Tokyo University’s Grape-DR supercomputer is a tangled green powerhouse

Tokyo University's Grape-DR supercomputer is a green powerhouse


We live in an ecologically minded era, where Ford spends more time talking up the new Mustang’s mpg rating than its 0 – 60 times. Appropriate, then, that supercomputers are now being rated not on ultimate speed but on speed relative to power consumption. Top of the Green500 supercomputer list is the Grape-DR, a Japanese cluster at the University of Tokyo powered by a combination of 128 Intel Core i7-920 processors and four bespoke accelerator chips. That combination enables the system to manage 815.43 megaflops per watt, a good bit higher than the 773.38 rating an IBM-based machine in Germany managed. That’s quite a bit lower than the team hopes to achieve, indicating they can boost that rating by 50 percent by the end of the year. Hopefully by then they invest in some cable management. Two of our staff network engineers passed out after just glancing at the picture above. The third… well, he didn’t fare so well.

Tokyo University’s Grape-DR supercomputer is a tangled green powerhouse originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 13 Jul 2010 11:29:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Boeing Phantom Eye unmanned spy plane stays aloft four days, sort of bums us out

Sometimes, in the seat of our despair (which almost always corresponds with a viewing of The Real Housewives of New Jersey), we reflect on the sorry state of the world and note that the one thing we don’t have to doubt is that history is marching us towards a mechanized slaughter that will make World War I look like Burning Man (the rave, not the actual burning people). Sure, it never occurred to anyone to maybe figure out how to cap an undersea oil well, but at least we are making headway in our development of autonomous, long range aircraft (you know, for shooting people and eavesdropping and whatnot). Our latest example of a world gone mad comes courtesy of Boeing, and it’s called Phantom Eye. The unmanned aircraft system looks something like a bowling pin with wings and can spend up to four days at 65,000 feet. Also featured on the craft is a hydrogen propulsion system that promises great fuel economy, and whose only byproduct is water. At the unveiling ceremony in St. Louis, Boeing Phantom Works president Darryl Davis noted that the “capabilities inherent” in its design “will offer game-changing opportunities for our military, civil and commercial customers.” Awesome! Look for the device later this summer, when it begins a series of ground and taxi tests in preparation for its first flight early next year.

Continue reading Boeing Phantom Eye unmanned spy plane stays aloft four days, sort of bums us out

Boeing Phantom Eye unmanned spy plane stays aloft four days, sort of bums us out originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 13 Jul 2010 13:21:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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MIT’s piezoelectric fibers can act as speaker or microphone, don’t mind auto-tune

Piezoelectric materials work quite simply, in theory — motion in, electricity out, or vice versa — and since that’s just how speakers and microphones transmit their sound, it’s not much of a stretch to imagine someone would figure out audio on a micron scale. That someone is MIT’s Yoel Fink, who’s reportedly engineered a marvelous process for producing fibers that can detect and emit sound. Following up their famous work on flexible cameras, Fink’s team discovered they could keep piezoelectric strands rigid enough to produce audible vibrations by inserting graphite, AKA pencil lead. Better yet, the lab process can apparently make the threads on a fairly large scale, “yielding tens of metres of piezoelectric fibre” at a single draw. The potential for fabric made from such fibers is fantastic, of course — especially combined with this particular scientist’s previous research into camera cloth.

MIT’s piezoelectric fibers can act as speaker or microphone, don’t mind auto-tune originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 13 Jul 2010 07:27:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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iPhone 4 plus Brailliant-32 display enables even blind men to experience the magic (video)

iPhone 4 plus Brailliant-32 display enable even blind men to experience the magic (video)

The evolution of phones away from physical buttons toward touchscreens is great if you’re into clean, aesthetic design. But, if you’re suffering from limited vision, there are some obvious issues. Thankfully the iPhone 4 at least has support for Braille displays like those Brailliant, as kindly demonstrated by acoustic guitar virtuoso and software guru Victor Tasaran. Using the six buttons on his Brailliant-32 he’s able to navigate across icons, then feel the text beneath each one — or wait for the hurried text-to-speech to read back to him. It’s an encouraging solution for smartphone accessibility, but does have a rather negative impact on portability — and, we’re sad to say, on cost as well. His 32-character unit will set you back just under k, which is many times the cost of the phone itself. But, at least when it’s used like in the video below, sitting on the table, he won’t have to worry about signal issues.

Continue reading iPhone 4 plus Brailliant-32 display enables even blind men to experience the magic (video)

iPhone 4 plus Brailliant-32 display enables even blind men to experience the magic (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 13 Jul 2010 09:28:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink textually.org  |  sourceVictorTsaran.net  | Email this | Comments


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South Korea enlists armed sentry robots to patrol DMZ

South Korea has been working on deploying armed sentry robots along the border with North Korea since at least as far back as 2006, and it looks like it’s still keeping at it. While complete details are a bit light, they country apparently put a pair of new sentry robots in place in the Demilitarized Zone last month, which pack both a machine gun and a grenade launcher to ward off intruders. Those would of course be controlled by humans, but the robots apparently use heat and motion sensors to do all the monitoring on their own, and simply alert a command center if they spots a trespasser. Of course, they are still just in the testing phase, and the military says it’s waiting to see how things work out before it begins a more widespread deployment.

