Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Monday, 18 June 2012

Facebook Acquires Israeli Facial Recognition Company

Facebook Acquires Israeli Facial Recognition Company - 

Facebook, the largest repository of pictures anywhere and at any time in history, has acquired an Israeli company, called face.com, that makes facial recognition technology. Neither company disclosed the sale price nor the other terms of the deal.

It is not entirely unexpected. Facebook has used the Israeli company for two years to identify and “tag” who is who on the social network. Face.com’s last product was an application that allows users to click a picture of their Facebook “friends” and tag it automatically before posting it on Facebook; for now, it works only on the iPhone.

That alone is alluring for Facebook: Its users upload 300 million pictures a day at last count, but identifying pictures of Facebook friends on mobile devices, which is the next frontier for Facebook, is not as easy as it is on computers.

Facebook’s short term future, particularly on Wall Street, depends in large part on how it takes advantage of cellphones and tablets – and how it spins money from one of its singular assets: pictures of babies, weddings, vacations and parties.

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Zombie-Proof Hyundai - creates the Zombie Survival Machine based on its new Elantra Coupe -

Zombie-Proof Hyundai - creates the Zombie Survival Machine based on its new Elantra Coupe - 


Hyundai is looking toward the future.
Unfortunately it’s a bleak future, where humanity is on the verge of extinction brought upon by the Zombie Apocalypse, but, hey, you’ve got to plan for everything, right?
The automaker has teamed up with the creator of the “The Walking Dead” comic book series, Robert Kirkman, to create a Zombie Survival Machine based on its new Elantra Coupe, which will be unveiled at San Diego Comic Con on July 11th.
The car was designed by Kirkman who tapped a decade of experience vanquishing zombies to come up with the key protective features of the vehicle. These include a spiked cow catcher for plowing through slow-moving zombie mobs, spinning blades protruding from the wheel hubs, slotted metal plates protecting the windows and a metal fence that pops up around the sunroof opening to create a protected firing position. The car runs on all-terrain rally style tires for high speed driving and has an old-school CB radio to communicate with other survivors.
Talk about safety as a selling point.
Zombie culture has reached apocalyptic levels in recent years, with dozens of best-selling books, a TV version of The Walking Dead, and Brad Pitt’s upcoming film, World War Z on the way. Although we hope that the Zombie Survival Machine will ever need to go into production, an illustrated version of it will appear in the 100th issue of “The Walking Dead,” where Hyundai hopes it will connect with fans and send hordes into its showrooms.

US regains supercomputer crown... - Sequoia is 1.55 times faster next model, uses over 1.5 million processors -

US regains supercomputer crown... - Sequoia is 1.55 times faster next model, uses over 1.5 million processors - 
Picture of the team behind IBM's Sequoia.

IBM's Sequoia has taken the top spot on the list of the world's fastest supercomputers for the US.

The newly installed system trumped Japan's K Computer made by Fujitsu which fell to second place.

It is the first time the US can claim pole position since it was beaten by China two years ago.

Sequoia will be used to carry out simulations to help extend the life of aging nuclear weapons, avoiding the need for real-world underground tests.

It is installed at the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.

"While Sequoia may be the fastest, the underlying computing capabilities it provides give us increased confidence in the nation's nuclear deterrent," said National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) administrator Thomas D'Agostino.

"Sequoia also represents continued American leadership in high performance computing."

Adding processors
The computer is capable of calculating in one hour what otherwise would take 6.7 billion people using hand calculators 320 years to complete if they worked non-stop.

Although the US's efforts helped secure it the lead, its overall tally of three computers in the top 10 was worse than six months ago when it had five.

China and Germany both have two supercomputers, while Japan, France and Italy have one.

But IBM proved to be the leading manufacturer claiming five out of the top 10 spots.

David Turek, vice president of deep computing at the firm, told the BBC his company had been preparing to retake the top spot for two years.

"Substantial planning went into this. We knew the day would come."

Sequoia is 1.55 times faster than the Fujitsu model, and uses over 1.5 million processors.

In comparison the Japanese model has less than half the number of CPUs (central processing units).

Energy efficient
The IBM supercomputer is also more energy efficient than the Fujitsu model.

Sequoia consumes 7.9 megawatts compared to the K computer which uses 12.6 megawatts.

Mr Turek described Sequoia as the "pinnacle of energy efficiency" and said the reaction had been "very enthusiastic."

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