Frontrunner + hardware   24

Microsoft Bets Its Future on a Reprogrammable Computer Chip
In December of 2010, Microsoft researcher Andrew Putnam had left Seattle for the holidays and returned home to Colorado Springs. Two days before Christmas, he still hadn’t started shopping. As he drove to the mall, his phone rang. It was Burger, his boss. Burger was going to meet with Bing execs right after the holiday, and he needed a design for hardware that could run Bing’s machine learning algorithms on FPGAs.

Putnam pulled into the nearest Starbucks and drew up the plans. It took him about five hours, and he still had time for shopping.

Burger, 47, and Putnam, 39, are both former academics. Burger spent nine years as a professor of computer science at the University of Texas, Austin, where he specialized in microprocessors and designed a new kind of chip called EDGE. Putnam had worked for five years as a researcher at the University of Washington, where he experimented with FPGAs, programmable chips that had been around for decades but were mostly used as a way of prototyping other processors. Burger brought Putnam to Microsoft in 2009, where they started exploring the idea that these chips could actually accelerate online services.
microsoft  microcontrollers  chip  ai  performance  fpga  hardware  2016 
december 2016 by Frontrunner
Meet PoisonTap, the $5 Tool That Ransacks Password-protected Computers
The perils of leaving computers unattended just got worse, thanks to a newly released exploit tool that takes only 30 seconds to install a privacy-invading backdoor, even when the machine is locked with a strong password.

PoisonTap, as the tool has been dubbed, runs freely available software on a $5/£4 Raspberry Pi Zero device. Once the payment card-sized computer is plugged into a computer's USB slot, it intercepts all unencrypted Web traffic, including any authentication cookies used to log in to private accounts. PoisonTap then sends that data to a server under the attacker's control. The hack also installs a backdoor that makes the owner's Web browser and local network remotely controllable by the attacker.
hardware  security  poisontap  hacking  tool  usb  raspberrypi  computers  2016 
november 2016 by Frontrunner
Pascal GPUs on All Fronts Push Nvidia to New Highs
Chip maker Nvidia was founded by people who loved gaming and who wanted to make better 3D graphics cards, and decades later, the company has become a force in computing, first in HPC and then in machine learning and now database acceleration. And it all works together, with gaming graphics providing the foundation on which Nvidia can build a considerable compute business, much as Intel’s PC business provided the foundation for its Xeon assault on the datacenter over the past two and a half decades.

At some point, Nvidia may not need an explicit link to PC graphics and gaming to have a self-sustaining datacenter compute business based on Tesla and GRID accelerator cards and now DGX-1 systems. Just like Intel arguably does not need the Core PC chip business to justify the existence of a very large and profitable Xeon server chip business. The two are evenly matched, in terms of profits, but the synergies are still there that allow Intel to do its process ramps on the smaller PC chips that have higher volumes and then build bigger Xeon chips that have lower volumes on a much more mature process.
computing  highperformance  chip  gpu  cpu  hardware  performance  nvidia  pascal  intel  tesla  xeon  hpc  2016 
november 2016 by Frontrunner
Infographics: Operation Costs in CPU Clock Cycles
Whenever we need to optimise the code, we should profile it, plain and simple. However, sometimes it makes sense just to know ballpark numbers for relative costs of some popular operations, so you won’t do grossly inefficient things from the very beginning (and hopefully won’t need to profile the program later).
programming  cpu  performance  operations  hardware  infographics  2016 
november 2016 by Frontrunner
Tesla’s Autopilot Chip Supplier NVIDIA on New Self-driving System: ‘It’s Basically 5 Yrs Ahead and Coming in 2017’
NVIDIA reported its financial results for the last quarter yesterday and surprised Wall Street. The chip maker, which is now becoming an “AI company” according to its leadership, reported revenue of $2 billion on expectations of $1.7 billion and they also surpassed earnings expectations by a similar margin.

On a conference call with CEO Jen-Hsun Huang following the results, analysts were particularly interested in the company’s push in AI and the automotive industry, especially since Tesla’s started delivering every single one of its vehicles with NVIDIA’s Drive PX2 supercomputer.
nvidia  autonomousvehicles  ai  tesla  hardware  sensors  2016 
november 2016 by Frontrunner
Pimoroni
* We are a company of makers and educators based in Sheffield, UK.
* Creators of the Pibow case for Raspberry Pi and the UK's largest Adafruit reseller.
* We manufacture all our own products locally.
electronics  hardware  raspberrypi  adafruit  microbit  arduino  seller  company  shop  greatbritain  website 
october 2016 by Frontrunner
The End of the Age of MOSFETs? Carbon Nanotubes Finally Outperform Silicon in Transistors
For the first time ever, a material other than silicon has managed to boast the top performance specs in the field of transistors. Carbon nanotube transistors (CNTs) could finally take over as reigning champion in transistor production.
hardware  cpu  memory  carbonnanotubes  mosfet  electronics  performance  2016 
october 2016 by Frontrunner
This Old-Ass Commodore 64 Is Still Being Used to Run an Auto Shop in Poland
We need to learn a lesson about needless consumerism from this auto repair shop in Gdansk, Poland. Because it still uses a Commodore 64 to run its operations. Yes, the same Commodore 64 released 34 years ago that clocked in at 1 MHz and had 64 kilobytes of RAM. It came out in 1982, was discontinued in 1994, but it’s still used to run a freaking company in 2016. That’s awesome.
commodore  c64  computers  hardware  2016 
october 2016 by Frontrunner
One-bit Computing at 60 Hertz
This page describes a tiny computer made from an EPROM and a few logic chips. Although its specifications are ridiculously modest, the machine readily satisfied application requirements.

