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The New Age of Flex-Flex-Flex-Flex-Flex

“You’ve gone too far this time / And I’m dancing on the valentine” – Duran Duran

One of the weirdest demonstrations I’ve seen was from the guy at e-Ink. He was showing off his company’s flat display technology attached to a mockup Amazon Kindle reader. The back was off and all the electronic guts were hanging out: processor, RAM, display driver ICs, battery, and of course his display, connected to the rest by a thin ribbon cable.

The screen was showing a full page … Read More → "The New Age of Flex-Flex-Flex-Flex-Flex"

Fear the Economic Singularity

In dystopian science fiction, we are taught to fear the technological singularity – the time when artificial super intelligence advances to a point far beyond human intelligence, with a result that profoundly alters human existence. Vivid imagery of automated weapons of doom working to wipe out human civilization and take over the world – or the galaxy – have terrorized generations of sci-fi fans. Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates have warned of its approach. Ray Kurzweil says it will be upon us by 2045, and, as far back as 1942, Isaac Asimov was contriving rules for robots, essentially relegating … Read More → "Fear the Economic Singularity"

Finding Your Way with Bluetooth

Do you know where you are?

OK, dumb question; of course you do. You have a smartphone with GPS that tells you (and probably way more people than you might be comfortable with) where you are. But, if you turn GPS off or were inside a building that blocked the GPS signal, then would you know?

We’re talking about location services here, and there are two essential questions, each with a different answer:

Lunch With McDonald’s McKiosk: I’m Hatin’ It

A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. – Asimov’s First Law of Robotics (pure fiction)

During a recent trip to Saint George, Utah, my wife and I stopped at McDonald’s for a fast lunch. We’d just driven a grand scenic loop through the picturesque mountains of southwestern Utah, passing through Veyo, Enterprise, and Cedar City. In one morning, we’d seen snow, sun, rain, and then back to sun. We returned to Saint George in time for lunch. … Read More → "Lunch With McDonald’s McKiosk: I’m Hatin’ It"

EEMBC Benchmarks Correlate Power with Performance

“Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn’t mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar.” — Edward R. Murrow

To twist an old cliché, there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and benchmarks. EEMBC aims to improve all three.

For more than 20 years, EEMBC has been in the unenviable business of creating, testing, and distributing … Read More → "EEMBC Benchmarks Correlate Power with Performance"

The Moon, Moore’s Law, and Marketing

I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth.

– John F Kennedy, May 25, 1961

The complexity for minimum component costs has increased at a rate of roughly a factor of two per year… by 1975, the number of components per integrated circuit for minimum cost will be 65,000.

  • Gordon Moore, “Cramming More Components onto Integrated Circuits – Electronics Magazine, April 19, 1965

Countless industry studies over the past several … Read More → "The Moon, Moore’s Law, and Marketing"

A Stacked Deck

We’ve engaged in a decades-long battle to reduce the area footprint of integrated circuits in an attempt to put more faster stuff on one die and sell it for less money. The much-ballyhooed end of Moore’s Law (whether or not you believe that) has spurred much searching for ways around this endless loop. Wait… we’re already going around the loop. How about ways out of the loop?

One of those ways is to escape the tyranny of area by going vertical instead. Yeah, I know, there’s … Read More → "A Stacked Deck"

RISC-V Business

“Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.” – Satchell Paige

Last week’s RISC-V Tech Symposium, held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, had all of the spirit of a tent revival meeting, which is appropriate because microprocessor ISA supporters tend to sound a lot like religious zealots. The open-source RISC-V ISA is no different in this respect. Although begun for the most grounded of purposes – the education of future processor designers – the RISC-V ISA is rapidly growing far beyond its origins and is bumping along the road … Read More → "RISC-V Business"

Cubbit Crowdsources Cloud Storage

“We have about 100 million cells interconnected in our brains. They communicate with one another through electrical signals.” – Miguel Nicolelis

It’s been said that if you’re not paying for the product, then you are the product. While that’s true of certain social networks and search engines, not all free services come with the same depressing catch.

Normally, we trade away our privacy and personal information in exchange for a service. But a new startup … Read More → "Cubbit Crowdsources Cloud Storage"

Smaller, Lower-Power Neural Nets

We’ve looked at a lot of different solutions for AI computing, each trying to be somewhat more efficient than some prior architecture. However, pretty much everything I’ve been exposed to up until recently has reflected serious attempts to make calculations using CPUs, GPUs, and DSPs more efficient. Each of these has been some version of a von Neumann architecture, meaning you have someplace where you store all your data, and you then fetch … Read More → "Smaller, Lower-Power Neural Nets"

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