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Samsung Galaxy Note 7 popped again!

Samsung’s fire-prone smartphone that sparked a global crisis is making a comeback.

The world’s largest smartphone maker says it’s resurrecting the Galaxy Note 7 by selling a cheaper, refurbished version in South Korea starting Friday.

Understandably, Samsung (SSNLF) has chosen to change the name of the phone, whose initial incarnation it had to recall and kill off after a some customers reported their devices burst into flames.

The revamped phone is called the Galaxy Note FE, short for Fan Edition. And for those who need a bit of convincing to buy a new version of a device that became synonymous with spontaneous combustion, Samsung has thrown in a few perks.

Most important, the Note FE will come with lower capacity batteries that have undergone the company’s latest safety test. Earlier this year, Samsung blamed poorly designed and manufactured batteries for the overheating problems that caused some of the Note 7 phones to catch fire.

The rejiggered phone will sell for 699,600 won ($610), about 30{4a63b1e9664ba6ed4e66fdcc3a4154087d23751c404ace2df0767d646d11a674} less than the original Note 7. It also comes with updated software and Bixby, Samsung’s new artificial intelligence assistant.

amsung’s fire-prone smartphone that sparked a global crisis is making a comeback. The world’s largest smartphone maker says it’s resurrecting the Galaxy Note 7 by selling a cheaper, refurbished version in South Korea starting Friday. Understandably, Samsung (SSNLF) has chosen to change the name of the phone, whose initial incarnation it had to recall and kill off after a some customers reported their devices burst into flames. The revamped phone is called the Galaxy Note FE, short for Fan Edition. And for those who need a bit of convincing to buy a new version of a device that became synonymous with spontaneous combustion, Samsung has thrown in a few perks. Related: Samsung unveils first new flagship phones since Note 7 debacle Most important, the Note FE will come with lower capacity batteries that have undergone the company’s latest safety test. Earlier this year, Samsung blamed poorly designed and manufactured batteries for the overheating problems that caused some of the Note 7 phones to catch fire. The rejiggered phone will sell for 699,600 won ($610), about 30{4a63b1e9664ba6ed4e66fdcc3a4154087d23751c404ace2df0767d646d11a674} less than the original Note 7. It also comes with updated software and Bixby, Samsung’s new artificial intelligence assistant.

But Note 7 fans outside South Korea will have to wait to get their hands on the new devices. Samsung says it hasn’t made a decision yet on selling the Note FE in other countries. The company has said in the past it has no plans to sell refurbished Note 7 devices in the United States.

Samsung is touting the devices, which are made from unused Note 7 phones and spare parts, as an “eco-friendly” project to avoid waste. It came under pressure from Greenpeace last year to provide detailed information on how it would dispose of the millions of recalled devices.

The Note FE should also help the Samsung recoup some of the financial losses resulting from the fiasco, which wiped out billions in profit.

But with a limited run of 400,000 devices to start, it’s “a drop in the ocean, considering Samsung sells a few million of the phone every time a new version launches,” said Kiranjeet Kaur, an analyst with research firm IDC

Samsung is touting the devices, which are made from unused Note 7 phones and spare parts, as an “eco-friendly” project to avoid waste. It came under pressure from Greenpeace last year to provide detailed information on how it would dispose of the millions of recalled devices. The Note FE should also help the Samsung recoup some of the financial losses resulting from the fiasco, which wiped out billions in profit. But with a limited run of 400,000 devices to start, it’s “a drop in the ocean, considering Samsung sells a few million of the phone every time a new version launches,” said Kiranjeet Kaur, an analyst with research firm IDC.

The company has shown resilience following the Note 7 debacle, reporting bumper profits of nearly $9 billion for the first quarter of 2017, a jump of almost 50{4a63b1e9664ba6ed4e66fdcc3a4154087d23751c404ace2df0767d646d11a674} from a year ago.

A successful launch of the Note FE would help show Samsung has successfully resolved the problems that bedeviled the Note 7. For the initial recall last year, Samsung offered replacement devices that some customers said also caught fire, deepening the company’s crisis.

The company has shown resilience following the Note 7 debacle, reporting bumper profits of nearly $9 billion for the first quarter of 2017, a jump of almost 50{4a63b1e9664ba6ed4e66fdcc3a4154087d23751c404ace2df0767d646d11a674} from a year ago. A successful launch of the Note FE would help show Samsung has successfully resolved the problems that bedeviled the Note 7. For the initial recall last year, Samsung offered replacement devices that some customers said also caught fire, deepening the company’s crisis.

