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US Government Working with Intel and Cray to Develop Nation’s Fastest Computer by 2021

One of Aurora's primary functions would be simulating nuclear blasts, a pillar of weapons development since the ban of live detonation testings

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INTEL, US
FILE- This Jan. 1, 2018, file photo shows an Intel logo on the box containing an HP desktop computer on sale at a Costco in Pittsburgh. VOA

A U.S. government-led group is working with chipmaker Intel and Cray to develop and build the nation’s fastest computer by 2021 for conducting nuclear weapons and other research, officials said Monday.

The Department of Energy and the Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago said they were working on a supercomputer dubbed Aurora with Intel, the world’s biggest supplier of data center chips, and Cray, which specializes in the ultra-fast machines.

The $500 million contract for the project calls on the companies to deliver a computer with so-called exaflop performance — that is, being able to perform 1 quintillion (1,000,000,000,000,000,000) calculations per second.

If the project succeeds, Aurora would represent nearly an order of magnitude leap over existing machines that feature so-called petaflop performance, capable of doing 1 quadrillion (1,000,000,000,000,000) calculations a second.

It also heightens the stakes in a race in which the United States, China, the European Union and Japan have all announced plans to build exaflop-capable supercomputers.

One of Aurora’s primary functions would be simulating nuclear blasts, a pillar of weapons development since the ban of live detonation testings.

Aurora will be built with artificial intelligence capabilities for projects such as developing better battery materials and helping the Department of Veterans Affairs prevent suicides, Rick Stevens, an associate lab director with Argonne overseeing the exascale computing project, said during a news
briefing.

The project is a win for Intel, which will supply its Xeon CPU chips and Optane memory chips for Aurora.

intel, US
FILE – The Nvidia booth is shown at the E3 2017 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, June 13, 2017. VOA

Intel has been fending off rival U.S. chipmaker Nvidia Corp.’s rise in the chip content of supercomputers as the machines take on more artificial intelligence work. Nvidia’s chips are found in five of the world’s current top 10 supercomputers, though the Nvidia chips are found alongside chips from its rivals, according to TOP500, which ranks the machines.

The world’s current most powerful machine, the Summit supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, contains chips from International Business Machines Corp. and Nvidia.

The source of chips for supercomputers has become a factor in trade tensions between the United States and China. The world’s third-fastest supercomputer — the Sunway TaihuLight in China — has chips developed domestically in China.

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Chirag Dekate, an analyst with Gartner who studies the supercomputing market, said that despite the small contract size relative to Intel’s overall revenue, the work done on Aurora will eventually filter down to the company’s commercial customers.

“It’s not just a jingoistic race between the U.S. and China,” Dekate said. “The innovations that Intel is developing here will percolate down to other parts of its business.” (VOA)

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YouTube Wants US Government to Clarify Child Privacy Law

Earlier in September, the tech giant was slapped with a hefty $170 million fine post which it planned sweeping changes to kids videos

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YouTube
YouTube announced big changes to how it treats kids videos after the US FTC hit it with new rules and a record penalty to settle a probe into the privacy of children's data on the video platform. Pixabay

Google-owned YouTube wants the US government to clarify how much its video service is subject to child privacy law.

The video-sharing platform has submitted new comments to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), asking the agency to loosen some of the restrictions on videos directed at kids.

“Currently, the FTC’s guidance requires platforms must treat anyone watching primarily child-directed content as children under 13. This does not match what we see on YouTube, where adults watch favourite cartoons from their childhood or teachers look for content to share with their students,” the tech giant recently wrote in a blog post.

Earlier in September, the tech giant was slapped with a hefty $170 million fine post which it planned sweeping changes to kids videos.

Since then, many creators have expressed concern about the complexity of Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), their ability to comply with it, and its effect on the viability of their businesses.

YouTube
Google-owned YouTube wants the US government to clarify how much its video service is subject to child privacy law. Pixabay

“Questions range from what content is directed at children, to how to treat adults who might be watching kids content. This is particularly difficult for smaller creators who might not have access to legal resources. Balanced and clear guidelines will help creators better comply with COPPA and live up to their legal obligations, while enabling them to continue producing high-quality kids content that is accessible to everyone, everywhere,” the firm added.

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YouTube announced big changes to how it treats kids videos after the US FTC hit it with new rules and a record penalty to settle a probe into the privacy of children’s data on the video platform.

It was the biggest penalty ever levied for violations of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA. (IANS)