Google is using AI to design chips that will accelerate AI

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A new reinforcement-learning algorithm has learned to optimize the placement of components on a computer chip to make it more efficient and less power-hungry.

3D Tetris: Chip placement, also known as chip floor planning, is a complex three-dimensional design problem. It requires the careful configuration of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of components across multiple layers in a constrained area. Traditionally, engineers will manually design configurations that minimize the amount of wire used between components as a proxy for efficiency. They then use electronic design automation software to simulate and verify their performance, which can take up to 30 hours for a single floor plan.

Time lag: Because of the time investment put into each chip design, chips are traditionally supposed to last between two and five years. But as machine-learning algorithms have rapidly advanced, the need for new chip architectures has also accelerated. In recent years, several algorithms for optimizing chip floor planning have sought to speed up the design process, but they’ve been limited in their ability to optimize across multiple goals, including the chip’s power draw, computational performance, and area.

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Inside the race to build the best quantum computer on Earth

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IBM thinks quantum supremacy is not the milestone we should care about.

Google’s most advanced computer isn’t at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, nor anywhere in the febrile sprawl of Silicon Valley. It’s a few hours’ drive south in Santa Barbara, in a flat, soulless office park inhabited mostly by technology firms you’ve never heard of.

An open-plan office holds several dozen desks. There’s an indoor bicycle rack and designated “surfboard parking,” with boards resting on brackets that jut out from the wall. Wide double doors lead into a lab the size of a large classroom. There, amidst computer racks and jumbles of instrumentation, a handful of cylindrical vessels—each a little bigger than an oil drum—hang from vibration-damping rigs like enormous steel pupae.

On one of them, the outer vessel has been removed to expose a multi-tiered tangle of steel and brass innards known as “the chandelier.” It’s basically a supercharged refrigerator that gets colder with each layer down. At the bottom, kept in a vacuum a hair’s breadth above absolute zero, is what looks to the naked eye like an ordinary silicon chip. But rather than transistors, it’s etched with tiny superconducting circuits that, at these low temperatures, behave as if they were single atoms obeying the laws of quantum physics. Each one is a quantum bit, or qubit—the basic information–storage unit of a quantum computer.

Late last October, Google announced that one of those chips, called Sycamore, had become the first to demonstrate “quantum supremacy” by performing a task that would be practically impossible on a classical machine. With just 53 qubits, Sycamore had completed a calculation in a few minutes that, according to Google, would have taken the world’s most powerful existing supercomputer, Summit, 10,000 years. Google touted this as a major breakthrough, comparing it to the launch of Sputnik or the first flight by the Wright brothers—the threshold of a new era of machines that would make today’s mightiest computer look like an abacus.

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New Google AI tool detects breast cancer better than radiologists, study suggests

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Fox Business’s Susan Li told Stuart Varney that data from Google Health’s new breast cancer study, while positive, needs more development.

A new Google artificial intelligence model appears capable of more accurately spotting breast cancer in mammograms than radiologists.

In a study published in the scientific journal Nature, researchers from Google Health, Northwestern University and three British medical institutions wrote in their abstract that they had aimed to “identify breast cancer before symptoms appear, enabling earlier therapy for [a] more treatable disease.”

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The 10 best examples of how AI is already used in our everyday life

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When you hear news about artificial intelligence (AI), it might be easy to assume it has nothing to do with you. You might imagine that artificial intelligence is only something the big tech giants are focused on, and that AI doesn’t impact your everyday life. In reality, artificial intelligence is encountered by most people from morning until night. Here are 10 of the best examples of how AI is already used in our everyday lives.

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How Google has become the biggest travel company

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For decades travel agents had a “lock” on vacations. Before the internet it was near impossible to find cheap fares yourself. And choosing the perfect hotel involved a lot of flicking through glossy brochures.

The “do it yourself” approach was a huge hassle. It was a lot easier to hire a knowledgeable travel agent. Then disruptor stocks like Booking.com (BKNG) and Expedia (EXPE) blew up the old model forever. With a few clicks, you could compare any flight or hotel in the world.