But if anything goes wrong with the revamped version, “this could just be called a suicide attempt by Samsung,” Kauer said.

The smartphone giant is already taking some heat on social media over its name choice, with some users suggesting FE stands for “Fiery Explosion.”

But if anything goes wrong with the revamped version, “this could just be called a suicide attempt by Samsung,” Kauer said. The smartphone giant is already taking some heat on social media over its name choice, with some users suggesting FE stands for “Fiery Explosion.”

Games Can Change Your Brain

Scientists have collected and summarized studies looking at how video games can shape our brains and behavior. Research to date suggests that playing video games can change the brain regions responsible for attention and visuospatial skills and make them more efficient. The researchers also looked at studies exploring brain regions associated with the reward system, and how these are related to video game addiction.

Do you play video games? If so, you aren’t alone. Video games are becoming more common and are increasingly enjoyed by adults. The average age of gamers has been increasing, and was estimated to be 35 in 2016. Changing technology also means that more people are exposed to video games. Many committed gamers play on desktop computers or consoles, but a new breed of casual gamers has emerged, who play on smartphones and tablets at spare moments throughout the day, like their morning commute. So, we know that video games are an increasingly common form of entertainment, but do they have any effect on our brains and behavior?

Over the years, the media have made various sensationalist claims about video games and their effect on our health and happiness. “Games have sometimes been praised or demonized, often without real data backing up those claims. Moreover, gaming is a popular activity, so everyone seems to have strong opinions on the topic,” says Marc Palaus, first author on the review, recently published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

Palaus and his colleagues wanted to see if any trends had emerged from the research to date concerning how video games affect the structure and activity of our brains. They collected the results from 116 scientific studies, 22 of which looked at structural changes in the brain and 100 of which looked at changes in brain functionality and/or behavior.

The studies show that playing video games can change how our brains perform, and even their structure. For example, playing video games affects our attention, and some studies found that gamers show improvements in several types of attention, such as sustained attention or selective attention. The brain regions involved in attention are also more efficient in gamers and require less activation to sustain attention on demanding tasks.

There is also evidence that video games can increase the size and efficiency of brain regions related to visuospatial skills. For example, the right hippocampus was enlarged in both long-term gamers and volunteers following a video game training program.

Video games can also be addictive, and this kind of addiction is called “Internet gaming disorder.” Researchers have found functional and structural changes in the neural reward system in gaming addicts, in part by exposing them to gaming cues that cause cravings and monitoring their neural responses. These neural changes are basically the same as those seen in other addictive disorders.

So, what do all these brain changes mean? “We focused on how the brain reacts to video game exposure, but these effects do not always translate to real-life changes,” says Palaus. As video games are still quite new, the research into their effects is still in its infancy. For example, we are still working out what aspects of games affect which brain regions and how. “It’s likely that video games have both positive (on attention, visual and motor skills) and negative aspects (risk of addiction), and it is essential we embrace this complexity,” explains Palaus.

Latest Battery Free Battery Using Ambient Power

University of Washington researchers have invented a cellphone that requires no batteries — a major leap forward in moving beyond chargers, cords and dying phones. Instead, the phone harvests the few microwatts of power it requires from either ambient radio signals or light.

The team also made Skype calls using its battery-free phone, demonstrating that the prototype made of commercial, off-the-shelf components can receive and transmit speech and communicate with a base station.

The new technology is detailed in a paper published July 1 in the Proceedings of the Association for Computing Machinery on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies.

“We’ve built what we believe is the first functioning cellphone that consumes almost zero power,” said co-author Shyam Gollakota, an associate professor in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering at the UW. “To achieve the really, really low power consumption that you need to run a phone by harvesting energy from the environment, we had to fundamentally rethink how these devices are designed.”

The team of UW computer scientists and electrical engineers eliminated a power-hungry step in most modern cellular transmissions — converting analog signals that convey sound into digital data that a phone can understand. This process consumes so much energy that it’s been impossible to design a phone that can rely on ambient power sources.

Instead, the battery-free cellphone takes advantage of tiny vibrations in a phone’s microphone or speaker that occur when a person is talking into a phone or listening to a call.

An antenna connected to those components converts that motion into changes in standard analog radio signal emitted by a cellular base station. This process essentially encodes speech patterns in reflected radio signals in a way that uses almost no power.

