Computers & the Internet News and Discussions

weatheriscool
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Morphing computer chip repels hundreds of professional DARPA hackers
By Michael Irving
May 24, 2021
https://newatlas.com/computers/morpheus ... a-hackers/
Engineers have designed a computer processor that thwarts hackers by randomly changing its microarchitecture every few milliseconds. Known as Morpheus, the puzzling processor has now aced its first major tests, repelling hundreds of professional hackers in a DARPA security challenge.

In 2017, DARPA backed the University of Michigan’s Morpheus project with US$3.6 million in funding, and now the novel processor has been put to the test. Over four months in 2020, DARPA ran a bug bounty program called Finding Exploits to Thwart Tampering (FETT), pitting 525 professional security researchers against Morpheus and a range of other processors.

The goal of the program was to test new hardware-based security systems, which could protect data no matter how vulnerable the underlying software was. Morpheus was mocked up to resemble a medical database, complete with software vulnerabilities – and yet, not a single attack made it through its defenses.
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New ARMv9 Cortex X-2, A710 CPUs Deliver Major Efficiency Gains
https://www.extremetech.com/computing/3 ... ency-gains
By Joel Hruska on May 25, 2021 at 9:00 am

ARM has released new information on what we can expect from the first generation of ARMv9 CPUs. The latest version of the ARM ISA debuted earlier this year with an emphasis on improving SIMD performance and security. Now, ARM has released information on what kind of baseline performance and efficiency improvements end-users should expect.

ARM is announcing these CPUs as part of its Total Compute solutions initiative. These CPUs deliver on what ARM is calling the three pillars of its Total Compute strategy: compute performance, developer access, and security. Today, the company is announcing the Cortex X2, Cortex-A710, and Cortex-A510 processors.
weatheriscool
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Acer unveils industry's first 17-inch Chromebook
By Paul Ridden
May 27, 2021
Chromebooks are a great option for folks who work, learn or play mostly online, generally coming with relatively low-spec hardware and having users create, save and store their work online. One of the first company's out of the Chromebook gate was Taiwan's Acer, and now the consumer electronics giant is the first to launch a 17-inch Chromebook.

"Since the introduction of Chromebooks 10 years ago, Acer has been a leader in expanding form factors in innovative ways that encourage our users to create, learn, and do more," said the company's James Lin. "Today, we hit another milestone by being the first Chromebook provider to introduce a 17.3-inch model, the ideal size for users working and learning from home."
https://newatlas.com/laptops/acer-chrom ... 7-17-inch/
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Yuli Ban
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Perlmutter, said to be the world's fastest AI supercomputer, comes online
It is powered by 6,159 Nvidia A100 Tensor Core GPUs. That, Nvidia said, makes Perlmutter the largest A100 GPU-powered system in the world, capable of delivering almost 4 EXAFLOPS
A ribbon-cutting ceremony held virtually at Berkeley Lab’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) today marked the official launch of Perlmutter – aka NERSC-9 – the GPU-accelerated supercomputer built by HPE in partnership with Nvidia and AMD. The HPE Cray EX supercomputer harnesses 6,159 Nvidia A100 GPUs and ~1,500 AMD Milan CPUs to deliver nearly 3.8 exaflops of theoretical “AI performance” (see endnote) or about 60 petaflops of peak double-precision (standard FP64) HPC performance.

The system is the namesake of Saul Perlmutter, an astrophysicist at Berkeley Lab who shared the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics for his contributions to research showing that the expansion of the universe is accelerating. So it’s fitting that one of the initial use cases for the Perlmutter supercomputer will be in support of the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI), which is probing the effect of dark energy on the universe’s expansion.
4 exaflops!!
Under special conditions. It's actually a bit nebulous and closer to 60 petaflops in general power. For AI, though, it can reach the equivalent of 4 exaflops of performance.
And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future
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Intel CEO says semiconductor shortage could last years

May 31, 2021

Intel’s new CEO Pat Gelsinger has said that there could be a global shortage of semiconductors for several years, according to a Reuters report. This will affect consumer electronics such as computers, smartphones, and tablets to the point where consumers could see prices increase despite people having less money due to the coronavirus.

Speaking at a virtual event at the Computex trade show today, the shift to working and studying from home due to the virus has put a lot of pressure on supply chains that can’t keep up with demand. Giving a prognosis of the situation, Gelsinger said:
“But while the industry has taken steps to address near term constraints it could still take a couple of years for the ecosystem to address shortages of foundry capacity, substrates and components.”
In terms of the short term measures that are being taken by Intel, the firm came up with a $20 billion plan a few months ago to expand its advanced chip manufacturing. The plan will see Intel build two new factories in Arizona and open up its plants to customers. In the future, Gelsinger envisions expanding production to more locations in the United States and Europe to create a “sustainable and secure semiconductor supply chain for the world.”

https://www.neowin.net/news/intel-ceo-s ... ast-years/


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weatheriscool
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Google announces Half-Double, a new technique used in the Rowhammer DRAM security exploit
https://techxplore.com/news/2021-06-goo ... -dram.html
by Sarah Katz , Tech Xplore
Google has just revealed the discovery of a new technique used by attackers to take advantage of the Rowhammer security exploit present in Dynamic Random-Access Memory (DRAM). This new strategy involves capitalizing on the issues with some of the newer DRAM chips in the ways memory cells interact with each other.

