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Presenting NextPowerUp

Presenting NextPowerUp, our sister tech-publication in the works, designed with a bigger canvas. TechPowerUp established itself as one of the top PC hardware publications thanks to our pursuit for quality reviews and relentless news delivery. We decided it was time to put these core ideals to use, in addressing the much larger consumer electronics and gadgets markets, without disturbing TechPowerUp's focus on PC enthusiast content, one of its hallmarks.

NextPowerUp is designed to keep you up to speed on the latest in over 20 markets (and growing), each with its own content channel, and editors hand-picked for them. These include Audio (personal, home, professional, concert), Business, Cinema (filming, production, exhibition), Desktops (pre-built desktop PCs), Displays (signage, projectors), Gadgets, Gaming (games, game development, gaming industry, consoles), Internet (the business of WWW), Networking (social networking), Notebooks (notebooks, Ultrabooks, netbooks), Phones (of all shapes and sizes), Photo & Video (cameras of all shapes and sizes), Politics (industry soap-opera), Robots (outside assembly lines), Science (popular science, space exploration), Software, Storage, Tablets, Televisions (TVs and technologies built around them), Transportation (wheels that don't run on fossil fuels), and Wireless (Cellular carriers, commercial WiFi).

Intel Xeon Processors and Xeon Phi Powers World's Most Efficient HPC Data Center

Signaling its commitment to energy-efficient high- performance computing, Intel Corporation today announced that it will work with HP to help design and provide the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) with a supercomputing system that will drive research across a number of energy-related initiatives, including renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies. The new High Performance Computer (HPC) data center promises to become one of the world's most efficient installations.

The system is scheduled to deliver full compute capacity in the summer of 2013 and will feature approximately 3,200 Intel Xeon processors including current-generation Intel Xeon processor E5-2670, future 22nm Ivy Bridge based processors and approximately 600 new Intel Xeon Phi co-processors. The total peak performance of the system is expected to exceed 1 Petaflop (equivalent to a thousand trillion floating point operations per second) and it will be the largest supercomputer dedicated solely to renewable energy and energy efficiency research. Leading energy-efficient capabilities of Intel Xeon processors and Intel Xeon Phi co-processors combined with the new HP warm water cooling solution and innovative data center design will result in this facility likely being the world's most efficient data center with a power usage effectiveness (PUE) rating of 1.06 or better.

OCZ Develops SSDs for Scientific Computing Servers at John Hopkins University

OCZ Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCZ), a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, is pleased to announce the Deneva 2 Series SSDs will be used as the storage device of choice in a pending 'Data-Scope' research project at The Johns Hopkins University (JHU) to create servers for scientific data processing. This initiative to maximize data processing power is spearheaded by Dr. Alexander Szalay, Alumni Centennial Professor in the university's Department of Physics and Astronomy and Director of the JHU Institute for Data Intensive Engineering and Science.

With the goal of creating an affordable, powerful computational environment that can be used as a blueprint for future science applications, the JHU project comprises a system of nearly one hundred servers using hundreds of OCZ Deneva 2 SSDs combined with regular hard disk drives with two tiers for storage and computing. These powerful yet inexpensive systems also serve to expose students and researchers to leading-edge technology at an early stage.

University of Utah Students Unveil A New Direction for Game Controllers

University of Utah engineers designed a new kind of video game controller that not only vibrates like existing devices, but pulls and stretches the thumb tips in different directions to simulate the tug of a fishing line, the recoil of a gun or the feeling of ocean waves.

“I’m hoping we can get this into production when the next game consoles come out in a couple of years,” says William Provancher, an associate professor of mechanical engineering who is in Vancouver, British Columbia, demonstrating the new game controller with his students March 5-7.

Engineers Boost Computer Processor Performance By Over 20 Percent

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new technique that allows graphics processing units (GPUs) and central processing units (CPUs) on a single chip to collaborate – boosting processor performance by an average of more than 20 percent.

“Chip manufacturers are now creating processors that have a ‘fused architecture,’ meaning that they include CPUs and GPUs on a single chip,” says Dr. Huiyang Zhou, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering who co-authored a paper on the research. “This approach decreases manufacturing costs and makes computers more energy efficient. However, the CPU cores and GPU cores still work almost exclusively on separate functions. They rarely collaborate to execute any given program, so they aren’t as efficient as they could be. That’s the issue we’re trying to resolve.”

Cool Electronics, Greatly Improved Thermal Management Thanks To New Form Of Graphene

A new form of graphene created by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin could prevent laptops and other electronics from overheating, ultimately, overcoming one of the largest hurdles to building smaller and more powerful electronic devices.

