Wednesday February 19, 2020
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To Diversify The Industry, Apple Pledges To Train More Women

Industry critics have accused the technology companies of discriminating again women.

Apple, Tim Cook, Campus,China
A guest looks at the Touch Bar on a MacBook computer shown in a demo room following the announcement of new products at Apple headquarters, in Cupertino, California. VOA

Apple is launching a new program designed to address the technology industry’s scarcity of women in executive and computer programming jobs.

Under the initiative announced Monday, female entrepreneurs and programmers will attend two-week tutorial sessions at the company’s Cupertino, California, headquarters.

The camps will be held every three months beginning in January. For each round, Apple will accept up to 20 app makers founded or led by a woman. The app maker must have at least one female programmer in its ranks to qualify. Apple will cover travel expenses for up to three workers from each accepted company.

Apple, women
The Apple logo is shown outside the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, California. VOA

Like other major tech companies, Apple has been trying to lessen its dependence on men in high-paying programming jobs. Women filled just 23 percent of Apple’s technology jobs in 2017, according to the company’s latest breakdown. That’s only a slight improvement from 20 percent in 2014, despite the company’s pledge to diversify its workforce.

The idea behind the new camp is to keep women interested and immersed in the field, said Esther Hare, Apple’s senior director of world developer marketing.

It’s not clear how much of a dent Apple’s new program will have. Google also offers training for girls and women pursuing careers in technology, but its program hasn’t done much to diversify the workforce so far. Women were hired for nearly 25 percent of Google’s technology jobs in 2017, up from nearly 21 percent in 2014, according to the company.

Apple, women
Apple CEO Tim Cook discusses the new Apple iPhones and other products at the Steve Jobs Theater during an event to announce new products in Cupertino, California. VOA

Apple and other technology companies maintain that one of the main reasons so many men are on their payrolls is because women traditionally haven’t specialized in the mathematical and science curriculum needed to program.

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But industry critics have accused the technology companies of discriminating again women through a male-dominated hierarchy that has ruled the industry for decades.

Apple isn’t saying how much it is spending on the initiative, though beyond travel expenses, the company will be relying on its current employees to lead the sessions. (VOA)

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Intel Showcases 1st Cryogenic Quantum Control Chip Called “Horse Ridge”

Intel labs unveils the details of its 1st cryogenic quantum computing chip

Intel has unveiled details about its first cryogenic quantum control chip called "Horse Ridge." Pixabay

Intel Labs, in collaboration with QuTech which is an advanced research centre for quantum computing and quantum internet, has unveiled details about its first cryogenic quantum control chip called “Horse Ridge.”

The “Horse Ridge” chip addresses fundamental challenges in building a quantum system powerful enough to demonstrate quantum practicality: scalability, flexibility and fidelity, Intel said in a statement on Wednesday.

Today, quantum researchers work with just a small number of qubits, using smaller, custom-designed systems surrounded by complex control and interconnect mechanisms.

The “Horse Ridge” chip by intel addresses fundamental challenges in building a quantum system. (Representational Image). Pixabay

“Intel’s Horse Ridge greatly minimizes this complexity. By systematically working to scale to thousands of qubits required for quantum practicality, we’re continuing to make steady progress toward making commercially viable quantum computing a reality in our future,” said Jim Clarke, director of quantum hardware, Intel Labs.

The details were outlined in a research paper released at the “2020 International Solid-State Circuits Conference” (ISSCC) here.

The current bits in computers store information as either 1 or 0, thus limiting the potential to make sense when faced with gigantic volumes of data.

The computers of the future will not use classical bits but “qubits” which are not limited to binary and can have properties of 0 and 1 simultaneously, thus trying every possible number and sequence simultaneously to unlock vast amounts of data.

A quantum computer can solve complex problems that would otherwise take billions of years for today’s computers to solve. This has massive implications for research in health care, energy, environmental systems, smart materials and more.

Intel’s “Horse Ridge’ greatly simplifies today’s complex control electronics required to operate such a quantum system by using a highly integrated system-on-chip (SoC) for faster setup time, improved qubit performance and efficient scaling to larger qubit counts required for quantum computing to solve practical, real-world applications.

In developing ‘Horse Ridge’, Intel has optimized the multiplexing technology that enables the system to scale and reduce errors. (Representational Image). Pixabay

The integrated SoC design integrates four radio frequency (RF) channels into a single device.

Each channel is able to control up to 32 qubits leveraging “frequency multiplexing”.

Leveraging these four channels, Horse Ridge can potentially control up to 128 qubits with a single device, substantially reducing the number of cables and rack instrumentations previously required.

Increases in qubit count trigger other issues like decline in qubit fidelity and performance.

In developing ‘Horse Ridge’, Intel has optimized the multiplexing technology that enables the system to scale and reduce errors.

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Horse Ridge can cover a wide frequency range, enabling control of both superconducting qubits (known as transmons) and spin qubits, said the company.

QuTech is a partnership between TU Delft and TNO (Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research). (IANS)