Google Inc announced on Thursday a half-dozen apps specially designed to work on its Glass devices. News network CNN, fashion magazine Elle, as well as online apps Tumblr and Evernote were among the half-dozen new apps for Glass unveiled during Google’s annual developer conference in San Francisco.
Google Glass is a stamp-sized electronic screen mounted on the left side of a pair of eyeglass frames which can record video, access email and messages and retrieve information from the Web.
Google began distributing the devices last month to a limited number of developers, but it has yet to specify when a version will be available for consumers or at what price.
The futuristic-looking devices have been a common sight at the Google conference this week, with many of the attendees and staffers wearing Glass. But Google executives gave Glass short shrift during the more than three-hour keynote talks on Wednesday, barely mentioning Glass among the litany of new products and services discussed on stage.
ARM’s notable success in smartphones and tablets can obscure the fact that most of the chips using its designs are microcontrollers for using the input of sensors. The firm has announced collaboration with Logmein to push its Mbed project with developers that sign up to the Xively Cloud service.
ARM’s Mbed project aims to bring a standard workflow to hardware design in order to help more firms to make better use of the microcontroller technology that already exists. Simon Ford, director of Online Tools at ARM told The INQUIRER that the MBed project is intended to help hardware designers turn microcontrollers into final products.
Logmein and ARM worked on the Xively cloud based rapid prototyping service to offer hardware developers a way to speed up and lower the cost of the development lifecycle. Those developers who sign up for the service will also get a Xively Jumpstart Kit that includes an ARM Mbed prototype module to get started.
Ford said, “You’re trying to build a product, the intelligence you want embedded is critical but it isn’t the only problem you have. If you are trying to make a product, you have a whole raft a problems. [...] We are expanding the Mbed project to look at how do you have an industrial grade platform that is open, free to use and that removes barriers for someone that has this idea to proving a concept all the way to production.”
While ARM and Logmein promote the service as a way to build the much hyped internet of things, it can be used to develop any hardware that makes use of ARM’s extensive range of microcontrollers. With Logmein’s Xively cloud service, the firms are hoping to enable developers to cut the costs associated with hardware design, enabling smaller firms to get into the market.
Games publisher EA believes things will turn around for the company next year. This year has been pretty unpleasant for the company after its trusted DRM sunk its flagship SimCity release.
But Electronic Arts seems to think that is all behind it and has forecast fiscal 2014 earnings above Wall Street’s expectations. EA has been cutting staff and reorganizing studios in recent months to embrace new game platforms. It is preparing a new batch of games including the latest installment of its “Battlefield” shooter game franchise.
Digital revenue, from mobile games, online offerings and other newer sales channels, rose 45 percent year-over-year to $618 million, larger than EA’s packaged goods business in the fourth quarter ended on March 31. It thinks that consumers have held back from buying hardware and software as they await new versions of Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox expected later this year.
The video game maker forecast revenue of $4 billion, in line with Wall Street’s expectations. Weakness in the packaged games market dented revenue, but EA recognized $120 million of deferred payments from its “Battlefield Premium” service in the fourth quarter.
For the latest quarter, total revenue declined to $1.2 billion from $1.37 billion a year ago. Adjusted revenue rose 6.4 percent to $1.04 billion over the same period, barely beating analysts’ average estimate of $1.03 billion.
Net income fell to $323 million from $400 million last year.
The stock’s plunge was the second-worst decline in 18 months, and follows what had been a 67 percent rise over the last year.
“The core issue with this company is can they make content profitable?” said Ben Schachter, an analyst with Macquarie Research. “What you see every quarter is the only thing making money is the membership group. They are clearly going in the right direction, but we want to see more progress.”
For the past several years, AOL has been trying to transform itself into a media destination with a stable of sites like the Huffington Post and Patch. It’s a change from the days when it was best known as an Internet access business with free-trial CDs that clogged mailboxes.
AOL Chief Executive Tim Armstrong has invested heavily in content, including plowing well over $100 million into Patch, a group of hyperlocal websites that covers neighborhood news and events.
Even with all of that spending, the legacy subscription service is still the most profitable part of the company. The membership group, which includes subscriptions, posted operating profit of $146.4 million in the quarter.