The research team, which includes colleagues at The University of Texas at Dallas, the University of California-Riverside and Xiamen University in China, published its findings online today in the Advance Online Publication of Nature Materials. The study will also appear in the print journal of Nature Materials.

NVIDIA, Cray, PGI, CAPS Unveil 'OpenACC' Programming Standard for Parallel Computing

In an effort to make it easier for programmers to take advantage of parallel computing, NVIDIA, Cray Inc., the Portland Group (PGI), and CAPS enterprise announced today a new parallel-programming standard, known as OpenACC.

Initially developed by PGI, Cray, and NVIDIA, with support from CAPS, OpenACC is a new open parallel programming standard designed to enable the millions of scientific and technical programmers to easily take advantage of the transformative power of heterogeneous CPU/GPU computing systems.

OpenACC allows parallel programmers to provide simple hints, known as "directives," to the compiler, identifying which areas of code to accelerate, without requiring programmers to modify or adapt the underlying code itself. By exposing parallelism to the compiler, directives allow the compiler to do the detailed work of mapping the computation onto the accelerator.

Intel Reveals Details of Next-Generation High-Performance Computing Platforms

At SC11, Intel Corporation revealed details about the company’s next-generation Intel Xeon processor-based and Intel Many Integrated Core (Intel MIC)-based platforms designed for high-performance computing (HPC). The company also outlined new investments in research and development that will lead the industry to Exascale performance by 2018.

During his briefing at the conference, Rajeeb Hazra, general manager of Technical Computing, Intel Datacenter and Connected Systems Group, said that the Intel Xeon processor E5 family is the world’s first server processor to support full integration of the PCI Express 3.0 specification**. PCIe 3.0 is estimated** to double the interconnect bandwidth over the PCIe* 2.0 specification** while enabling lower power and higher density server implementations. New fabric controllers taking advantage of the PCI Express 3.0 specification will allow more efficient scaling of performance and data transfer with the growing number of nodes in HPC supercomputers.

R&D: Memristors And Bendy Memory

Memristors are a fourth class of electric circuit, first hypothesized way back in the 1970's, which are a new addition to the transistors, capacitors, resistors etc that go into making a silicon chip. HP has put a great deal of resources into developing this technology and is expected to release memory-like memristor products in 2013, so it's not far off from commercial deployment. Now however, the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have found a way to use memristors to make what they describe as a "fully functional" flexible resistive random access memory (RRAM). This memory is built on a plastic substrate and can be randomly accessed, written to and erased. However, as this substrate is flexible, it can be bent and rolled up easily, opening up possibilities for use that haven't even been thought of yet.

Ditch The Restrictive DRM: Happy Customers Equals More Profit

Rice University and Duke University are the latest in a long line of educational institutions to fund research on the effect of using restrictive Digital Rights Management (DRM) to try and control levels of so-called "piracy", which is allegedly reducing sales of content-only, infinite goods/virtual products, such as music, movies, computer games and books. (Some observers writing about DRM replace the word "Rights", giving us the phrase Digital Restrictions Management, which seems a more accurate description of what it's really about and removes the veneer of legitimacy from it. When buying DRM'd content, you are buying digital handcuffs, nothing more, nothing less.) The universities sponsored a study called Music Downloads and the Flip Side of Digital Rights Management Protection and what it found is that contrary to popular belief amongst the big content companies, removing DRM can actually decrease levels of piracy and increase sales. The fact is that DRM is always broken by hackers and pretty quickly too, often within a day or two (there isn't a single one still standing) leaving legal users who work within its confinements with all the restrictive hassles that it imposes, while the pirates get an unencumbered product to do with as they please. How is this progress?

Re-engineered Battery Material Could Lead to Rapid Recharging of Many Devices

MIT engineers have created a kind of beltway that allows for the rapid transit of electrical energy through a well-known battery material, an advance that could usher in smaller, lighter batteries -- for cell phones and other devices -- that could recharge in seconds rather than hours. The work could also allow for the quick recharging of batteries in electric cars, although that particular application would be limited by the amount of power available to a homeowner through the electric grid.
The work, led by Gerbrand Ceder, the Richard P. Simmons Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, is reported in the March 12 issue of Nature. Because the material involved is not new -- the researchers have simply changed the way they make it -- Ceder believes the work could make it into the marketplace within two to three years.

New Method of Nanoscale Elements Could Transform Data Storage Industry

An innovative and easily implemented technique in which nanoscale elements precisely assemble themselves over large surfaces could soon open doors to dramatic improvements in the data storage capacity of electronic media, according to scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass Amherst).
"I expect that the new method we developed will transform the microelectronic and storage industries, and open up vistas for entirely new applications," said co-lead investigator Thomas Russell, director of the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center at UMass Amherst, visiting Miller Professor at UC Berkeley's Department of Chemistry, and one of the world's leading experts on the behavior of polymers. "This work could possibly be translated into the production of more energy-efficient photovoltaic cells, for instance."