To transmit speech, the phone uses vibrations from the device’s microphone to encode speech patterns in the reflected signals. To receive speech, it converts encoded radio signals into sound vibrations that that are picked up by the phone’s speaker. In the prototype device, the user presses a button to switch between these two “transmitting” and “listening” modes.

Using off-the-shelf components on a printed circuit board, the team demonstrated that the prototype can perform basic phone functions — transmitting speech and data and receiving user input via buttons. Using Skype, researchers were able to receive incoming calls, dial out and place callers on hold with the battery-free phone.

“The cellphone is the device we depend on most today. So if there were one device you’d want to be able to use without batteries, it is the cellphone,” said faculty lead Joshua Smith, professor in both the Allen School and UW’s Department of Electrical Engineering. “The proof of concept we’ve developed is exciting today, and we think it could impact everyday devices in the future.”

The team designed a custom base station to transmit and receive the radio signals. But that technology conceivably could be integrated into standard cellular network infrastructure or Wi-Fi routers now commonly used to make calls.

“You could imagine in the future that all cell towers or Wi-Fi routers could come with our base station technology embedded in it,” said co-author Vamsi Talla, a former UW electrical engineering doctoral student and Allen School research associate. “And if every house has a Wi-Fi router in it, you could get battery-free cellphone coverage everywhere.”

The battery-free phone does still require a small amount of energy to perform some operations. The prototype has a power budget of 3.5 microwatts.

The UW researchers demonstrated how to harvest this small amount of energy from two different sources. The battery-free phone prototype can operate on power gathered from ambient radio signals transmitted by a base station up to 31 feet away.

Using power harvested from ambient light with a tiny solar cell — roughly the size of a grain of rice — the device was able to communicate with a base station that was 50 feet away.

Many other battery-free technologies that rely on ambient energy sources, such as temperature sensors or an accelerometer, conserve power with intermittent operations. They take a reading and then “sleep” for a minute or two while they harvest enough energy to perform the next task. By contrast, a phone call requires the device to operate continuously for as long as the conversation lasts.

“You can’t say hello and wait for a minute for the phone to go to sleep and harvest enough power to keep transmitting,” said co-author Bryce Kellogg, a UW electrical engineering doctoral student. “That’s been the biggest challenge — the amount of power you can actually gather from ambient radio or light is on the order of 1 or 10 microwatts. So real-time phone operations have been really hard to achieve without developing an entirely new approach to transmitting and receiving speech.”

Next, the research team plans to focus on improving the battery-free phone’s operating range and encrypting conversations to make them secure. The team is also working to stream video over a battery-free cellphone and add a visual display feature to the phone using low-power E-ink screens.

Train Robot with Brain Oops Signals

Baxter the robot can tell the difference between right and wrong actions without its human handlers ever consciously giving a command or even speaking a word. The robot’s learning success relies upon a system that interprets the human brain’s “oops” signals to let Baxter know if a mistake has been made.

The new twist on training robots comes from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and Boston University. Researchers have long known that the human brain generates certain error-related signals when it notices a mistake. They created machine-learning software that can recognize and classify those brain oops signals from individual human volunteers within 10 to 30 milliseconds—a way of creating instant feedback for Baxter the robot when it sorted paint cans and wire spools into two different bins in front of the humans.

“Imagine being able to instantaneously tell a robot to do a certain action, without needing to type a command, push a button or even say a word,” said Daniela Rus, director of CSAIL at MIT, in a press release. “A streamlined approach like that would improve our abilities to supervise factory robots, driverless cars and other technologies we haven’t even invented yet.”

The human volunteers wore electroencephalography (EEG) caps that can detect those oops signals when they see Baxter the robot making a mistake. Each volunteer first underwent a short training session where the machine-learning software learned to recognize their brains’ specific “oops” signals. But once that was completed, the system was able to start giving Baxter instant feedback on whether each human handler approved or disapproved of the robot’s actions.

It’s still far from a perfect system, or even a 90-percent accuracy system when performing in real time. But researchers seem confident based on the early trials.

The MIT and Boston University researchers also discovered that they could improve the system’s offline performance by focusing on stronger oops signals that the brain generates when it notices so-called “secondary errors.” These errors came up when the system misclassified the human brain signals by either falsely detecting an oops signal when the robot was making the correct choice, or when the system failed to detect the initial oops signal when the robot was making the wrong choice.

By incorporating the oops signals from secondary errors, researchers succeeded in boosting the system’s overall performance by almost 20 percent. The system cannot yet process the oops signals from secondary errors in actual live training sessions with Baxter. But once it can, researchers expect to boost the overall system accuracy beyond 90 percent.

