Computer trends 2017

I did not have time to post my computer technologies predictions t the ends of 2016. Because I missed the year end deadline, I though that there is no point on posting anything before the news from CES 2017 have been published. Here are some of myck picks on the current computer technologies trends:

CES 2017 had 3 significant technology trends: deep learning goes deep, Alexa everywhere and Wi-Fi gets meshy. The PC sector seemed to be pretty boring.

Gartner expects that IT sales will growth (2.7%) but hardware sales will not have any growth – can drop this year. TEKsystems 2017 IT forecast shows IT budgets rebounding from a slump in 2016, and IT leaders’ confidence high going into the new year. But challenges around talent acquisition and organizational alignment will persist. Programming and software development continue to be among the most crucial and hard-to-find IT skill sets.

Smart phones sales (expected to be 1.89 billion) and PC sales (expected to be 432 million) do not grow in 2017. According to IDC PC shipments declined for a fifth consecutive year in 2016 as the industry continued to suffer from stagnation and lack of compelling drivers for upgrades. Both Gartner and IDC estimated that PC shipments declined about 6% in 2016.Revenue in the traditional (non-cloud) IT infrastructure segment decreased 10.8 per cent year over year in the third quarter of 2016. Only PC category that has potential for growth is ultramobile (includes Microsoft Surface ja Apple MacBook Air). Need for memory chips is increasing.

Browser suffers from JavaScript-creep disease: This causes that the browing experience seems to be become slower even though computer and broadband connections are getting faster all the time. Bloat on web pages has been going on for ages, and this trend seems to continue.

Microsoft tries all it can to make people to switch from older Windows versions to Windows 10. Microsoft says that continued usage of Windows 7 increases maintenance and operating costs for businesses as malware attacks that could have been avoided by upgrading to Windows 10. Microsoft says that continued usage of Windows 7 increases maintenance and operating costs for businesses. Microsoft: Windows 7 Does Not Meet the Demands of Modern Technology; Recommends Windows 10. On February 2017 Microsoft stops the 20 year long tradition of monthly security updates. Windows 10 “Creators Update” coming early 2017 for free, featuring 3D and mixed reality, 4K gaming, more.

Microsoft plans to emulate x86 instructions on ARM chips, throwing a compatibility lifeline to future Windows tablets and phones. Microsoft’s x86 on ARM64 Emulation is coming in 2017. This capability is coming to Windows 10, though not until “Redstone 3″ in the Fall of 2017

Parents should worry less about the amount of time their children spend using smartphones, computers and playing video games because screen time is actually beneficial, the University of Oxford has concluded. 257 minutes is the time teens can spend on computers each day before harming wellbeing.

Outsourcing IT operations to foreign countries is not trendy anymore and companied live at uncertain times. India’s $150 billion outsourcing industry stares at an uncertain future. In the past five years, revenue and profit growth for the top five companies listed on the BSE have halved. Industry leader TCS too felt the impact as it made a shift in business model towards software platforms and chased digital contacts.

Containers will become hot this year and cloud will stay hot. Research firm 451 Research predicts this year containerization will be US $ 762 million business and that Containers will become 2.6 billion worth of software business in 2020. (40 per cent a year growth rate).

Cloud services are expected to have  22 percent annual growth rate. By 2020, the sector would grow from the current 22.2 billion to $ 46 billion. In Finland 30% of companies now prefer to buy cloud services when buying IT (20 per cent of IT budget goes to cloud).Cloud spend to make up over a third of IT budgets by 2017. Cloud and hosting services will be responsible for 34% of IT budgets by 2017, up from 28% by the end of 2016, according to 451 Research. Cloud services have many advantages, but cloud services have also disadvantages. In five years, SaaS will be the cloud that matters.

When cloud is growing, so is the spending on cloud hardware by the cloud companies. Cloud hardware spend hits US$8.4bn/quarter, as traditional kit sinks – 2017 forecast to see cloud kit clock $11bn every 90 daysIn 2016′s third quarter vendor revenue from sales of infrastructure products (server, storage, and Ethernet switch) for cloud IT, including public and private cloud, grew by 8.1 per cent year over year to $8.4 billion. Private cloud accounted for $3.3 billion with the rest going to public clouds. Data centers need lower latency components so Google Searches for Better Silicon.

The first signs of the decline and fall of the 20+ year x86 hegemony will appear in 2017. The availability of industry leading fab processes will allow other processor architectures (including AMD x86, ARM, Open Power and even the new RISC-V architecture) to compete with Intel on a level playing field.

USB-C will now come to screens – C-type USB connector promises to really become the only all equipment for the physical interface.The HDMI connection will be lost from laptops in the future. Thunderbolt 3 is arranged to work with USB Type-C,  but it’s not the same thing (Thunderbolt is four times faster than USB 3.1).

World’s first ‘exascale’ supercomputer prototype will be ready by the end of 2017, says China

It seems that Oracle Begins Aggressively Pursuing Java Licensing Fees in 2017. Java SE is free, but Java SE Suite and various flavors of Java SE Advanced are not. Oracle is massively ramping up audits of Java customers it claims are in breach of its licences – six years after it bought Sun Microsystems. Huge sums of money are at stake. The version of Java in contention is Java SE, with three paid flavours that range from $40 to $300 per named user and from $5,000 to $15,000 for a processor licence. If you download Java, you get everything – and you need to make sure you are installing only the components you are entitled to and you need to remove the bits you aren’t using.

Your Year in Review, Unsung Hero article sees the following trends in 2017:

  • A battle between ASICs, GPUs, and FPGAs to run emerging workloads in artificial intelligence
  • A race to create the first generation of 5G silicon
  • Continued efforts to define new memories that have meaningful impact
  • New players trying to take share in the huge market for smartphones
  • An emerging market for VR gaining critical mass

Virtual Reality Will Stay Hot on both PC and mobile.“VR is the heaviest heterogeneous workload we encounter in mobile—there’s a lot going on, much more than in a standard app,” said Tim Leland, a vice president for graphics and imaging at Qualcomm. The challenges are in the needs to calculate data from multiple sensors and respond to it with updated visuals in less than 18 ms to keep up with the viewer’s head motions so the CPUs, GPUs, DSPs, sensor fusion core, display engine, and video-decoding block are all running at close to full tilt.



