstream: R. Colin Johnsn @NextGenLog

MIIM devices have four layers, (left to right) amorphous zirconium, hafnium oxide, aluminum oxide and aluminum, shown here in a transmission electron microscope (TEM) image.
(Source: Oregon State University)
Further Reading

Monday, September 09, 2013

#CHIPS: "Intel’s Next-Gen RAID Puts Big Data on the Cloud"

Redundant arrays of independent disks (RAID) keeps systems up and running by switching over to backup storage or even entire servers, boosting Big Data, cloud computing, realtime streaming and even parallel software frameworks like Apache Hadoop--an advantage Intel addresses with three new high-performance RAID storage solutions: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Intel recently boosted its support for redundant arrays of independent disks (RAID).
Further Reading

#ALGORITHMS: "Intel’s Parallel Programming Suite Updated"

The comprehensive parallels software suite--Parallel Studio XE and Cluster Studio XE-has been updated to new Haswell-EP microarchitecture–the low-power 22-nanometer successor to Ivy Bridge as well as Haswell’s successor–Intel’s 14-nanometer Broadwell processors, due out next year. Besides performance improvements and support for Intel's new 512-bit advanced vector extensions (AVX-512), the new parallel performance wite supports a whole array new software standards including, OpenMP 4.0, C++11, Fortran 2003 and 2008: R. Colin Johnson

Performance with Intel latest MPI library offers up to 6.5-times better performance.

\Intel parallel programming suites offer improved data mining for performance tuning using using Intel VTune Amplifier XE.
Further Reading

Thursday, September 05, 2013

#CHIPS: "Graphene Enables Non-Boolean Logic"

The whole world of semiconductor researchers are trying to force graphene into performing well in traditional structures like transistors, but researchers at the University of California in Riverside say go-with-the-flow, and are creating novel non-Boolean devices that come naturally to graphene: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Novel graphene devices here performs non-Boolean logic--scale bar is one micron.
Further Reading

#SENSORS: "E-Nose Sensitivity Boosted by Nanotubes"

Electronic noses can sniff out almost any chemical, but can be temperamental since detected molecules must be precisely positioned on the business end of the sensor. Now researchers have created bundles of nanotubes with space between them where molecules can be surrounded by the sensor, making the up to 100,000 times more sensitive--almost enough to detect a single molecule of a hazardous substance: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Bundles of carbon nanotubes with curved tips improve e-nose's sensitivity by letting through Raman scattered light to boost sensitivity of chemical detector.
SOURCE: H.G. Park / ETH Zurich)
Further Reading

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

#MEMS: "Sand 9 Downsizes Cell Phones"

If you crack the case on any cell phone--smart or dumb--you'll find that the biggest, clunkiest components inside are the crystal oscillator "cans." Now Sand 9 has eliminated the need for those bulky components with a sub-millimeter MEMS substitute, enabling a new era of thinner, lighter, better performing cell phones that drop fewer calls: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Sand 9's tiny package provides the same the timing signals as quartz but in a sub-millimeter size.

Sand 9's use of a piezo-electric resonator (center) works 100 times better than traditional MEMS.
Further Reading

Friday, August 30, 2013

#SENSORS: "Sixense to Kickstart its 1st Wireless Controller"

Kickstarter is not just enlisting consumer investors, but is now helping established companies attract new original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) into using their subsystems. Enter Sixense, whose Kickstarter project will be the only way to get advance access to its first wireless motion sensing technology. Sixense hopes that OEMs will sign-up to get their system development kit which allows them to embed the motion sensing module into their own controllers, such as head-mounted displays for virtual reality, or into sports equipment like a golf club for gaming: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Sixense's first wireless controller houses the oblong Sixense Tracking Embedded Module (STEM, left), which OEMs can embed to track motion in their own devices.

The STEM magnetic beacon and base station recharges two Sixense controllers and up to three power packs for OEMs embedded the motion sensing module in their own devices, like head mounted displays for virtual reality, or say a golf club for gaming.
Further Reading

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

#ALGORITHMS: "Xeon/Xeon Phi to Get 512-bit Advanced Vector Instructions"

The next generation of Xeon and Xeon Phi processors from Intel will feature 512-bit versions of its advanced vector extensions (AVX-512), which will level the playing field between its multi-core and many-integrated core (MIC) processors, opening the door to massively parallel CPUs--instead of just co-processors--in the future: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

The next generation of the Xeon Phi massively parallel processor--Knights Landing--will include the new AVX-512 instructions.

mprovement in performance over today's the Xeon, but by the next generation both execute AVX-512 instructions.
Further Reading