The research also stands out because it showed how people who had never tried the EEG caps before could still learn to train Baxter the robot without much trouble. That bodes well for the possibilities of humans intuitively relying on EEG to train their future robot cars, robot humanoids or similar robotic systems. (The study is detailed in a paper that was recently accepted by the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) scheduled to take place in Singapore this May.)

Such lab experiments may still seem like a far cry from future human customers instantaneously correcting their household robots or robot car chauffeurs. But it could become a more practical approach for real-world robot training as researchers tweak the system’s accuracy and EEG cap technology becomes more user-friendly outside of lab settings. Next up for the researchers: Using the oops system to train Baxter on making right choices with multiple choice situations.

Hackers Blast Emergency Sirens in Dallas

Screaming sirens serenaded Dallas residents in the early morning hours Saturday after a cyberattack set off the city’s emergency warning system.

All of the city’s 156 sirens were set off more than a dozen times, The Dallas Morning News reported.

Officials have not yet identified the perpetrator of the attack, the city’s Office of Emergency Management Director Rocky Vaz told the newspaper, but he expressed confidence that it was someone outside the Dallas area.

The city has figured out how the system was compromised and has begun working to keep it from happening again, he added.

The sirens began sounding about 12:30 a.m. Saturday and weren’t silenced until 1:20 a.m., when the entire system was deactivated.

Despite the city’s pleas not to make 911 calls about the sirens, emergency operators were swamped with 4,400 calls during the early morning hours Saturday.

Inadvertent Threat to Life

If the Dallas attack should turn out to be an isolated incident, its impact will be minimal, but if such attacks should multiply, they could undermine public faith in emergency warning systems.

“Like crying wolf too often, these attacks erode the faith in these systems critical to safeguarding human life during an emergency,” said Sergio Caltagirone, director of threat intelligence for Dragos.

“While a single event is unlikely to cause significant damage,” he told TechNewsWorld, “continual attacks will most certainly have a long-term effect.”

Both determined and hobbyist hackers are probing and testing the nation’s critical infrastructure, he added.

“There are no indications of an imminent wide-scale attack, but these attacks will only become more common — and the biggest fear is that an adversary will do great harm and possibly threaten human life inadvertently,” Caltagirone explained.

“Dallas is a well-funded municipality with the proper resources to defend their infrastructure from attack,” he added. “This does not bode well for the majority of municipalities who lack the resources of Dallas.”

911 System Disrupted

Although Dallas is still assessing the damage of the cyberattack, its disruption of the 911 system by inciting panic calls about the sirens probably placed some citizens’ lives at risk.

Because there were so many calls to the 911 system in a short period of time, the hack of the siren network created a sort of DDoS attack on 911.

“Any real emergency happening at the same time will get lost in the noise,” SS8 Chief Security Officer Cemal Dikmen told TechNewsWorld.

Call hold times were delayed from their usual 10 seconds to about six minutes, noted James Scott, a senior fellow at the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology.

“Every citizen was endangered by the inability to request emergency assistance in a reasonable amount of time,” he told TechNewsWorld.

“Every caller who legitimately required an emergency response to an actual threat was imperiled by the significantly delayed 911 call center response time,” Scott emphasized. “It is difficult to measure or predict the number of residents who needed emergency assistance and hung up the phone out of frustration, or the number of citizens whose safety and physical well-being were jeopardized by this trivial cyberattack.”

Antiquated Systems

Emergency warning systems in many cities are old, which makes them even more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Ironically, Dallas’ system is about to be overhauled — the city council last fall approved $567,368 for the project.

“Many of them were first installed in the ’40s and ’50s,” explained Mike Ahmadi, global director for critical systems security at Synopsys.

“They’ve been upgraded over time and most recently connected to the Internet,” he told TechNewsWorld.

“Actually, the older systems without any connectivity are pretty safe from a hacker-proof perspective,” Ahmadi added. “It’s modernizing them and giving them IoT connectivity that’s made them vulnerable.”

Open information laws also can make these systems vulnerable, maintained Ed Cabrera, chief cybersecurity officer for Trend Micro.

“These require detailed government information to be publicly disclosed,” he told TechNewsWorld. “That makes things such as manuals and configuration settings openly available to potential adversaries meaning to do harm.”

Endemic Problem

It has been recognized for some time that older, outdated emergency warning systems are susceptible to cyberattacks, noted Vijay Basani, CEO of EiQ Networks.

