The American silicon giant Intel, which was recently outperformed by Samsung in the chip sales numbers, has achieved a new milestone. Intel’s Netherlands-based partner QuTech has managed to stuff a programmable 2-qubit quantum computer on a silicon chip and run two quantum algorithms.

To make the silicon-based quantum chip a reality, researchers used a unique variant of the qubit (the primary computing unit used in quantum computers), known as the spin qubit. It is an electron excited using microwaves.

Using the spin qubit eliminates the need for the necessary extreme conditions. For instance, the near-zero temperature and also the use of superconductors, like in the 17-qubit and the breakthrough 49-qubit quantum computing chips Intel created with their partner QuTech.

The experiment is more of an effort towards making quantum computing compatible with the existing technology, rather than showing off its performance. The presence of silicon is somewhat assuring; the current computer industry has already widely explored the material. The researchers say that the silicon material “naturally causes little disruption to our qubits” and “silicon quantum chips are very similar to industrial classic computer chips.”

Despite the ongoing developments in Quantum computing with scientists being able to control a few qubits reliably, we are still away from realizing the dream of a real quantum computer. But with the said development on the table, we might see more powerful quantum chips capable of executing more complex algorithms sooner than expected. But to do so, the number of qubits would have to be increased, according to the researchers.


Intel should work harder to beat AMD in 2018

However you spin it, AMD gave Intel a bit of a kicking over the last year. You can still argue about Intel’s overall performance lead, their vast revenue streams, and that they still have the highest core-count processor, but they need more than that if they want whip the AMD upstarts in 2018.

I’m pretty confident if you were to ask Intel how 2017 had been you’d hear a lot of bluster about their 18-core Skylake-X Core i9, and about how they’d released the most scalable CPU range there’s ever been. You might also hear about how they’d squeezed six HyperThreaded Intel cores into their mainstream desktop range for the first time and how it was the absolute bestest CPU for gamers.

Well, that’s arguably what you’d hear if you spoke to anyone from their marketing department anyways. Anyone outside of marketing trying to feed you such PR spin is probably just talking out loud to convince themselves and barely even noticed you were trying to get their attention.

The reality is that Intel had no idea how good the AMD Ryzen range of processors was going to be, what they were planning to do with their secret mega-core Threadripper lineup, and had no plan in place for how to respond. That resulted in a seemingly panicked Intel yanking in the release dates for every single processor launch post-Ryzen. That, in turn, either screwed over the motherboard vendors, meant customers couldn’t actually buy the new CPUs, or resulted in the early retirement of erstwhile CPUs that had only launched a few months back.

It was all a bit of a mess.

Intel Core X-series CPUs

So what can Intel do to turn things around in this new year? Start early. The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) kicks off in Las Vegas in January, and we’d be willing to bet there will be some serious Intel-ing going on up and down the Strip. But the very first thing they need to do is make sure they get the Intel Coffee Lake stock situation sorted and ensure there are enough CPUs to go around.

The effectively paper launch of Coffee Lake feels like it was a damaging step for Intel. They made big noises about a new generation of processors, released them to the press garnering positive reviews, then only had a handful of retail chips to go around the world. These new chips made at least three of the recently released Core X-series CPUs obsolete and meant that no-one wanted to spend any money on the only Intel processors you could actually buy. Why would you even think about buying a Kaby Lake chip when the promise of Coffee Lake is being dangled like a silicon carrot in front of you?

Intel also need to sort out the Z370 motherboard monopoly. Having only a single possible chipset choice is unforgivable right now. There are reports Intel are prepping a host of new Coffee Lake CPUs for the new year, as leaked via a recent AIDA64 update. So long as these come in decent numbers, alongside the previously ‘launched’ Core i7 8700K, i5 8600K, and i5 8400, that’s great. But if they launch a slew of new chips – featuring four Core i5 CPUs and four Core i3 – without bringing us the mainstream H370 and B360 chipsets they’re missing a trick.