* Clock Rate: 60 Hertz
* Instruction Repertoire: 1
* Registers: 1 (a one-bit status Flag Bit)
* I/O-mapped memory (not memory-mapped I/O) — 2 bits
computer  simple  learning  hardware  cpu  eprom  electronics  design  2015 
september 2016 by Frontrunner
Open Source 25-core Processor Can Be Stringed Into a 200,000-core Computer
Researchers want to give a 25-core open-source processor called Piton some serious bite.

The developers of the chip at Princeton University have in mind a 200,000-core computer crammed with 8,000 64-bit Piton chips.
opensource  hardware  cpu  multicore  computers  princetonuniversity  2016 
september 2016 by Frontrunner
Hackers Could Break Into Your Monitor To Spy on You and Manipulate Your Pixels
We think of our monitors as passive entities. The computer sends them data, and they somehow—magically?—turn it into pixels which make words and pictures.

But what if that wasn’t the case? What if hackers could hijack our monitors and turn them against us?

As it turns out, that’s possible. A group of researchers has found a way to hack directly into the tiny computer that controls your monitor without getting into your actual computer, and both see the pixels displayed on the monitor—effectively spying on you—and also manipulate the pixels to display different images.
hardware  monitors  hacking  defcon  andcui  research  malware  firmware  2016 
august 2016 by Frontrunner
200 Chip Definitions Everyone Should Know
Given how important chips are to modern society EVERYONE should understand and appreciate how they are made. Every field has its own set of terms, jargon, and acronyms (engineers love acronyms!). As you would expect, chip design is no different. If you are new to chip design, it might take you a few days to read through the Wikipedia entries for each one of these 200 topics. If you are interested in actually building chips, you will need to master all 200 of them.
technology  cpu  microchips  design  learning  adc  aes  adder  alu  amdahlslaw  arbiter  asic  audiocodec  booleanalgebra  btb  cache  cachecoherence  cam  cisc  coprocessor  cpi  crc  csa  dac  distributedcomputing  dll  dma  dds  dsm  dsp  ecc  ethernet  faulttolerance  fram  fpga  fifo  gpu  dram  flash  fft  fpu  gpio  graycode  hbm  i2c  lan  lfsr  lsb  lvds  mii  mimd  mmu  msb  mux  multiplier  nco  noc  parallelcomputing  pcm  pcie  pic  pll  pwm  q  raid  reconfigurablecomputing  risc  rom  sbc  sdr  serdes  shiftregister  simd  schmitttrigger  spi  sram  tlb  uart  usb  videocodec  virtualmemory  vliw  wan  wifi  8b10b  antennaeffect  asynchronouslogic  atpg  bist  chip  clockgating  cmos  crosstalk  cts  dominologic  def  dfm  dft  die  drc  dv  eco  eda  edacompanies  electromigration  emi  esd  fabless  feol  flip-flop  foundry  fullcustomdesign  gdsii  hdl  holdtime  ip  ipvendors  isi  jitter  latchup  layout  lef  logicaleffort  lvs  maskworks  mealymachine  mls  mooremachine  mooreslaw  mosfet  mosis  mpw  mtbf  multi-thresholdcmos  opticalproximitycorrection  passtransistorlogic  physicaldesign  pdk  powergating  radiationhard 
july 2016 by Frontrunner
Why Networks Need ASICs
Tomorrow's networks are driving price and performance requirements that call for custom silicon, according to a senior manager for a company using ASICs.

Networks are in trouble. The volume of data, applications and transactions hitting data centers is increasing at an exponential pace. Add in predictions that by 2020 users will own as many as 25 connected devices and, according to Cisco, the Internet of Things will account for as many as 50 billion new IP-enabled devices and you can see a tsunami of traffic headed our way.
hardware  asic  routing  encryption  performance  internet  network  google  apple  microsoft  fortinet  barefootnetworks  2016 
july 2016 by Frontrunner
old-computers.com
History about vintage computers and more.
history  computers  hardware  commodore  atari  sharp  nostalgia  website 
july 2016 by Frontrunner
The Tiny Radar Chip Revolutionizing Gesture Recognition: Google ATAP’s Project Soli
Google ATAP is bringing touchless interfaces to the market using a miniaturized radar chip no bigger than a dime. This is Project Soli.
google  projects  soli  touchless  interface  radar  hardware  2016 
july 2016 by Frontrunner
The WRT54GL: A 54Mbps Router from 2005 Still Makes Millions for Linksys
In a time when consumers routinely replace gadgets with new models after just two or three years, some products stand out for being built to last.