Doctor Analyzes Cyber Sex and its Effect on the Technology Industry

While some would dismiss "cyber sex", or two people pleasuring themselves/each other utilizing technology, as a childish game reserved for hackers and 14-year-old girls from California, a doctor from the University of Portsmouth says that there is much more to cyber sex than just that. A lot more people are having cyber sex than we would like to think, and have a detrimental effect on technology. Dr Trudy Barber decided to investigate what this effect is and how deep it runs. She completed her thesis on "Creative Digital Practice and Theory Mash-up", and will present it on Friday. Until then, The Inquirer was able to interview Dr.Barber on the effect of cyber sex on the world. Much like in real life, the desire for sexual gratification has led to some interesting innovations. AOL Instant Messenger, Webcams, and various services would likely not have seen the success that they have had if not for a lot of people seeking digital sexual gratification. Dr.Barber also asserts that the digital universe allows cyber sex partners to assume roles that they have always wanted to. Please follow the source link for The Inquirer's interview with Dr.Barber.Source: The Inquirer

Microsoft Patents Using Electroencephalograph Signals for Activity Recognition

Microsoft says that it is hard to properly evaluate the way people interact with computers since questioning them at the time is distracting and asking questions later may not produce reliable answers. "Human beings are often poor reporters of their own actions," the company says. Instead, Microsoft wants to read the data straight from the user's brain as he or she works away. They plan to do this using electroencephalograms (EEGs) to record electrical signals within the brain. The trouble is that EEG data is filled with artifacts caused, for example, by blinking or involuntary actions, and this is hard to tease apart from the cognitive data that Microsoft would like to study. So the company has come up with a method for filtering EEG data in such a way that it separates useful cognitive information from the not-so-useful non-cognitive stuff. The company hopes that the data will better enable to them to design user interfaces that people find easy to use. Whether users will want Microsoft reading their brain waves is another matter altogether.

Source: New Scientist

Electromagnetic Wormholes May Make 3D TVs Possible

A professor of mathematics at the University of Rochester named Allan Greenleaf has solved a mathematical problem which could bring electromagnetic wormholes (EMW) into existence. These EMWs would create a full invisibility cloak in a tube which surrounds whatever they were employed to hide. Such devices could eventually be employed to make true 3D TV possible, and without special glasses. Researchers themselves admit this is a long way off from practical application. However, scientists are now theorizing about such things and believe that they are ultimately possible.

Google Sponsors $30 Million USD Moon Landing Challenge

A few years ago, the $20 million USD X Prize kick-started a race into space. And now, the X Prize is going one step and $10 million USD further. The first private organization to land on the moon, travel 500 meters on the moon, take one gigabyte worth of video/pictures, and stream it back to Earth will win $30 million USD. Anyone can win, assuming that they are not working for any particular government. However, be advised, the cost of building such a craft and launching it is quite possibly much more than $30 million USD.

Anyone interested in visiting the techPowerUp! Forums user DaMulta at the moon base should enter the new space race here.Source: DailyTech

RFID Tags Cause Cancer in Lab Rats; Use in Pets and Humans Questioned

RFID tags recently have been finding all sorts of interesting uses. An RFID tag inside a pet can be used by animal shelters to figure out who exactly the animal belongs to, leading to a fast, happy reunion. With the recent FDA approval of RFID tagging of humans, businesses are considering using them as an easy way to keep track of employees. However, an independent firm questioned the FDA, and ran some controlled tests of their own. Their results are extremely surprising: test animals with the RFID tags came down with cancer more often than those that did not have the RFID tags. Some RFID manufacturers might acknowledge these results, and try to make a safer RFID tag. However, this may not be possible, as "it is common for inflamed tissue surrounding a foreign object in the body to develop cancerous cells".Source: Neoseeker

Scientists Find New Way to Immerse Gamers: Electric Shocks

Game developers know that it's pretty hard to get gamers into the game sometimes. While some developers create intense graphics, and others create a brilliant/original storyline, scientists are working on an out-of-the-box approach to immersion. In a controlled experiment, scientists made gamers play Pac-Man...with a twist. Whenever a ghost kills Pac-Man, the gamer gets an electric shock in the real world. The results were astounding and unexpected. Whenever a ghost approached Pac-Man, the gamer got scared. As the ghost got closer, gamers brains stopped thinking logically, and started acting on instincts. While this experience does get the gamer into the game, chances are electrodes will not become the next vibrating controller.Source: BBC via The Inq

Universities in Germany put 500GB in one DVD, claim 1TB is possible

The University of Berlin, partnered with the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, as well as Universita Politecnica delle Marche in Italy, have found a way to squish 500GB of data into one HD DVD.