Intel Z370 motherboards are the only option right now

Intel have to get the two lower-end motherboard chipsets released as soon as they can. They’ve created, what I think, is the best gaming CPU they’ve ever made in the Core i5 8400. It’s rocking six full Intel cores, has fantastic single-threaded gaming throughput, and a bargain price… at its release RRP at least. But when all you can partner it with are expensive Z370 motherboards then it’s a waste. The same can be said of the Core i3 8350K, a chip which is effectively just the best gaming CPU of the Kaby Lake generation but with a $100 price cut.

With AMD’s Ryzen 5 / B350 chipset combo offering great gaming and computational performance for a relatively bargain price, Intel are going to have to get a competing platform ready almost as soon as the new year’s hangover has started to ease in January.

But those are the obvious things, things Intel really should have sorted out in the last year. Intel also need to take some risks in order to put AMD back in their box again. And that is exactly what Brian Krzanich has been promising in his Christmas Queen’s Speech to Intel employees.

“The new normal for Intel is that we are going to take more risks,” he said in a December memo. “The new normal is that we will continue to make bold moves and try new things. We’ll make mistakes. Bold doesn’t always mean right or perfect. The new normal is that we’ll get good at trying new things, determining what works and moving forward.”

Intel 9th Gen Core i3 series chips could be budget heroes

The biggest risk they could take would be to ditch their HyperThreading shenanigans. By that I don’t mean kill off the ability for each core to tackle multiple problems concurrently, but stop turning it off for marketing reasons. At the moment Intel segment their chips in such a way that their top Core i7 CPUs include HT as standard, with the Core i5 processors essentially being the same but without HT. It’s a similar situation lower down the stack for the Core i3 chips.

With the rumours of Intel releasing an eight-core mainstream processor at some point in 2018 that would be the perfect opportunity for them to really take the core-count battle to AMD. The red team have built the House of Ryzen on the huge increase in cores and threads their CPUs have brought to the party, but Intel could easily outgun them by retaining HyperThreading on all their processors.

The Core i7 chips could sit on eight cores and 16 threads, the Core i5 range could then utilise the six-core, 12-thread design, with the Core i3 chips following up with four cores and eight threads. That would level the playing field in the Ryzen vs. Core situation at the 7 and 5 strata, but give Intel a huge lead in the budget sector – traditionally a place where AMD has been nesting.

While this has been mooted as a possible move around their 9th Gen Core it would still require some cojones on the part of Intel. It would mean the Core i3 range suddenly looks an awful lot like the Core i7s of the 7th Gen Core architecture. That’s a big jump, and would make them the go-to for the gamer on a budget, but it would mean Intel swallowing the risk that it might cannibalise the sales of their higher-end, higher-margin processors. Such a move would certainly take the wind out of AMD’s sales as they ride the high seas of high core count CPUs, but whether Intel have the chutzpah to go through with it I don’t know.

Intel socket death

I would suggest they stop releasing tiny, iterative updates to their CPU sockets too. While the future-proofing of AMD’s AM4 platform – the basis for all their mainstream CPUs and APUs until 2020 – is a great bulletpoint feature it’s worth has yet to be tested as we’re still sitting on the first flush of Ryzen chips. But Intel constantly changing chipsets and sockets with each successive generation is getting real old. The fact that people have managed to get Coffee Lake operating on the 100- and 200-series motherboards is quite damning, especially given that we’ve effectively been sat on the same ol’ 14nm architecture for years.

The biggest thing Intel can do to take the fight to AMD, however, is get Raja to magic up a discrete graphics card to put the fear of Koduri into his former employers. I can almost guarantee that won’t happen, but if Intel can start talking seriously about what Raja Koduri is up to in the discrete GPU arena, with a few potential hints at where they’re aiming performance at, we could be very much on the way to a third way for graphics cards.

In an ideal world Intel would come back hard against the AMD incursions, which is historically what’s happened whenever the AMD horde has been at the border, and that would only benefit us consumers. After years of stagnation and barely iterative product releases, however, there is always the chance that Intel will remain mired and immovable. That would mean a few slight tweaks to their release schedule, and nothing major. Fingers crossed Brian Krzanich’s risk-taking Christmas message will bear fruit and won’t just be a desktop Core i9 with eight cores.

