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IBM announces densest, most powerful microchip in market

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San Francisco, Tech giant IBM has announced it has developed a new microchip for computers that is about four times more powerful that those currently in the market.

The firm said in a communiqué on Thursday that it was able to manufacture chips with components just seven nanometers wide — 1,000 times smaller than a red blood cell, Efe news agency reported.

The smallest components in computer chips to date are 14 nm in size, although the industry has already begun the transition to producing 10-nm chips.

Each new generation of chips is defined by the smaller size of its basic components.

IBM IBM-company-e1415979321352has manufactured the first prototypes of the chips in a laboratory and is currently exploring ways to produce them in its factories.

The firm said the new advances will enable it to produce chips containing 20 billion transistors, or switches, compared to the 1.9 billion on the Intel’s most advanced 14-nm chips.

The firm is making a big push to reduce the size of transistors and other microscopic components on its fingernail-sized chips, following a trend of increasing computer power — known as Moore’s Law.

The law — or, better said, observation — bears the name of Gordon Moore, one of the pioneers in developing silicon chips and the co-founder of Intel, and holds that, over the history of computing hardware, the number of transistors in a densely integrated circuit has doubled approximately every two years.

The announcement made on Thursday by IBM means that the past exponential increase in computational power will continue apace for the next few years.

IBM said it was able to resolve development problems for the new chip by using silicon germanium — rather than just silicon — in key parts of the chip, something which makes it possible for even smaller elements in the chip to operate properly.

“For business and society to get the most out of tomorrow’s computers and devices, scaling to seven nm and beyond is essential,” said Arvind Krishna, senior vice-president and director of IBM Research.

IBM and its partners, including Samsung, are planning to invest some $3 billion in a New York state manufacturing plant to produce the tiny seven-nm chips, making them available for installation in computers and other tech devices by 2017.  (IANS)

 

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Blind Facebook employee is developing tech for sightless

At Facebook, he works on features to help people with disabilities use the platform.

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  • A blind Facebook employee is developing AI to make social network for sightless fun
  • He is developing AI which will verbalise images and videos
  • This technology will enable alt-text for images and videos

A blind Facebook employee is developing a technology that will use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to verbalise the content of an image or video and enable the visually impaired to “see” and determine appropriate content for people and advertisers.

Facebook engineer Matt King is leading a project that is making solutions for visually impaired people on the platform that could eventually be used to identify images and videos that violate Facebook’s terms of use or that advertisers want to avoid.

Also Read : Facebook might bring Stories on desktop 

This feature will verbalise images and videos for the visually impaired. Image Source: Reuters
This feature will verbalise images and videos for the visually impaired. Image Source: Reuters

“More than two billion photos are shared across Facebook every single day. That’s a situation where a machine-based solution adds a lot more value than a human-based solution ever could,” CNBC quoted King as saying late on Saturday.

King, who was born with a degenerative eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa, lost his vision by the time he got his degree and started working at IBM with the tech giant’s accessibility projects.

He worked on a screen reader to help visually impaired people “see” what is on their screens either through audio cues or a braille device. IBM eventually developed the first screen reader for a graphical interface.

He worked with the accessibility team till Facebook hired him from IBM in 2015.

The man behind this development is Matt King.
The man behind this development is Matt King.

At Facebook, he works on features to help people with disabilities use the platform, like adding captions to videos or coming up with ways to navigate the site using only audio cues.

“Anybody who has any kind of disability can benefit from Facebook. They can develop beneficial connections and understand their disability doesn’t have to define them, to limit them,” King said.

Also Read : Facebook Profit Escalates with No Major Impact from Russia and it’s Advertisements

One of his main projects is “automated alt-text,” which describes audibly what is in Facebook images.

When automated alt-text was launched in April 2016, it was only available in five languages on the iOS app. Today it is available in over 29 languages on Facebook on the web, iOS and Android.

Facebook is available in more than 29 languages across the world. Pixabay
Facebook is available in more than 29 languages across the world. Pixabay

“The things people post most frequently kind of has a limited vocabulary associated with it,” the Facebook engineer said.

“It makes it possible for us to have one of those situations where if you can tackle 20 per cent of the solution, it tackles 80 per cent of the problem. It’s getting that last 20 per cent which is a lot of work, but we’re getting there,” he said.

In December 2017, Facebook pushed an automatic alt-text update that used facial recognition to help visually impaired people find out who is in photos. IANS

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