Intel’s latest chip is designed for computing at the edge

Intel’s latest chip is designed for computing at the edge

As we develop increasingly sophisticated technologies like self-driving cars and industrial internet of things sensors, it’s going to require that we move computing to the edge. Essentially this means that instead of sending data to the cloud for processing, it needs to be done right on the device itself because even a little bit of latency is too much.

Intel announced a new chip today, called the Intel Xeon D-2100 processor, to help customers who want to move computing to the edge. It’s part of an effort by the chip giant to stay ahead of emerging technology trends like edge computing and the Internet of Things.

Computing at the edge has some unique space and power requirements that Intel has tried to address with this announcement. For starters, it provides a stand-alone system on a chip (SoC). This means everything you need is built into into the chip including compute, networking and storage. It’s also low power, which might be necessary to run an edge computing device without the benefit of a data center power structure.

In a blog post announcing the new chip, Jennifer Huffstetler, vice president and general manager of data center product management in the Data Center Group at Intel, pointed out the growing need for this type of architecture. “By expanding the capabilities of the data center outward to the network edge, solution providers can process more data closer to endpoint devices, reducing application latency and opening up a whole new world of potential services and experience,” Huffstetler wrote.

She added that the SoC gives customers an “integrated, hardware-enhanced network, security and acceleration capabilities in a single package.” The chip achieves all of this by packing a lot into a small package including up to 18 ‘Skylake-server’ generation Intel Xeon processor cores integrated with up to 100 Gbps of built-in cryptography, decryption and encryption acceleration. Intel calls this ‘QuickAssist Technology.’

The company sees this being particularly useful for new 5G technologies being developed for smartphones like augmented and virtual reality applications and autonomous driving. They also see it being useful for communications network use cases like virtual private networks and software-defined wide area networks and also certain cloud workloads that require processing close to the edge such as content delivery networks.

Intel has already built a partner network for the new chip with a variety of companies including including Dell EMC, Ericsson, NEC, NetApp and Palo Alto Networks.

And if you’re concerned about the impact of the Spectre and Meltdown exploits, Intel reports that it has built in the latest patches into the new chip. (Although it’s worth noting that Intel had trouble with its initial attempts at patching the exploit.)

SpaceX confirms it lost the center core of the Falcon Heavy

SpaceX confirms it lost the center core of the Falcon Heavy

SpaceX pulled off quite the feat today when it launched the Falcon Heavy rocket.|

What’s more, it landed the two flanking boosters in perfect synchronized formation. But the fate of the core booster was unclear; now it appears that the center booster, which was supposed to land on a drone ship, was lost.

Elon Musk said on a conference call with reporters that the launch “seems to have gone as well as one could have hoped with the exception of center core. The center core obviously didn’t land on the drone ship” and he said that “we’re looking at the issue.” Musk says that the core ran out of propellant, which kept the core from being able to slow down as much as it needed for landing. Because of that, the core apparently hit the water at 300MPH, and it was about 100 meters from the ship. “It was enough to take out two thrusters and shower the deck with shrapnel,” Musk said. That should be worth seeing on video: “We have the video,” Musk confirmed, “it sounds like some pretty fun footage… if the cameras didn’t get blown up as well.”

It’s been suspected that the core was lost since just after the other two rockets landed successfully. The video feed from the center core cut out, and we didn’t hear anything official in the intervening three-plus hours. Audio from an unpublished YouTube video also seemed to confirm the loss of the center core; “we lost the center core” can be clearly heard on the recording. Without any context, though, it was hard to know for certain if they were talking about communications or the rocket itself.

This shouldn’t take away from SpaceX’s spectacular achievement today. The goal of this demo launch was to prove that the Falcon Heavy was ready for flight, and it more than accomplished that. Landing the first stages is always a secondary objective, and no one should overlook the fact that the company was able to land two of the three boosters at once. SpaceX will likely learn quite a bit from this failure, and be better prepared to land all three boosters next time, which will probably be in three to four months.

Nathan Ingraham contributed to this report.

