The sheer quality of Chinese cars.
1. Scientists in China say they have reached another milestone in quantum computing, declaring their device Jiuzhang can perform tasks commonly used in artificial intelligence 180 million times faster than the world’s most powerful supercomputer. The problems solved by their quantum computer could be applied to data mining, biological information, network analysis and chemical modelling research, the researchers said. “Our work is a step toward testing real-world problems using the existing noisy intermediate-scale quantum computers,” wrote the team headed by Pan Jianwei, a physicist at the University of Science and Technology of Chinawho has been dubbed the country’s “father of quantum”. (Sources: scmp.com, technologyreview.com)
2. DeepMind’s run of discoveries in fundamental computer science continues. Last year the company used a version of its game-playing AI AlphaZero to find new ways to speed up the calculation of a crucial piece of math at the heart of many different kinds of code, beating a 50-year-old record. Now it has pulled the same trick again—twice. Using a new version of AlphaZero called AlphaDev, the UK-based firm (recently renamed Google DeepMind after a merge with its sister company’s AI lab in April) has discovered a way to sort items in a list up to 70% faster than the best existing method. It has also found a way to speed up a key algorithm used in cryptography by 30%. These algorithms are among the most common building blocks in software. Small speed-ups can make a huge difference, cutting costs and saving energy. “Moore’s Law is coming to an end, where chips are approaching their fundamental physical limits,” says Daniel Mankowitz, a research scientist at Google DeepMind. “We need to find new and innovative ways of optimizing computing.” (Source: technologyreview.com. Deepmind’s blogpost about this is here)
WBD CEO David Zaslav could be forgiven for wondering whether owning the news outlet (CNN) is worth the trouble. If he sold it, perhaps to a needy billionaire willing to overpay for a high-profile brand name, Zaslav could use the proceeds to pay down debt.
Selling CNN would also free Zaslav to concentrate on the biggest challenge facing his entertainment channels, specifically how to deal with the steadily rising cost of sports programming, which underpins their ratings. WBD has begun shifting some sports to its Max streaming service, while Disney CEO Bob Iger has flagged doing something similar eventually with ESPN, which is even more stressed by rising sports costs. But moving sports to streaming isn’t a solution. It will simply force individual sports fans to bear the expense of sports much more directly than they had to when sports was strictly on cable, spreading out the costs across all cable subscribers. (Sources: theinformation.com, ctinsider.com. Mr. Peers’ column is worth reading in full)
News Items has been yammering on about this for some time now. And it does seem to us that the divestment of CNN is inevitable. The rumor racing around New York City yesterday was that a leading investment bank had “the brief” (to begin the process of sounding out prospective buyers). We have no idea if that’s true. But it’s moving on the gossip wires. I’ll have a piece about all this later today. Or tomorrow. (Source: medium.com)