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Always Be Curious #178: Next-gen computing, the legendary Morris Chang, and ripples in the sand
This week in ABC: Charting a course for computing to planetary-scale weather modelling, the Times spotlights TSMC's Morris Chang, and how orderly patterns emerge from the chaos of ocean waves.
What’s up curious clan! ✌️ Summer’s drawing to a close and I’ve returned from some down-time in France and on lovely Terschelling, a small island in the north of The Netherlands. Sun, sea, sand, and plenty of reading. So here’s ABC edition #178 with everything that I wanted to share with you. If you read just a few things, go for the Nature paper on next-gen computing challenges, the profile piece on TSMC’s Morris Chang, the op-ed on Oppenheimer, and watch Nvidia’s demo of their Neuralangelo AI that turns 2D video into a 3D model. A special shout-out to readers that shared several of the articles below with me this week (colleague Christine, fellow islander Dalco, and my mom! 😎). Thank you! 🙏 And if you come across an article that you think is just perrrrrfect for your fellow curious clan, then drop me a line on Substack Chat, on Instagram or on LinkedIn. 💬 Eternal intarwebz glory and an ABC name drop await you! 🏆
Have a good week, stay safe and sound,
Thanks for reading Always Be Curious! Subscribe for free and join the curious clan on Sunday mornings. ☕️🥐
👨💻The round-up in sci-tech💡
The authors of this paper in Nature Electronics hail from Stanford and Sandia National Labs, so they speak with authority. Conklin and Kumar show how substantial improvements in computing energy efficiency, by up to ten orders of magnitude, will be required to solve major computing problems — such as planetary-scale weather modelling, real-time, brain-scale modelling and human evolutionary simulation — by the end of this century.
“In the near term, we urgently need to advance algorithm–hardware co-design, lower the cost of energy and increase computing budgets. Over the longer term, sustained investment in new approaches to computing — which exploit new physics to compute and rely on new algorithms — is required.”
Big piece in FA on the need to regulate AI development. Courtesy of my mom! 😘
“Meeting these challenges will demand great creativity from both policymakers and scientists. It will also require that both groups work fast. It is only a matter of time until very powerful AI systems begin to spread, and society is not yet prepared.”
Replications pieced together the puzzle of why the material displayed superconducting-like behaviours.
Developers are embracing artificial intelligence tools like drones, cameras, apps and robots, which can reduce the timelines and waste that have made construction increasingly costly.
The space agency lost touch with the beloved spacecraft following a faulty command signal. Here’s how it happened—and how engineers worked to bring it back.
“It makes me realize that this mission could end anytime, whether there's human error involved, or just because the spacecraft is old and it breaks. It makes you value what you have.”
Artificial intelligence has turned the brain’s electrical signals into somewhat garbled classic rock
AI is making its way into decision-making in battle. Who’s to blame when something goes wrong?
Oppenheimer and the Manhattan Project scientists are a rare example of weapons designers who have gone down in history. A special thanks to my colleague Christine for sharing this fab piece with me.
How do orderly patterns emerge from the chaos of ocean waves? Kudos to fellow islander Dalco for sending me this WSJ piece.
🤓This week in chips⚠
At 92, Morris Chang, the founder of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, can no longer stay in the shadows.
Ahead of a landmark public listing, one of the UK's biggest success stories is facing an identity crisis.
“Intel Corporation today announced that it has mutually agreed with Tower Semiconductor to terminate its previously disclosed agreement to acquire Tower due to the inability to obtain in a timely manner the regulatory approvals required under the merger agreement, dated Feb. 15, 2022. In accordance with the terms of the merger agreement and in connection with its termination, Intel will pay a termination fee of $353 million to Tower.”
Tom’s Hardware has the first rumors about Samsung's 300-layer 3D NAND. Samsung is poised to employ double-stack architecture for its 9th Generation 3D-NAND memory when it starts its production next year. The sets Samsung apart from SK Hynix, which uses three stacks of NAND to build its 321-layer 3D NAND devices when they enter mass production in the first half of 2025.
Nvidia’s new chip, the GH200, has the same GPU as the company’s current highest-end AI chip, the H100. But the GH200 pairs that GPU with 141 gigabytes of cutting-edge memory, as well as a 72-core ARM central processor.
“We’re giving this processor a boost. The GH200 is designed for the scale-out of the world’s data centers.”
China's internet giants are rushing to acquire high-performance Nvidia chips vital for building generative artificial intelligence systems, making orders worth $5 billion.
📈By the numbers📉
There’s a bounce back quarter-on-quarter, but 2023 is still going to show a substantial decline.
Applied Materials, the largest US maker of chipmaking machinery, gave a bullish forecast for the current quarter, indicating that an industry slump may be fading.
Strategy&, a PWC subsidiary, reports about how European semiconductor players can still become winners in the global growth story.
❤️For the love of tech❤️
NVIDIA recently released its code for its “Neuralangelo” AI, which has the capability to make a high-resolution 3D environment from any video. 🎥 The video serves as input to the AI, showing objects in 2D from different perspectives. The AI then analyzes the video for depth, sizing, positions of objects, and all that jazz, in order to sketch out a basic 3D model. And it then starts refining and adding resolution to the model. The AI is almost like a sculptor, chiseling away on block of marble to reveal the rough outlines of a human figure, adding details and refining the figure continuously to come to an end-result. How cool is that? 😎
Always Be Curious is the personal newsletter of Sander Hofman, Senior Creative Content Strategist at ASML. Opinions expressed in this curated newsletter are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.