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Autonomous Ships, World’s Smallest Chips And More In This Week’s Top News

Autonomous Ships, World’s Smallest Chips And More In This Week’s Top News

In 1620, a ship named Mayflower left the shores of London carrying around 130 people in cramped up decks. After months of voyage in harsh weathers of the Atlantic, the ship anchored in America with one of its earliest settlers. 400 years later, Mayflower is ready to sail again. Only this time it has no one on the deck. Mayflower 400, the world’s first autonomous ship, is preparing for its maiden voyage. The ship is a 15 m-long trimaran, which weighs nine tons and navigates with complete autonomy, and is preparing for a transatlantic voyage. Created by Promare and partners, this unmanned vessel runs on solar energy and uses IBM AI, automation, cloud and edge technologies to provide a safer, more cost-effective alternative to manned ships. Designed for long-term sea exploration, MAS will gather ocean data for critical issues like global warming, pollution and impacts on marine life.

If all goes well, Mayflower 400 will sail from Plymouth UK to Plymouth Massachusetts in the second half of May’ 2021.

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DeepMind To Set Up Shop In Toronto

Alphabet’s AI research wing DeepMind is on the look out for a top AI researcher for their Toronto office. DeepMind currently employs more than a 1,000 people worldwide spread across London, California, Alberta, Montreal and Paris.  Canada has a reputation for producing one of the top AI researchers in the world. Turing award recipient Geoff Hinton is based out of Toronto. Google and Facebook have been head hunting the top names of the AI community for a while now. If Google grabs Hinton, Facebook gets Yann Lecun. Recently Google AI’s top researcher Samy Bengio quit the company and moved to Apple. AI research positions are one of the highest paying jobs in the world right now. The technology developed at DeepMind and Facebook’s FAIR is directly being used to power their products. 

Chips To Get Smaller

IBM’s 2nm Wafer (Image credits: IBM)

On Thursday, IBM unveiled a breakthrough in semiconductor design and process. The company flaunted the world’s first chip with 2 nanometer (nm) nanosheet technology. “IBM’s new 2 nm chip technology helps advance the state-of-the-art in the semiconductor industry, addressing this growing demand. It is projected to achieve 45 percent higher performance, or 75 percent lower energy use, than today’s most advanced 7 nm node chips,” said the company in a statement

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According to IBM, advanced 2 nm chips can:

  • Quadruple cell phone battery life, only requiring users to charge their devices every four days.
  • Cut down the carbon footprint of data centers, which account for one percent of global energy use. 
  • Drastically speed up a laptop’s functions, ranging from quicker processing in applications, to assisting in language translation more easily, to faster internet access.
  • Contribute to faster object detection and reaction time in autonomous vehicles like self-driving cars.

IBM’s legacy of semiconductor breakthroughs also includes the first implementation of 7 nm and 5 nm process technologies.

Elon Musk’s brain implant company Neuralink which has been enjoying success with Mind Pong has been served a shocker as its co-founder Max Hodak parted ways with the company. Hodak founded the brain-chip company along with Elon Musk back in 2016. From solving brain diseases to transhumanism, the purview of the brain-implant company had captured the public imagination in no time. The abrupt departure of Max Hodak, and Musk’s silence, hints at trouble at the management level. Hodak, who had left Neuralink a few weeks ago, said he will remain a “huge cheerleader” for the company who has taught him a ton. As for the future of Hodak and what went wrong at Neuralink, we still have to wait. But, when one of Hodak’s Twitter followers asked him what’s next, he said, “Not Jurassic Park.”

India Shuts Door On China’s 5G 

In a statement issued by the Indian telecom department, service providers like Jio, Airtel and others have ditched the Chinese 5G behemoths like Huawei by partnering with Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung and state-run Centre for Development of Telematics. The Chinese interference at the Indian border would have further added to India’s stance on their neighbor. India’s decision also echoes those of the US and the UK who gave a hard time to Huawei. 

New Cyberattack Shuts Down Oil Pipeline

As the US tries to wrap its head around the Solarwinds cyber attack, it is hit with one more. According to reports, the largest fuel operator in the US, Colonial Pipeline, shut its entire network, after a cyber attack on Friday that involved ransomware.

Colonial supplies 2.5 million barrels of gasoline per day along with other fuels through its 8,850 kms of pipelines across the US. In a s statement, the company said it shut down its operations after learning of a cyberattack on Friday using ransomware. “Colonial Pipeline is taking steps to understand and resolve this issue. At this time, our primary focus is the safe and efficient restoration of our service and our efforts to return to normal operation,” it said. 

Biden Administration Backs Vaccine IP Waive Off

On Wednesday the US government announced that it supports waiving of intellectual property protections for Covid-19 vaccines.”This is a global health crisis,” said Katehrine Tai, United States Trade Representative. “The Administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for COVID-19 vaccines,” she added. The Biden Administration said that it will work with the private sector and all possible partners — to expand vaccine manufacturing and distribution. It will also work to increase the raw materials needed to produce those vaccines.

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