The breakthrough involves phase-change memory PCM which IBM has successfully achieved storing three bits of data per cell for the first time, compared to previous demonstrations of storing one bit per cell.PCM is much more durable than flash – it can last something like 10 million write cycles compared to the average flash USB stick which endures around 3,000 write cycles – and it's way faster, coming closer to DRAM performance, but with one big difference: it doesn't lose data when switched off like DRAM.Significant cost reductionDr Haris Pozidis, manager of non-volatile memory research at IBM Research, commented: "Phase change memory is the first instantiation of a universal memory with properties of both DRAM and flash, thus answering one of the grand challenges of our industry.The new memory tech could have implications across a range of uses, including providing blazingly quick storage for cloud and IoT applications, and boosting performance of the likes of machine learning.Businesses could see entire databases stored in PCM enabling ultra-fast querying, and of course this will also make a major difference to smartphones.IBM envisions hybrid applications with PCM running alongside traditional flash storage in a phone, but with the OS stored in the PCM so when you switch your phone on, it loads almost immediately and you're staring at your home screen before you've had time to bat an eyelid.
In PCM cell, '0' is programmed to be written in the amorphous phase or a '1' in the crystalline phase, or vice versa while low voltage is applied to read the bits back as in re-writable Blue-ray Discs.For storing 3 bits per cell, the scientists have developed a set of drift-immune cell-state metrics and drift-tolerant coding and detection schemes.IBM Research - Zurich manager of non-volatile memory research and one of the authors of the paper Dr. Haris Pozidis said: "Phase change memory is the first instantiation of a universal memory with properties of both DRAM and flash, thus answering one of the grand challenges of our industry."Reaching 3 bits per cell is a significant milestone because at this density the cost of PCM will be significantly less than DRAM and closer to flash."With the technology, scientists are expecting that a mobile phone's operating system could be stored in PCM, which will help it launch in a few seconds.The technology could also be used in enterprise environments, as the entire databases could be stored in PCM, allowing faster query processing for time-critical online applications, such as financial transactions.
Big Blue researchers demonstrate reliable phase-change memory PCM Scientists at IBM Research said they have for the first time reliably stored 3 bits of data per cell and retained the information at elevated temperatures , a technical advance that makes phase-change memory PCM an alternative to flash storage.Long Time ComingIBM Stand MWC 2016IBM scientists in Zurich first introduced PCM technology way back in 2011, when they presented a whitepaper at the 3rd IEEE International Memory Workshop in Monterey, California.Researchers believe this means it could be used in either standalone PCM, as well as hybrid applications that combines PCM and flash storage together, with PCM acting as an extremely fast cache.This is how re-writable Blue-ray Discs store videos, said IBM Phase change memory is the first instantiation of a universal memory with properties of both DRAM and flash, thus answering one of the grand challenges of our industry, said Dr. Haris Pozidis, an author of the paper and the manager of non-volatile memory research at IBM Research – Zurich.Reaching 3 bits per cell is a significant milestone because at this density the cost of PCM will be significantly less than DRAM and closer to flash.The chip consists of a 2 2 Mcell array with a 4- bank interleaved architecture.
By Doug Balog, IBMIn recent years the information technology industry has seen the emergence of a number of ecosystems that incorporate customers, vendors, partners and even competitors.At its Silicon Valley summit in April, the OpenPOWER Foundation, which was formed two years ago to inspire collaborative innovation on the POWER chip, announced more than 50 new infrastructure and software innovations to help companies better solve grand challenges around big data.The barriers between formerly distinct industries are collapsing, as companies in one sector apply their expertise to others, producing new hybrids and erasing traditional industry classifications in the process.Collaborations are increasing the Speed of InnovationIn the age of ever more specialized products and services, companies — big and small — are increasingly charged with speeding time-to-market.Collaborations make us more responsiveAnother factor driving the move to collaborate is that customers no longer see themselves as merely end users — they are a vital part of our innovation ecosystem from start to finish.This may involve joint training among cooperating partners, or increased partnerships with universities to ensure a steady pipeline of talent, able to innovate and leverage the latest technologies.
