Tag: computer

Boffins to build real large scale quantum computer

schrodingers_catAn international team, led by a scientist from the University of Sussex, has today unveiled the first practical blueprint for how to build a quantum computer.

Powered by cats who may, or may not be dead, the computer will be the most powerful on Earth and has calculated the existence of rice pudding even before it has been built.

According to the journal Science Advances, which we get for the spot the quark competition, the blueprint includes a new invention which uses connections created by electric fields that allow charged atoms (ions) to be transported from one module to another. This new approach allows 100,000 times faster connection speeds between individual quantum computing modules compared to current state-of-the-art fibre link technology.

Previously, scientists thought of using fibre optic connections to connect individual computer modules.

The project’s top boffin Prof Winfried Hensinger, head of Ion Quantum Technology Group at the University of Sussex said the availability of a universal quantum computer may have a fundamental impact on society.

“Without doubt it is still challenging to build a large-scale machine, but now is the time to translate academic excellence into actual application building on the UK’s strengths in this ground-breaking technology. I am very excited to work with industry and government to make this happen.”

The computer’s possibilities for solving, explaining or developing could be endless. However, its size will be anything but small. The machine is expected to fill a large building, consisting of sophisticated vacuum apparatus featuring integrated quantum computing silicon microchips that hold individual charged atoms (ions) using electric fields.

Still anything that involves getting dead cats to do the ioning is almost certain to be a winner.



US looking for vendors for two exascale supercomputers

Eniac-USarmyPhoto700The US Government is ready to seek vendors to build two exascale supercomputers — costing roughly $200 million to $300 million each — by 2019.

The two systems will be built at the same time and will be ready for use by 2023, although it’s possible one of the systems could be ready a year earlier.

However the boffins and the vendors do not know if   Donald “Prince of Orange” Trump’s administration will change directions. Indications are so far that science and supercomputers might be something that his administration are not keen on as they might be used to look at climate change.

At the annual supercomputing conference SC16 last week in Salt Lake City, a panel of government scientists outlined the exascale strategy developed by President Barack Obama’s administration. When the session was opened to questions, the first two were about Trump. One attendee quipped that “pointed-head geeks are not going to be well appreciated”.

Another person in the audience, John Sopka, a high-performance computing software consultant, asked how the science community will defend itself from claims that “you are taking the money from the people and spending it on dreams,” referring to exascale systems.

Paul Messina, a computer scientist and distinguished fellow at Argonne National Labs who heads the Exascale Computing Project said that the goal of the exascale computing project is to help economic competitiveness and economic security.

Politically, there ought to be a lot in HPC’s favor. A broad array of industries rely on government supercomputers to conduct scientific research, improve products, attack disease, create new energy systems and understand climate, among many other fields. Defense and intelligence agencies also rely on large systems.

There is also likely to be a technology race between the US and China. The Chinese want to have an exascale computer ready by 2020 which will challenge America’s tech dominance.

The US plans to award the exascale contracts to vendors with two different architectures. This is not a new approach and is intended to help keep competition at the highest end of the market. Recent supercomputer procurements include systems built on the IBM Power architecture, Nvidia’s Volta GPU and Cray-built systems using Intel chips.

The timing of these exascale systems — ready for 2023 — is also designed to take advantage of the upgrade cycles at the national labs. The large systems that will be installed in the next several years will be ready for replacement by the time exascale systems arrive.



Boffins build quantum bridge out of diamonds

Chinas-sky-bridgeBoffins have built a quantum bridge out of diamonds.

Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge by forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix.

Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho said it was possible that the first useful quantum computer may be a  connected cluster of small ones.

Distributing quantum information on a bridge, or network, could also enable novel forms of quantum sensing, since quantum correlations allow all the atoms in the network to behave as though they were one single atom.

The joint work with Harvard University used a focused ion beam implanter at Sandia’s Ion Beam Laboratory designed for blasting single ions into precise locations on a diamond substrate.

According to Science magazine, Sandia researchers Ed Bielejec, Jose Pacheco and Daniel Perry used implantation to replace one carbon atom of the diamond with the larger silicon atom, which crowds out the two carbon atoms on either side of the silicon atom and forces them to escape.

Though the silicon atoms are embedded in a solid, they behave as though floating in a gas, and their electrons’ response to quantum stimuli are not clouded by unwanted interactions anything else.

Camacho said: “We can create thousands of implanted locations, which all yield working quantum devices, because we plant the atoms well below the surface of the substrate and anneal them in place. Before this, researchers had to search for emitter atoms among about 1,000 randomly occurring defects—that is, non-carbon atoms—in a diamond substrate of a few microns to find even one that emitted strongly enough to be useful at the single photon level.”

Once the silicon atoms settle in the diamond substrate, laser-generated photons bump silicon electrons into their next higher atomic energy state. When the electrons return to the lower energy state, because all things seek the lowest possible energy level, they spit out quantised photons that carry information through their frequency, intensity and the polarisation of their wave.