Intel squeezed an AMD graphics chip, RAM and CPU into one module

Intel may have unveiled its latest Core CPUs for mainstream laptops, but the company has something more advanced up its sleeves for what it calls its “enthusiast” customers. The new chip will be part of the 8th-generation Core H series of processors, and comes with discrete-level graphics cards built in, as well as its own RAM.

Having all this built into the processor frees up space for other components inside a laptop, so device manufacturers can squeeze in things like larger batteries or more optimal fan designs. Intel is not sharing performance details for the new CPUs yet, but it’s promising power that will be good enough for gamers or content creators who often run taxing programs like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.

Specifically, the new processor integrates a “semi-custom” AMD graphics chip and the second generation of Intel’s “High Bandwidth Memory (HBM2)”, which is comparable to GDDR 5 in a traditional laptop. The three typically distinct components are able to coexist on one chip because of Intel’s Embedded Multi-Die Interconnect Bridge (EMIB), which “allows heterogeneous silicon to quickly pass information in extremely close proximity.” The company also came up with a power-sharing framework that lets the GPU manage each component’s temperature, performance and energy use.

This infrastructure should free up about three square inches of board space that could either be used for other components as described above, or make for thinner laptops altogether. The idea is that powerful laptops for gamers no longer have to be chunky beasts.

The new Core H processor is the first consumer product to use EMIB, and will be released in the first quarter of 2018, and many laptop makers are expected to offer products powered by the chip. This is a pretty significant development that not only benefits the enthusiast audience, but could also have trickle down effects that could improve mainstream laptops (and even other devices) in the future.


Intel and AMD enter into partnership to combine Intel CPU with AMD graphics

The two chip manufacturers Intel and AMD have announced that they have entered into a partnership to combine Intel CPU with an AMD graphic chip. The companies expect to bring more robust graphics power to lightweight notebooks.

Intel is currently relying on technology called Embedded Multi Die Interconnect Bridge which reduces the average silicon footprint to less than half on a motherboard. This is the result of the combination of the CPU and discrete graphics in a single processor package.

The EMIB is a bridge that quickly passes information in extremely close proximity and eliminates height impact along with manufacturing and design complexities. The elimination results in faster, more powerful and more efficient products in small sizes.

Intel is expected to bring one of its eight generation Core H series processors with a semi custom graphics chip from AMD. Intel which is facing a stiff competition from NVIDIA the partnership might help both the companies in the longer term.

Laptops are expected to get a big boost in power with the new chip and help manufacturers to provide more space to other components in the devices.

Currently there is no confirmed ETA mentioned by either of the companies but we expect the manufacturers to begin shipping with the new chip some time in the first quarter of 2018.


Open Source Summit Roundup, Day 1

The Linux Foundation released the first six in a planned series of Open Source Guides for the Enterprise during Open Source Summit North America in Los Angeles today.

The Linux Foundation developed the guides in conjunction with TODO Group, with contributors representing Cloud Native Computing Foundation, Microsoft, Google, Netflix, Samsung, Red Hat, Comcast, Autodesk, Intel, Oath, Facebook and Heptio.

These initial offerings cover the following:

  • Creating an Open Source Program
  • Using Open Source Code
  • Participating in Open Source Communities
  • Recruiting Open Source Developers
  • Measuring Your Open Source Program’s Success
  • Tools for Managing Open Source Programs

“Today most software in any technology product or service is open source,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director of The Linux Foundation in an announcement on their website. “Just as projects are looking to create communities to sustain them over the long term, corporations are seeking to better understand how they can work with and contribute to open source. The new guides will help more organizations directly engage for the benefit of the broader community.”

More guides are scheduled for release, though the topics and release dates have not been announced. They will all be available on GitHub and at the Linux Foundation website.

Cloud Native Computing Foundation  announces Certified Kubernetes Service Providers

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation announced the first group of Kubernetes Certified Service Providers (KCSPs), organizations that are already adept at helping enterprises adopt Kubernetes in their move towards container, cloud and SaaS-based infrastructures.