  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Introducing EE4J – Java EE’s fling with the Eclipse Foundation
    Developers hoping move will reinvigorate the community

    It’s been a few weeks since it was announced that Oracle would move Java EE to the Eclipse Foundation and we’re already starting to see indications of how it’s shaping up.

    It was clear that something had to happen. Oracle was struggling to make the best of Java EE, which was reflected in the usage stats. The technology wasn’t holding its place against some more flexible alternatives and by moving to an open-source organisation, Java EE has been given the kickstart that it needs.

    The launch of Eclipse Enterprise for Java (EE4J) is the start of this process. This is a project that aims to define API specifications, reference implementations, and technology compatibility kits for Java application servers. EE4J is based on Java EE 8.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Self-processing flash drives, we’ll need more capacity
    OpenIO talks us through how it’s applying its software to SSDs

    Will object storage using SSDs with embedded servers become a realistic storage/processing technology?

    The idea of building disk drive-based devices as a cluster of self-processing storage nodes has been associated with Seagate and its Kinetic drives, and OpenIO and its nano nodes. Recently Huawei revealed it’s developing NVMe-based SSDs with IP access and on-drive object storage.

    El Reg asked OpenIO’s product strategy head, Enrico Signoretti, some questions about what this might mean, wanting to find out if the idea was fantasy or had real prospects.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Best CPUs for Workstations: 2017
    by Ian Cutress on October 2, 2017 9:01 AM EST

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Linux kernel long term support extended from two to six years

    Google wants Android devices to survive four OS upgrades, even if LTS releases make Linus a bit grumpy

    Long-term-support (LTS) editions of the Linux Kernel will henceforth be supported for six years, up from the current two.

    News of the extension emerged at the “Linaro Connect” conference at which Googler Ilyan Malchev announced it, saying he had Linux royalty Greg Kroah-Hartman’s permission to break the news.

    In his talk, Malchev explained that silicon-makers have to pick a version of the Linux kernel with which to work, but that commercial necessities mean they may do so knowing that there will be perhaps just a year of support remaining.

    “The end result is that LTS cannot cover the device’s lifecycle,” he said. “And LTS is where all the critical bug fixes from upstream trickle down.”

    “What Google wants to see is when a device is launched it gets upgraded four times to new versions of Android. That is basically the lifespan of a phone, but you get lucky if you get one of these upgrades.”

    A six-year support window, by contrast, will mean years of upgradability for Android devices, because each fifth Linux kernel receives LTS status. With the kernel on an eight-week release cycle, that means a new LTS version about every nine months.

    Keynote: Iliyan Malchev (Google) – SFO17-400K1

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Linux kernel long term support extended from two to six years

    Google wants Android devices to survive four OS upgrades, even if LTS releases make Linus a bit grumpy

    Long-term-support (LTS) editions of the Linux Kernel will henceforth be supported for six years, up from the current two.

    News of the extension emerged at the “Linaro Connect” conference at which Googler Ilyan Malchev announced it, saying he had Linux royalty Greg Kroah-Hartman’s permission to break the news.

    In his talk, Malchev explained that silicon-makers have to pick a version of the Linux kernel with which to work, but that commercial necessities mean they may do so knowing that there will be perhaps just a year of support remaining.

    “The end result is that LTS cannot cover the device’s lifecycle,” he said. “And LTS is where all the critical bug fixes from upstream trickle down.”

    “What Google wants to see is when a device is launched it gets upgraded four times to new versions of Android. That is basically the lifespan of a phone, but you get lucky if you get one of these upgrades.”

    A six-year support window, by contrast, will mean years of upgradability for Android devices, because each fifth Linux kernel receives LTS status. With the kernel on an eight-week release cycle, that means a new LTS version about every nine months.

    Keynote: Iliyan Malchev (Google) – SFO17-400K1

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Seth Archer / Business Insider:
    AMD announces Embedded Radeon E9170 Series GPU for low power systems that need to drive up to five 4K displays, like retail signage; stock rises over 5%

    AMD is popping after releasing its newest low-power chip (AMD)

    AMD released a new embedded graphics processing unit on Tuesday, and the stock is trading 4.80% higher at $13.32 after the news.

    The company announced on Tuesday that its newest chip based on the Polaris architecture will be launched later this month. The chip, the Embedded Radeon E9170 Series GPU, is designed for smaller, dedicated systems that need an added graphics kick.

    Example uses for the new chipset include casino games, medical displays and retail signage, according to the company. The chip has the ability to drive five simultaneous 4k displays with relatively low power consumption, which could be helpful for applications like big retail displays.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Frederic Lardinois / TechCrunch:
    Samsung announces Windows Mixed Reality headset, Odyssey, with two AMOLED displays, motion controllers, 110º field of view; preorder today for $499, ships Nov 6

    Samsung joins Microsoft’s VR parade with its new high-end headset for Windows 10

    Alex Kipman / Windows Blog:
    Microsoft says developers can access Mixed Reality SteamVR preview and Halo: Recruit and other VR games are coming October 17

    The era of Windows Mixed Reality begins October 17

    Samsung unveils Windows Mixed Reality headset, AltSpaceVR joins Microsoft, SteamVR catalog coming to Windows Mixed Reality this holiday.

    Mixed reality will unleash the creativity of every person and every organization on the planet. Our journey has been filled with key moments in time that have shown us what is possible as we enter this next era of computing, the era of mixed reality. From the introduction of Microsoft HoloLens, the world’s first fully self-contained holographic computer in January 2015, to the welcoming of enterprise partners like Ford Motor Company, the inspiration and creativity we have seen customers and modern workplaces continues to inspire us and drive us forward.