Sandia researcher John Abraham and other Sandia researchers developed special detectors—metal films atop the diamond substrate—that showed the ion beam implants were successful by measuring the ionization signal produced by single ions.

Apparently no cats needed to be harmed in the experiments.

Humans make better quacks than computers

rubber-duck-robotWhile the tech world gets enthusiastic about computers working out what is wrong with your health, a new study suggests that it is probably better to let a human decide.

There are lots of apps or other symptom based checkers to help self-diagnose diseases. Over the last 20 computer-based checklists and other fail-safe digital apps have been increasingly used to reduce medication errors or streamline infection-prevention protocols.  Yet the first direct comparison shows human doctors outperform digital ones in diagnostic accuracy.

A new study led by researchers at Harvard Medical School show that physicians’ performance is vastly superior and that doctors make a correct diagnosis more than twice as often as 23 commonly used symptom-checker apps.

Diagnostic errors stem from failure to recognize a disease or to do so in a timely manner. Physicians make such errors roughly 10 to 15 percent of the time, researchers say.

In the study, 234 internal medicine physicians were asked to evaluate 45 clinical cases, involving both common and uncommon conditions with varying degrees of severity. For each scenario, physicians had to identify the most likely diagnosis along with two additional possible diagnoses. Each clinical vignette was solved by at least 20 physicians.

The physicians outperformed the symptom-checker apps, listing the correct diagnosis first 72 percent of the time, compared with 34 percent of the time for the digital platforms. Eighty-four percent of clinicians listed the correct diagnosis in the top three possibilities, compared with 51 percent for the digital symptom-checkers.

The sicker you are the more likely the quack will be to spot it over a computer. Ateev Mehrotra, an associate professor of health care policy at HMS said that while the computer programs were clearly inferior to physicians in terms of diagnostic accuracy, it will be critical to study future generations of computer programs that may be more accurate.

Physicians still made mistakes in about 15 percent of cases. Researchers say developing computer-based algorithms to be used in conjunction with human decision-making may help further reduce diagnostic errors.

Tech billionaires want out of the matrix

matrixTwo billionaires with more money than sense are spending a fortune to get scientists to help us break out of the matrix.

The theory that we might all be living in a computer simulation has gotten so popular among Silicon Valley’s tech elites that two unnamed billionarres are stumping up the cash to help boffins prove and come up with ways of escaping it.

Elon Muskand and Peter Thiel  have been suggested as the two billionarres who are investing in the break out plan, forgetting for a moment that if they are right they could be cashless nobodies if the theory is true.

According to The New Yorker in an article about Y Combinator’s Sam Altman is the source of the theorys and is convinced that we are controlled by technology. His idea delves into the simulation theory, which is the idea that human beings are unwittingly just the characters in someone else’s computer simulation.

Musk and Thiel are likely candidates as they are mates with Altman. According to Musk, it’s the most popular topic of conversation right now.

“…it got to the point where basically every conversation was the AI slash simulation conversation and my brother and I finally agreed that we’d ban any such conversations if we’re ever in a hot tub. Because that really kills the magic,” Musk said on stage at Vox Media’s Code Conference in June.

AI computers will try to hack each other

cybermen__quot_delete_quot__campaign_by_degaspiv-d33hjoaSeven AI computers will have a crackat hacking each other in Las Vegas early next month.

The seven will take part i nDARPA’s Cyber Grand Challenge finals and try to defend themselves and point out flaws without any human control. The object is to show that machines can beat even the best human hackers.

Mike Walker, programme manager for the CGC siad that it was  proof that eventually the entire security life cycle could be automated.

On average,  flaws in software go unnoticed for around 312 days — which hackers can often exploit. And then once those flaws are noticed by a human, they need to be understood, patched, and then released out to the broader community.

The CGC hopes this problem could be fixed within minutes, or even seconds, automatically.

Seven teams of finalists were given a DARPA-constructed computer. Their task was program it to be able to recognize and understand previously-undisclosed software, find its flaws, and fix it. And once the challenge starts, they won’t be able to jump on a keyboard and do anything more.

“The machines have to comprehend the language of the software, author the logic for that software, write their own network clients, And arrive at the path of the new vulnerabilities entirely on their own.”

While they are scanning their own systems for problems, the machines can also scan the other teams’ systems for issues, but they can’t actually hack them.

Walked likened it to calling your shot in a game of pool, without actually hitting the ball.

Instead, they will send a message of sorts to the DARPA referee, who will then go ahead and see if that exploit is correct, or if what was pointed out could crash the other machine.

The first place team will take home $2 million so it is worth a crack.

Virtual Smut will be the driver for VR

maxresdefaultIt is starting to look that virtual smut (VR) will be the driver for the next wave of technology.

VR needs a killer app which will encourage people to buy the expensive equipment and now it seems that they are looking to the porn industry to supply it.

Google Trends has noticed that there has been a huge blip of search interest for VR porn. There was a little spike in interest 2014 when search volume began to pick up, a spike over the first couple of months of 2015 before things fell back down a bit and levelled off for much of the remainder of the year.

