News Posts matching #COVID-19

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Intel Commits $50 Million with Pandemic Response Technology Initiative to Combat Coronavirus

Today, Intel is pledging an additional $50 million in a pandemic response technology initiative to combat the coronavirus through accelerating access to technology at the point of patient care, speeding scientific research and ensuring access to online learning for students. Included in Intel's effort is an additional innovation fund for requests where access to Intel expertise and resources can have immediate impact. This is in addition to prior announcements of $10 million in donations that are supporting local communities during this critical time.

The world faces an enormous challenge in fighting COVID-19. Intel is committed to accelerating access to technology that can combat the current pandemic and enable new technology and scientific discovery that better prepares society for future crises. We hope that by sharing our expertise, resources and technology, we can help to accelerate work that saves lives and expands access to critical services around the world during this challenging time," said Bob Swan, Intel chief executive officer.

AMD & NVIDIA Join the HPC COVID-19 Consortium

AMD and NVIDIA are the latest computing giants to join the HPC COVID-19 Consortium, they join the likes of Google, Amazon, Microsoft along with the US Federal Government and Academic Institutions in support of COVID-19 research. This announcement brings the combined power of the cluster to 402 petaflops which trails behind the community driven Folding@Home project which holds the record at 1,500 petaflops but is still more powerful than any one supercomputer.

Researchers can apply to the HPC COVID-19 Consortium for compute resources in the fight against COVID-19.
cluster

Intel Planning 14nm "Ozark Lake" 16-core Processor for Spring 2021

TechPowerUp has learned that Intel is planning to bring 16 cores onto the mainstream desktop platform by Spring 2021 by implementing a similar chip-design philosophy as AMD: MCMs. The new "Ozark Lake" processor will pack up to 16 cores and 32 threads by decoupling the "core" and "uncore" components of a typical Intel mainstream processor.

Intel will leverage the additional fiberglass substrate floor-space yielded from the new LGA1700 package to create a multi-chip module that has two [kinds of] dies, the "core complex" and the "uncore complex." The core complex is a 14 nm die purely composed of CPU cores and an EMIB interconnect. There will be as many as 16 "Skylake" cores in a conventional ringbus layout, and conventional cache hierarchy (256 KB L2$ and up to 2 MB/core L3$). The lack of uncore components and exclusive clock and voltage domains will allow the CPU cores to attain Thermal Velocity Boost Pro speeds of up to 6.00 GHz, if not more.

Steam Sees Record-High Number of Online Players

Steam, an online platform for gaming, has seen some incredible numbers in terms of usage last night. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and the fact that many people are in quarantine/self-isolation mode, the number of concurrent users of the platform has skyrocketed. Beating all the previous records of 18 million and 20 million concurrent users, Steam saw as much as 23 million concurrent users last night. Precisely 23,572,311 of users online, setting a new record-high number. The most played games were Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. For more statistics, please see here.
Steam

Microsoft Azure Traffic Surges 775% Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

Microsoft Azure, a cloud computing service, has seen a huge uplift in traffic/usage in the past few days amid the COVID-19 outbreak. In the places where the outbreak happened and people are enforcing social distancing, Microsoft reports that there has been a 775% traffic uplift compared to the previous situation. As everyone capable of working from home needs a communication tool, Microsoft Teams is a popular choice, and it has seen some amazing usage as well. The users of Teams service have generated over 900 million meetings and calling minutes on Teams daily in a single week, resulting in high server usage. The demand for Windows Virtual Desktops has tripled as well.

U.S. Government Tightens Screws on Huawei's Global Chip Supply from TSMC

The U.S. government announced advanced measures that make it harder for foreign companies, such as Taiwan's TSMC, to supply chips to Chinese telecom hardware giant Huawei. Foreign companies that use American chipmaking equipment, are required to obtain a license from the U.S. before supplying certain chips to Huawei. Sources comment that the new rule was tailor-made to curb TSMC fabricating smartphone SoCs for Huawei's HiSilicon subsidiary.

