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Qualcomm’s $1.2B Fine for Apple Chip Exclusivity

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Top IT headline for this fine Humpday morning:

“EU fines Qualcomm €997M for abusing market dominance, says it paid Apple to buy LTE baseband chipsets from Qualcomm exclusively; Qualcomm to appeal.”

That from the EU press room.

Bloomberg writes that “Apple was cornered by Qualcomm with a 2011 deal that offered ‘significant’ sums and rebates if it only bought the company’s chips,” according to an EU mailed statement.

“Apple was seriously thinking of switching” from Qualcomm to Intel chips “which would have made a big difference to Intel” but couldn’t do so until its Qualcomm pact was about to expire in September 2016, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager told reporters at a Brussels press conference.
– via Bloomberg.com

The antitrust fine, the EU’s third highest, comes as Qualcomm tries to fend off a $105 billion hostile takeover by rival Broadcom Ltd. and wages war with Apple in numerous court cases around the world over patent licensing. Qualcomm’s management is under pressure to show shareholders it can manage the Apple dispute and battles with regulators that have already led to fines in China and South Korea.
– via Bloomberg.com


So far, the market is shrugging the fine off, with Qualcomm shares just slightly down overnight.

Written by turbotodd

January 24, 2018 at 9:27 am

Intel Memory Leak

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Happy Hump Day.

And holy floating point processor, Batman, The Register is reporting that there’s a “fundamental design flaw” in Intel’s processor chips that has forced “a significant redesign of the Linux and Windows kernels to defang the chip-level security bug.”

Programmers are scrambling to overhaul the open-source Linux kernel’s virtual memory system. Meanwhile, Microsoft is expected to publicly introduce the necessary changes to its Windows operating system in an upcoming Patch Tuesday: these changes were seeded to beta testers running fast-ring Windows Insider builds in November and December. Crucially, these updates to both Linux and Windows will incur a performance hit on Intel products. The effects are still being benchmarked, however we’re looking at a ballpark figure of five to 30 per cent slow down, depending on the task and the processor model. More recent Intel chips have features – such as PCID – to reduce the performance hit. Your mileage may vary.
– via www.theregister.co.uk

Triple check your math, boys and girls.

And the fix?

is to separate the kernel’s memory completely from user processes using what’s called Kernel Page Table Isolation, or KPTI
– via www.theregister.co.uk

And the security implications?

At best, the vulnerability could be leveraged by malware and hackers to more easily exploit other security bugs. At worst, the hole could be abused by programs and logged-in users to read the contents of the kernel’s memory.
– via www.theregister.co.uk

Anybody check to see whether AMD stock has gone on a tear overnight??!

Written by turbotodd

January 3, 2018 at 10:41 am

Posted in 2018, intel, microprocessors

Brain Man

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Exciting news from IBM Research today.

The researchers there unveiled a new generation of experimental computer chips today that are designed to emulate the brain’s abilities for perception, action and cognition.

This image provides a map of the brain's network connections, which the new IBM SyNAPSE processors are looking to emulate.

Such a technology could yield many orders of magnitude less power consumption and space than is used in today’s computers.

Tastes great, less filling!

This breakthrough is a sharp departure from more traditional concepts in designing and building computers.  These first neurosynaptic (say that three times quickly) computing chips recreate the phenomena between spiking neurons and synapses in biological systems, such as the brain (well, most brains), through advanced algorithms and silicon circuitry.

The first two prototype chips have already been fabricated and are currently undergoing testing (no Frankenstein jokes, please).

Called “cognitive computers,” systems built with these chips won’t be programmed the same way traditional computers are today.

Rather, cognitive computers are expected to learn through experiences, find correlations, create hypotheses, and remember — and learn from — the outcomes, mimicking the brains structural and synaptic plasticity.

To do this, IBM is combining principles from nanoscience, neuroscience and supercomputing as part of a multi-year cognitive computing system.

Faster Synapses

The company and its university collaborators also announced they have been awarded approximately $21 million in new funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for Phase 2 of the Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics (SyNAPSE) project.

The goal of SyNAPSE  is to create a system that not only analyzes complex information from multiple sensory modalities at once, but also dynamically rewires itself as it interacts with its environment –- all while rivaling the brain’s compact size and low power usage.

“This is a major initiative to move beyond the von Neumann paradigm that has been ruling computer architecture for more than half a century,” said Dharmendra Modha, project leader for IBM Research.

“Future applications of computing will increasingly demand functionality that is not efficiently delivered by the traditional architecture. These chips are another significant step in the evolution of computers from calculators to learning systems, signaling the beginning of a new generation of computers and their applications in business, science and government.”

Neurosynaptic Chips

While they contain no biological elements, IBM’s first cognitive computing prototype chips use digital silicon circuits inspired by neurobiology to make up what is referred to as a “neurosynaptic core” with integrated memory (replicated synapses), computation (replicated neurons) and communication (replicated axons).

IBM has two working prototype designs. Both cores were fabricated in 45 nm SOI-CMOS and contain 256 neurons. One core contains 262,144 programmable synapses and the other contains 65,536 learning synapses.

The IBM team has successfully demonstrated simple applications like navigation, machine vision, pattern recognition, associative memory and classification.

(There’s no word yet as to whether or not this new technology might could revive Lee Majors career as the six million dollar man.)

IBM’s overarching cognitive computing architecture is an on-chip network of light-weight cores, creating a single integrated system of hardware and software.

This architecture represents a critical shift away from traditional von Neumann computing to a potentially more power-efficient architecture that has no set programming, integrates memory with processor, and mimics the brain’s event-driven, distributed and parallel processing.

IBM’s long-term goal is to build a chip system with ten billion neurons and hundred trillion synapses, while consuming merely one kilowatt of power and occupying less than two liters of volume.

Smarter Chips For The Real World

Future chips will be able to ingest information from complex, real-world environments through multiple sensory modes and act through multiple motor modes in a coordinated, context-dependent manner.

For example, a cognitive computing system monitoring the world’s water supply could contain a network of sensors and actuators that constantly record and report metrics such as temperature, pressure, wave height, acoustics and ocean tide, and issue tsunami warnings based on its decision making.

Similarly, a grocer stocking shelves could use an instrumented glove that monitors sights, smells, texture and temperature to flag bad or contaminated produce.

Making sense of real-time input flowing at an ever-dizzying rate would be a Herculean task for today’s computers, but would be natural for a brain-inspired system. 

“Imagine traffic lights that can integrate sights, sounds and smells and flag unsafe intersections before disaster happens or imagine cognitive co-processors that turn servers, laptops, tablets, and phones into machines that can interact better with their environments,” said Dr. Modha.

IBM has a rich history in the area of artificial intelligence research going all the way back to 1956 when IBM performed the world’s first large-scale large-scale (512 neuron) cortical simulation. Most recently, IBM Research scientists created Watson, an analytical computing system that specializes in understanding natural human language and provides specific answers to complex questions at rapid speeds.

Watson represents a tremendous breakthrough in computers understanding natural language, “real language” that is not specially designed or encoded just for computers, but language that humans use to naturally capture and communicate knowledge.

IBM’s cognitive computing chips were built at its highly advanced chip-making facility in Fishkill, N.Y. and are currently being tested at its research labs in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. and San Jose, Calif.

Written by turbotodd

August 18, 2011 at 1:26 pm

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