South Korea enlists armed sentry robots to patrol DMZ originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 13 Jul 2010 14:49:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Sprint’s Hesse: there’s ‘logic’ to a T-Mobile merger — if they both move to LTE

Sprint’s riffed about the possibility of migrating to LTE in the past — as has its 4G partner, Clearwire — so it’s no big surprise to hear CEO Dan Hesse tell the Financial Times today that he’s still open to the idea down the road, possibly side-by-side with the company’s existing WiMAX deployment thanks to its deep spectrum holdings. What’s far more interesting, though, is his concession that there’s “logic” to exploring a merger with T-Mobile USA in the event that they both move to LTE for their next-gen networks. For its part, T-Mobile hasn’t announced its 4G plans yet, but it’s an open secret than Deutsche Telekom has explored the idea of selling off its US outpost in the past. Combined, it seems that Sprint and T-Mobile — neither of whom have the firepower to compete with giants AT&T or Verizon on every level — would create a strong third-place carrier capable of nipping at their heels. FT says that the idea of a Sprint deal was rejected back in 2008 on grounds that the two have incompatible networks, so who knows… if that restriction were removed, there might yet be love in the air.

Sprint’s Hesse: there’s ‘logic’ to a T-Mobile merger — if they both move to LTE originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 13 Jul 2010 10:46:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink GSMA Mobile Business Briefing  |  sourceFinancial Times  | Email this | Comments


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GPS parachutes delivering blood to front lines in the coming years

GPS-guided parachutes are nothing new — in fact, we’re guessing that a few are being dropped somewhere in this wide world right now — but a new deal between the Armed Services Blood Program and US Joint Forces Command will allow these devices to start saving even more lives in 2011. As the story goes, a cadre of air-dropped ‘chutes will be sent to the front lines of the battlefield in order to deliver vital blood to medics. For those unaware, blood loss is a major cause of death in war, and by skipping over the lengthy process that’s currently in place for delivery, the powers that be feel that more soldiers can be saved. Reportedly, the JPADS system “is a family of guided parachutes that can carry payloads ranging from about 150 to 60,000 pounds,” and at a predetermined altitude, a “parafoil deploys and a GPS-device steers supplies to an exact target.” The new system, however, will rely on ultralight versions of the aforesaid JPADS in order to sneak into locations that were previously thought impossible to penetrate. ‘Course, all of this will be a moot point once the robot armies rise to power and start pulverizing each other with scrap metal, but hey…

GPS parachutes delivering blood to front lines in the coming years originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 13 Jul 2010 16:08:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink DailyTech  |  sourceMilitary Blood, Marine Corps Times  | Email this | Comments


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Intel has its best quarter ever, brings in $2.9b profit

Sure, smartphone and tablets might be the Next Big Thing, but desktop computing ain’t dead yet — just ask Intel, which just reported its best-ever quarter with a .9b profit on .8b in revenue. That’s an increase of 5m in profit from last quarter and a whopping .3b from last year, all driven by record laptop and server chip revenue, as well as a 16 percent increase in Atom revenue. What’s more, the average sale price of all those chips went up, and selling more chips at a higher price is always good for business. Intel’s got a call to discuss these numbers in depth at 5:30PM ET, we’ll let you know if we hear anything good.

Intel has its best quarter ever, brings in .9b profit originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 13 Jul 2010 16:31:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Nexus One now a step closer to FM radio support, thanks to modified kernel

As you may or may not be already aware, the Nexus One and HTC Desire have the same Broadcom chip. Seems trivial at cursory glance until you realize the Desire has a FM radio app, which should ergo be just as feasible on the Google-branded device. Cut to xda-developers’ intersectRaven, who’s released a custom N1 kernel that theoretically brings life to the FM receptor. It’s available to download, but as for when you’ll get a chance to really use this yourself, that’s entirely up to the custom ROM developers updating their respective wares. For his part, Paul O’Brien said today he’s already got it working on an upcoming Froyo Sense build for the device — hang tight, folks, it’s coming.

[Thanks, John]

Nexus One now a step closer to FM radio support, thanks to modified kernel originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 13 Jul 2010 15:41:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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SlingPlayer Mobile for Android review

The World Cup may have just ended, but whether you’re into football or not, there must have been a point over the last five weeks where you or someone you know moaned about missing a live goal. This is where SlingBox comes in — in case you didn’t know already, it’s a little networked box that piggybacks on your set-top box’s AV and IR ports, thus stuffing your TV experience into your computer or cellphone via WiFi or even 3G. Windows Mobile, Palm OS, Symbian, BlackBerry and iOS have been mingling with the SlingPlayer Mobile app for some time now, and for the same .99 tag, Android users can now also join the party. But is the app worth the money? Does it get on with our green bot? Read on to find out.