IBM and Xprize want to find out.First announced back in February, the $5 million IBM Watson AI Xprize is a competition from Xprize, an initiative launched in 1995 to help solve the world s Grand Challenges through incentive-based prizes.Registrations for the four-year global competition are now open, with entrants asked to show how humans and A.I.can tackle issues in education, energy and the environment, health care, exploration, and global development.Xprize has given birth to numerous notable competitions in the past, one of the most recent being the Google-sponsored Lunar Xprize that s setting out to send a private, unmanned aircraft to the moon.Xprize takes on a slightly different form, however — it s the first one that is entirely open, meaning entrants can define their goals and challenges entirely rather than working to a prescribed agenda.Artificial intelligence is already being used to enhance a range of areas, from drug discovery and customer service to cybersecurity and stock photography, but Xprize CEO Marcus Shingles reckons it can be used tackle some of the biggest challenges humanity faces in the years ahead.In the coming decade, as Xprize strives to achieve its impact mission through incentive competitions and crowdsourcing, we see tremendous opportunity in this emerging generation of problem solvers to use A.I.Three rounds of selection will follow, which will whittle the final entrants down to 10 teams.
Image caption A different kind of artificial intelligence might soon be protecting us from malicious hackersAfter robot cars and robot rescue workers, US research agency Darpa is turning its attention to robot hackers.Best known for its part in bringing the internet into being, the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency has more recently brought engineers together to tackle what it considers to be "grand challenges".These competitions try to accelerate research into issues it believes deserve greater attention - they gave rise to serious work on autonomous vehicles and saw the first stumbling steps towards robots that could help in disaster zones.Darpa ran a challenge to get engineers working on robots that could find their own way around disaster zonesHe said the need for quick fixes would become more pressing as the world became populated by billions of small, smart net-connected devices - the so-called internet of things.
It's the Cyber Grand ChallengeResearchers at the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency, DARPA, will host the final round of the world s first AI hacking tournament in Las Vegas today, where seven teams will take their custom-built autonomous cyber reasoning systems into battle.Winners of the Cyber Grand Challenge will also get to take home a generous prize of $2m.The seven teams are made up of academics, white-hat hackers and private-sector cyber systems experts.The contest pushes cyber reasoning systems CRS to hunt for security bugs in software as well as defending their own system, whilst attacking opponents.But unlike the world's largest hacker convention, DEF CON, the Cyber Grand Challenge finale will not feature any hackers furiously bashing out lines of code.
Chris Urmson, the face of Alphabet Inc. GOOGL 1.21 % s self-driving car effort and an original member of the project, is leaving the company after seven years, giving no clear reason for his departure and no hint of his destination.Mr. Urmson announced the decision in a blog post Friday.Mr. Urmson had been the director of the project for several years until John Krafcik, an auto industry veteran, was appointed chief executive of the program in 2015 with the intention of commercializing the research that had been performed since the program started in 2009.Mr. Urmson s departure means there are few people left at the company who were there at the program s start, as the project has moved from more pure research toward launching a product to the market.Mr. Urmson, a Canadian who got his Ph.D. at Carnegie Mellon University, was the technical leader of the school s three entries in the Defense Department s Grand Challenges to have cars drive autonomously across the desert and then in a city environment.Carnegie Mellon s team won the 2007 Urban Challenge and, two years later, Mr. Urmson joined Google Inc., recruited by Sebastian Thrun, who had been Stanford University s team leader and was earlier a professor at Carnegie Mellon.
Alfred Pasieka via Getty ImagesThe implications of artificial intelligence, or computer systems able to perform tasks requiring human intelligence , have been a discussion point ever since the term was coined back in the 1950 s and it continues to generate both wonder and unease in equal measure.However, many of the headlines we see infer that AI is doing more than is actually the case.The real creative task, assembling and editing those scenes to tell a coherent story and adding the music and effects, was still done by a human.This achievement of AI is nonetheless remarkable, but clearly the role of the person in the creative process remains pivotal.Speed and efficiency in that process were increased dramatically due to AI but this enhanced the human rather than replaced.