“In spite of this known exploitable vulnerability, why have our state and local governments been so complicit in their failure to fix these vulnerabilities?” he asked.

That is the important question, Basani told TechNewsWorld.

“Besides just making emergency warning systems go off randomly, hackers could have shut them down completely, crippled them temporarily, or redirected emergency personnel to wrong locations,” he said. “Taxpayers should demand that their government fix these systems or upgrade them.”

The failure of Dallas’ emergency warning system is endemic to the poor security across these systems, said Dragos’ Caltagirone.

Securing systems comes down to identifying critical systems, detecting attacks and implementing real protection, he explained.

“Unfortunately, most organizations don’t even successfully complete the first step,” said Caltagirone. “All security starts with knowledge of your own environment. Many systems owners lack sufficient asset inventory. It’s impossible to protect what you don’t understand.”

There is robots to assist you at airports in South Korea

INCHEON: Robots will start roaming South Korea’s largest airport this summer, helping travelers find their boarding gates and keep its floors clean as the country prepares for its first Winter Olympics game.

Starting this month, Troika, a self-driving robot made by LG Electronics, will rove the Incheon International Airport, telling travelers how long it takes to get to boarding gates and escorting them to their flights. A jumbo cleaning robot will help cleaning staff swab the wide expanses of floors in the airport west of Seoul.

Troika, about the size of a young teen, is equipped with a rectangular display on its front that looks like a giant smartphone screen and can show flight information, an airport map and weather data. Its partly rounded head has a flat touchscreen face that displays blinking or smiling eyes or information.

The guiding bot responds to its name.

Travelers can insert their tickets into its scanner to get flight information, and Troika will then ask if they want to be escorted to their gates, warning laggards to “Please stay closer so I can see you”.

Troika’s debut piqued the interest of many in the airport. Heads swiveled and children approached with curiosity as the 140-centimenter (4 foot 6 inch) robot with its white body and black screens glided through the terminal.

Robotics is gaining ground in South Korea, where many big businesses are automating factory production lines. South Korean researchers have won awards in international robot competitions. In 2015, South Korea’s Team KAIST beat the U.S. and Japan to win the DARPA Robotics Challenge with a humanoid that completed tasks without losing balance. But South Korea has been slow to introduce human-like robots or interactive robots in public places like hotels or stores, unlike its neighboring Japan where Softbank’s humanoid Pepper is no stranger.

Incheon International Airport Corp. believes it is the first to introduce such service-oriented robots in a South Korean public space. Another state-owned airport operator, Korea Airports Corp., which operates 15 international airports in South Korea but not Incheon airport, also has teamed up with local companies to introduce air-purifying robots to measure air quality and clean terminals.

Incheon International Airport Corp. said in a statement that it does not expect the robots to replace human workers, but just to help, especially with overnight shifts and physically demanding tasks.

Future plans include deploying robots to advise travelers about items that are banned on flights, serve food in airport lounges and carry cargo.

South Korea expects the robots to burnish its reputation as a technology leader when the country hosts the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.

But its maker LG is still working out the kinks.

Troika can recognize its location inside the airport terminal and navigate around passers-by and obstacles, said Kim Hyoungrock, the chief research engineer at LG Electronics who oversaw the robot’s development.
It’s meant to be a fast learner: By July, Troika will be speaking English, Korean, Chinese and Japanese, Kim said. However the robot can only perform a few simple tasks it has been programmed to carry out.
During a recent test run it failed to recognize some voice commands, such as when Amethyst Ma of San Jose, California, asked how she and her kids could catch a bus to the city.
Still, such machines could be quite useful for overseas travelers, Ma said.
“It’s becoming common in a lot of public places so that’s why I came to it right away,” she said. “It’s a source of information, especially if we don’t speak the local language.”

Build software for a computer 50 times faster

Imagine you were able to solve a problem 50 times faster than you can now. With this ability, you have the potential to come up with answers to even the most complex problems faster than ever before.

Researchers behind the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Exascale Computing Project want to make this capability a reality, and are doing so by creating tools and technologies for exascale supercomputers – computing systems at least 50 times faster than those used today. These tools will advance researchers’ ability to analyze and visualize complex phenomena such as cancer and nuclear reactors, which will accelerate scientific discovery and innovation.

Developing layers of software that support and connect hardware and applications is critical to making these next-generation systems a reality.