Continue reading SlingPlayer Mobile for Android review

SlingPlayer Mobile for Android review originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 12 Jul 2010 16:28:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Swiftpoint’s tiny mouse finally up for pre-order, shipping in August

It’s been a long couple of years since we last heard from Swiftpoint, but the company is back with a (tiny) bang and introducing its eponymous ultraportable mouse. Touting a pen-like grip, tilt-scrolling, and a 30 to 40 percent better efficiency than your touchpad, this little thumb accessory wants to be seen as the solver of an eternal problem — namely, getting all the utility of a desktop rodent without having to deal with its full size. Whether it lives up to that lofty goal will require some fingers-on time to determine, but the Swiftpoint does a very credible job on the battery front: it can turn a 30-second charge into an hour’s use and can last 3 to 4 weeks on a fully juiced cell. It all sounds quite appealing, but be prepared for some sticker shock as the pre-order price is £67 in the UK or in the USA… and that’s with a 10 percent early bird discount included. We might just wait till these hit the sales before grabbing one.

[Thanks, Patrick]

Continue reading Swiftpoint’s tiny mouse finally up for pre-order, shipping in August

Swiftpoint’s tiny mouse finally up for pre-order, shipping in August originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 13 Jul 2010 06:44:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Gartner: Symbian is ‘re-arranging the deck chairs,’ losing buoyancy fast

We all know that Symbian is still holding the fort as the globe’s most widely used mobile OS, but anyone interested in criticizing it nowadays will have to get into a queue. Nick Jones from Gartner is latest to launch a broadside against the apparently complacent market leader, opining that its user experience has been surpassed by iOS and Android, and arguing that future iterations do not promise enough innovation to make the platform stand out. He underpins these observations with his firm’s latest estimates, which indicate Symbian’s decline in share is accelerating, before positing the idea that the Foundation sets aside some talent for skunkworks projects in order to give itself fallback options should Symbian^4 not be blindingly marvelous. Nick might be going a little overboard with the bleakness of his outlook, but there’s no questioning his “Android iceberg” analogy — if Symbian doesn’t find the right course soon, Google might well end up collecting a big chunk of its exasperated users.

Gartner: Symbian is ‘re-arranging the deck chairs,’ losing buoyancy fast originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 13 Jul 2010 04:07:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink Boy Genius Report  |  sourceGartner  | Email this | Comments


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Revenge of the quadrocopters: now they move in packs (video)

In case you didn’t find the original quadrocopter chilling enough, the GRASP Lab out of the University of Pennsylvania has gone and added a bit of cooperative logic to the recipe so that now multiple little drones can work together. Also upgraded with a “claw-like” gripper that allows it to pick up and transport objects, the newer quadrocopter can team up on its prey payload with its buddies, all while maintaining its exquisite balance and agility. Skip past the break to see it on video.

Continue reading Revenge of the quadrocopters: now they move in packs (video)

Revenge of the quadrocopters: now they move in packs (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 13 Jul 2010 05:02:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Hackers start hacking the Pandigital Novel e-reader

The Pandigital Novel e-reader may have had its share of problems since its launch just a month ago, but it’s starting to look like a slightly more attractive option for those willing to hack the device. As detailed by Nate of The Digital Reader blog, the procedure for installing a new home screen and additional apps is fairly straight forward, and doesn’t involve actually rooting the device (although others are working on doing that as well). Of course, it’s not quite a seamless experience as an Android tablet (there’s apparently some stability issues), but it doesn’t look too shabby for a 9 device. Head on past the break for a video of the hack, and hit up the link below for the necessary details to do it yourself.

Continue reading Hackers start hacking the Pandigital Novel e-reader

Hackers start hacking the Pandigital Novel e-reader originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 13 Jul 2010 05:59:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Microsoft’s Windows Phone Developer Tools package goes to beta

Early versions of the tools Windows Phone 7 developers will use to craft their wares have been floating around since Microsoft’s MIX event in March, but it looks like things have finally gotten robust and feature-complete enough this week to bless the kit with a beta label. In fact, Microsoft is coming out and saying that this release “represents the near final version,” which we take to mean you can develop with some confidence that your world won’t be turned upside down when the time comes to prep your apps for shipping devices and firmwares. The actual API has been tweaked and Expression Blend is now fully integrated with the tools, though there are apparently still a few controls that aren’t ready for primetime and will be added over the coming weeks. Oh, and if no emulator is enough to satisfy your intense cravings, you might be excited to learn that more developer devices are slated to ship next week — so keep an eye on your mailbox and your porch if you signed up to get one.

Microsoft’s Windows Phone Developer Tools package goes to beta originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 12 Jul 2010 15:57:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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