China’s New Supercomputer

Sunway TaihuLight is new China’s Supercomputer,  three times faster than China’s Tianhe-2, which was the world’s fastest supercomputer has been replaced by the Sunway TaihuLight. It is capable of performing some 93 quadrillion calculations per second (otherwise known as petaflops) and is roughly five times more powerful than the speediest US system, which is now ranked third worldwide.



Sunway TaihuLight


The TaihuLight is comprised of 41,000 processors, each having 260 cores, which in total makes a 10.65 million cores with a peak performance of 125 petaflops. In terms of memory, it’s relatively light on its feet, with just 1.3 petabytes used for the entire machine. (By comparison, the much less powerful 10-petaflop K supercomputer uses 1.4 petabytes of RAM.)

TaihuLight is currently up and running at the National Supercomputing Center in the city of Wuxi, a manufacturing and technology hub, a two-hour drive west of Shanghai. The system will be used for various research and engineering work, in areas such as climate, weather & earth systems modeling, life science research, advanced manufacturing, and data analytics. Center director Prof. Dr. Guangwen Yang, will formally introduce the system on Tuesday afternoon, in a session at ISC.

“As the first number one system of China that is completely based on homegrown processors, the Sunway TaihuLight system demonstrates the significant progress that China has made in the domain of designing and manufacturing large-scale computation systems,” Yang told TOP-500 News.

The system runs on its own operating system, Raise OS, which is based on Linux. The system has its own customized implementation of OpenACC 2.0 to aid the parallelization of code. 

Apple’s WWDC 2016 Keynote in Brief

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) keynote started with a lot of software announcements such as watchOS, tvOS, OS X which is now macOS and of course iOS. Unfortunately, there were no hardware announcements, no new MacBooks as expected to be announced.




Everything that’s announced till now:


Apple announced watchOS 3 which is all about speed and making the OS more interactive and refining it for the users.

watchOS 3 now has a control center just like iOS and also allows you to keep your favorite apps in a new Dock system, has background updates and quicker refresh times. In fact, it’s 7x faster than watchOS 2. The side button has been remapped to launch the dock of recent and running apps instead of the contacts menu. Apple has also added a few new watch faces, including a Minnie Mouse version and a new one that more prominently shows activity progress. Watch faces can be changed by swiping across the display. The Reminders and Find Friends apps have been redesigned, and third-party apps can also now run in the dock area.


A new safety feature that allows you to call 911 directly just by pressing and holding the side button via the phone’s cellular network or through the watch’s WiFi connection. Apple has also announced a new fitness app for watchOS 3. The new app lets users connect with others to see activity and progress and send messages and heart rates to others.

Another new health app is called Breathe and is designed to encourage relaxation and breathing techniques. It can provide haptic feedback to guide users when their eyes are closed.

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For third-party apps, Apple is enabling Apple Pay, background processing for fitness apps, native control for the crown, APIs for speaker control, video, and more. Apple says that a developer preview of watchOS 3 is available today with a public release slated for later this fall.


Apple tv has a given only a small update to tvOS instead of a major overhaul.

It’s good news for those who don’t like the Apple TV remote – Apple has developed a new version of the remote app for iOS so you can use your iPhone as a remote and you can use your phone’s gyroscope to play games on Apple TV.

Siri on Apple TV has also been approved. You can now search movies by topic on Apple TV. For example, you can search for ‘high school comedies from the 80s’ and Siri will find movies in this genre for you. Siri searches 650,000 movies and TV shows to make this happen. And that’s not all, you can now you can also search YouTube this way as well.

macOS Sierra:

Apple has changed the long chain of names of OSX to macOS.

macOS Sierra includes some impressive new capabilities, including Siri, an automatic unlocking feature, universal Clipboard support, new iCloud integration, Apple Pay for the web, and more.



Siri on the Mac is accessible through dedicated icons on the dock or the menu bar and it features functionality unique to the Mac like the ability to search through documents to find specific files and an option to pin search results to the Notification Center or drop them into files. Siri can also do things like search through Photos, make phone calls, set reminders, add meetings to calendars, initiate FaceTime calls, and more.

More deep iCloud integration makes all of the files on the Desktop and Documents folder of a mac available for all apple device such as other Macs, iPhones, and iPads. Universal Clipboard, a new continuity feature where a copied text on iPhone can directly be pasted in Mac. Another Continuity feature allows an authenticated Apple Watch to automatically unlock a Mac when in close proximity, doing away with the need to enter a password on a password protected Mac.