AOL’s media sites turned in an operating loss of almost $5 million. Those sites, which include Patch, Huffington Post, Engadget and TechCrunch, lost almost $17 million in the year-ago period.
“Patch is still a money losing proposition,” said Ron Josey, an analyst with JMP Securities, who estimated Patch lost $100 million last year.
Armstrong reiterated on a call with analysts he expects Patch to be profitable in the fourth quarter.
“If they can get to break-even by fourth quarter, I think that is a win,” said Josey.
The Internet company has acquired both the talent and the technology in the deal, a spokeswoman said in an email on Wednesday. Yahoo however declined to comment on the future product roadmap or integration.
“The team will focus on some exciting products and experiences that are core to Yahoo! mobile, and they have a lot in store,” the spokeswoman added.
The Astrid to-do list and task management app, which syncs across Android, iOS and the Web, also allows family and friends to collaborate on projects, dividing up tasks and sending reminders.
“We’re excited to welcome Astrid to Yahoo!’s mobile team. Their background in personalized mobile experiences is impressive, and we know they will be a huge asset to as we continue to re-imagine our products,” the Yahoo spokeswoman said.
For the more than 4 million users who downloaded the app, Astrid will continue to work as it is for the next 90 days, but the developer will no longer be accepting new premium subscriptions, Astrid cofounder Jon Paris and his team said in a blog post.
Yahoo will be administering refunds to eligible users including those who have paid for annual subscriptions, power-packs of add on widgets and locale plugins which provide reminders depending on user location.
The Internet giant has recently made some other acquisitions in mobile including the purchase of Summly, the company in London behind a news summarization app, and a location discovery service called Alike. CEO Marissa Mayer has in remarks indicated the importance of mobile for Yahoo’s growth. The company last month released two new mobile apps for weather and email.
An extreme pair of super-dense stars orbiting each other has put Einstein’s general theory of relativity to its toughest test yet, and the crazy-haired physicist still comes out on top.
About 7,000 light-years from Earth, an exceptionally massive neutron star that spins around 25 times a second is orbited by a compact, white dwarf star. The gravity of this system is so intense that it offers an unprecedented testing ground for theories of gravity.
Scientists know general relativity, proposed by Albert Einstein in 1915, isn’t the complete story. While it does very well describing large, massive systems, it’s incompatible with quantum mechanics, which governs the physics of the very small. For something extremely small, yet extremely massive — such as a black hole — the two theories contradict each other, and scientists are left without a physical description. [6 Weird Facts About Gravity]
Rare systems like this binary star pair offer a chance to probe the boundary between the two theories, and search for possible openings toward new physics that could reconcile them.
“We thought this system might be extreme enough to show a breakdown in general relativity, but instead, Einstein’s predictions held up quite well,” Paulo Freire, an astronomer at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Germany, said in a statement.
The white dwarf in the pair represents the remains of an aging star that lost its atmosphere and is gradually cooling down. Its companion, the neutron star, is much more massive and is so dense that the protons and electrons in its atoms have collapsed to form neutrons. Created in a supernova explosion that marked the death of a star, the neutron star contains twice the mass of the sun packed into an area just 12 miles (19 kilometers) wide. On the surface of this star, gravity is 300 billion times stronger than on Earth.
The neutron star is what’s called a pulsar, because it gives off a beam of light that appears to pulse on and off as it rotates past Earth.
“I was observing the system with ESO’s [the European Southern Observatory's] Very Large Telescope, looking for changes in the light emitted from the white dwarf caused by its motion around the pulsar,” said John Antoniadis, a Ph.D. student at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy and lead author of a paper reporting the find, published in the April 26 issue of the journal Science. “A quick, on-the-spot analysis made me realize that the pulsar was quite a heavyweight. It is twice the mass of the sun, making it the most massive neutron star that we know of and also an excellent laboratory for fundamental physics.”
The gravitational field created by the pulsar is so strong that the scientists suspected they might notice deviations from the predictions of general relativity in the motions of the white dwarf around it. General relativity posits that massive objects warp the space and time around them, causing other objects, and even light, to travel along curved paths when they pass nearby.