A $3m AI competition aimed at showing how humans can collaborate with powerful AI technologies to tackle the world's grand challenges has been launched by IBM Watson under the XPRIZE banner.IBM Watson XPRIZE leader Amir Banifatemi hopes to repeat the successes of the previous X Prize, a separate competition, with AI.There has been a resurgence of AI in the past few years, and people tend to think of it as either being utopian or dystopian, Banifatemi told The Register.The most famous X prize awarded was the Ansari X Prize, which is credited with spurring development in low-cost spaceflight.That $10m prize was awarded by XPRIZE trustees Anousheh Ansari and Amir Ansari for the best manned-spacecraft that could be reused and launched into space twice within two weeks.It was won by American aerospace engineer, Burt Rutan, who was financially backed by Microsoft co-founded, Paul Allen, for Rutan s aircraft SpaceShipOne.
It sounds like Bill Gates doesn't think Brexit is aOn Wednesday, the Microsoft cofounder-turned-billionaire philanthropist gave a speech at the annual meeting in London of his Grand Challenges charity initiative — and found the time to slip in a couple of sly political digs.Early in his speech, Gates discussed a vote by the British public
Visiting the UK, Bill Gates spoke at the Grand Challenges Conference at the Science Museum.Bill Gates has called on the UK to boost investments in science and innovation following the Brexit vote.The Microsoft co-founder, who was speaking at the Grand Challenges Conference at the Science Museum, said: The complexity of our most urgent global problems requires that we invest in science and put our best minds to work on finding solutions.As the UK seeks to negotiate its exit from the EU, it is critical that the government steps up its investments in science and innovation.The call from the world s richest man for more tech investment, may sit at odds with how his company has reacted to Brexit.
It's been just over three years since the sixth generation Pokémon games, X and Y, were released, with only remakes Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire to fill the gap in Pokémaniacs' lives since plus a little-known spin-off called Pokémon Go - you probably haven't heard of it .Travelling around the new Alola Region, beautifully inspired by Hawaii, the game world feels more like a real place where its characters and creatures might live, rather than the regimented, distinct areas of games past.Towns naturally blend into routes and paths, caves and shorelines are built into the environment, and the camera alters its view to give more dare we say cinematic feel to your journey.While the core structure is the same, following your player character on a quest to become the very best, it's thankfully not a repetition of the age-old 'beat eight gyms, fight the Elite Four, defeat your rival' formula.Instead of gym battles, you travel the islands of Alola undertaking quests.Each one has a unique twist to it, putting your talents to the test, and followed up by Grand Challenges against each island's Kahuna.
Facebook s Oculus VR division is expanding its efforts to do both mobile and PC virtual reality systems.And the company is searching for a new CEO to replace Brendan Iribe, who is stepping down from the top position to run the PC VR division.Iribe, the current CEO of Oculus VR, will now be head of the PC VR division at Oculus.Meanwhile, former Microsoft technologist Jon Thomason will move from head of software at Oculus to run the mobile VR group.Iribe said the company has decided to create new PC and mobile VR groups to be more focused, strengthen development, and accelerate our roadmap.The top job at Oculus, supervising both Iribe and Thomason, is still open.To date, Oculus has led the charge in VR.Facebook bought Oculus for $2 billion in 2014.
Oculus VR is being split in two by corporate owner Facebook, with Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe leaving to join the parent company's newly-formed PC VR division.Oculus VR is to lose its chief executive officer, Brendan Iribe, as corporate overlord Facebook telegraphs an eagerness to hedge its bets on the platform's success against rivals in the virtual reality space.Acquired by Facebook for £1.6 billion in 2014 following a massively successful crowdfunding campaign, Oculus VR has recently encountered heavy competition in the virtual reality market from phone maker HTC with its Vive hardware and entertainment giant Sony via the PlayStation VR platform formerly known as Project Morpheus.While far from struggling, thanks to the recent launch of the Oculus Touch controllers to bring it to a rough feature parity with HTC's Vive and Facebook's impressive coffers backing it up, there is evidence that its owner is beginning to worry that Oculus VR may not be the winner of the ongoing race for leadership of the VR market: it's splitting its efforts in three separate directions.Oculus VR chief executive Brendan Iribe is, he announced in a blog post published late last night, no longer going to lead the company.Instead, he is to run a dedicated PC VR group within Facebook.