Vision Research Phantom camera captures 1080p video at 11,750 frames per second

Vision Research Phantom camera captures 1080p video at 11,750 frames per second

In the never-ending pursuit of video capture at higher frame rates than ever before, the team at Vision Research has outdone itself with the latest camera in its Phantom lineup, the Phantom v2640.

The CMOS sensor inside the Phantom v2640 is only four megapixels. But what it lacks in resolution, it makes up for in just about every other category. At full resolution (2,048 x 1,952 pixels) it captures video at 6,600 frames per second (fps) and almost doubles that to 11,750fps at 1080p resolution. The dynamic range of the Phantom v2640 is also the highest in any Phantom camera to date, which is a critical feature considering how fast the minimum shutter speed of the Phantom v2640 is, at 142 nanoseconds. Yes, you read that right — nanoseconds.

Made with researchers, scientists, and engineers in mind, the Phantom v2640 comes in both color and monochrome models. The color model maxes out at 11,750fps, while the monochrome version can use a specialized mode to bump up the frame rate to 25,030fps, although that comes at the cost of resolution, dropping it down to just one megapixel.

As you would expect with so many frames, storage is a major factor in recording limits. It’s for this reason Vision Research is offering the Phantom v2640 with up to 288GB of onboard memory. If more space is needed, it’s also compatible with Vision Research’s 1TB and 2TB CineMags. Offloading data is done using a 10Gb Ethernet connection.

As for design, the camera looks like most other Phantom cameras released by Vision Research. It features a block-like design with a basic handle and massive vents on both sides to keep the internals cool.

Pricing for the Phantom v2640 hasn’t yet been announced, but it’s safe to assume this beast won’t come cheap. A recent predecessor of the Phantom v2640, the Phantom v2512, retailed for $110,000 at launch.

That said, if you have a hundred grand burning a hole in your pocket — or you just want to find out more specs of this thing — head on over to Vision Research’s website where you can find out more information and detailed instructions on how to pre-order the Phantom v2640.

Twitter explains why it hasn’t banned President Trump

Twitter explains why it hasn’t banned President Trump

Amid vocal calls for the company to act, Twitter today offered its first explanation for why it hasn’t banned President Donald Trump — without ever saying the man’s name. “Elected world leaders play a critical role in that conversation because of their outsized impact on our society,” the company said in a blog post. “Blocking a world leader from Twitter or removing their controversial Tweets, would hide important information people should be able to see and debate. It would also not silence that leader, but it would certainly hamper necessary discussion around their words and actions.”

Twitter has faced regular calls to ban Trump since he was elected in 2016. Among other things, critics have accused Trump of inciting violence with his tweets. This week, a tweet invoking the prospect of nuclear war escalated tensions with North Korea, but was allowed to remain on the service. Protesters projected critical slogans on the walls outside Twitter headquarters as a result. Today, the nonprofit group Color of Change announced a new effort to get Trump banned from Twitter.

In its blog post, Twitter reiterated its previous statement that all accounts still must follow the company’s rules. The statement seemed to leave open the possibility that it might one day take action against Trump’s account, or the accounts of other world leaders who might use the platform to incite violence or otherwise break its rules. “We review Tweets by leaders within the political context that defines them, and enforce our rules accordingly,” it said.

The company also pushed back against an oft-tweeted refrain of the company’s critics, that it only allows Trump to keep tweeting because it draws attention — and ad revenue — to the company. “No one person’s account drives Twitter’s growth, or influences these decisions,” the company said. “We work hard to remain unbiased with the public interest in mind.”

Intel faces multiple lawsuits over chip security vulnerabilities

Intel faces multiple lawsuits over chip security vulnerabilities

Intel is already facing multiple lawsuits over the chip security flaws revealed earlier this weekGizmodo reports that three have been filed so far — in California, Oregon and Indiana. All three are class action complaints and note Intel’s delay in disclosing the vulnerabilities — it knew about them for months — as well as reduced performance caused by subsequent security patches. The Register reported that PC slow downs could amount to as much as five to 30 percent, but Intel has said that its solution’s impacts are “highly workload-dependent” and won’t be noticed much by the typical user.