As with iOS 10, macOS Sierra supports Apple Pay in the web browser, letting users pay for purchases made on the web with Apple Pay. Payments are authenticated through either a connected iPhone or a connected Apple Watch.

A new “Memories” tab in Photos is designed to create curated collections of images like from a first birthday party or family vacation. Photos uses new deep learning algorithms to recognize people, places, and things in images using facial, object, and scene recognition, utilizing the information to group images into intelligent collections.

macOS Sierra will run on an entirely new Apple File System (APFS) that’s built around SSDs and other flash-based media. It was engineered with native encryption as a “primary feature,” with three levels of protection from no encryption to single-key encryption to multi-key encryption. Alongside the new file system, there’s a feature called Optimized Storage that frees up space when a Mac starts getting full by deleting infrequently used items in iCloud and offering reminders to delete app installers, duplicate downloads, caches, logs, and more.

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macOS Sierra is available for developers starting today, and Apple plans to release a public beta in July. The operating system, which will be free to download, will see a public release this fall.

macOS Sierra will run on MacBooks and iMacs produced in 2009 and later and MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini, and Mac Pro models made in 2010 or later.

iOS 10:

A new “Raise to wake” feature will, as the name suggests, wake the phone’s lock screen when it’s lifted to give you an overview of notifications and updates. The new notifications look significantly different and, with the use of a 3D Touch, you can respond to and interact with the app sending them immediately.

The expansion of 3D Touch on the home screen includes widgets for apps that don’t require you launching the app at all. You’ll be able to see things like the latest sports scores with the ESPN app, and even get into video highlights, without entering the app proper.

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Siri Everywhere 

As expected, Apple has created a Siri SDK,which means that developers will now be able to incorporate it into their apps at will. That specific news isn’t nearly as important as what it will enable.

As of now already a few third-party apps have implemented the Siri SDK, A few of those were on stage at WWDC. WeChat, Slack, and WhatsApp all made an appearance, meaning you’ll now be able to talk to those apps and have them follow your command.

iMessage, the Platform

iMessage will have rich links inline, meaning you can play videos from YouTube or songs from Music without bailing out to another app. Its emoji are three times bigger than before, and it will prompt you to emojify any words (pizza, taco, love… eggplant?) as you type. You can write messages in “invisible ink,” that the recipient can only read after swiping, or you can blur them until they tap. iMessage now has an app drawer, meaning you can send money with Square, order food with DoorDash, and so on.

More Responsive Notifications

You know that thing where Touch ID works so quickly that you blow right past your lock screen? Apple added a feature that shows you what’s on your display when you pick it up. From there, you can get more info or respond to them from the lock screen using 3D Touch. Apps with information that evolves in real-time (think Uber letting you know where a car is, or ESPN showing you a score) can have notifications update live. It also looks cleaner than before, which is going to be a theme here.

Apple Music

Getting in on the refresh fun with “a redesign from the ground up.” Eddy Cue says the new, simpler interface makes the music king, implicitly acknowledging that the old UI was a tiny bit convoluted. That being said, the tabs at the bottom appear unchanged: Library, For You, Browse, Radio, Search. Lyrics are also being added in the new version of Music.

Apple News

Launched last year and is getting a big update in iOS 10. The all-new News interface design has some visual affinities with the new Music, showing that Apple is working on a cohesive look across its new apps, with bold, all-caps sans serif titles. Apple News is also getting breaking news notifications and subscriptions in iOS 10. In-app subscriptions are a major new feature for the OS even beyond Apple’s own apps.

The Phone app on the iPhone is also evolving, In iOS 10, it will have voicemail transcriptions so that you can see what messages have been received without having to listen to them. Additionally, the app can now detect when an unknown caller is potentially phone spam and will label those calls as such. Probably the most-requested new addition in iOS 10 went unmentioned during Apple’s keynote presentation: stock apps will be made removable.

 iOS 10 will be available as a free update this fall for the following devices: iPhone 5 and higher, iPod touch 6th gen, iPad mini 2 and higher, and iPad 4th generation and the subsequent iPad Air and iPad Pro models.



sources: theverge, engadget, techradar, wired


Larry Page is secretly building flying cars!