General relativity also predicts that a close binary system such as this one will radiate gravitational energy in the form of ripples in space-time called gravitational waves. This loss of energy would cause the orbital period of the system to change slightly over time. Alternative theories of gravity offer slightly different predictions for the white dwarf’s motions.
“Our radio observations were so precise that we have already been able to measure a change in the orbital period of 8 millionths of a second per year — exactly what Einstein’s theory predicts,” said Paulo Freire, another team member at the Max Planck Institute.
Though the results don’t help physicists solve the fundamental gravity quandary, they do confirm that current efforts to detect gravitational waves, based on Einstein’s predictions, are on the right track. Several Earth-based tests are underway to look for perturbations in space-time distances caused by passing gravitational waves.
“Our results indicate that the filtering techniques planned for these advanced instruments remain valid,” said Ryan Lynch, a physicist at McGill University in Montreal.
The pulsar system was first discovered using the National Science Foundation’s Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia, and follow-up observations were made at the Apache Point telescope in New Mexico, the Very Large Telescope in Chile, the William Herschel Telescope in Spain, the Arecibo telescope in Puerto Rico and the Effelsberg telescope in Germany.
ARM posted market-beating first-quarter financial results, thanks to strong demand for its chip designs. The company forecast that annual revenue would be in-line with market expectations.
ARM’s first quarter revenue rose 28 per cent to $170.3 million from $132.5 million a year earlier. Analysts had expected a 20 per cent rise in revenue to $158.8 million. The company made an adjusted pretax profit rose 44 per cent to $89.4 million from $61.9 million a year earlier. Analysts were expecting a 25 per cent jump to $77.6 million.
Chief Executive Warren East said the company has “delivered another quarter of strong revenue and earnings growth, driven by robust licensing and record royalty revenue.” ARMs royalty revenues again outpaced the wider semiconductor industry, riven by market share gains in key end markets including digital TVs and microcontrollers, he said. ARM also continues to benefit from the growth in smartphones and tablets.
This year ARM said it had made an encouraging start with more leading companies choosing to sign up to ARM technology. More than 22 processor licenses were signed in the first quarter ended March 31 from smartphones, mobile computing, digital television and other technology.
In the quarter there were more than 2.6 billion ARM-based chips were shipped, up 35 per cent from a year earlier.
The existence of the distant exoplanets, called Kepler-62e and Kepler-62f, was unveiled during a NASA press conference on April 18th. The two worlds are perhaps the most promising life-hosting candidates yet found beyond our solar system, their discoverers said. Computer models suggest both planets are covered by uninterrupted oceans, which could theoretically support a wealth of aquatic lifeforms.
“Look at our own ocean — it is just absolutely full of life,” said Bill Borucki of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., leader of the team that discovered the two exoplanets. “We think, in fact, life [on Earth] might have begun there.” [Habitable Super-Earths Ideal for Life (Gallery)]
Borucki is science principal investigator of NASA’s Kepler space telescope, which spotted Kepler-62e and f. The two alien worlds are 1.6 and 1.4 times bigger than Earth, respectively, and orbit in their star’s habitable zone — the just-right range of distances that can support liquid water on a planet’s surface.
The five-planet Kepler-62 system lies 1,200 light-years away, making it much too distant for current instruments to study in detail. So any talk of potential life on Kepler-62e and f, if it exists at all, is just speculation for now, Borucki stressed.
But such speculation is hard to resist. For example, Borucki raised the possibility that the newfound “super-Earths” — worlds just slightly bigger than our own planet — could host winged organisms, even if both planets are indeed water worlds.
“At least in our ocean, we have flying fish. They ‘fly’ to get away from predators,” Borucki said.
“So we might find that they have evolved — birds — on this ocean planet,” he added, referring to Kepler-62e.
Water worlds are unlikely to host technologically advanced civilizations like our own, Borucki and other researchers said, because any lifeforms that take root there would not have easy access to electricity or fire for metallurgy.
But if Kepler-62e or f has some dry land, Borucki said, the story could be different. The relatively high gravity of both exoplanets, however, might make the evolution of large bipedal organisms such as humans unlikely.