It’s still early — the flaws were only officially revealed on Wednesday — so Intel could be facing more lawsuits going forward. In the week following Apple’s reveal that it intentionally slows older iPhone models to prevent sudden shutdowns, it was hit with a number of lawsuits in multiple countries.

Intel says 90 percent of affected chips should be patched by the end of the week while companies like Microsoft, Google and Apple are also releasing updates to mitigate the effects of the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities.

Via: The Verge

At long last, researchers develop a wearable fit for plants

At long last, researchers develop a wearable fit for plants

Wearables today can tell you just about everything you want to know about your body, and some stuff you’d rather put off until tomorrow. They can monitor your steps, your heart rate, and even let you know how drunk you are by analyzing the alcohol molecules in your skin. There are entire lines of wearables designed for kids and pets. What’s next? A wearable for plants?

Yep.

A team of engineers from Iowa State University has developed wearable sensors, some specially designed for our photosynthetic friends, allowing growers to measure how their crops use water. The innovative new device — which its creators are calling “plant tattoo sensors” — is designed to be low-cost, using the revolutionary material graphene, which allows it to be thin and adhere to surfaces like tape.

“Wearable sensor technologies have been researched and applied in biomedicine, healthcare, and related industries, but are still relatively new and almost unexplored for applications related to agriculture and crops,” Liang Dong, an Iowa State electrical engineer who helped develop the technology, told Digital Trends. “Tape-based sensors can be simply attached to plants and provide signals related to transpiration from plants, with no any complex installation procedures or parts required.”

The graphene-on-tape technology developed by Dong and his colleagues can be used to monitor a plant’s thirst, tracking how leaves release water vapor by measuring changes in conductivity. The technology can be used beyond horticulture as well. In a paper published in December in the journal Advanced Materials Technologies, the researchers demonstrated how similar technology can be applied to other wearable sensors to monitor strain and pressure, including in a smart glove capable of monitoring the movement of hands.

Water is key to crop productivity, so it is a top concern for farmers who want to make sure their plants are properly quenched. Given the value of the resource and its scarcity in many regions, efficient water use is vital to a functioning and sustainable operation.

“Water is a seriously limited factor in agriculture around the world,” Patrick Schnable, an Iowa State plant scientist who worked on the technology, said. “A first approach to overcoming this challenge of a water-limited world is to breed crops that are more drought tolerant and water efficient. Current practice is to conduct expensive replicated yield tests under various levels of drought stress. Our ‘plant tattoo sensors’ will enable breeders to identify hybrids that are likely to perform better under drought stress prior to conducting large-scale yield tests.”

By identifying the plants that perform best under these stressful conditions, breeders have a better chance of developing more drought-tolerant crops, which will come in handy as climate change sweeps the globe.

US declares North Korea the culprit behind devastating WannaCry ransomware attack

US declares North Korea the culprit behind devastating WannaCry ransomware attack

The US has declared North Korea the perpetrator of the widespread and financially devastating WannaCry ransomware cyberattack that rapidly spread across the globe in May, hitting hospitals, companies, and other critical institutions in countries around the world. The announcement came in the form of an op-ed in The Wall Street Journalauthored by President Donald Trump’s Homeland Security Advisor, Thomas Bossert.

News of the administration’s announcement was reported earlier today by The Washington Post, which reports that the White House will be issuing a formal statement tomorrow. It was reported back in June that the US National Security Agency was in possession of evidence that pointed to North Korea. Bossert’s op-ed publicly confirms the NSA’s findings with support from evidence gathered by foreign governments, independent cybersecurity firms, and corporations directly hit by the attack.

“We do not make this allegation lightly. It is based on evidence. We are not alone with our findings, either. Other governments and private companies agree. The United Kingdom attributes the attack to North Korea, and Microsoft traced the attack to cyber affiliates of the North Korean government,” Bossert writes. “The consequences and repercussions of WannaCry were beyond economic. The malicious software hit computers in the UK’s health-care sector particularly hard, compromising systems that perform critical work. These disruptions put lives at risk.”

