Top Stories

ARM-Based Supercomputer Earns Top Spot in Global Ranking

The world’s fastest supercomputers are ranked twice a year, and Innovative Computing Laboratory director Jack Dongarra, one academic behind the rankings, noted that the Top500 list of the world’s fastest high-performance computing (HPC) systems is showing “flattening performance” due to the slowdown of Moore’s Law. In the most recent ranking, Japan’s Fugaku ARM-based supercomputer set a record of 442 petaflops. In 2021, however, the first exascale — 1,000 petaflops — supercomputers are expected to appear, including one from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. Read more

Facebook, Twitter Chief Execs Support Section 230 Changes

At a Senate Judiciary Committee, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey reported that their companies made improvements in blocking misinformation during the 2020 presidential election, compared to their inability to stop Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Judiciary chair Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) said both companies will face modifications to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects them from liability for user-posted content, and the two chief execs expressed cautious support for the idea. Read more

Twitter Intros Ephemeral Tweets, Gathering Spaces for Audio

Twitter is launching Fleets, a feature that allows users to post photos or text that will disappear after 24 hours. Snapchat pioneered the ephemeral post, followed by Instagram and Facebook. Rollout of the Stories-like feature is moving forward, but has been scaled back as Twitter addresses “some performance and stability problems.” The platform’s “global town square” continues to be its “marquee product” but, said Twitter director of design Joshua Harris, the Fleets feature creates a space with less pressure for users who lurk but don’t post. The company is also testing Spaces, a new audio feature similar to Clubhouse, a startup that debuted earlier this year. Read more

The Cerebras CS-1 Chip Is 10,000 Times Faster Than a GPU

Cerebras Systems and its partner, the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), revealed that its CS-1 system, featuring a single massive chip that features an innovative design, is 10,000+ times faster than a graphics processing unit (GPU). The CS-1, built around Cerebas’ Wafer-Scale Engine (WSE) and its 400,000 AI cores, was first announced in November 2019. The partnership between the Energy Department and Cerebras includes deployments with the Argonne National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Read more

Universal, Cinemark Sign Deal for Shorter Exclusivity Window

Comcast’s Universal Pictures teamed with Cinemark Holdings, the third largest theater chain in the U.S., to permit online distribution of movies after three weekends (or 17 days) in theaters. The exception is movies that gross $50+ million domestically during their first weekend, lengthening the exclusivity window to five weekends or 31 days. Universal inked a similar deal with AMC Entertainment in July. Pre-pandemic, the exclusivity window was 2-1/2 months from a film’s premiere in theaters until it could be distributed to homes. Read more

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