Under normal methods of storage, a Blu-Ray disk holds 25GB of data. An HD-DVD holds 15GB, and a dual layer HD-DVD holds 30GB. However, the universities have managed to modify where the recording laser puts the data. By "using nanostructures inside the disk rather than on the surface as in conventional optical storage systems", the Microholas project has found a way to put 500GB onto one HD DVD. The universities look forward to pushing this project to it's full potential, which could mean a Terabyte of data on a single HD-DVD disk.Source: Reg Hardware

MIT Scientists Invent Wireless Electricity

Completely changing the way we use electricity, a group from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has successfully beamed electricity from a magnetic coil to a 60 watt light bulb 7 feet away. The phenomenon called electromagnetic induction is already used in transformers and electric motors but they must be close enough for power to pass from one another. Dr Soljacic, the lead researcher on the project, discovered that a transmitter could be used to fill a room with a 'non-radiative' electromagnetic field rather than the traditional transmitter/receiver method powering electric devices wirelessly. For a diagram of how WiTricity works follow the link.Source: Daily Mail

BlueGene Simulates half a mouse brain

IBM’s supercomputer Blue Gene/L has been used to run a ‘cortical simulator’ as complex as half of a mouse brain. The researchers say that their work has shown characteristics of thought patterns observed in real mouse brains, and are now working on improving the simulation to allow it to run faster in order to make it more neurobiologically faithful. Blue Gene/L is one of four Blue Gene projects in development and is the fastest computer in the world with a theoretical peak of 360 TFLOPS. Using 4,096 processors, each with 256MB of memory, the team managed to create a virtual mouse brain that had 8,000 neurons with up to 6,300 synapses each. Real mouse brains will have about 16,000 neurons which can have up to 8,000 synapses (connections with other nerve fibres) each.Source: BBC News

IBM Working on CPU Stacking

IBM Moves Moore's Law into the Third-Dimension

Armonk, NY - 12 Apr 2007: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced a breakthrough chip-stacking technology in a manufacturing environment that paves the way for three-dimensional chips that will extend Moore’s Law beyond its expected limits. The technology – called “through-silicon vias” -- allows different chip components to be packaged much closer together for faster, smaller, and lower-power systems.

The IBM breakthrough enables the move from horizontal 2-D chip layouts to 3-D chip stacking, which takes chips and memory devices that traditionally sit side by side on a silicon wafer and stacks them together on top of one another. The result is a compact sandwich of components that dramatically reduces the size of the overall chip package and boosts the speed at which data flows among the functions on the chip.

Australian study concludes that Microsoft PowerPoint is a 'disaster'

Australian professors at the University of NSW have done some significant PowerPoint research. If you ever get bored watching a PowerPoint presentation while someone is talking, then you're not alone, and there's a scientific reason behind this. Scientists have discovered that people learn best when given media on paper or verbal media. A combination of the two tends to cause a brain overload, mixes the two forms of information, and can hurt a lot more than it can help. This is due to the fact that the brain can only handle two or three tasks at once, and otherwise will start to budget time away from some tasks to help others Professor Sweller says that "It is effective to speak to a diagram, because it presents information in a different form. But it is not effective to speak the same words that are written, because it is putting too much load on the mind and decreases your ability to understand what is being presented."

Laser TV Set to Compete Against Plasma and LCD

A new technology called Laser TV could soon be in stores competing against plasma and LCD televisions if California based company Novalux has its way with things. The new laser TVs is designed to be used for either front/rear projection and because it can be used in current rear-projection cabinets it should be cheaper to produce. Not only will it cost less than LCD and plasma, it also boasts double the colour range and uses three-quarters less power, which should attract those who are after the best image quality available. However, the downside of laser technology remains in the design of rear-projection TVs: because of the way they work, they have a much deeper profile than LCD or Plasma TVs, so they are not ideal for hanging on walls. Sony’s prototype laser TV (shown below on the left) is estimated to have a depth of between 8” and 10”, whilst even large LCD displays are under 5”. Novalux already has four designs ready and is in discussions with numerous OEMs, with the company hoping to see the technology go on sale in 2008.

Source: DailyTech

Website readers have longer attention spans

Or so a study of 600 Americans claims. When given a newspaper article, the average American will read 75% of it if it is on a website. This isn't too bad, especially when compared to the 62% of an article in the average reliable newspaper (like The Boston Globe) the average American will read. The same American will read about 57% of an article published in a tabloid-style newspaper, such as The Weekly World News. These numbers are surprising, especially considering how much effort people will put into putting a news story in print. However, if you consider how much longer the average newspaper article is, maybe newspaper-readers do have longer attention spans after all.Source: The Inquirer
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