It was a call to action, to fix what his teenage daughter had aptly noted was a problem caused by his and previous generations.And Doerr acted.As a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, he helped shape the storied venture capital firm s investment into cleantech, pouring millions into renewable energy startups — some of which crashed and burned, while others went on to great success.Now Doerr, who is now chairman at Kleiner Perkins, is joining a global who s who of successful entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and business leaders in a $1 billion investment fund — led by Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates — that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to almost zero by financing emerging clean energy technology.Doerr recently spoke to Fortune about why he s participating in a venture fund that has a 20-year timeline, what he s learned from previous investing mistakes, and what he s most excited about for the future.This interview was edited for length and clarity.Why this fund?What s so compelling about it that you had to participate?My partners and I have been involved in the design of the fund for quite some time; and we ve also been co-investing with Bill Gates in energy innovation.This notion of grand challenges is one that Bill Joy technologist and Sun Microsystems co-founder first articulated; that there are game-changing innovations and our job is to look for, to find, and then fund, and accelerate the success of them.So we re able to bring a lot of experience and perspective to this opportunity, which has only grown larger over the last decade.How will you apply those lessons to this new fund?This is risk capital; this is venture capital or growth capital, so there will be failures.So to have a 20-year fund with patient capital largely from individuals who successfully built businesses, and in some cases whole industries, it s an important difference from the world of venture funds that have a four-year active life and a 10-year life to the partnership.This fund s network is by design global, which is a $6 trillion global opportunity.Everywhere you turn you don t just have to innovate, you have to innovate at scale and that always means in partnership with others.Those are important lessons and they are part of the advice we bring to the table for this new effort.This is not just energy investing 2.0.
There'll be a to-do list from the IT department in the president's "in" tray when Donald Trump enters the White House later this month.In a cabinet exit memo published Thursday, the Office of Science and Technology Director John P Holdren and U.S. CTO Megan Smith review President Barack Obama's technology achievements, and set 10 technology priorities for his successor.At the top of Holdren's and Smith's list is to invest in fundamental research, and to publish the results.Such work may one day lead to profitable products, but the pay-off is too far in the future to motivate most businesses to contribute -- and were they to do so, they would probably keep the results to themselves.Building a team of scientists and technologists to lead the government's activities is next.They single out Obama's move to create the posts of U.S. CTO, CIO and Chief Data Scientist, as well as a host of other technical leadership posts, as key to the strategy of the current administration, and want this to continue.
Criticism of Uber continues to pile up.This week, we heard the car service was using secret software to evade government regulators and a video showed its chief executive in a verbal altercation with one of the company’s drivers.Previously, the company’s self-driving cars raised safety concerns in San Francisco when, because of faulty and incomplete technology, they reportedly barreled through red lights and crossed over bike lanes.Silicon Valley is gaining a reputation for being obsessed with making money at any cost, i.e.The tech industry is becoming too much like the finance industry, which a decade ago caused the Great Recession with its greed.The irony is that both industries compete for top engineering talent from our colleges.Finance uses their knowledge to engineer our financial system, while tech focuses it on making money rather than on uplifting humanity.My greatest fear after joining Duke’s engineering school in 2004 was that my students would end up joining investment banks or management consultancies or, when they joined the tech industry, would act as Uber and Theranos executives have.There are positive examples, of course, with successful executives like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg devoting large portions of their wealth to public health and other notable causes.
Elon Musk has taken on grand challenges like space travel, making self-driven cars safe and find a solution where you can connect to a computer.Hence his companies Spacex, Tesla, and the recently formed Neuralink.see also: Elon Musk has started a new companyBut now he has got a challenge that is a bit more mundane.Tesla's factory in Fremont, 5 miles outside Palo Alto, has 6 000 employees and 4 500 parking spaces to fight on, writes the Wall Street Journal.Even the company's headquarters in Palo Alto has problems with the parking where it is needed uniformed personnel to get in as many cars as possible.
Announced in June of last year, the IBM Watson AI Xprize is the first not to identify a specific problem.Rather, teams are asked to define their own issue and address it using artificial intelligence.“Unlike other prizes that have a very specific end-point in mind, we’re asking teams to be more free, in terms of the problems they’ll be solving,” competition leader Amir Banifatemi told TechCrunch in a conversation this week.“Because AI is involved in everything, we’re asking teams to frame the problems that are grand challenges, and use those grand challenges as a backdrop and try to come up with a solution address them.”The result, naturally, is as wide-ranging as the teams.The 147 entrants represent 22 countries and a broad variety of different topics, from health, to space, to infrastructure to the environment.