“We might not have gotten off four legs” if our ancestors had evolved on Kepler-62e or f, Borucki said. Still, the gravity isn’t too oppressive; we’d be able to walk around on Kepler-62f’s surface if transported there today, he added.
We’d have to take some special life-support gear if we made that 1,200-light-year journey. While Kepler-62e is likely hot and muggy all the way up to the polar regions, Kepler-62f orbits a bit farther away from the host star and is probably cooler.
In fact, a thick atmosphere with lots of heat-trapping carbon dioxide may be required to keep Kepler-62f’s surface water liquid. Such an atmosphere would be tough for humans to handle.
“If you want to write a science-fiction story, and you land on both [planets], at least be sure that on f you don’t want to take your mask thingy off,” said modeling-study lead author Lisa Kaltenegger, of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
Kepler-62e and f are part of a trove of seven newfound planets announced today. Kepler spotted three other planets in the Kepler-62 system as well, all of them too hot to support life. The other two worlds are in the Kepler-69 system, which lies about 2,700 light-years from Earth.
The newly discovered Kepler-69c, which is 1.7 times larger than Earth, may also be capable of supporting life, researchers said.
Two years in the making, the DLPA will make available to the public 2.4 million records at its launch, including electronic images, video and audio from America’s libraries, archives and museums. It also makes many scientific records available.
“You will find gems that include daguerreotypes of … former [President] Abraham Lincoln, images of women marching for the vote in Kentucky, news film clips of the Freedom Riders during the Civil Rights movement, The Book of Hours, an illuminated manuscript from 1514, Notes on the State of Virginia, written by Thomas Jefferson, and paintings by Winslow Homer,” Emily Gore, DPLA Director for Content said in a statement.
The portal contains materials found in American archives, libraries, museums and cultural heritage institutions. The portal provides various ways to search and scan through its collection of distributed resources. Special features include a dynamic map, a timeline that allow users to visually browse by year or decade, and an app library that provides access to applications and tools created by external developers using DPLA’s open data.
“The wonder and joy of entering an expansive library for the first time is truly a special feeling. We are delighted to be able to share this unified, open collection with Americans and the world, and can’t wait to see what people discover, and what new applications and knowledge will be created,” Dan Cohen, executive director of the DPLA, said in a statement.
The effort to build the digital library was led by the Library of Congress, the Hathi Trust Digital Library and the The Internet Archive, which provided books, images, historic records, and audiovisual materials.
While many universities, public libraries, and other public and private organizations have digitized materials, they are often digital collections that exist in silos.
In December 2010, the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, along with the the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, hosted a conference of leading experts in libraries, technology, law and education to begin work on the digital library project.
In October 2011, the Berkman Center hosted hundreds of public and research librarians, technical innovators, digital humanists, and other volunteers who formed six work teams to map out the scope, design, and construct the DPLA.
The DPLA portal is powered by a rich repository of information, known as the DPLA platform, and uses an open API that can be used by software developers, researchers and others to create novel environments for learning, tools for discovery and engaging apps.
Yahoo wants to speed up its development of mobile products geared toward delivery of personalized content, CEO Marissa Mayer said, as the company works to stay relevant in a world where smartphones and tablets are becoming dominant.
How Yahoo will accomplish that goal is not immediately clear — it has yet to announce any specific mobile apps or services it has in the pipeline — but it was an objective oft-repeated during the company’s first-quarter earnings call.
But if the “how” is not clear, the “why” is more evident. Mobile is top of mind for all Internet firms, Google and Facebook included, and mobile will be crucial to Yahoo’s efforts to increase user engagement and expand advertising revenue.
By 2015, Yahoo expects more people to be accessing the Internet on mobile devices than on PCs. “This is a tremendous opportunity for us, and we’re working hard to take advantage of it,” Mayer said.
Yahoo’s earnings for the quarter were US$390 million, up 36 percent from last year, but revenue was down. Continuous improvements to Yahoo’s products “will set up the company for long-term growth,” the company said earlier Tuesday.
Yahoo is already making some progress in mobile. In the first three months of 2013, the number of monthly, mobile active users on Yahoo surpassed 300 million for the first time, Mayer said. That’s up from 200 million reported in its last earnings call in January.