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    FreeBSD gains eMMC support so … errr … watch out, Android
    Gadgets that need Flash now have another alternative OS

    Version 10.4 of FreeBSD has landed, with the headline feature being support for eMMC.

    For those of you still short of your best after nocturnal chemical exertions, eMMC – aka Embedded Multimedia Card – packs some flash memory and a controller into a single package. That arrangement is handy for manufacturers of personal electronics.

    Adding eMMC support to FreeBSD therefore means the OS is ready for duty powering smartphones, tablets, smart tellies and just about anything else that needs a little non-volatile memory. Which these days can mean internet “things” for home or industry.

    Linux does rather well in all of those markets, but developers now have the option of giving FreeBSD a go, too. Which may be attractive, given it’s beholden to no vendor.

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    NXP Seeks ‘Edge’ vs. Intel, Cavium

    TOKYO — As the lines begin to blur between cloud and edge computing, NXP Semiconductors is racing to offer the highest performance SoC of the company’s Layerscape family.

    The new chip, LX2160A, can offload heavy-duty computing done at data centers in the cloud, enabling the middle of the network — typically, service operators — to execute network virtualization and run high-performance network applications on network equipment such as base stations.

    Toby Foster, senior product manager for NXP, told us that his team developed the new high-performance chip with three goals in mind. They sought first to enable new types of virtualization in the network, second to achieve new heights of integration and performance at low power featuring next-generation I/Os, and third, to double the scale of virtual network functions and crypto, compared to NXP’s previous Layerscape SoC (LS2088A), while maintaining low power consumption.

    Specifically, the LX2160A features 16 high-performance ARM Cortex-A72 cores running at over 2 GHz at 20- to 30-watt. It supports both the 100 Gbit/s Ethernet and PCIe Gen4 interconnect standards.

    Why edge computing?
    The industry, including NXP, tends to view edge processing as the driver for the next phase of networking, computing and IoT infrastructure growth.
    By moving workloads from the cloud to the edge, operators will suffer less latency while gaining resiliency and bandwidth reliability, explained Foster.

    Bob Wheeler, principal analyst responsible for networking at the Linley Group, told us, “In some cases, such as content delivery networks, the transition from the cloud to the edge is already happening.” He predicted, “Mobile edge computing will primarily happen in conjunction with 5G rollouts starting in 2019.”

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Amazon, Azure, Google will eat all the IT. Google, let us be your cake fork, pleads Nutanix
    3 IT giants – just 1 on-prem/hybrid stack partner opening…

    Analysis An IT trio of giants will soon dominate the market – and there appears to be one on-premises/hybrid stack partner opening, Nutanix told us.

    A conversation with Sudheesh Nair, Nutanix’s president, revealed the firm’s mindset: it envisages three great beasts in the IT jungle – Amazon, Azure and Google – each with their public cloud platforms and easy-to-provision, scale and pay data centre services.

    These are moving to providing operational functions as an abstraction layer on top of operational components, such as databases and servers, and, underneath them, raw compute and various tiers of storage.

    Enterprises have increasingly looked at the public cloud with fondness, and hybrid on-premises and public cloud IT is the new normal.

    On-premises IT isn’t going away, but its boundaries are blurring as hybrid IT suppliers try to make the cloud on-premises-like in some ways, and the on-premises world cloud-like, offering cloud-style provisioning, payment, scaling and relative simplicity.

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    AMD comes out swinging, says: We’re the Buster Douglas of the tech industry!
    No you are not. You’ve been lucky MORE than once

    Some metaphors do bear close examination. Just ask plucky, perennial underdog AMD, which this week compared itself to Buster Douglas, the short-lived heavyweight boxing champ who shocked the world when he dethroned Mike Tyson in the 1980s.

    AMD was celebrating a win of sorts by convincing Lenovo to integrate its Ryzen and Epyc chips into the respective next-gen ThinkPad lappies and servers, and chose to do it in a novel – some might say cringeworthy – way.

    He went on to tell the crowd at the Canalys Channels Forum that AMD’s share price had soared over the past 12 months (it is up by more than 90 per cent), that its CPUs had received rave reviews from critics, and its results were much improved compared to the darker days when AMD wrote off billions in inventory.

    “Can you see where we are going with this?” Hampton asked. “Just like Buster Douglas, AMD got up again, we got back in the gym and kept swinging.

    “The Street has embraced us, [so have] the customers and the channel,” he added.

    What the AMD exec didn’t feel pressed to explain was that following his momentous win, Douglas went on to have one title defence fight over an eight-month space in which Evander Holyfield whooped his ass. Douglas then retired.

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Almost all server processors are x86 chips

    The ARM processors are believed to be challenging x86-based processors as servers engines in the coming years, but from the far backwards they will leave. According to TrendForce, as many as 96 percent of all processors in the server machines are x86 architecture.

    Within x86 processors Intel processors have a 99% market share.


  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Windows share fell to less than half on web visitors

    It’s only clear that Windows share shrinks all the time. For the first time it has dropped to less than half.

    The figure is based on the US Government’s own DAP research program, which closely monitors the visitor traffic of all underage web servers. There are thousands of receivers, so it gives a fairly good picture of the user’s machine base, though it’s a bit of a yank weight.

    Windows has been dominating for years. Its position has begun to crumble, above all as mobile use grows. Therefore, according to the latest figures, the number of Windows users has dropped to 49.2 percent. For the first time less than 50 percent.

    iOS users accounted for 22.9 percent of administration sites, 16.8 percent of Android users, and Mac users 9.2 percent. In this respect, US figures give a different picture to that of the rest of the world, where Android’s position is clearly stronger.

    According to DAP figures, Google’s Chrome OS currently accounts for just over one percent and other platforms (mostly Linux) at just under a percent.


  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    What if a data center is needed in the extreme conditions?

    General Micro Systems has long developed information technology for the US Army, but now the small-size, high-performance data center designed for battlefields has become commercially available to others. It’s a very high-performance server.