Then in in November of 2015 search volume skyrocketed and kept climbing until a peak in April of this year. Based on the chart, search volume for the phrase rose a staggering 10,000 per cent (100X) over that 20-month period beginning in November of 2014.

You would expect that the porn driven searches could come, so to speak, from the United States but in fact they are mostly from Norway, Hong Kong, Singapore, Finland, South Korea, Sweden and Malaysia. Top cities where these searches are coming from are Helsinki, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Singapore, Tel Aviv, and Seoul.

All this seems to point to the rise of VR Porn within a year or two and that there will be exponential growth within the market.

Google Trends says that people are more willing to search for VR Porn in the colder months (November-March) and the colder climates (besides Asia).

Intel shares expected to grow next year

alice_in_wonderland___eat_me__by_ariru_lunaticoo-d68i2fxBeancounters working for Barrons have added up the numbers and divided them by their shoe size and decided that Intel will grow like topsy next year.

Barron’s claims that Chipzilla’s shift to higher-growth businesses such as server chips and embedded chips for cars could drive a 25 increase in its shares in a year.

While there is a risk Intel could cut its financial guidance for the year when the chipmaker reports earnings on Tuesday, it is likely to return to sustainable growth by year’s end for the first time in seven years, the publication said.

Those who do not own shares in Chipzilla should wait until after the earnings call to buy shares, it added.

Intel has had a pants few years as demand for personal computer chips has dried up, Barron’s said, but growth in the company’s data centre group, which includes server chips, could eventually bring in more revenues.

The gap between the two businesses has closed over the past five years.

Last year, the data centre business’s operating profit was $7.8 billion, slightly below the $8.2 billion earned by Intel’s client computing division, which includes chips for desktop and notebook computers. In 2010, the data center division brought in just $4.4 billion, compared to the personal computer business’s $13 billion.

Meanwhile, the company’s Internet of Things division, which includes chips for cars, medical devices and factories, composed just four percent of revenue last year but is growing.

Man deletes his entire company

cybermen__quot_delete_quot__campaign_by_degaspiv-d33hjoaA man deleted his entire company with a dodgy bit of code.

Marco Marsala wrote on a forum for server experts called Server Fault that he was now stuck after having accidentally run destructive code on his own computers and was told by the experts he really had destroyed his entire company.

He used the rm -rf command which is a piece of code that will delete everything it is told. The f stands for “force”, telling the computer to ignore the usual warnings that come when deleting files.

The code deleted everything on the computer, including Masarla’s customers’ websites, he wrote. Masarla runs a web hosting company, which looks after the servers and internet connections on which the files for websites are stored.

“I run a small hosting provider with more or less 1535 customers and I use Ansible to automate some operations to be run on all servers,” wrote Marco Marsala. “Last night I accidentally ran, on all servers, a Bash script with a rm -rf {foo}/{bar} with those variables undefined due to a bug in the code above this line.”

Marsala confirmed that the code had deleted all of the backups that he had taken in case of catastrophe.The drives that were backing up the computers were mounted to it so the computer managed to wipe all of those, too.

“All servers got deleted and the offsite backups too because the remote storage was mounted just before by the same script (that is a backup maintenance script).”

Most users agreed that it was unlikely that Marsala could recover any of the data. And as a result his company was almost certainly not going to recover, either.

“I feel sorry to say that your company is now essentially dead,” wrote a user called Sven. “You might have an extremely slim chance to recover from this if you turn off everything right now and hand your disks over to a reputable data recovery company.

Others agreed that perhaps Marsala was on the wrong forum and he should be talking to his lawyer.


US Computer science courses have a security fail

f-school-letter-gradeWhile US students are bankrupting themselves to get a computer science degree they might wasting their time because the courses don’t cover important things like IT security.

A CloudPassage study reveals that none of the top 10 US university computer science and engineering program degrees requires students take a cybersecurity course.

So while there is a cybersecurity skills gap there is a cybersecurity education gap in the top US undergraduate computer science and engineering programs.

An analysis of the top 121 US university computer science and engineering programs found that none of the top 10 requires students take a cybersecurity class for their degree in computer science, and three of the top 10 don’t offer any cybersecurity courses at all.

The higher-education gap in cybersecurity comes amid the backdrop of some 200,000 unfilled IT security jobs in the US, and an increasing sense of urgency for organisations to hire security talent as cybercrime and cyber espionage threats escalate.

Robert Thomas, CEO of CloudPassage, whose company conducted the study, says the security gap in traditional computer science programmes is worrisome.

“The results were pretty profound.  When we tested the top universities’ computer science degrees, it was disturbing to find that very few require any kind of cybersecurity instruction as part of the curriculum to graduate” with a computer science degree,” Thomas said.

He added that Universities had a responsibility to start moving to address bigger problems in security.

Only the University of Alabama, which is not ranked in either the US News & World Report or Business Insider as a top computer science program, required three or more cybersecurity courses, the study found.