Science & Technology

U.S. Department of Energy and Intel to Deliver First Exascale Supercomputer

March 26, 2019

Intel Corporation and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will deliver the first supercomputer with a performance of one exaFLOP in the United States. The system being developed at DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory* in Chicago, named “Aurora,” will be used to dramatically advance scientific research and discovery. The contract is valued at more than $500 million and will be delivered to Argonne National Laboratory by Intel and sub-contractor Cray Inc.* in 2021.

Mercury Is Actually the Closest Planet to Every Other Planet

March 26, 2019

If someone asks you what planet is closest to Earth, you’ll probably blurt out Venus. That’s a perfectly normal thing to say, but it’s also wrong. Numerous websites and even NASA itself say Venus is our closest planetary neighbor. A new article in Physics Today lays out a more accurate way to determine which planets are closest together. It turns out the averages are highly counterintuitive. Mercury is the closest planet to Earth -- in fact, it’s the closest planet to every other planet.

A Really Big Deal: China is a Drone Superpower

March 26, 2019

For years, drone warfare has been an essentially American pursuit. The new age of armed robots has been symbolized by Predators and Reapers spewing Hellfire missiles. But guess who’s the biggest exporter of combat drones? China. “In 2014-18 China became the largest exporter in the niche market of unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs), with states in the Middle East among the main recipients,” according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which compiles estimates of global military strength and arms spending.

AAA says most Americans fear riding in self-driving cars

March 26, 2019

Self-driving cars are getting closer to being on the markets for everyday Americans, but according to AAA, the people might not be ready for the product. The organization says their annual vehicle survey showed 71-percent of people are afraid to ride in fully self-driving cars.

White House starts to flesh out AI research plan - and raises its profile with AI.gov

March 25, 2019

For months, the White House has been talking up artificial intelligence as one of America’s most important tech frontiers. Now we’re starting to see some of the dollar signs behind the talk. In newly released budget documents, the Trump administration says it wants to split $850 million in civilian federal spending on AI research and development between the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Energy Department.

Acting SecDef Under Investigation for Boeing Ties: Pentagon Watchdog

March 25, 2019

The Defense Department’s inspector general confirmed on Wednesday that it has launched an investigation of acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan on whether he has made decisions overly favorable to his former employer, airline industry giant Boeing.

Tesla Joins Apple in Trade Secret Cases Tied to China's Xpeng

March 25, 2019

Tesla Inc. accused one of its former engineers of stealing highly confidential autopilot information before bolting to Chinese rival Xpeng Motors, eight months after one of Apple Inc.’s ex-employees was charged with taking sensitive robocar secrets to a new job with that same company.

New White House Science Budget Seeks Familiar Cuts

March 25, 2019

Another year, another round of spending cuts; and, perhaps, another case of Congress riding to the rescue? The White House's budget request for the 2020 fiscal year, released today, once again seeks to scale back research programs across government, though most of the details will wait until next week. That's because the White House is issuing its annual proposal to Congress in phases, with only a 150-page budget overview released today.

Dunford to meet with Google for 'debate' on Chinese ties

March 24, 2019

Google has requested a meeting with a top U.S. general as political tension rises over the internet giant’s artificial intelligence work in China. General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Thursday that Google "indirectly benefits the Chinese military" and is planning to meet with the company over the matter. The Pentagon official cited a Google AI lab that opened in Beijing in 2017 as a cause of concern.

New Trump tech czar seeks 'American dominance,' focus on 5G, internet access, drones

March 24, 2019

For the first time in two years--and for the first time under President Trump--the U.S. is set to have a chief technology officer. On March 21 the president will nominate for the post Michael Kratsios, a former venture capitalist who now serves as deputy CTO, a White House official tells Bloomberg Businessweek. Kratsios is just 32, but he’s exceedingly well-connected, having served as chief of staff at investment management firm Thiel Capital before joining Trump’s transition team in late 2016.

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