    The S402-LC / SW is about half the dimensions of a 12-inch laptop. Inside, however, there is an Intel Xeon E5 Series server processor, router and multi-port switch with NAS storage.

    Originally, the platform has been developed for the military demining vehicle, so it can take even harder commercial use. The battlefield’s datacenter operates at temperatures of -40 to +85 degrees without separate ventilation.

    Similar performance and durability are not really available from other manufacturers. For industrial applications, you can now get a server that meets the strict requirements of the army.


    Introducing the S402-LC
    General Micro Systems Launches Industry’s First Enterprise-Class “Mobile Battlefield Data Center” in Extremely Rugged and Compact Chassis

  15. Tomi Engdahl says:

    To Compete With New Rivals, Chipmaker Nvidia Shares Its Secrets

    Five years ago, Nvidia was best known as a maker of chips to power videogame graphics in PCs. Then researchers found its graphics chips were also good at powering deep learning, the software technique behind recent enthusiasm for artificial intelligence.

    The discovery made Nvidia into the preferred seller of shovels for the AI gold rush that’s propelling dreams of self-driving cars, delivery drones and software that plays doctor. The company’s stock-market value has risen 10-fold in three years, to more than $100 billion.

    That’s made Nvidia and the market it more-or-less stumbled into an attractive target. Longtime chip kingpin Intel and a stampede of startups are building and offering chips to power smart machines. Further competition comes from large tech companies designing their own AI chips. Google’s voice recognition and image search now run on in-house chips dubbed “tensor processing units,” while the face-unlock feature in Apple’s new iPhone is powered by a home-grown chip with a “neural engine”.

    Nvidia’s latest countermove is counterintuitive. This week the company released as open source the designs to a chip module it made to power deep learning in cars, robots, and smaller connected devices such as cameras. That module, the DLA for deep learning accelerator, is somewhat analogous to Apple’s neural engine. Nvidia plans to start shipping it next year in a chip built into a new version of its Drive PX computer for self-driving cars, which Toyota plans to use in its autonomous-vehicle program.


    The NVIDIA Deep Learning Accelerator (NVDLA) is a free and open architecture that promotes a standard way to design deep learning inference accelerators. With its modular architecture, NVDLA is scalable, highly configurable, and designed to simplify integration and portability. The hardware supports a wide range of IoT devices. Delivered as an open source project under the NVIDIA Open NVDLA License, all of the software, hardware, and documentation will be available on GitHub. Contributions are welcome.

  16. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Cisco sells Data Virtualisation unit to Tibco
    Bought in 2013, disposed of in 2017 due to misalignment with ‘long-term focus’

    Four years after acquiring Composite Software and rebranding it as Cisco Data Virtualization, Switchzilla will sell the unit to Tibco.

    The buyer says it will be integrating the core Cisco Information server and its “related consulting and support services” into its analytics portfolio, alongside the Tibco Spotfire analytics and its Connected Intelligence platform.

    The technology creates what Tibco calls a virtual data layer for analytics without needing a separate data warehouse, and without disturbing the source data.

    As well as data integration, the system includes query optimisation, data abstraction, and self-service access.

  17. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Storage pizza from the Register’s wood-fired oven
    Get a piece of the Register’ weekend storage pizza

  18. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Dean Takahashi / VentureBeat:
    Q&A with Microsoft mixed reality researcher Alex Kipman: AltspaceVR communication will be VR’s killer app, no timeline yet for mixed reality on Xbox or mobile

    Microsoft mixed reality guru Alex Kipman believes communication will be VR’s killer app

  19. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Path to AI is rising for IoT, hyperscale data centers: Report

    It’s safe to say the Internet of Things (IoT) era has arrived, as we live in a world where things are being connected at pace never seen before. Cars, video cameras, parking meters, building facilities and anything else one can think of are being connected to the internet, generating massive quantities of data.

    Nvidia accelerates the path to AI for IoT, hyperscale data centers

    Nvidia’s TensorRT 3 optimizes and compiles complex networks to get the best possible performance for AI inferencing.

  20. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The unique challenges of terminating an IT employee
    March 16, 2017 | by Mary Shacklett

    Firing an employee can be stressful for all involved–but the issues are compounded when the employee works in IT. Here are some key factors to keep in mind.

    IT is a high risk area when employees are terminated.

    One reason is that employees who work in IT, and who must be dismissed, have access to vital corporate information. These employees have the potential to shut down systems or leave with information that could do irrevocable harm.

    Consequently, corporate policies state–and auditors recommend–that when an IT employee must be terminated, it is best to escort the employee immediately off the premises after they’ve been told they’ve been terminated. Meanwhile, IT staff should be directed delete all the employee’s accounts and access to systems right away.

    Once an involuntary termination is put in motion, the immediacy of the act is unceremonious to say the least. It can have an adverse impact on other employees who witness the sudden and unforeseen escort of a fellow worker off the premises, followed by a system lockdown where the employee is concerned.

    All of these are reasons why managers hate to terminate employees–and why CIOs must be both supportive and engaged with their line managers if it becomes necessary to dismiss an IT staff member.

  21. Tomi Engdahl says:

    U.S. Drags Down PC Market

    Despite some positive signs of stabilization, the global PC shipments declined on an annual basis for a 12th consecutive quarter in the third quarter, according to estimates published by market watchers Gartner and IDC.

    Gartner (Stamford, Conn.) said total PC shipments — including desktops, notebooks, and premium ultramobile systems like Microsoft Surface — slipped to 67 million units in the third quarter, down 3.6 percent compared to the the third quarter of 2016.

    Mika Kitagawa, a principal analyst at Gartner, said in a press statement that there were signs of stabilization in key regions, including Europe, Japan and Latin America. But realtive strength in these regions was offset by a 10 percent year-over-year decline in shipment to the U.S. market, largely due to weak back-to-school sales, Kitagawa said.