“These software environments have to be robust and flexible enough to handle a broad spectrum of applications, and be well integrated with hardware and application software so that applications can run and operate seamlessly,” said Rajeev Thakur, a computer scientist at the DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory and the director of software technology for the Exascale Computing Project (ECP).

Researchers in Argonne’s Mathematics and Computer Science Division are collaborating with colleagues from five other core ECP DOE national laboratories – Lawrence Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore, Sandia, Oak Ridge and Los Alamos – in addition to other labs and universities.

Their goal is to create new and adapt existing software technologies to operate at exascale by overcoming challenges found in several key areas, such as memory, power and computational resources.

Checkpoint/restart

Argonne computer scientist Franck Cappello leads an ECP project focused on advanced checkpoint/restart, a defense mechanism for withstanding failures that happen when applications are running.

“Given their complexity, faults in high-performance systems are a common occurrence, and some of them lead to failures that cause parallel applications to crash,” Cappello said.

“Many ECP applications already feature checkpoint/restart, but because we’re moving towards an even more complex system at exascale, we need more sophisticated methods for it. For us, that means providing an effective and efficient checkpoint/restart for ECP applications that lack it, and providing other applications a more efficient and scalable checkpoint/restart.”

Cappello also leads a project that focuses on reducing the large amounts of data that
is generated by these machines, which is expensive to store and communicate effectively.

“We’re developing techniques that can reduce data volume by at least a factor of 10. The problem with this is that you add some margin of error when you reduce the data,” Cappello said.

“The focus then is on controlling the margin of error; you want to control the error so it doesn’t affect the scientific result in the end while still being efficient at reduction, and this is one of the challenges we are looking at.”

Memory

For information that is stored on exascale systems, researchers need data management controls for memory, power and processing cores. Argonne computer scientist Pete Beckman is investigating methods for managing all three through a project known as Argo.

“The efficiency of memory and storage have to keep up with the increase in computation rates and data movement requirements that will exist at exascale,” Beckman said.

“But how memory is arranged in systems and the technology used for it is also changing, and has more layers,” he said. “So we have to account for these changes, in addition to anticipating and designing around the future needs of the applications that will use these systems.”

With added layers of memory on exascale systems, researchers must develop complementary software for regulating these memory technologies that give users control over the process.

“Having controls in place is important because where you choose to store information affects how quickly you can retrieve it,” Beckman said.

Power

Another key resource that Beckman and Argo Project researchers are studying is power. As with memory, methods for allocating power resources could speed up or slow computation within a high-performance system. Researchers are interested in developing software technologies that could enhance users’ control over this resource.

“Power limits may not be at the top of the list when you’re dealing with smaller systems, but when you’re talking about tens of megawatts of power, which is what we’ll need in the future, how an application uses that power becomes an important distinguishing characteristic,” Beckman said.

“The goal for us is to achieve a level of control that maximizes the user’s abilities while maintaining efficiency and minimizing cost,” he said.

Processing Cores

Ultra-fine controls are also needed for managing cores within an exascale system.

“With each generation of supercomputers we keep adding processing cores, but the system software that makes them work needs ways to partition and manage all the cores,” Beckman said. “And since we’re dealing millions of cores, even making small adjustments can have a tremendous impact on what we’re able to do; improving performance by say, two to three percent, is equivalent to thousands of laptops’ worth of computation.”

One concept Beckman and fellow researchers are exploring to better manage cores is containerization, a method for grouping a select number of cores together and treating them as a unit, or “container,” that can be controlled independently.

“The tools we have now to manage cores are not as precise, making it harder to regulate how much work is being done by one set of cores over another,” Beckman said. “But we’re borrowing and adapting container concepts into high-performance computing to give users the ability to operate and manage how they’re using those cores more carefully and directly.”

Software Libraries

Applications rely on software libraries – high-quality, reusable software collections – to support simulations and other functionalities. To make these capabilities accessible at exascale, Argonne researchers are working to scale existing libraries.

“Libraries provide important capabilities, including solutions to numerical problems,” said Argonne mathematician Barry Smith, who leads a project focused on scaling two libraries known as PETSc and TAO.

PETSc and TAO are widely used for large-scale numerical simulations. PETSc is a library that provides solutions to specific numerical calculations. TAO is a library that provides solutions to large-scale optimization problems, such as calculating the most cost-effective strategy for reloading fuel rods in a nuclear reactor.

In addition to scaling diverse software libraries, ECP scientists are also looking for ways to improve their quality and compatibility.