The number of daily active users on Yahoo-branded apps like Mail and Flickr also increased by more than 50 percent during the quarter, the company said. On Flickr, mobile photo uploads increased by more than 50 percent quarter over quarter.
“Our early results in mobile are promising,” Mayer said, “and there is a lot more in store for mobile in the coming months.”
Yahoo continues to face pressure to demonstrate its value to users, as more people flock to social networks like Twitter and Facebook and to an array of social apps on smartphones. Yahoo currently does not have any social network or mobile phone of its own.
In the U.S., 27% of users’ time online is spent on forums and social networks, like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, Experian said.
Experian included both desktop and mobile users in its study.
It found that the U.S. is a bit more fixated with social networks than Internet users in the United Kingdom, who spend 13 minutes of each hour on social nets, and Australians, who spend 14 minutes per hour.
U.S. social networking numbers have held fairly steady over the last few years. Experian reported that social media took up 30% of Americans’ time in 2011 and 27% last year.
Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group, said he’s not surprised that people are spending so much time on Facebook, Google+ and Tumblr, despite the fact that there’s a treasure trove of information elsewhere online.
“Social networking is essentially flat year-to-year, which I think could be a signal that the social networking wave has crested and that the high growth days are gone, at least in the U.S.,” said Olds. “However, social networking is by far the biggest single task occupying people’s online time, which shows that social nets have become an integral part of people’s lives.”
Over the last several years, sites like Facebook and Twitter have gone from being largely used by people who want to post drunken party pictures or cute stories about their cats to sites where users debate politics, support each other during natural disasters and even gather support for political upheaval.
That kind of involvement has lifted the genre head and shoulders above other online activities.
Experian reported that 9 minutes out of the average hour online is spent on entertainment sites; 5 minutes go to online shopping; and about 3 minutes each go to business sites, email and news sites.
The report also noted that about 3 minutes out of an hour are spent on adult entertainment sites.
The Experian study is based on a survey of more than 50,000 mobile users and 10 million Internet users in the U.S. Everyone surveyed was 18 or older.
As anyone who has accidentally walked into a room full of children can tell you, they’re good at asking the kinds of questions that just keep drilling down. “Why is the sky blue? So why does blue light get scattered more? Then why is the sky red at sunset? Where are you going?”
And although I don’t recommend it, if you were to sit one of these little buggers down with a quarterly earnings reports from EA or Activision, they might soon start asking “Why are violent video games so much more popular than other games?” It’s a tricky question to answer without falling down the why hole. Because shooting stuff is fun. Why is it fun? Because people like military themes where they can be the hero. Okay, but why is that? Because players like feeling ridiculously powerful and enormous guns let them do that. But why is that appealing? Why, why, why?
Well, some psychologists are trying to tease apart the reasons why violence sells without throwing their hands up and shouting “Just because! And I’m not even your real dad!” Researchers Scott Rigby and Richard Ryan describe how they think that the design of violent games – especially shooters – naturally does a pretty good job of satisfying some very basic psychological needs. But not in the way you may be thinking.
In their book, Glued to Games: How Video Games Draw Us In and Hold Us Spellbound, Rigby and Ryan describe “self-determination theory,” a fairly well established framework that aims to describe why people pursue certain voluntary activities. In part, self-determination theory says that people are motivated to engage in activities to the extent that they satisfy three psychological needs:
- 1. Competence – progressing in skill and power.
- 2. Autonomy – being able to choose from multiple, meaningful options.
- 3. Relatedness – feeling important to others.
What does this have to do with violent shooters? Rigby, Ryan, and their colleagues argue that many of the design principles of good shooters also happen to follow well worn paths to satisfying these three psychological needs. Let’s take a closer look.
Competence is communicated by immediate and unambiguous positive feedback in response to your actions – you see opponents stagger, see blood fly off them, and ultimately see them collapse. The beloved headshot is particularly effective in this regard. Scott Rigby notes, “I’ll often put up a slide with a great screenshot of a headshot, and it always elicits smiles. The smiles here aren’t because everyone is sadistic – they are because this is a moment of mastery satisfaction that all gamers can relate to. The blood may not be the value component, but really is just a traditional way dense informational feedback on mastery is provided.” Information about competence in shooters is also thrown at you in the form of scoreboards, rankings, weapon unlocks, and eventually the outcome of every (relatively short) match.