Google Co-Founder is secretly working with the Silicon Valley startup, Zee.Aero which Larry Page has personally funded since it has set up shop next to Google’s HQ in Moutain View, California. The firm has also filed a patent for small electric vehicles that can land and take off vertically.

Page has invested more than US$100 million in Zee.Aero, according to the Bloomberg story. The company has nearly 150 employees and has expanded its operations to include an airport hangar in Hollister, California, where prototypes now are being tested. It also has a manufacturing facility at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View. Page’s involvement in flying-car projects has been kept intentionally secretive.


When Zee.Aero launched, Bloomberg reports, employees were restricted to the first floor of the company’s two-floor building. On the second floor was Page’s multi-billionaire man-cave, consisting of, among other things, a climbing wall, paintings, and a SpaceX rocket engine, given to him by friend Elon Musk. Zee.Aero employees didn’t know who their funder was, but suspected he must be very wealthy. He was referred to as GUS, the guy upstairs. Soon enough, Zee.Aero ran out of room on the first floor, and Page’s man-cave was dismantled to make room. Zee.Aero has two prototype aircraft in a hangar not far from its headquarters. The electric vehicles take “regular test flights,” according to Bloomberg. In a patent filed four years ago, the company says Zee.Aero’s aircraft has vertical takeoff and landing capability.

Page also personally backed up the startup Kitty Hawk last year which began it’s operations just down the street from Zee.Aero.

At Kitty Hawk’s helm is Sebastian Thrun, head of Google’s self-driving car program and founder of Google X, the research division of Google, according to 2015 business filings.


Intel’s 1st 10-Core Desktop CPU

Intel announced a new family of high-end desktop processors code-named Broadwell-E which packs 10 Broadwell CPU cores. This 10-cores are marketed as a part of the Core i7 6950x. The previous generation Haswell-E had 8 cores.

The prior-generation Haswell-E processor family was formed on a single chip: the eight-core Haswell-EP server processor. In its full configuration, it was sold as the $999 Core i7 5960X, with six-core variants made out of cut-down versions of that same chip.

That die measured in at 356 square millimeters in Intel’s 22-nanometer manufacturing process.



The 10-core Broadwell-E chip is simply the full 10-core Broadwell-EP server chip relabeled and repurposed as a high-end desktop processor. The eight-core model, as well as the two six-core models, are also fashioned out of this same processor.

The size of the die is approximately 246 square millimeters, or approximately 69% the size of the Haswell-E die that it replaces.

Intel claims that it’s twice as fast as the quad-core i7-6700k and 35% faster than the previous gen core i7-5960k. Editing 4k video will be 65% faster than the same quad-core chip and 25% faster than previous gen i7 processor. Gaming is 25 percent faster than the 5960X when it comes to gaming in 4K while encoding and broadcasting a 1080p Twitch stream.



Intel has indicated in the past that the wafer cost increase, or effectively the cost per area of silicon, was approximately 30% in going from 22-nanometer to 14-nanometer. This means that all else equal, 246 square millimeters of 14-nanometer silicon should cost about the same as approximately 320 square millimeters of 22-nanometer silicon.

Right off the bat, it would seem that the 10-core Broadwell-E is actually cheaper to manufacture relative to the eight-core Haswell-E.

However, it’s important to note that Intel saw a decline in the gross profit margins of its data center business as a result of 14-nanometer yields relative to 22-nanometer yields.

  1. Broadwell-E: 246 square millimeter die, the defect density of 0.2 defects/square centimeter, $9,100 wafer cost.
  2. Haswell-E: 356 square millimeter die, the defect density of 0.1 defects/square centimeter, $7,000 wafer cost.

For the Broadwell-E part, under the above assumptions, 139 of the 223 dies that come off the wafer are good. For the Haswell-E part, of the 153 dies on the wafer, 109 come out good.

Based on this analysis, the raw die cost of the 14-nanometer part should be around $83. The cost of the 22-nanometer part under these assumptions works out to around $64.

The new Extreme Edition of i7 processors will also be available in an 8-core version (the i7-6900K for $1,089) and 6-core variants (the $617 i7-6850K and the $434 i7-6800K). Naturally, they’re completely unlocked, so you can overclock them to your heart’s content. All of the new chips also support DDR4-2400 RAM, a slight bump in speeds from the previous-gen processors. Intel is charging around $1,750 for the 6950X, compared to around $1,000 for the 5960X.


x series comparison.png




(sources: Engadget, Fool)