“Libraries have traditionally been developed independently, and due to the different strategies used to design and implement them, it’s been difficult to use multiple libraries in combinations. But large applications, like those that will run at exascale, need to be able to use all the layers of the software stack in combination,” said Argonne computational scientist Lois Curfman McInnes.

McInnes is co-leading the xSDK project, which is determining community policies to regulate the implementation of software packages. Such policies will make it easier for diverse libraries to be compatible with one another.

“These efforts bring us one step closer to realizing a robust and agile exascale environment that can aid scientists in tackling great challenges,” McInnes said.

Hyderabad is working on creating “Robocops”

HYDERABAD: H-Bots Robotics Pvt Ltd, a city-based startup is in the process of making a “police robot” that may be deployed at Jubilee Hills check post once it is completed.

Kisshhan, founder of H-Bots Robotics, in a statement, said the design of the robot which will walk, recognise people, take complaints and diffuse bombs, was unveiled by Jayesh Ranjan, Telangana IT Secretary, in a programme.

“It will be the world’s second humanoid robot after Dubai. The one in Dubai was made in France and deployed. But, in this case it (ours) will be totally an Indian made humanoid robot. The prototype will be ready by September this year. We will test it for two months to deploy on December 31st at Jubilee Hills check post. We will have to finalise those details with police and the government,” Kisshhan said.

Providing details, he said, unlike the police robot in Dubai, which moves only on wheels, their robot can walk, recognise people, take complaints and diffuse bombs as well.

These headlights can help drivers see through rain, snow

“We are building capacity to produce 10 such private police robots, which can be private security guards and can be deployed in hotels, hospitals and offices, he informed,” he said adding that they will be able to produce 10 such robots in a year and the plan is to make them available at a price of Rs 3 lakh each,” he said.
Meanwhile, Jayesh Ranjan said the state government will soon come out with IoT (Internet of things) Policy and robotics would be part of it.
“While we have already come out with policies on eight allied sectors, which include startups, animation industry, cyber security etc and others, we will announce IoT Policy of Telangana State in next three to four months. The policy draft is in final stages,” the official said.
T-Works, on the lines of T-Hub, a prototyping centre for electronics, semiconductors and hardware start-ups will come up in Gachibowli, with an initial investment of Rs 50 crore in the next three-four months.

Cool Technology iPhone

Multi-touch screens

The iPhone’s most obvious contribution was to ditch the physical keyboard.

Prior to 2007, phones fell into two main camps: feature phones with a numeric keypad or “smartphones” like the Blackberry with a full QWERTY keyboard. The latter sometimes came with a touchscreen but they required a stylus to operate and weren’t really suitable for typing.

The iPhone instead featured a 3.5-inch (9 centimeters) LCD screen with multi-touch technology. Not only did this get rid of the stylus in favor of what Jobs said was the ultimate pointing device — our finger — it enabled “smart” functions like pinch-to-zoom and physics-based interaction that presented on-screen elements as real objects with weight, size and intuitive responses.

More importantly, it allowed the screen to cover the entire face of the phone, which was the basis of many of the devices’ other innovations.

Multi-touch screens The iPhone’s most obvious contribution was to ditch the physical keyboard. Prior to 2007, phones fell into two main camps: feature phones with a numeric keypad or “smartphones” like the Blackberry with a full QWERTY keyboard. The latter sometimes came with a touchscreen but they required a stylus to operate and weren’t really suitable for typing. The iPhone instead featured a 3.5-inch (9 centimeters) LCD screen with multi-touch technology. Not only did this get rid of the stylus in favor of what Jobs said was the ultimate pointing device — our finger — it enabled “smart” functions like pinch-to-zoom and physics-based interaction that presented on-screen elements as real objects with weight, size and intuitive responses. More importantly, it allowed the screen to cover the entire face of the phone, which was the basis of many of the devices’ other innovations.

Google Maps

It may seem strange to list Google Maps as an innovation made popular by the iPhone, but Steve Jobs was central in bringing Google’s mapping smarts to mobile devices when he asked Google to build an app for the iPhone.

It was the first smartphone to feature the app, and even though the original iPhone didn’t feature GPS, this was rectified in later versions, allowing Google to add the turn-by-turn satellite navigation capability that is now standard in smartphones.

Google Maps It may seem strange to list Google Maps as an innovation made popular by the iPhone, but Steve Jobs was central in bringing Google’s mapping smarts to mobile devices when he asked Google to build an app for the iPhone. It was the first smartphone to feature the app, and even though the original iPhone didn’t feature GPS, this was rectified in later versions, allowing Google to add the turn-by-turn satellite navigation capability that is now standard in smartphones.

iPhone 10: The Best Is Yet to Come?