Autonomy, the second motivator in self-determination theory, is also well served by the design of most popular shooters. Having the option to choose many different paths through a level satisfies autonomy, as does choosing between different classes, different loadouts, or different tactics. In a lot of games you can even choose between different modes, modifiers, or maps, allowing you to satisfy the need to play a game how you please. And if that’s not enough, custom character or weapon skins or models also fit in here.
Finally, relatedness is most obviously important in multiplayer games where you can feel like part of a successful (or, perhaps more likely of pickup games, incompetent) team bound together by opposition to a common foe. To the extent that shooters communicate your contributions in the forms of scores, points, server-wide notifications, or MVP awards, relatedness will be satisfied – to say nothing of what you can get out of text and voice chat. But even most modern shooters have single player campaigns that somewhat mimic this and put you in the role of someone important to those around you.
Of course, none of these motivators is unique to shooters. They show up in good game design across all genres and themes. But violent shooters usually hit on all three, and Rigby and Ryan believe that’s there’s a big overlap between what makes an effective shooter and what satisfies multiple facets of all three of these psychological needs. So while RPGs might nail autonomy, platformers may demand competence, and MMOs may allow the most relatedness, violent shooters fire on all three cylinders.
“[Violent games] are fun not because of the blood and gore,” write Rigby and Ryan, “but because games of war and combat offer so many opportunities to feel autonomy, competence, and the relatedness of camaraderie rolled up into an epic heroic experience.” But, that all said, do shooters satisfy all these motivators so well because they’re violent?
It’s an important question, and Ryan, Rigby, and their colleague Andrew Przybylski published a 2009 study in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin that addresses it. Part of their research involved a clever experiment where they modified Half-Life 2 to create a high-violence version of the game’s multiplayer and a low-violence version. The high violence version is pretty much what you’d expect. The low violence one, though, was created by changing the bullet-spewing guns into “tag” tools that players would use to zap opponents. Once tagged, foes would freeze and float up into the air for a second before being harmlessly teleported to a “penalty box” where they would wait to respawn into the game. So the main difference – arguably the only difference – between the two groups was how much violence there was in the game. Everything else was the same: the level layouts, the controls, and all the other stuff that satisfied competence and autonomy (unfortunately they didn’t examine relatedness). Only the violence was teased out of the equation
What did they find? Well, a lot of things. But one interesting finding was that the games in either condition were found enjoyable and both games satisfied the basic psychological needs of competence and autonomy. Even whether or not a person was naturally aggressive and normally enjoyed violent games didn’t matter once you accounted for competence and autonomy.
To me, this is vastly interesting and argues for alternatives to the go-to trope of violence and gore if you’re looking to draw people to games. It’s not the bloodshed as much as it is feeling like you’re able to make what you want happen on-screen. It’s not fetishising guns and explosions as much as it is the ability to use tactics and choose among meaningful options on the road to victory. It’s not the military themes as much as it is feeling like you’re an important part of a team.
Sure, war and military heroism are themes and experiences worthy of exploration, but there are other options that can be just as effective. Gamers may be happy to just keep buying the same game over and over again without understanding a thing about self determination theory, and publishers may only want to greenlight games that look like smash hits from the past without caring about mechanisms for satisfying psychological needs, but developers who think about these things and play around with them can definitely do something both great and different.
ARM announced the availability of POP IP for its upcoming ARMv8 based Cortex A53 and Cortex A58 chips using TSMC’s 28nm process node.
ARM’s POP IP products are designed to help smaller ARM vendors design and manufacture chips based on its various architectures using specific process nodes that ARM and the foundry, in this case TSMC, has worked on developing. ARM announced POP IP products for its upcoming 64bit ARMv8 architecture using TSMC’s 28nm high performance mobile process node and put the firm’s upcoming 16nm FinFET process node on its POP IP roadmap.
ARM stressed the ability for its Cortex A53 and Cortex A58 chips to be used independently or in its Big Little architecture. The firm said its POP IP products will enable dual-core and quad-core implementations of both chips.