Mainland Chinese semiconductor companies are still behind Samsung and TSMC in 7 nm-class fab technologies, forcing HiSilicon to source from the latter. 7 nm fabrication is a key requirement for SoCs and modem chips capable of 5G. The high data transceiving rates of 5G requires a certain amount of compute power that can fit into smartphone-level power-envelopes only with the help of 7 nm, at least for premium smartphone form-factors. Same applies to 5G infrastructure equipment. This is hence perceived as a means for the U.S. to clamp brakes on Huawei's plans of playing a big role in 5G tech rollouts around the world, buying western 5G tech suppliers such as Nokia time to catch up. Huawei has been a flashpoint for a bitter political spat between the U.S. and China, with the Chinese press even threatening that the matter could hamper medical supplies to the U.S. to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

PowerColor Extends Warranty of Under-warranty Graphics Cards by 3 Months

With the global crisis of COVID-19, we understand that these are critical times for everyone. This has impacted all aspects of our lives, and we understand that during these times, priorities are placed on more health-concerned matters. Many in the process of RMAs may find difficulty in shipping out cards for repair or service at this time, so we will be adding a 3-month extension to customers with warranties expiring between March through June 2020. PowerColor remains committed to delivery great products and services to our customers, and want to assure that we will continue to do so during these trying times.

Microsoft Freezing Optional Windows Updates Amidst COVID19 Pandemic

Microsoft yesterday announced that they would be freezing any release for optional Windows 10 updates whilst the world still reels from the COVID-19 pandemic. This decision by the company comes after they decided to keep delivering security updates for the Fall Creator's update (version 1709 of the OS).

Both these decisions by Microsoft stem from the company trying to reduce the impact of Windows 10 updates on businesses - reducing update requirements to security updates means there is fewer chances of an optional update shipping that could negatively impact productivity - of which very little bit is required right now for some businesses to even keep afloat. When the crisis has passed, all updates will be resumed.

YouTube and Netflix Begin Rationing Their Bandwidth as Lockdowns Surge Online Traffic

Popular video streaming sites YouTube and Netflix have reportedly started rationing their bandwidth by limiting video quality, as online traffic to their services surge to record levels. With COVID-19 lockdowns forcing people to take to online entertainment, the sites are reporting an unprecedented strain on their finite Internet bandwidth. In Europe, the two sites have capped their video quality to 480p, or slightly worse than DVD quality.

Despite the mighty backing of AWS, the world's largest CDN, Amazon's Prime Video is also finding itself having to cap quality based on regional bandwidth constraints. Google is already engaging with governments and ISPs to minimize strain on available Internet bandwidth. Streaming video remains the number one bandwidth consumer. Governments would want to prioritize bandwidth for companies operating remote- or virtual desktops for their employees working from home. Perhaps there's no better time to upgrade online video codecs to newer bandwidth-efficient ones like AV1.

Computex 2020 Postponed due to COVID-19 Outbreak

For the second time in history, Computex, one of the flagship electronics shows in the industry, and our favorite event, has been postponed. Many years ago, it was delayed in 2003 due to the SARS outbreak, however, it happened again today. Following the outbreak of COVID-19. Instead of cancelling, the Computex organizer TAITRA has decided to postpone their 2020 event. Originally scheduled for June, Computex has been moved to September 28th, when the event will officially start. It will last only three days instead of the usual five, ending on the 30th.

This is especially relevant given that the event now shares the same three days with Innovex, the partnering startup-focused show that happens on the last 2-3 days of Computex each year, so the two shows have to share the spotlight on the same time. Making things tighter is confirmation from TAITRA that Computex, and Innovex, will both be sharing Hall 2 of the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center, as opposed to having both Hall 1 and 2 available for Computex. This shortened timeframe and smaller booth space is a heavy indication that the agency expects a smaller turnaround at this time, and indeed several companies are already expressing concerns about whether Computex 2020 should have just been cancelled altogether. Some companies have told us they still plan to have an online event in June given they have planned product lifecycles around it already, and the new event in September is just a hiccup they are not confident about handling. We hope to bring you the latest Computex news live from the trade show, once it happens, so stay tuned.
Computex 2020

Folding@Home Now More Powerful Than World's Seven Top Supercomputers Combined - Join TPU!

This one here is another shot in the arm when it comes to faith in humanity. Folding@Home, the distributed computing project where users can donate their spare CPU and GPU cycles for a given cause, has hit an absolute bonkers milestone. According to Greg Bowman, Director of Folding@home, the network has reached a peak compute power amounting to some 470 petaFLOPS - more than double that of the world's current supercomputing record holder, the Summit supercomputer, which dishes out 200 peak petaFLOPS. Folding@Home's 470 Petaflops means users donating their spare cycles are delivering more computing power than that which is available in the world's top 7 supercomputers combined.

