Race Is On to Advance Software for Chips

April 30, 2008

In the computer world’s equivalent of “The Amazing Race,” three rival teams of computer researchers are working on new types of software needed to better use computer chips that can process many tasks at the same time.

Stanford University and six computer and chip makers plan to announce Friday the creation of the Pervasive Parallelism Lab. Besides Stanford, the backers are Sun Microsystems, Advanced Micro Devices, Nvidia, I.B.M., Hewlett-Packard and Intel.

All three efforts are in response to a growing awareness that the software industry is not ready for the coming availability of microprocessors with 8 or 16 or more cores, or processing units, on a single chip. Computer and chip makers are concerned that if software cannot use the new hardware efficiently, customers will have little reason to upgrade.

Site – http://www.nytimes.com

Riding D-Wave

April 26, 2008

Computers process information by breaking it down into the smallest possible chunks, called “bits.” A bit represents the distinction between two possibilities: True and False, Yes and No, or, as they are conventionally represented, 1 and 0.

The end point of Moore’s Law (which holds that computers get faster by a factor of two every year and a half or so) is a computer so powerful that it uses individual atoms to store bits of information: one atom, one bit. If we were able to work at subatomic scales and store bits on electrons or quarks, we might go further. But let’s stick with what we know we can do.

If current rates of miniaturization persist, your PC will store one bit on one atom sometime around 2050. But it’s natural to ask whether we can, in fact, achieve a bit-to-atom correspondence. Remarkably, prototype computers that store bits on individual atoms already exist in the laboratory. These computers are called quantum computers, because they store and process information at scales where the laws of quantum mechanics hold sway.

Site – http://www.technologyreview.com

Real Drive

April 25, 2008

2061AD… Fifty years have passed since mankind developed the Network society. It was anticipated that this new infrastructure would realize a utopia where people connected with each other at the level of consciousness. However, new social problems such as personal data leaks and proliferation of manipulated information began to surface. Nevertheless, people still relied on the Network to exchange information, and proved unable to opt to abandon it.

Created by Production I.G and Masamune Shirow. Real Drive is produced in collaboration with Japan’s largest commercial broadcaster NTV.

Site – http://www.ntv.co.jp

Bush’s War

April 24, 2008

It is the war the defined the presidency, and a plan to respond that became a war about a war. Tonight the inside story of those epic battles. The first night of a special two part FRONTLINE seris. Bush’s War.

From the horror of 9/11 to the invasion of Iraq; the truth about WMD to the rise of an insurgency; the scandal of Guantánamo Bay and Abu Ghraib to the strategy of the surge — for seven years, FRONTLINE has revealed the defining stories of the war on terror in meticulous detail, and the political dramas that played out at the highest levels of power and influence. Now, on the fifth anniversary of the Iraq invasion, the full saga unfolds in the two-part FRONTLINE special Bush’s War. Veteran FRONTLINE producer Michael Kirk draws on one of the richest archives in broadcast journalism — more than 40 FRONTLINE reports on Iraq and the war on terror. Combined with fresh reporting and new interviews, Bush’s War will be the definitive documentary analysis of one of the most challenging periods in the nation’s history.

Site – http://www.pbs.org

The International Space Station

April 23, 2008

The International Space Station (ISS) is a research facility currently being assembled in space. The on-orbit assembly of ISS began in 1998. The ISS has been continuously inhabited since the first resident crew entered the station on November 2, 2000, thereby providing a permanent human presence in space. Early crew members all came from the Russian and U.S. space programs. The ISS was also the destination of the first five space tourists. At an estimated cost of $157 billion for the ISS project from its start until the program will end in 2017, the ISS is the most expensive object ever built by humankind. This is dwarfed by the price of the Iraq War with the total cost to the U.S. economy estimated at $3 to 5 trillion in five years.

Site – http://en.wikipedia.org

Appleseed Ex-machina

April 19, 2008

Following World War Three, which was a non-nuclear war that killed half the world’s population, the city-nation of Olympus stands as a beacon of hope in a world of chaos and conflict. The utopian metropolis is governed by Gaia, a vast artificial intelligence, and administered by genetically engineered humanoids known as bioroid, whose designer DNA suppresses strong emotions. With bioroids being half of its population, peace and order are easily maintained. Deunan Knute, a young female warrior, and Briareos, a veteran cyborg-soldier, are both partners and lovers. As members of E.S.W.A.T., the elite special forces serving Olympus, they are deployed whenever trouble strikes. During a mission involving several high-ranking E.U. officials held hostage by a group of unknown and heavily-armed cyborgs, Briareos is injured protecting Deunan from an ensuing blast. As a last ditch effort by an injured cyborg, E.S.W.A.T. assigns Deunan a new partner, a bioroid named Tereus. Largely based on Briareos’ DNA, Tereus was designed as a prototype for a new kind of fighter bioroid.

Site – http://www.warnervideo.com