John Heinlein, VP of marketing for the Physical IP Division at ARM said, “ARM is currently enabling its lead partners on Cortex A57 and Cortex A53 processor implementations with POP IP and physical IP platforms, and we are committed to support our partners on the leading process nodes.
“Only ARM can offer a complete roadmap of POP IP core-hardening acceleration solutions so deeply integrated and tightly aligned with ARM processor development activities now and into the future.”
ARM said its 16nm POP IP products for both Cortex A53 and Cortex A58 chips will be released in the fourth quarter of 2013, which gives an indication of when TSMC will have its next generation process node ready. TSMC’s various 28nm process nodes have been very popular and capacity for its 16nm FinFET process node is likely to prove equally popular with high-profile chip vendors like AMD, Nvidia and Qualcomm.
A potential energy source for life appears to be common on Jupiter’s icy moon Europa, a new study suggests.
An analysis of infrared observations of Europa revealed that hydrogen peroxide is abundant on the ice-covered Jovian moon. If the hydrogen peroxide finds a way beneath Europa’s surface and mixes with the moon’s liquid water ocean, it could be a vital energy source for any life that might exist there, scientists said.
“Life as we know it needs liquid water, elements like carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur, and it needs some form of chemical or light energy to get the business of life done,” study leader Kevin Hand, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said in a statement. “Europa has the liquid water and elements, and we think that compounds like peroxide might be an important part of the energy requirement. The availability of oxidants like peroxide on Earth was a critical part of the rise of complex, multicellular life.”
Planetary scientist Mike Brown of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena co-authored the new study, which analyzied near-infrared observations of Europa collected in September 2011 by the Keck II telescope atop the Mauna Kea volcano in Hawaii. [See photos of Jupiter's icy moon Europa]
The study found that the highest concentration of hydrogen peroxide occurs on the leading side of Europa as it orbits Jupiter. The ice in those regions is almost pure water, and not contaminated by sulfur like other parts of Europa, NASA officials said.
Hydrogen peroxide is created on Europa due to the intense radiation bombardment of the moon’s surface as it moves through Jupiter’s powerful magnetic field. At its most concentrated, the chemical was found with a peroxide abundance of about 0.12 percent compared to water. That’s about 20 times more diluted than the bottles of hydrogen peroxide for sale in drug stores on Earth, NASA officials said.
Hydrogen peroxide was first discovered on Europa by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft, which studied Jupiter and its moons from 1995 to 2003. But Galileo’s observations studied only a limited path of Europa. The new analysis covers a much broader region of Europa’s surface.
“The Galileo measurements gave us tantalizing hints of what might be happening all over the surface of Europa, and we’ve now been able to quantify that with our Keck telescope observations,” Brown said. “What we still don’t know is how the surface and the ocean mix, which would provide a mechanism for any life to use the peroxide.”
But the fact that so much peroxide exists on Europa is a boon for the potential habitability of the icy moon’s water ocean. When mixed with water, peroxide releases oxygen.
“At Europa, abundant compounds like peroxide could help to satisfy the chemical energy requirement needed for life within the ocean, if the peroxide is mixed into the ocean,” Hand said.
The research is detailed in a recent edition of the Astrophysical Journal Letters and was partially funded by NASA’s Astrobiology Institute through its Icy Worlds team.
The X-Gene server on a chip, is being billed as the first 64-bit-capable ARM-based server in existence. According to the company it is the first chip to contain a software-defined network (SDN) controller on the die that will offer network services such as load balancing and ensuring service-level agreements on the chip.
Paramesh Gopi, president and CEO of Applied Micro, said that these new chips have now made it past the prototype stage and are being used by Dell and Red Hat. Gopi expects physical servers containing the X-Gene to hit the market by the end of this year.
The chip is manufactured at 40 nanometers and has eight 2.4 GHz ARM cores, four smaller ARM Cortex A5 cores running the SDN controller software, four 10-gigabit ethernet ports, and various ports that can support more Ethernet, SSDs, accelerator cards such as those from Fusion-io or SATA drives.
The cost of ownership, which includes power requirements are about half of that of a comparable x86 product, but wouldn’t discuss actual power consumption, the company claims.