April 15, 2024

Exascale computing and AI takes on geometry.

This is today’s edition of The Download, Our weekday newsletter provides a daily dose of what’s happening in the world of technology.

Exascale computers: 10 innovative technologies for 2024

In May 2022, the global supercomputer rankings were shaken by the launch of Frontier. It is the fastest supercomputer in the world and can perform as many calculations in one second as 100,000 laptop computers.

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With its launch the era of exascale computing officially began. Several more exascale computers will soon join their ranks, coming from the US, Europe and, reportedly, China as well. Scientists and engineers are eager to use these turbocharged computers to advance a variety of fields. And progress won’t stop here. Read the full story.

—Sofia Chen

Exascale computers are one of MIT Technology Review’s 10 Breakthrough Technologies for 2024. See the rest of the list and vote for the eleventh final trailer—We will reveal the winner in April.

+ What’s next for the world’s fastest supercomputers? Scientists have begun conducting experiments on the world’s first official exascale machine, while facilities around the world build other machines to join the ranks. Read the full story.

Google’s new DeepMind artificial intelligence system can solve complex geometric problems

News: Google DeepMind has created an artificial intelligence system that can solve complex geometric problems. The program combines a language model with a type of AI called a symbolic engine, which uses symbols and logical rules to make deductions. These two approaches work together to solve difficult mathematical problems.

Because it is important: Mathematics serves as an important benchmark for measuring progress in artificial intelligence. This new program is a significant step toward machines with more human-like reasoning abilities. Read the full story.

—June Kim

How hot salt could transform nuclear energy

For more than a month in total, 12 metric tons of molten salt circulated through the pipelines of Kairos Power in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The company is developing a new type of nuclear reactor that will be cooled using this salt mixture, and its first large-scale test cooling system just completed 1,000 hours of operation in early January. This is the second major Kairos milestone in recent weeks. In December, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission granted a construction permit for the company’s first nuclear test reactor.

Nuclear power plants can provide a steady source of carbon-free energy, but projects to build them have been plagued by delays and ballooned budgets. Kairos hopes to change the fortunes of nuclear powers with a new version of the technology that could reduce costs and construction times. Read the full story.

—Casey Crownhart

To read more about the next generation of nuclear reactors, see the Last edition from The Spark, our weekly climate and energy newsletter. Register to receive it in your inbox every Wednesday.

A new risk prediction system based on artificial intelligence could help detect fatal cases of pancreatic cancer earlier

What happened: New research has found that a new artificial intelligence system could help detect the most common form of pancreatic cancer. The system surpassed current diagnostic standards and could be used in a clinical setting to identify patients who would benefit from early screening or testing, helping to detect the disease earlier and save lives.

How they did it: The researchers fed two AI models anonymized data from 6 million electronic medical records, 35,387 of which were pancreatic cancer cases, from 55 healthcare organizations in the U.S. The neural network identified 35% of the patients who had the disease as high risk between 6 and 18 months before being diagnosed, compared to current screening guidelines of 10%. Read the full story.

—Rhiannon Williams

The required readings

I’ve searched the Internet to find the funniest, most important, most terrifying, and most fascinating stories about technology today.

1 Confusing AI-generated text is taking over the web In particular, poor translations of languages ​​spoken in Africa and the Global South. (Motherboard)
+ We are hurtling towards a glitchy, spammed, and scammed AI-powered Internet. (MIT Technology Review)

2 A project to build a chip factory in Arizona is in difficulty
TSMC said it is likely to miss even more deadlines to get it up and running. (WSJ$)+ China could be about to impose more restrictions. (CNBC)
+ The $100 billion bet that a post-industrial American city can reinvent itself as a high-tech hub. (MIT Technology Review)

3 It seems that China could reach the Moon before the US.
The country’s rapid progress has American politicians concerned. (WP$)
+ Meanwhile, Astrobotic’s failed lunar lander will burn up tomorrow. (TechCrunch)

4 Sheryl Sandberg leaves the Meta board
After 12 years advising the company. (BBC)
+ His departure comes as Meta fully focuses his attention on the AI. (WP$)

5 new Samsung phones are packed with AI features
It is trying to secure an early lead as the first smartphone company to fully embrace AI. (Bloomberg$)+ The phones can translate calls in real time and speed up search. ($WSJ)
+ The smartphone market doesn’t look too attractive these days. (FT$)

6 Google still retains location data for abortion clinics
A year and a half after promising to delete it. (The Guardian)
+ Google has been forced to make it clearer that it tracks incognito mode users. ($wired)

7 What comes after Ozempic?
Patients taking the drug will see a slowdown in their weight loss. New medications could allow them to continue losing weight. (The Atlantic $)
+ But the long-term health effects of these drugs are still unknown. (MIT Technology Review)

8 Spotify doesn’t care about niche artists
Their plans to select tracks below a certain listening threshold confirm this. (FT$)

9 The JWST is turning everything we know about the universe upside down
Astronomers’ predictions do not match their observations. (Voice)
+ How the James Webb Space Telescope broke up the universe. (MIT Technology Review)

10 Here we explain how to use your devices less
But still do it all. (New York $)
+ How to log out. (MIT Technology Review)

Quote of the day

“The student must look ‘student’ and have a healthy BMI.”

—A document from food delivery robot company Starship obtained by 404 Media instructs a public university to promote its service on campus with photos and videos depicting a very specific type of student.

the great story

The future of open source is still in flux

August 2023

When Xerox donated a new laser printer to MIT in 1980, the company could not imagine that the machine would start a revolution.

While the early decades of software development generally relied on an open-access culture, this new printer ran on inaccessible proprietary software, to the horror of Richard M. Stallman, then a 27-year-old programmer in college.

A few years later, Stallman released GNU, an operating system designed to be a free alternative to one of the dominant operating systems at the time: Unix. The free software movement was born with a simple premise: for the good of the world, all source must be open.

Forty years later, technology companies are making billions on proprietary software and much of the technology around us is inscrutable. But while Stallman’s movement may seem like a failed experiment, the free and open source software movement is not only alive and well; It has become a cornerstone of the technology industry. Read the full story.

—Rebecca Ackermann

We can still have nice things.

A place for comfort, fun and distraction in these strange times. (Do you have any idea? drop me a line either tweet them to me.)

+ Feeling embarrassed is great, I promise.
+ Mob Wife Chic is the latest beauty trend sweeping the internet, and we have The Sopranos to thank.
+ Enjoy some comforting pasta recipes to brighten these cold months.
+ William Shatner is a man who truly lives life to the fullest.
+ It’s time to get excited: The white lotus will return to our screen soon, but not soon enough.

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