It’s unclear if the Trump administration will use WannaCry as a way to put more pressure on North Korea via sanctions, as is already the situation with the country’s nuclear program. Bossert concludes his op-ed with the line, “We will continue to use our maximum pressure strategy to curb Pyongyang’s ability to mount attacks, cyber or otherwise,” suggesting the administration is openly looking into measures it can take to combat North Korea’s capacity for cyberattacks. Bossert also says hackers must continue to receive harsh punishments for cybercrimes and corporations likely to be victims of such attacks should step up security and proactively take measures to fight back against malicious bad actors and foreign governments.

Facebook could soon allow users to leave news feed posts off their profiles

Facebook could soon allow users to leave news feed posts off their profiles

Facebook profiles may soon no longer be a long list of everything you’ve ever shared. Facebook appears to be testing a tool that would allow users to share posts without including them in their profile, sending them to the news feed only.

Facebook hasn’t yet confirmed the test of the feature, but The Next Web’s Matt Navarra recently spotted the option. The option shows up at the top of a new post next to the privacy options as well as the option to add to an album. By selecting “show on profile,” users can choose whether to, like the current option, post to both the news feed and the profile, or to just send the post to the news feed only.

Another variation of the feature uses a pop-up window allowing users to choose to where to share, including the news feed and Stories.

If the tool makes it past testing, the option could give users more control over the look and content of their profile. Friends frequent the news feed to read updates, but visitors on the profile tend to be looking for something more specific, like something that user shared in the past, checking up on an old friend or checking out a potential new hire.

Users could, for example, want to share news stories they are interested in publicly, but may not want a potential new boss or friend to guess their political affiliation from the list of posts they’ve shared. Another option is to put the more important events in the profile, but leave off that photo of what was for lunch.

The test was spotted on Friday, December 15, the same day that Facebook brought the “snooze” tool out of testing. The option allows users to temporarily remove a friend, Page or group from their news feed for 30 days. A number of new tests and features appear to be cleaning up the social network while offering users more options to control what they see — Facebook also recently eliminated that real-time ticker and also adjusted algorithms to make video series that users visit more than once appear higher in the news feed.

Samsung will reportedly announce the Galaxy S9 in February

Samsung will reportedly announce the Galaxy S9 in February

Samsung is reportedly planning to announce its next flagship phone, the Galaxy S9, in February, according to a report from Bloomberg, with the phones launching as early as March.

If true, it’d be one of the earliest announcements for a new model of Samsung’s main Galaxy line, which have typically been announced in March and released in April in years past. As was rumored earlier, the S9 and the accompanying S9 Plus will be more of an iterative update than the drastic redesign of the S8, with VentureBeat’s Evan Blass claimingthat the devices will see faster processors in the form of the recently announced Snapdragon 845, along with updated cameras.

The S9 was rumored to make an early appearance at CES in January, but later reports cast doubt on that occurring. However, a full February reveal would splits the difference between the early CES showing and the usual March unveiling.

You can now download Google Chrome beta and start muting autoplay videos

You can now download Google Chrome beta and start muting autoplay videos

Back in September, Google said Chrome 64 would address several user concerns around content that autoplays, most notably, the ability to have autoplay videos go silent by default. Now, if you’re really keen on testing it out, you do so today by downloading the Chrome 64 beta, as spotted by Engadget. The company said the full autoplay video blocking feature, which is part of a broader ad blocking effort in Chrome that’s been in the works for quite some time, would arrive in the consumer version of the browser come January.

The setting to have autoplay content automatically muted is in Chrome 64’s permissions bar. Unfortunately, this isn’t a one-and-done setting — it has to be done for every website you want it applied to — but it will mute sound for any content that is navigated to under the parent domain.

Other bonuses in Chrome 64, as noted by 9to5Google, include an improved pop-up blocker, additional security measures that prevent malicious auto-redirects, and support for HDR video playback when Windows 10 is in HDR mode. On Chrome OS, there is also a new “split view” feature that allows for easier multitasking with multiple windows.