These first 22-plus organizations were the first to meet the newly outlined requirement of having three or more engineers who’ve passed the Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) exam, demonstrable activity in the Kubernetes community with active contributions and a business model that supports enterprise end-users.

In addition to the introduction of the KCSP program, engineers looking to become a qualified CKA can now visit the CNCF website and take the publicly available exam.

“The founding class of KCSPs represents the maturation of the Kubernetes ecosystem and demonstrates that Kubernetes is ready for widespread use with enterprises of all sizes,”  said Dan Kohn, Executive Director of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation in an announcement on their website. “As Kubernetes has grown, so has the demand from enterprises needing expert services and support. Enterprises working with KCSPs can be confident the partner they’ve chosen to work with has the training and skills needed to help them succeed with Kubernetes.”

The Whopper Coin, Movidius Myriad X VPU, and DxEnterprise v17

Burger King has launched the Whopper Coin in Russia, which uses blockchain technology as a secure system for rewards points.

Customers will be able to scan their receipt with a smartphone and will be rewarded with 1 WhopperCoin for every rouble ($0.02) spent on a Whopper sandwich at the fastfood chain. When a user amasses 1,700 WhopperCoin (five or six burgers worth of purchases), they can redeem them for a free Whopper.

Since the crypto-currency is hosted on the Waves platform, it can be freely traded and transferred like any other.

“Eating Whoppers now is a strategy for financial prosperity tomorrow,” Burger King Russia’s head of external communications, Ivan Shestov said.

DH2i adds Linux, Docker support to high availability container solution
High availability and disaster recovery developer DH2i has launched DxEnterprise v17, adding support for Linux to the previously Windows Server-exclusive virtualization management software.

The new release adds support Docker containers for the first time, as well as updated support for SQL Server 2017.

“DH2i’s expanded capabilities have made the underlying infrastructure and platform essentially irrelevant for our customers,” said OJ Ngo, co-founder and CTO of DH2i. “Our customers are able to enjoy an extremely simplistic management experience with our unified interface for Windows, Linux and Docker—all while our Smart Availability technology dynamically ensures that workloads only come online at their best execution venue.”

Introducing the Movidius Myriad X vision processing unit (VPU)The Intel subsidiary Movidius is announcing its Movidius Myriad X vision processing unit, which is intended for deep learning and AI acceleration in vision based devices. Such devices include, drones, cameras, and AR/VR headsets.

The Myriad X features a Neural Compute Engine, which lets the Myriad X achieve over one trillion operations per second of peak DNN inferencing throughput. It also comes with a Myriad Development Kit, which includes all development tools, frameworks and APIs to implement custom vision, imaging, and deep neural network workloads on the chip.

Using Preact instead of React There are plenty of alternatives to React, and one open source project thinks that it is the best choice.

With the thinnest possible Virtual DOM abstraction on top of the DOM, Preact is a “first class citizen of the web platform,” according to the Preact team.

Preact is a speedy, lightweight library option, and it’s designed to work with plenty of React components. Preach is also small enough that the code is actually the largest part of the application, according to Preact’s team, which means less JavaScript to download, parse and execute. It includes extra performance features, and it’s optimized for event handling via Linked State. Developers can use Preact for building parts of apps without complex integration.

Dell’s XPS 13 is going quad-core

Dell’s XPS 13 has been one of the best Windows laptops you can buy for years, so it’s no surprise it’s received several spec bumps already. This season’s update is arguably the most significant one yet: the XPS 13 is going quad-core.

Intel’s recently announced 8th-gen chips (Kaby Lake R) increase performance by adding cores instead of boosting clock speeds or shrinking the architecture. That mean that for many tasks that depend on multiple threads – like video rendering, 3D modelling, or streaming gameplay – the laptop should see a significant boost in performance. In fact, Dell claims it’s seeing a 40-percent performance increase compared to the previous generation without sacrificing battery life.

Quad-core processors have traditionally been one of the main reasons to choose a 15-inch laptop over a 13-inch one, so the line between models just became a little blurrier. That said, the XPS 15 will still be more powerful overall as the processors run at a higher wattage – not to mention having the option for discrete graphics.

