Google is gathering detailed health record information from millions of Americans — and it has not informed patients or doctors, The Wall Street Journal reports. According to WSJ, St. Louis-based Ascension, the second-largest health system in the US, is sharing lab results, diagnoses and hospitalization records, as well as health histories complete with patient names and dates of birth, with Google.
The effort has been dubbed “Project Nightingale,” and a person familiar with the matter told WSJ that at least 150 Google employees have access to data on tens of millions of patients. Google is reportedly using the data to design new, AI-driven software.
Google is standing by its claim that it’s achieved quantum supremacy — marking a major milestone in computing research. The company first made the claim back in September, and while disputed by competitors, Google’s research paper has now been published in the scientific journal Nature.
Quantum supremacy is a big deal, because it encapsulates the ability of quantum computers to solve problems that current technology couldn’t even begin to attempt. Google’s paper explains how its 53-bit quantum computer — named Sycamore — took just 200 seconds to perform a calculation that would have taken the world’s fastest supercomputer 10,000 years.
In theory, this capability opens a lot of doors to future technologies, such as designing better batteries and medicine, or minimizing emissions from farming chemicals. It could also help to advance existing technologies such as machine learning. However, Sycamore’s feat has almost no practical use at this stage — it was designed simply to show that a quantum computer could perform as expected.
Apple CEO Tim Cook had some choice words when asked about Facebook’s controversial blockchain project Libra, with the chief executive openly characterizing the company’s plans to launch a cryptocurrency as a blatant power grab. Speaking with the French newspaper Les Echos, Cook shot down any notion that Apple might be considering launching a digital currency of its own, given its recent investments in digital wallets, mobile payments, and consumer credit with the new Goldman Sachs-backed Apple Card.
“No. I really think that a currency should stay in the hands of countries. I’m not comfortable with the idea of a private group setting up a competing currency,” Cook told the publication in an interview published today. “A private company shouldn’t be looking to gain power this way.”
Cook’s comments were published just prior to PayPal announcing today that it was backing out of the Libra Association, the 28-member nonprofit group (of which Facebook is a part) that was formed to oversee the currency’s creation and the technical, financial, and regulatory hurdles it faces. The two events are unrelated, but PayPal’s withdrawal and its aftereffects will no doubt deal a significant blow to Libra’s ongoing development and the prospects of its regulatory approval.
October 7 promises to be an action-packed day, with not just AMD’s launch of its Radeon RX 5500 series graphics card, but also Intel’s 10th generation Core X “Cascade Lake” HEDT processors in the LGA2066 package. With AMD having achieved near-parity with Intel on IPC, the focus with the 10th generation Core X will be on price-performance, delivering double the number of cores to the Dollar compared to the previous generation. Intel will nearly halve the “Dollars per core” metric of these processors down to roughly $57 per core compared to $103 per core of the 9th generation Core X. This means the 10-core/20-thread model that the series starts with, will be priced under $600.
The first wave of these processors will include the 10-core/20-thread Core i9-10900XE, followed by the 12-core/24-thread i9-10920XE around the $700-mark, the 14-core/28-thread i9-10940XE around the $800-mark, and the range-topping 18-core/28-thread i9-10960XE at $999, nearly half that of the previous-generation i9-9980XE. There is a curious lack of a 16-core model. These chips feature a 44-lane PCI-Express gen 3.0 root complex, a quad-channel DDR4 memory interface supporting up to 256 GB of DDR4-2933 memory (native speed), and compatibility with existing socket LGA2066 motherboards with a BIOS update. The chips also feature an updated AES-512 ISA, the new DLBoost instruction set with a fixed-function hardware that accelerates neural net training by 5 times, and an updated Turbo Boost Max algorithm. Intel will extensively market these chips to creators and PC enthusiasts. October 7 will see a paper-launch, followed by November market-availability.
While there’s been little official word on AMD’s 3rd-generation Threadripper chips, the chip has made an appearance over on Geekbench. And while the results suggest that this chip may not deliver the stratospheric improvements that the 2nd-gen chip did compared to the original silicon, it’s more than enough to stay ahead of Intel’s flagship chip.
This fits in well with a benchmark spotted back in August. This showed the Threadripper 3000 as having a 3.6GHz base clock and 4.2GHz boost.