  22. Tomi Engdahl says:

    “Business PC demand, led by Windows 10 upgrades, continued to drive PC shipments across all regions, but its refresh schedule varies by region,”

  23. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Catalin Cimpanu /
    Mozilla, Microsoft, Google, Samsung, and W3C agree to unify cross-browser web documentation under Mozilla’s MDN portal, rebranded as MDN Web Docs

    Browser Makers Agree to Move Web Documentation to Mozilla’s Portal

    Mozilla, Microsoft, Google, Samsung, and the W3C have agreed today to unify all their documentation sites under one single roof, on Mozilla’s MDN portal.

    Previously known as the Mozilla Developer Network, the site has been rebranded today as MDN Web Docs, and will house all web standards-related docs, along with cross-browser usage instructions.

    The decision came after more than two decades, during which time developers had to run around different documentation sites, in order to understand how web standards worked and how each rendered in each browser. The new MDN Web Docs site will provide all the information users need on basic HTML, CSS, and JavaScript commands, but also on the latest W3C Web APIs.

  24. Tomi Engdahl says:

    James Vincent / The Verge:
    DeepMind’s new Go-playing AI wins 90% of time against version of AlphaGo that beat world champ, trained solely by reinforcement learning without human input

    DeepMind’s Go-playing AI doesn’t need human help to beat us anymore

    The company’s latest AlphaGo AI learned superhuman skills by playing itself over and over

  25. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Windows 10 Fall Creators Update tackles IT’s true menace: Cheating gamers
    Also some security stuff, too

    While Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella trots the world plugging his book on “transformation”, some of the biggest enterprises in the world are “transforming” themselves … away from Microsoft.

    Industrial giant General Electric employs 330,000 staff world wide, and can be considered one of the more conservative businesses. But yesterday, GE quietly let slip that it is standardising on iPhones and iPads and will let any GE employee who wants a Mac have one, instead of a Windows PC. It’s hard to think of anyone further from the stereotype of the fad-obsessed Hoxton Strategy Boutique that springs to mind when you think of “Apple in business”.

    GE follows the lead of IBM, which has supplied 100,000 staff with Macs, and has been touting the lower cost of Macs in the enterprise as a result. IBM claimed last year that 40 per cent of Windows users called the IT help desk, compared to 5 per cent of Mac users – a shocking figure. A deployment of 90,000 required only five admins. And although Apple hardware costs much more initially, IBM reckons it is making considerable total cost of ownership savings over a four-year period: some $273 to $543 per Mac.

    The shift away from Windows to Mac seems to have come as a surprise to everyone, but it shouldn’t be. Enterprise has been a stealth success for Apple after years of not appearing to give much of a damn about business sales.

  26. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Intel Shipping Nervana Neural Network Processor First Silicon Before Year End
    by Nate Oh on October 18, 2017 8:00 AM EST

    This week at the Wall Street Journal’s D.Live 2017, Intel unveiled their Nervana Neural Network Processor (NNP), formerly known as Lake Crest, and announced plans to ship first silicon before the end of 2017. As a high-performance ASIC custom-designed and optimized for deep learning workloads, the NNP is the first generation of a new Intel product family, oriented for neural network training. From the beginning, the NNP and its Nervana Engine predecessor have aimed at displacing GPUs in the machine learning and AI space, where applications can range from weather prediction and autonomous vehicles to targeted advertising on social media.

  27. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Microsoft in final stages of Windows 10 Snapdragon PC development

    Windows 10 on Snapdragon is coming soon, with the always-connected PCs in the final stages of development and testing while Microsoft and Qualcomm enter discussions with carriers on sales channels.

    No new features, phones for Windows 10 Mobile

    Microsoft has revealed that it is now in the latter stages of testing the mobile PCs being developed in partnership with Qualcomm, with the two companies already in discussions with mobile carriers as part of the “second half of the dev process” on how to sell and provision connectivity for the Windows 10 Snapdragon-powered PCs.

    “The PC space and the phone space have been sort of in parallel universes for a couple of decades … what two better companies to bring those worlds together than Microsoft and Qualcomm?” Pete Bernard, group program manager for Windows at Microsoft, said during the Qualcomm 4G/5G Summit in Hong Kong.

    Calling it an opportunity to make the “PC experience even more mobile” — and in what Qualcomm executive VP Cristiano Amon called “one of the most exciting projects” for the chip giant besides 5G — Bernard said the biggest challenge now is figuring out sales channels.

    Microsoft’s vision to have the PCs always connected via the integration of an embedded SIM (eSIM) would enable simple activation of the device, Bernard said. However, as pointed out by Bennett, this requires a fundamental shift in operators’ networks.

    “eSIM is a fundamental change to the way that operators run their provisioning stacks, so it’s actually been a three-year journey to get our stacks to a state where we can provision eSIMs over the air,” Bennett explained.

    With eSIM integration and always-on connectivity having made its way into the PCs, Qualcomm’s efforts to ensure the always-connected PCs also have day-long battery charge are also succeeding, Bernard said.

    Microsoft had announced back in December 2016 that Windows 10 would be coming to Qualcomm’s ARM processors in a bid to bring PCs into the 21st century, with a focus on power efficiency, cellular connectivity, and eSIM technology.

    At the time, Microsoft said it would “offer Windows 10 on Qualcomm to OEMs across a variety of categories, including 6-, 10-, and 14-inch categories”.

    In May, Qualcomm then announced that it would be working with OEMs Asus, Lenovo, and HP on building the range of mobile PCs powered by Snapdragon 835 platforms including the new X16 LTE modem.

    Qualcomm said the timeline to PC availability is still looking to be one year on from the initial announcement.

  28. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Nintendo nabs two-thirds of monthly game hardware sales thanks to Switch

    Nintendo has managed to lead the industry in video game hardware sales – by a wide margin – for September, which is a very promising sign going into the holiday shopping season. The Nintendo Switch helped this immensely, leading the industry as the top-selling console for the third straight month, and the fifth month overall since its introduction seven months ago.