Witness the Linksys WRT54GL, the famous wireless router that came out in 2005 and is still for sale. At first glance, there seems to be little reason to buy the WRT54GL in the year 2016. It uses the 802.11g Wi-Fi standard, which has been surpassed by 802.11n and 802.11ac. It delivers data over the crowded 2.4GHz frequency band and is limited to speeds of 54Mbps. You can buy a new router—for less money—and get the benefit of modern standards, expansion into the 5GHz band, and data rates more than 20 times higher.
hardware  routers  linksys  wrt54gl  quality  network  wifi  history  2016 
july 2016 by Frontrunner
Car Speed Detector
Seventy-five? Really bro? But that got me thinking – could you document the speed of cars on a residential street to add support for police intervention?

Hmmm. I have a Raspberry Pi and a Pi Camera module. Ought to be able to use them to measure a car’s speed. What follows is my implementation of an application that records images with the speed of cars passing in front of the camera.
raspberrypi  speed  photography  cameras  tinkering  hardware  howto  2016 
may 2016 by Frontrunner
UK Surveillance Bill will Force Tech Companies to Disclose New Products Before They Launch
Internet, phone, and tech companies will have to inform the UK government of new products, services, and features ahead of their launch to ensure that they can be subject to surveillance.

The new policy is buried within a draft code of practice document as part of the UK government's efforts to reform its surveillance laws, and will impose obligations on tech companies operating in the country.
software  hardware  government  lawenforcement  surveillance  privacy  security  greatbritain  law  2016 
april 2016 by Frontrunner
RISC-V: The Free and Open RISC Instruction Set Architecture
RISC-V (pronounced "risk-five") is a new instruction set architecture (ISA) that was originally designed to support computer architecture research and education and is now set to become a standard open architecture for industry implementations under the governance of the RISC-V Foundation. RISC-V was originally developed in the Computer Science Division of the EECS Department at the University of California, Berkeley.
hardware  opensource  free  risc  cpu  isa 
april 2016 by Frontrunner
Uncorrectable Freedom and Security Issues on x86 Platforms
It has recently come to my attention that many in the free software movement are unaware of a relatively new development on x86 platforms that permanently removes the ability to use these platforms without also continually executing signed, proprietary code at the highest possible privilege level. All post-2013 (AMD) and virtually all post-2009 (Intel) systems contain this mandatory technology, and therefore, by design, can never be converted to run using pure FOSS. Prior to these changes projects such as coreboot could be used to replace the boot firmware with a FOSS alternative.
privacy  security  amd  intel  foss  hardware  x86  2016 
april 2016 by Frontrunner
X500 Evo Arrived
As some might already know, last year Loriano Pagni (know from the awesome custom MiniMig cases) designed a mini-itx case shaped in a way reminding the Amiga 500 named the X500 Plus case.

After a year and some months, the package reached my doorstep a couple of weeks ago! It was thrilling opening the package and seeing the final product for the first time.
x500  lorianopagni  amiga  hardware  2014 
march 2016 by Frontrunner
PirateBox
PirateBox is a DIY anonymous offline file-sharing and communications system built with free software and inexpensive off-the-shelf hardware.
privacy  security  filesharing  diy  hardware 
march 2016 by Frontrunner
How FPGAs work, and why you'll buy one
Will FPGA eventually become a must-have, or will its volume remain relatively low?

We'll try to answer this question below. In order to see how popular FPGAs could become, we'll need to discuss what FPGAs are. FPGAs are a programmable platform, but one designed by EEs for EEs rather than for programmers. So for many programmers, FPGAs are exciting yet mysterious; I hope our discussion will help demystify them.
hardware  fpga  fieldprogrammablegatearray  programming  2013 
april 2015 by Frontrunner
CPU Backdoors
It’s generally accepted that any piece of software could be compromised with a backdoor. Prominent examples include the Sony/BMG installer, which had a backdoor built-in to allow Sony to keep users from copying the CD, which also allowed malicious third-parties to take over any machine with the software installed; the Samsung Galaxy, which has a backdoor that allowed the modem to access the device’s filesytem, which also allows anyone running a fake base station to access files on the device; and Lotus Notes, which had a backdoor which allowed encrypted files to be decrypted.
hardware  cpu  backdoor  theory 
february 2015 by Frontrunner

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