It seems like yesterday — not 10 years ago — that Steve Jobs took the stage at MacWorld to debut Apple’s latest new gadget: the iPhone.

The iPhone was three devices in one, he declared at Moscone West in San Francisco. It was a widescreen iPod with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone, and a breakthrough Internet communications device.

Apple’s “three-in-one device” has gone on to become a critical contributor to the company’s success, accounting for more than half its revenues annually, as well as a can’t-live-without tool for many people.

“iPhone is an essential part of our customers’ lives, and today more than ever it is redefining the way we communicate, entertain, work and live,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook.

“iPhone set the standard for mobile computing in its first decade and we are just getting started,” he continued. “The best is yet to come.”

Fundamental Change

What made the iPhone different from what passed for a mobile phone before Jobs introduced it that fateful day 10 years ago?

“What we’ve realized over the last few years is that the iPhone fundamentally changed how we thought about phones,” said Jack E. Gold, principal analyst at J.Gold Associates.

“Before the iPhone, we looked at phones as primarily communications devices,” he explained to TechNewsWorld. “iPhone changed that to ‘we’ve got a computer in our hands that happens to be a phone as well.'”

Prior to the iPhone’s arrival, most vendors believed there was scant need or demand for a palm-sized “smart” device supporting search, media consumption and other Internet-based functions, recalled Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

“The iPhone put an end to those assumptions and transformed the marketplace,” he told TechNewsWorld.

It also flipped forever how mobile phones were used.

“Before iPhone, we talked on phones 90 percent of the time,” Gold said. “Now we talk 10 percent and do other stuff 90 percent of the time.”

App Colossus

Apple brought something else to mobile phones that hadn’t been there before: usability.

“In the early days of smartphones, they were awful to use,” Gold noted. “The iPhone wasn’t perfect, but it fundamentally changed how people perceived these things as fun and easy to use.”

Another notable change the iPhone pioneered was the use of mobile applications.

“A big innovation was the introduction of a development kit for creating apps and making apps a key part of the iPhone design,” said Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies.

“That allowed them to create a broader ecosystem that included hardware, software and services,” he told TechNewsWorld.

There is no doubt that the iPhone created a good monster with its app-centric approach. Since Apple began selling software from its App Store in 2008, it has returned more than US$50 billion to developers.

“The app economy opened the floodgates for the transformation of many industries — streaming music, mobile banking, mobile video, mobile retail and mobile games,” Reticle Research Principal Analyst Ross Rubin told TechNewsWorld.

A Few Bad Blemishes

Perhaps what has distinguished the iPhone above all else during its 10 years of existence has been its design.

“Some of the technology in the iPhone was around before the iPhone, but the iconic design wasn’t seen before,” noted David McQueen, a research director at ABI Research.

“There’ve been a lot of copycats, but none have come up to the beauty of the iPhone’s designs,” he told TechNewsWorld.

Ironically, one of the iPhone’s biggest flubs was connected to the design of the iPhone 4. The so-called Antennagate problem occurred because the phone’s antenna was placed on the edge of the phone where a user’s hand could interfere with the call signal.

The introduction of Maps created another blemish on the iPhone’s record that Apple would like to forget. The app was embarrassingly inaccurate when it made its debut.

Those mistakes were just bumps in the road for the iPhone, though, with little impact on its popularity or sales. That is attributable in part to Apple’s service, which is “fantastic,” according to McQueen.

Another factor is customer loyalty.

“People who love Apple love Apple,” Gold observed. “There aren’t a lot of people leaving Apple.”

Bright Future

If Apple can maintain the iPhone’s premium status, it should continue to thrive.

“Apple has done really well by staying at the high end, where margins are good, and by selling additional services,” Gold explained. “If they can maintain those margins, they’ll do fine.”

Apple is also making investments in artificial intelligence, which should help the iPhone keep pace with competitors.

“The prospects are good for the future iPhone as long as Apple continues to perfect next-generation use cases like AR, VR, MR and modularity,” Moor Insights and Strategy Principal Analyst Patrick Moorhead told TechNewsWorld.

Short-term prospects look good for the iPhone, too.

“I believe Apple will set sales records with the iPhone 8,” Bajarin said, “and start a new super cycle for upgrades that will drive strong revenue at least through 2019.”