    Switch’s U.S. sales have now topped 2 million units

  29. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Sherri L. Smith / Tom’s Guide:
    Acer Windows Mixed Reality Headset review: easy setup, broad compatibility, but apps and games are lacking, and it costs as much as the more capable Oculus Rift

    Acer Mixed Reality Headset Review: It’s Empty in Here,review-4774.html

    Just when you were getting used to virtual and augmented reality, here comes Microsoft to muddy up the waters with its new mixed-reality headsets. But hold up, these headsets aren’t actually the promised intersection of AR and VR. In fact, as it stands, the $399 Acer Windows Mixed Reality AH101 headset is a lighter, more colorful take on the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. (In the case of the Vive, it’s also a less expensive option.)

    Reliant on Microsoft’s new Mixed Reality ecosystem, the AH101 is stymied by a lack of apps and spotty tracking. A relatively inexpensive, PC-powered plug-and-play system could be immensely appealing, especially to consumers who have older laptops with integrated graphics kicking about But the AH101 is geared more toward early adopters than mainstream consumers looking to take those first tentative steps into the world of VR.

  30. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Sarah Jeong / The Verge:
    Profile of Judge William H. Alsup of Oracle v. Google and Waymo v. Uber, who ruled against API copyright and taught himself to program in QuickBASIC

    The Judge’s Code
    Meet the judge who codes — and decides tech’s biggest cases

    In May 18th, 2012, attorneys for Oracle and Google were battling over nine lines of code in a hearing before Judge William H. Alsup of the northern district of California. The first jury trial in Oracle v. Google, the fight over whether Google had hijacked code from Oracle for its Android system, was wrapping up.

    The argument centered on a function called rangeCheck. Of all the lines of code that Oracle had tested — 15 million in total — these were the only ones that were “literally” copied. Every keystroke, a perfect duplicate.

    “I couldn’t have told you the first thing about Java before this trial,” said the judge. “But, I have done and still do a lot of programming myself in other languages. I have written blocks of code like rangeCheck a hundred times or more. I could do it. You could do it. It is so simple.”

    He can, however, definitely code. He’s been coding in BASIC for decades, actually, writing programs for the fun of it

    His interests have served him well on the judicial bench, informing his outlook on the multibillion-dollar intellectual property cases that come to him. The fortunes of tech companies can rise or fall depending on his rulings.

    By sheer coincidence, these major cases have wound up in the docket of maybe the one judge in America capable of understanding their technical details: a judge who can code. Alsup’s long-cherished hobby illuminated issues at the very heart of Oracle v. Google, and his off-hours tinkering with photography, lenses, and the science of light will inform him in Waymo v. Uber, a case involving LIDAR, a laser-based technology for self-driving car navigation.

    The tech industry has long despaired of the law’s inability to comprehend it, making much of the legal system’s struggle to keep up with the rapid pace of progress. The belief that the law will never “catch up” to technology is borne in part of tech exceptionalism, a libertarian elitism that derides any kind of legal or regulatory impediment as Luddism. But it’s also fueled by genuine frustration with the state of law.

    The patent office is perceived to be rubber-stamping obvious technologies. Supreme Court justices appear befuddled by the basic process of coding. And attorneys stack juries with non-technical jurors who return massive verdicts for patents on online shopping carts.

    In this landscape, Alsup is an outlier — a mystifying exception to the accepted wisdom that the law cannot make sense of the fast-changing tech industry. Alsup’s secret is simple: he’s a lifelong geek.

  31. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Western Digital uncorked disk drives based upon microwave-assisted magnetic recording technology. MAMR technology is one of two energy-assisted technologies the company has under development, the other being heat-assisted magnetic recording. Of the two, Western Digital said only MAMR has achieved the reliability required in data centers. The company noted that densities of its MAMR devices are expected to reach 4 TB per square inch, so that by 2025 hard drives will have capacities of up to 40 TB. MAMR uses spin torque oscillators to generate microwave fields inside of sealed helium-filled units. That, in turn, allows ultra-high density at high reliability, according to WD.



    Western Digital Unveils Next-Generation Technology To Preserve And Access The Next Decade Of Big Data

  32. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Linux Foundation wants to do to data what it’s done for software
    Penguins and machine learning. It could happen!

    The Linux Foundation has created one open-data licence framework to rule them all, allowing users to collaborate on data-driven projects.

    Today at the Open Source Summit in Prague, executive director Jim Zemlin announced the Community Data License Agreement, which is designed for non-proprietary data.

    The org says data producers can now share the goods “with greater clarity about what recipients may do with it”.

    One branch “puts terms in place to ensure that downstream recipients can use and modify that data, and are also required to share their changes”, while the other does not oblige users to share those changes.

    Zemlin told the conference’s crowd of open-source and enterprise IT pros that the rise of machine learning and AI algorithms, which need to be trained, has made data so important that this had to be done now.

    We spoke to Laurent Pinchart, a freelance Linux Kernel developer, at the summit, where he told The Register that he was curious as to what the foundation thought was lacking from Creative Commons or the ODBL licence used by Open Street Map.

    Some developers see the new “data privacy agnostic” licence as something that will gain adoption because of the visibility of the Linux Foundation. Each individual who works through the data will have to work through various jurisdictional requirements and legal issues, the Foundation has pointed out.

    “Data is getting more and more relevant,” Mark Jonas, a developer at Bosch, told The Register in Prague. “It could become standard if it’s good.”

  33. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Who’s Hiring? (Amazon, McDonald’s, Lyft) Who’s Firing? (Cisco, Tesla, HPE)

    Tech jobs boom, bust, and move. In recent months, according to a sampling of tech expansions and contractions that made the news, it’s boom times for autonomous vehicles, bust times for networking hardware

  34. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Intel to Battle in FPGA-as-a-Service Race

    The cloud service is changing practically everyone’s business.

    Often, it forces hardware vendors’ hands, and nudges them to offer their products — at drastically reduced rates — “as a service,” rather than selling customers the hardware as a tangible product.