This DRAM vulnerability works by using access to one address to alter the data stored at various other addresses. Similar to CPU execution vulnerabilities, Rowhammer interferes with the security architecture of the underlying hardware. As the exploit exists within the Silicon material itself, the bug enables potential bypass of both hardware and software protection measures. Such security circumvention can allow untrusted code to escape the sandbox and take over the system.

Having first discovered Rowhammer back in 2014, Google has since taken steps to mitigate this privileged escalation issue by monitoring for frequently accessed addresses. From there, chip manufacturers updated the proprietary logic inside their products accordingly. At first, this solution appeared successful—until 2020, when Google's TRRespass paper displayed the ability to reverse engineer the built-in mitigation systems and hinder defenses by distributing access. In fact, further research showed the potential for exploitation from JavaScript, without even the need to invoke cache-management primitives or system calls.
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Lasers capable of transmitting signals at 224 gigabits per second, enough to achieve 800 gigabit ethernet
https://phys.org/news/2021-06-lasers-ca ... gabit.html
by The Optical Society

With the massive proliferation of data-heavy services, including high-resolution video streaming and conferencing, cloud services infrastructure growth in 2021 is expected to reach a 27% CAGR. Consequently, while 400 gigabit ethernet (GbE) is currently enjoying widespread deployment, 800 GbE is poised to rapidly follow to address these bandwidth demands.

One approach to 800 GbE is to install eight 100 gigabit per second (Gbps) optical interfaces or lanes. As an alternative to reduce the hardware count, increase reliability, and lower cost, a team of researchers at Lumentum developed an optical solution that uses four 200 Gbps wavelength lanes to reach 800 GbE.

Syunya Yamauchi, a principal optical engineer at Lumentum, will present the optimized design during a session at the Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exhibition (OFC), being held virtually from 06-11 June, 2021.
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Computers can now predict our preferences directly from our brain
https://techxplore.com/news/2021-06-brain.html
by University of Copenhagen
In the experiment, participants were shown images of human faces while having EEG electrodes on the heads. Credit: University of Copenhagen

A research team from the University of Copenhagen and University of Helsinki demonstrates it is possible to predict individual preferences based on how a person's brain responses match up to others. This could potentially be used to provide individually-tailored media content—and perhaps even to enlighten us about ourselves.

We have become accustomed to online algorithms trying to guess our preferences for everything from movies and music to news and shopping. This is based not only on what we have searched for, looked at, or listened to, but also on how these activities compare to others. Collaborative filtering, as the technique is called, uses hidden patterns in our behavior and the behavior of others to predict which things we may find interesting or appealing.
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New COVID-19 Outbreaks in Asia Could Exacerbate the Global Chip Shortage
June 12, 2021

https://www.theverge.com/2021/6/12/2253 ... r-shortage

Introduction:
(The Verge) New outbreaks of COVID-19 in Asia could create delays in the global supply chain and exacerbate the global semiconductor shortage, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal.

Taiwan, which is a significant hub for chip manufacturing, is currently experiencing a surge of COVID-19 cases. On Saturday, Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center announced that there were 251 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 26 deaths. On Friday, the agency reported 287 new cases and 24 deaths. And cases have been on the rise since early May. “Starting on May 10, COVID-19 infections jumped from one to three-digit figures within a matter of days,” South China Morning Post reported.

The outbreak is having a big effect on at least one major chip company in Taiwan. “At King Yuan Electronics Co., one of the island’s largest chip testing and packaging companies, more than 200 employees have tested positive for the virus this month, while another 2,000 workers have been placed in quarantine — cutting the company’s revenue this month by roughly a third,” the WSJ reported.

TSMC, which makes chips for Apple, Qualcomm, and many other big tech companies, says it has not yet been affected, according to the WSJ. But the company already warned in April that chip shortages could last through 2022, and it’s unclear how the COVID-19 outbreak in Taiwan might affect that estimation.

The WSJ reported that factories in Malaysia have had their manufacturing capabilities slowed due to COVID-19 as well. “All told, the Malaysia Semiconductor Industry Association says the lockdown will reduce output by between 15% and 40%,” according to the WSJ.
weatheriscool
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Microsoft Will Drop Support for Windows 10 by 2025
https://www.extremetech.com/computing/3 ... 10-by-2025
By Joel Hruska on June 11, 2021 at 4:27 pm

Microsoft has updated its official documentation to reflect Windows 10’s EOL date. According to the company’s EOL page, Windows 10 Home, Pro, Pro Education, and Pro for Workstations will all sunset by October 14, 2025.

When Microsoft launched Windows 10, it declared that Windows 10 would be the last version of Windows. I’m not sure if anyone actually believed that, but the company ran with it. Here we are, six years later, with a new version of Windows coming out.

If we assume Microsoft launches Windows 11 by November (an arbitrary date), it will mean Windows 10 lived a few hundred days longer than Windows XP did relative to Vista. It was always obvious that Microsoft would launch a new Windows, just like Google and Apple continue to release new versions of their products with updated code names and numbers. This is how software development has worked for literally decades, and Microsoft wasn’t going to buck that trend.
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