After some slight service outages where users weren't getting any work units due to the increased number of donors over the last few days, the computing service now seems to be running at full steam ahead. Remember that you can select the causes for which you are donating your computing power: whether cancer, Alzheimer's, Huntington, or Parkinson's disease, as well as some other non-selectable projects.

TSMC N5P 5nm Node Offers 84-87% Transistor Density Gain Over Current 7nm Node

A WikiChip analysis of TSMC's next-generation 5 nanometer N5P silicon fabrication node estimates a massive 84-87% increase in transistor densities on offer compared to the company's first commercial 7 nm-class node, the N7 (7 nm DUV). The report estimates an 87% transistor-density increase, even though TSMC's own figure is slightly modest, at 84%. TSMC N5P node is expected to commence production later this year. Its precursor, TSMC N5, began risk production earlier this year, with production on the node commencing in April or May, unless derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The N5P node provides transistor densities of an estimated 171.3 million transistors per mm² die area, compared to 91.2 mTr/mm² of N7. Apple is expected to be the node's biggest customer in 2020, with the company building its A14-series SoC on it.

Internet Exchange Operator DE-CIX Sees COVID-19 Causing Customers to Order Higher Data Caps

DE-CIX, the operator of the world's largest Internet Exchange in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, is taking stock for the first time since the tightening of public measures in the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 virus. DE-CIX has noted a strong change in data traffic and also in Internet user behavior. The average data traffic at the world's largest Internet Exchange in Frankfurt has increased by 10% since last Wednesday. Compared to the previous few weeks, there has also been a significant increase in video conferencing traffic - such as Skype, Teams, and WebEx - of about 50%, and a rising number of VPN users has also been registered. In addition, since Friday last week there has also been an increase of about 25% in online and cloud gaming, and there has also been a significant increase in traffic from the use of social media platforms. Similar results are expected for the other DE-CIX locations.

"Capacities in our own network are regularly expanded on a long-term basis. We always plan for about twelve months in advance. We continue expanding as soon as 63% of the existing capacities are reached. The remaining 37% free capacity is needed to create redundancy and to ensure that we always have enough free capacity for traffic growth. In addition to our network for the Internet Exchange, customers also need to expand capacity in their own network. These expansions are carried out by the customers themselves, according to their own processes and procedures," comments Dr Thomas King, CTO at DE-CIX, on the increasing data traffic.
DE-CIX traffic growth due to COVID-19

CD Projekt Red Says No Change in "Cyberpunk 2077" Release, Employees to Work from Home

CD Projekt Red in a statement said that the extraordinary circumstances in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic will not affect the release date of "Cyberpunk 2077," arguably the most anticipated game of the year. The game is slated for 17 September, 2020 for Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Google Stadia. All CDPR employees have been ordered to work from home until further notice. Much of the content creation of "Cyberpunk 2077" is ready and the game is in post-production, game testing, and receiving pre-release varnish. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many large companies to deploy remote- or virtual desktops for their employees to fall in line with social distancing policies that aim to slow down the spread of the NoCV infection.
Cyberpunk 2077 Coronavirus Statement, not delayed

Steam Experiences Peak Usage over the Weekend, over 20 Million Gamers. Coronavirus Effect?

Steam experienced its highest ever service load over the weekend, with over 20.3 million users concurrently logged in. Of these over 6.4 million were actively playing a game. Its previous service load record was a little over 19 million users, hit just last month (February 2020). This is particularly interesting because the week of 9th March didn't particularly have any big game releases, and according a report by The Verge, most of the 6.4 million gaming were hooked to old favorites, such as CS:GO (>1.02 million), PUBG (>700k), and Dota 2 (>500k).

This record could be just as temporary, with big releases such as "Doom Eternal" lined up for the upcoming weekend. A spike in online gaming and other forms of on-demand entertainment shouldn't surprise anyone in the middle of a global pandemic. The COVID-19 outbreak has forced most governments quarantine large populations, forcing businesses to have their employees work from home. Steam remains the leading game digital distribution and DRM platform.

Apple Moves its WWDC Event Online Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

Apple today announced it will host its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Now in its 31st year, WWDC 2020 will take on an entirely new online format packed with content for consumers, press and developers alike. The online event will be an opportunity for millions of creative and innovative developers to get early access to the future of iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS, and engage with Apple engineers as they work to build app experiences that enrich the lives of Apple customers around the globe.