    Car-as-a-service (“CaaS”) is one example. The concept of “miles used per vehicle” fundamentally alters carmakers’ “unit-based sales” model. It represents both a threat and an opportunity that the automotive industry can no longer afford to ignore.

    The chip business could be next. “FPGA as a service” is emerging as a cloud application in data centers. If it starts to take off, how will FPGA vendors like Intel or Xilix respond?

  35. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Transition Networks adds fiber-to-the-desktop NICs supporting M.2 interface

    Transition Networks, Inc. (Minneapolis) has announced its M.2 Fiber Network Interface Cards (NICs), designed for use in small form factor PCs, such as micros, minis, and thin clients, that do not have space for external PCI or PCIe slots.

    Sold as a kit, the full solution consists of an M.2 NIC that installs into the small form factor PC’s M.2 interface, a fiber-optic adapter that installs into the PC’s option port, and a flat flex cable (FFC) that connects the NIC to the fiber adapter. The fiber-optic adapter is available with a fixed LC connector or SFP options. M.2 Fiber NICs are available for both Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet networks.

    Per the company, “Fiber-to-the-desktop (FTTD) is a growing cabling alternative in networks that need utmost security. Fiber cable offers physical layer security because it can’t be tapped without breaking the connection and alerting the network manager. The M.2 Fiber NIC joins Transition Networks’ wide assortment of PCI, PCIe, PCMCIA and ExpressCard NICs, Scorpion-USB Ethernet Fiber Adapters, and copper-to-fiber media converters in providing FTTD connectivity.”

    “Desktop PCs are being replaced by smaller computing systems, most of which have internal M.2 interfaces but do not have PCI or PCIe slots,” comments GlenNiece Kutsch

    The NICs are fully compliant with IEEE 802.3-2012 and are available for 100 Mbps or 1 Gbps data rate networks.

    M.2, formerly known as the Next Generation Form Factor (NGFF), is a specification for internally mounted computer expansion cards and associated connectors. It replaces the mSATA standard, which uses the PCI Express Mini Card physical card layout and connectors. M.2′s more flexible physical specification allows different module widths and lengths, and, paired with the availability of more advanced interfacing features, makes the M.2 more suitable than mSATA for solid-state storage applications in general and particularly for the use in small devices such as ultrabooks or tablets.[1][2][3]

    Computer bus interfaces provided through the M.2 connector are PCI Express 3.0 (up to four lanes), Serial ATA 3.0, and USB 3.0 (a single logical port for each of the latter two). It is up to the manufacturer of the M.2 host or device to select which interfaces are to be supported, depending on the desired level of host support and device type.

  36. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Data Centers Turn To New Memories

    DDR5, NVDIMMs, SGRAM, 3D XPoint add more options, but solutions may be a mix and much more complex.

    DRAM extensions and alternatives are starting to show up inside of data centers as the volume of data being processed, stored and accessed continues to skyrocket. This is having a big impact on the architecture of data centers, where the goal now is to move processing much closer to the data and to reduce latency everywhere.

    Memory has always been a key piece of the Von Neumann compute architecture. What’s typically deployed inside data centers today are DDR4-based DIMMs, as well as some legacy DDR3, which is directly attached to the CPU. But those are far too slow for many of the new applications inside of data centers, including artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning, so work is underway to improve the speed at which that data can be accessed without a huge impact on the power budget.

    DDR5 will offer some significant improvement over previous DRAM verions. For years, memory makers insisted there would be no follow-on to DDR4. That changed once streaming video and almost ubiquitous image processing came into view with the introduction of smartphones and other mobile devices. According to JEDEC, DDR5 will provide double the bandwidth and density over DDR4, and allow better channel efficiency.

    But DDR5 alone will likely not be sufficient.

    One option is GDDR5, which is a type of synchronous graphics random-access memory (SGRAM). GDDR5 was developed for use in graphics cards, game consoles, and high-performance computation. Nvidia uses this technology in its graphics cards, for example, to help with deep learning and machine learning applications.

    “We are starting to see these applications with people trying to do AI-type things, deep learning, and super computing, and that is where we are seeing a lot of interest in HBM2 (high-bandwidth memory 2),” said Marc Greenberg, product marketing group director for Cadence’s IP Group.

    CPU speeds haven’t gone up over the last decade. They have more or less leveled off because transistor speeds cannot be bumped up more than they are right now.”

    To compensate, CPU vendors are adding more cores inside of processors. But that adds its own set of issues.

    “The problem with this approach is that within the CPU is an integrated memory controller, which interfaces with the DRAM DIMMs,” Kochak said. “With older CPUs, there would have been two memory controllers. Now there are four memory controllers. Soon there will be six memory controllers, and the projection is that there may even be eight memory controllers per CPU.

  37. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Gartner figures confirm: PC is not dying

    For years it seemed that a PC would soon disappear in some of the darkness of history. However, this is not the case. Gartner’s recent figures reveal that the PC is still used to handle certain tasks.

    According to Gartner, PC, smartphone and tablet deliveries will grow to more than 2.35 billion units next year. This is two percent more than this year.

    According to user data collected by the research institute, 40 percent of the respondents say they prefer to use PC microwaves or tablets to read and write long e-mails and to watch videos. 34 percent say they mostly use smartphones.

    This does not mean that PC sales would go up. According to Gartner, 195 million PCs will be sold next year. The figure is 4.4 percent less than this year. When it comes to expensive ultra-portable, the market will actually grow slightly next year.


  38. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Intel will deliver the first AI processors in the near future

    There is no point in saying that artificial intelligence would be the hottest area in electronics today. It’s no surprise, then, that the processor chip Intel is involved with the game.

    The CEO of the company, Bruce Krzanich, told the WSJDLive event that the company will begin delivering the Nervana-name neural network processor to customers by the end of this year.

    Until now, Intel has offered both artificial intelligence and machine learning applications both Xeon server processors and data center processors with its own machine acceleration accelerator. Nervana is a processor developed by the same company for two years before Intel’s ownership last year.

    neural network processors (NNPs) differ materially from Intel’s earlier architectures. Nervana Circuit is not a standard cache hierarchy, and the memory in the circuit is managed directly by software.