The single-core score of 1,275 is pretty much the same as for the current flagship Threadripper 2990WX, and is actually slightly lower than the 1,334 that the Intel i9-9900K scores.
But when it comes to multi-core, the Threadripper 3000’s score of 23,015 absolutely destroys the Threadripper 2990WX’s score of 13,400, and leaves the i9-9900K with its score of 8,726 in its dust.
Some back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that based on this benchmark that the Threadripper 3000 is some 70% faster than the Threadripper 2990WX. However, as usual, caution is needed when trying to extrapolate benchmark results and translate them into real-world performance.
AMD is preparing to surprise Intel with its 3rd generation Ryzen Threadripper processors derived from the “Rome” MCM (codenamed “Castle Peak” for the client-platform), that features up to 64 CPU cores, a monolithic 8-channel DDR4 memory interface, and 128 PCIe gen 4.0 lanes. For the HEDT platform, AMD could reconfigure the I/O controller die for two distinct sub-platforms within HEDT – one targeting gamers/enthusiasts, and another targeting the demographic that buys Xeon W processors, including the W-3175X. The gamer/enthusiast-targeted processor line could feature a monolithic 4-channel DDR4 memory interface, and 64 PCI-Express gen 4.0 lanes from the processor socket, and additional lanes from the chipset; while the workstation-targeted processor line could essentially be EPYCs, with a wider memory bus width and more platform PCIe lanes; while retaining drop-in backwards-compatibility with AMD X399 (at the cost of physically narrower memory and PCIe I/O).
To support this diverse line of processors, AMD is coming up with not one, but three new chipsets: TRX40, TRX80, and WRX80. The TRX40 could have a lighter I/O feature-set (similar to the X570), and probably 4-channel memory on the motherboards. The TRX80 and WRX80 could leverage the full I/O of the “Rome” MCM, with 8-channel memory and more than 64 PCIe lanes. We’re not sure what differentiates the TRX80 and WRX80, but we believe motherboards based on the latter will resemble proper workstation boards in form-factors such as SSI, and be made by enterprise motherboard manufacturers such as TYAN. The chipsets made their way to the USB-IF for certification, and were sniffed out by momomo_us. ASUS is ready with its first motherboards based on the TRX40, the Prime TRX40-Pro, and the ROG Strix TRX40-E Gaming.
AMD is possibly testing its 3rd generation Ryzen Threadripper HEDT processors, with an interesting entry showing up on the Geekbench online database. The entry speaks of an “AMD Sharkstooth” processor with 32 cores and 64 threads, with a nominal clock speed of 3.60 GHz, and the long-form model number “AuthenticAMD Family 23 Model 49 Stepping 0.” None of the 2nd generation EPYC processors correspond with these specs, and so we’re almost certain this is a client-segment Ryzen Threadripper part.
The prototyping platform, which is a motherboard designed in-house by AMD to test the processor’s various components and I/O capabilities, is codenamed “WhiteHavenOC-CP.” In this Geekbench submission, the processor is paired with around 128 GB of memory, and tested on 64-bit Linux. The platform yields a multi-threaded score of 94,772 points, which is about 18.5 percent higher than what a Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX typically manages when tested on Linux. It is also within 5% of what the Xeon W-3175X manages (around 99,000 points). The production model could be clocked higher. AMD will also use the opportunity to launch a new motherboard chipset while maintaining backwards-compatibility with the AMD X399. This new chipset will enable PCI-Express gen 4.0 and come with stiffer CPU VRM and memory/PCIe wiring specifications to enable higher memory clocks and PCIe link stability. AMD is expected to launch its 3rd gen Ryzen Threadripper this October, to preempt Intel’s next HEDT processor series.
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Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has been reflecting on
his time at the company when crucial decisions were made over its mobile
operating system. During a recent interview at Village Global, a
venture capital firm, Gates revealed his “greatest mistake ever” was
Microsoft missing the Android opportunity:
“In the software world, particularly for platforms, these are winner-take-all markets. So the greatest mistake ever is whatever mismanagement I engaged in that caused Microsoft not to be what Android is. That is, Android is the standard non-Apple phone platform. That was a natural thing for Microsoft to win. It really is winner take all. If you’re there with half as many apps or 90 percent as many apps, you’re on your way to complete doom. There’s room for exactly one non-Apple operating system and what’s that worth? $400 billion that would be transferred from company G to company M.”
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