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Vendor News

AMD's Touch of Zen

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AMD's Touch of Zen

AMD hosts a special "Path to Zen" event in San Francisco to provide further details on the upcoming Zen processor lineup-- one the company says should launch in desktop form early next year.

The result of 4 years of work, Zen processors are designed to provide high performance in systems as varied as fanless 2-in-1s, embedded systems, high-performance computing and datacentres. CEO Dr. Lisa Su says "the performance and efficiency of our Zen core showcases AMD at its best," and the CPUs are able to deliver "a 40% generational improvement in instructions per clock."

The chips are built using a 14nm FinFET process and feature Simultaneous Multithreading (SMT), the AMD take on Intel's HyperThreading allowing Zen cores to run multiple threads simultaneously. Further improvements come in an instruction scheduler featuring an 8MB L3 cache together with a larger L2 cache to push 5x the bandwidth to the core than the previous Excavator design.

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Intel Buys More AI With Nervana

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Intel Buys More AI With Nervana

Intel looks to bolster its artificial intelligence chops as it acquires deep learning startup Nervana Systems for an undisclosed sum, one Recode claims reaches around $408 million.

According to Chipzilla AI is the next frontier in computing, and machine learning is a must in a world where billions of devices are busy connecting and sharing data with each other. Thus the need for companies like Nervana, whose technology promises to bring machine learning down to Intel's bread and butter, the silicon.

Google already takes such an approach to AI-- last May it revealed the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), a chip specifically designed to handle the TensorFlow open source deep learning framework behind the company's deep learning services, including the AlphaGo human-beating Go playing computer.

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HPE Buys SGI

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HPE Buys SGI

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) acquires SGI (aka Silicon Graphics), the formerly influential enterprise hardware pioneer turned niche high performance computing player, for $275 million in cash and debt.

"At HPE, we are focused on empowering data-driven organizations," HPE says. "SGI's innovative technologies and services, including its best-in-class big data analytics and high-performance computing solutions, complement HPE's proven datacentre solutions designed to create business insight and accelerate time to value for customers."

Founded in 1981 by Netscape co-founder Jim Clark as a maker of desktop workstations, SGI has been going through a long decline as it failed to beat the likes of Nvidia and Intel. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009 before being bought by Rackable Systems on the same year. SGI used to be own the site that now houses the Googleplex in Mountain View, California, before moving to Milpitas, California.

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Apple Buys More Machine Learning With Turi

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Apple Buys More Machine Learning With Turi

Apple sets to push further into machine learning and artifical intelligence as it acquires Turi, a company self-described as a “machine learning platform for developers and data scientists.”

News of the acquisition first emerged from the rumour mill, before Apply dryly confirmed the deal with the usual "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans” statement. As such no financial details are available, even if GeekWire claims Turi cost over $200 million.

Formerly known as Dato (and before that GraphLab), Turi develops tools for developers wanting to build apps with machine learning and AI capabilities, such as recommendation engines, fraud detection, customer churn prediction, sentiment analysis and customer segmentation. It also runs the Data Science Summit, a 2-day conference with a focus on (shockingly enough) data science.

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Intel Wants Out of the PC Business

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Intel Wants Out of the PC Business

Intel appears to want out of the industry that made its fortune-- the company's latest 10-Q filing shows PCs no longer have a place in the Intel vision chart, being thrown under the "Things & Devices" umbrella.

Such a move might not come as so much of a surprise, seeing how the PC industry is currently all about woes related to sales declines. And since it failed to capitalise on the success of mobile devices (another product category currently going through less than stellar fortunes, mind), Chipzilla appears to be shifting attentions wholly towards datacentres and the myriad things making the Internet of Things.

"As more 'things and devices' become smart and connected to the cloud, there is greater demand for data centers to not only connect these devices, but also to capture and analyze the data they create," the filing reads.

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Facebook Shares Open 3D-360 Video Capture System

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 Facebook Shares Open 3D-360 Video Capture System

Facebook designed and built a durable, high-quality 3D-360 video capture system—and they are sharing it.

Why? Facebook wants to create a pro end-to-end system to capture, edit, and render high-quality 3D-360 video. They expect this contributes to the emerging 3D-360 camera landscape by enabling more VR content producers and artists to produce 3D-360 video.

The open-source system includes a design for camera hardware and the accompanying stitching code-- and both are available on GitHub this summer. Developers can leverage the Facebook designs Read more...

Cloud Drives Wall Street-Beating Microsoft Results

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Cloud Drives Wall Street-Beating Microsoft Results

Microsoft concludes fiscal 2016 on a positive note, with GAAP net profit for the quarter ending 30 June reaching $3.1 billion, an improvement from the $3.2bn loss seen on the same period last year.

Revenues for the quarter total $20.6bn, a -7% Y-o-Y drop. For the full year, GAAP revenues are down by -9% to $85.3bn, while net profit is up by 38% to $16.8bn. Driving such results is the Azure cloud business, not to mention a lack of the $8.4bn Nokia writedown and restructuring.

"This past year was pivotal in both our own transformation and in partnering with our customers who are navigating their own digital transformations," CEO Satya Nadella says. "The Microsoft Cloud is seeing significant customer momentum and we are well positioned to reach new opportunities in the year ahead."

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