  39. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Memory Test Challenges, Opportunities

    Business is booming in advanced memory chips, but it’s getting tougher to test them.

    The semiconductor capital equipment market is on fire, and the memory chip test equipment sector is no different. But it is getting much more difficult on the memory side.

    Memory test vendors are contending with next-generation devices, such as 3D NAND flash memories, HBM2 chips, low-power double-data-rate DRAMs, graphics DRAMs, phase-change memories, magnetoresistive RAMs, and resistive RAMs, some of which present new technical challenges to testing with their advanced packaging.

    The memory test equipment market was in the doldrums earlier in this decade, according to Risto Puhakka, president of VLSI Research. From 2011 to 2016, the worldwide market was generally between $450 million and $550 million per year, he said. For 2017, VLSI Research is estimating an increase of 42.5% for the memory test equipment market, from $470 million in 2016 to about $670 million this year.

  40. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Deep learning device from Intel enables artificial intelligence programming at the edge

    Intel has announced the release of the Movidius Neural Compute Stick, a USB-based deep learning inference kit and self-contained artificial intelligence (AI) accelerator that delivers dedicated deep neural network processing capabilities to a range of host devices at the edge.

    Designed for product developers, researchers and makers, the Movidius Neural Compute Stick features the Myriad 2 vision processing unit (VPU), which contains hybrid processing elements including twelve 128-bit VLIW processors, and two 32-bit RISC processors.The Caffe framework is supported on the device, which features a USB 3.0 Type A interface. Minimum requirements for a host machine are an x86_64 computing running Ubuntu 16.04 with 1 GB RAM and 4 GB free storage space.

  41. Tomi Engdahl says:

    5 pitfalls of self-service BI
    Self-service business intelligence offers many benefits, but bringing analytics and reporting closer to business units by bypassing IT can have unintended — and costly — consequences.

  42. Tomi Engdahl says:

    WD Gives Hard Drives New Spin
    Microwaves drive disks to 40 TBytes

    Western Digital demonstrated a new technology for recording heads it claims will keep hard disk drives spinning for years to come. It will ship by mid-2019 drives using microwave-assisted magnetic recording (MAMR), a technology it expects can lead to 40 TByte drives by 2025.

    The technique was born in a Carnegie Mellon lab in 2006. WD struggled for years to implement the technique until two years ago when a researcher at the former IBM plant here where the hard drive was born had an “a-ha moment” that paved the way to commercial products.

    Today, WD believes MAMR should enable 15 percent declines in terabytes/dollar on hard drives through 2028. The company showed a working prototype at its headquarters here, promising engineering samples of a 14+ TByte drive by mid-2018 and production drives a year later.

  43. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Cade Metz / New York Times:
    Sources: typical AI specialists receiving $300K-$500K a year in salary and stock; well-known names in the AI field have received compensation totalling millions — Nearly all big tech companies have an artificial intelligence project, and they are willing to pay experts millions of dollars to help get it done.

    Tech Giants Are Paying Huge
    Salaries for Scarce A.I. Talent

    Nearly all big tech companies have an artificial

  44. Tomi Engdahl says:

    NVIDIA’s data center business is poised for growth in China: Analyst

    While observing that “the Chinese data center market is booming,” investment analyst the Motley Fool’s John Ballard reports that:

    “One of the hottest growth markets for NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA) right now is data centers. The same graphics processing unit (GPU) technology used to power video games is now being used by cloud service providers to process the mountains of data consumers create, including videos, photos, and messages that ultimately get stored on a cloud server.”

  45. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Microsoft finally kills off the Kinect, but the tech will live on in other devices

    Microsoft’s Kinect had a rapid ascent and slow, sputtering demise — it was an inelegant end, as the company couldn’t find a permanent spot for the once revolutionary accessory. Now Microsoft is finally ready to put the final nail in that coffin.

  46. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Mark Wilson / Co.Design:
    Microsoft has stopped manufacturing Kinect, the depth camera and microphone that sold ~35M units since 2010, but will continue to support it for Xbox customers — But its influence, and core technology, lives on across the industry. — Manufacturing of the Kinect has shut down.

    Exclusive: Microsoft Has Stopped Manufacturing The Kinect
    But its influence, and core technology, lives on across the industry.

  47. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Oracle Engineer Talks of ZFS File System Possibly Still Being Upstreamed On Linux

    Senior software architect Mark Maybee who has been working at Oracle/Sun since ’98 says maybe we “could” still see ZFS be a first-class upstream Linux file-system. He spoke at the annual OpenZFS Developer Summit about how Oracle’s focus has shifted to the cloud and how they have reduced investment in Solaris. He admits that Linux rules the cloud.

    Oracle Could Still Make ZFS A First-Class Upstream Linux File-System

  48. Tomi Engdahl says:

    IBM Demos In-Memory Massively Parallel Computing

    Today’s experimental non-von Neumann computing architectures mostly make use of memristive devices modeled on the human brain; they do not separate data memory from computing hardware and thus avoid the inefficiency of von Neumann computers’ repeated load/store operations. Now IBM Research (Zurich) has demonstrated a way to mass-produce 3-D stacks of phase-change memory (PCM) to perform memristive calculations 200 times faster than von Neumann computers. The in-memory coprocessor uses algorithms that exploit the dynamic physics of phase-change memories simultaneously on myriad cells, similar to the way millions of neurons and trillions of synapses in the brain operate in parallel.

    The development, which IBM will demonstrate in December at the International Electronic Devices Meeting (IEDM), could return the company to the brink of hardware dominance.

    “We have demonstrated that computational primitives using non-von Neumann processors can be used to do machine learning tasks,” IBM Fellow Evangelos Eleftheriou told EE Times. “So far, we predict a speedup of 200 times for our non-von Neumann correlation detection algorithm compared to using state-of-the-art computing systems, but we have many other computational primitives on the way that we will demonstrate later this year.”


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