"We are delivering WWDC 2020 this June in an innovative way to millions of developers around the world, bringing the entire developer community together with a new experience," said Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. "The current health situation has required that we create a new WWDC 2020 format that delivers a full program with an online keynote and sessions, offering a great learning experience for our entire developer community, all around the world. We will be sharing all of the details in the weeks ahead."
apple wwdc

New U.S. Regulation Prevents Huawei Buying from TSMC, Could Backfire: Chinese Press

Huawei is planning a response to a recent administrative move by the U.S. Department of Commerce that makes it impossible for foreign companies such as Taiwan's TSMC to serve it. Huawei's mobile SoC design house subsidiary, HiSilicon, is highly dependant on TSMC to contract manufacture its SoCs on the company's 7 nm (N7), and various 10 nm-class FinFET nodes. Huawei is preparing to port some of its SoC designs to a 14 nm node of China's state-owned Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC) as contingency. Without access to 7 nm, Huawei's plans to lead the global 5G infrastructure market would hit severe roadblocks. The U.S. move has triggered a heated (and somewhat loaded) reprisal from Global Times, a newspaper that's regarded in diplomatic circles as a platform for hawkish unofficial messaging by the Chinese government.

China could blackmail the U.S. into lifting its trade ban and a more recent supplier-access denial to Huawei, with potential shortages of essential medical supplies, particularly face masks. An eminent Chinese industrial analyst, Ma Jihua, told Chinese newspaper Global Times: "The Huawei problem has been elevated to one of national interests and Chinese firms may stop supplying much-needed face masks if the U.S. provokes [a fight with Huawei]." In addition to Chinese suppliers, American firms such as 3M manufacture face masks in China, besides several other consumables needed to fight epidemics, such as gloves, hazmat suits, goggles, etc.
No huawei, no face masks: China to the US

NVIDIA Shift GTC to Online Event, Citing Coronavirus Concerns

NVIDIA today announced that their yearly GPU Technology Conference (GTC) will be held online, instead of locally at the San Jose Convention Center as previously planned. The company cites Covid-19 (colloquially called Coronavirus) concerns as the root cause - the health of both its professionals and attendees is paramount for the company, and as such, an online event seems more inline with the state of the world.

In the press note, NVIDIA also said that NVIDIA founder and CEO Jensen Huang will still deliver a keynote address, which will be available exclusively by livestream. All those who registered for a GTC pass will receive a full refund. This is yet another event that has been impacted by the recent virus outbreak that has the world's economies teetering, but for the more cynical among us, it could be the beginning of a new way of doing this sorts of events: online, rather than locally, thus reducing the required investment and logistics usually associated with such.

Game Developers Conference gets Postponed due to COVID-19 Concerns

Game Developers Conference is perhaps one of the biggest organizations in the gaming industry, covering everything from gaming hardware to games themselves. This year's GDC event was planned to happen on March 16th, however, due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 concerns, the GDC organization has decided to postpone the event. This doesn't mean that the conference will not happen at all. Instead, the GDC organizers plan to host the event sometime "later in the summer", when hopefully the COVID-19 concerns will settle. To add, Facebook also canceled its F8 Developer Conference, along with Open Compute Project (OCP) Global Summit which also got canceled due to virus outbreak fears.

Being that Computex is happening within three months, there are growing concerns that the event may not happen at all, however, we can hope that the situation will be resolved soon and that we can bring you live coverage of the event.

TrendForce: The Effect of the Covid-19 Corona Virus Measured on Tech Industry

The following analysis shows TrendForce's investigations of key component and other downstream technology industries, under the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, with the latest data as of February 14, 2020.

Semiconductors
Compared to the OSAT industry, the foundry industry has a much higher degree of fab automation and thus is less impacted by the outbreak. But because most workers at semiconductor manufacturing sites in China come from out of town, labor shortages and traffic restrictions will lower work resumption rates at foundries more than expected. In the short term, fab utilization rates may not make a full recovery. As a result, given that the outbreak has not yet been effectively contained, TrendForce is projecting a possible decline in shipment for the Chinese foundry industry in 1Q20, in turn affecting downstream Chinese OSAT companies. The industry's overall performance recovery remains to be seen.
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