It’s also worth noting that, of course, all the other popular Windows laptops in the category will get Kaby Lake R in due time. Dell says its worked some software magic to optimize the chips further, but the proof is in the pudding.

Don’t expect any other major changes when the laptop goes on September 12 (Dell wasn’t ready to share exact pricing yet). It’s the same gorgeous Inifinity Display screen, the same classy combo of carbon fiber and metal, and the same unfortunately-placed webcam. Unless you need more power, there’s no reason to upgrade, but what a nice power boost it is.

Intel has decided to retire its older chipset Atom x5-Z8100P SoC which has been available for years. Microsoft’s Hololens has also been using this chipset since its first launch. According to reports, Intel has asked the customers of this chipset to place their final order until September 30th.

While the orders will be shipped to them by October 30th. And after this deadline, there won’t be any production for this chipset by Intel. While Microsoft has been working on the next version of their Hololens Augmented Reality product. This news may indicate us that Microsoft may have included a new chipset for the next version of HoloLens.

Microsoft had already revealed that they would be using a newer Hololens Processing Unit HPU) 2.0 that will have an AI co-processor integrated into it. Microsoft Hololens’ next version is expected to come in mid-2018 and they will be ready with the consumer version of Hololens in 2019-2020.

Microsoft has many times reiterated that they consider Mixed reality and artificial intelligence as the future of computing. Microsoft had said at Computex last June that they hope to see 80 million VR devices in consumers’ hands by 2020. It looks Microsoft is well on track with their Mixed Reality vision.


Blockchain is practically tailor-made for business, and not just because it’s a cornerstone of Bitcoin. Its decentralized, speedy approach to secure transactions is more convenient for tracking cargo around the world or providing digital IDs to those who’d otherwise have nothing.

And Microsoft knows it — it’s partnering with Intel to introduce a framework, Coco, that promises to make blockchain accessible to virtually any large business where it might help.

It draws on Intel’s Software Guard Extensions to provide blockchain’s distributed tech with speed (up to 1,600 transactions per second) and security that scales to just about any kind of business with relative ease. You don’t need to spend as much time crafting a custom blockchain system, or pay through the nose for computing power as your demands grow.

There are catches. Although Coco should work with any operating system and hypervisor (virtual machine monitor) that supports the right trusted execution environments, you need Microsoft’s Azure cloud services and Intel hardware. This is clearly aimed at enterprises with fairly run-of-the-mill setups. Microsoft and Intel ultimately plan to offer the work from Coco as part of an open source project in 2018, though, and there are already takers like Ethereum and JP Morgan.

This doesn’t mean that blockchain will be ubiquitous. However, it could lower many of the barriers to the technology. Rather than treat blockchain as an experiment or a niche tool, your workplace might use it whenever it makes sense. This might be the ticket to making blockchain mainstream.

Toyota is teaming up with Intel, and an assortment of tech and automotive firms, to develop an ecosystem for connected cars. By sharing self-driving vehicle data, the companies aim to develop maps and improved driver assistance systems based on cloud computing. Rounding out the alliance (dubbed the “Automotive Edge Computing Consortium”) will be Ericsson, Japanese auto parts-maker Denso Corp, and telecoms firm NTT DoCoMo.

Practically everyone is wading into the autonomous car space. And, collaboration between firms is just as common. Alphabet’s Waymo, and GM, are buddying up with Lyft. Renault is cozying up to Nissan.

And China’s search giant Baidu is targeting, well, everyone. And that’s just a smattering of the team-ups currently taking place. Toyota itself also recently hooked up with Nissan to build a US assembly plant for EVs and self-driving cars.

All those connected car tests are already racking up big data, which will ramp up exponentially over time. In fact, it’s estimated the data volume between vehicles and the cloud will reach 10 exabytes per month by 2025, said Toyota.

That’s approximately 10,000 times larger than the present amount, according to the company. Pooling some of that data in the form of an alliance therefore makes a lot of sense. Especially, if Toyota and Intel intend to keep up with the competition.