For the first time ever, you could find all the special deals and hidden gems only travel agents knew about. Meanwhile Priceline (now Booking.com) has made investors rich. Its stock shot up 25,000% in two decades, as you can see here:

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Google Maps may soon highlight well-lit streets for walkers

Google to provide Android operating system for media displays in cars

New Lighting layer could make walking at night safer.

Google Maps is great for getting directions while driving and using public transport, but in the last year it has been rolling out more features focused on traveling by foot as well. Recently, the company introduced AR walking directions and detailed spoken walking directions for people with vision impairments. In the future, Google may be adding a new feature to help people find safer streets to walk at night.

According to XDA Developers, an Android development community whose members have analyzed the Android APK to look for unreleased features, there are indications of a new Lighting layer in Google Maps. This layer would indicate which streets are brightly lit by street lights by showing a yellow highlight.

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Google’s parent company Alphabet introduced a new project aimed at developing A.I-enabled robots that learn on their own

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The new project is focused on building robots capable of useful, everyday tasks, like sorting recycling.

Alphabet’s X group, the R&D lab formerly known as Google X, introduced the Everyday Robot Project on Thursday.

The project comes out of Alphabet’s string of robotics acquisitions several years ago, which had been put on hold.

The new project is focused on building robots capable of useful, everyday tasks, like sorting recycling.

Alphabet’s X group said it will focus on AI-enabled robots that can be learn tasks on their own, rather than being programmed to do specific things.

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, is getting back into robotics after a first attempt several years ago fizzled. But this time the company wants to create robots with minds of their own.

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Google to offer checking accounts in partnership with banks starting next year

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Google is the latest big tech company to make a move into banking and personal financial services: The company is gearing up to offer checking accounts to consumers, as first reported by The Wall Street Journal, starting as early as next year. Google is calling the project “Cache,” and it’ll partner with banks and credit unions to offer the checking accounts, with the banks handling all financial and compliance activities related to the accounts.

Google’s Caesar Sengupta spoke to the WSJ about the new initiative, and Sengupta made clear that Google will be seeking to put its financial institution partners much more front-and-center for its customers than other tech companies have perhaps done with their financial products. Apple works with Goldman Sachs on its Apple Card credit product, for instance, but the credit card is definitely presented primarily as an Apple product.

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Researchers used a laser to hack Alexa and other voice assistants

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San Francisco (CNN Business)Usually you have to talk to voice assistants to get them to do what you want. But a group of researchers determined they can also command them by shining a laser at smart speakers and other gadgets that house virtual helpers such as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Google’s Assistant.

Researchers at the University of Michigan and Japan’s University of Electro-Communications figured out they could do this silently and from hundreds of feet away, as long as they had a line of sight to the smart gadget. The finding could enable anyone (with motivation and a few hundred dollars’ worth of electronics) to attack a smart speaker from outside your house, making it do anything from playing music to opening a smart garage door to buying you stuff on Amazon.

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Google says its quantum computer has just completed a 10,000-year task in less than four minutes

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‘This achievement is the result of years of research and the dedication of many people,’ Google engineering director Hartmut Neven said in a blog post

(Bloomberg) — Alphabet Inc.’s Google said it’s built a computer that’s reached “quantum supremacy,” performing a computation in 200 seconds that would take the fastest supercomputers about 10,000 years.

The results of Google’s tests, which were conducted using a quantum chip it developed in-house, were published Wednesday in the scientific journal Nature.

“This achievement is the result of years of research and the dedication of many people,” Google engineering director Hartmut Neven said in a blog post. “It’s also the beginning of a new journey: figuring out how to put this technology to work. We’re working with the research community and have open-sourced tools to enable others to work alongside us to identify new applications.”

The idea behind quantum computing is to exponentially improve the processing speed and power of computers to be able to simulate large systems, driving advances in physics, chemistry and other fields. Rather than storing information in binary 0s or 1s like classical computers, quantum computers rely on “qubits”, which can be both 0 and 1 simultaneously, dramatically increasing the amount of information that can be encoded.

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Google quantum computer leaves old-school supercomputers in the dust

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Google’s Sycamore chip powers a quantum computer

 The era of practical quantum computers has begun — at least on one speed test showing “quantum supremacy.”

A Google quantum computer has far outpaced ordinary computing technology, an achievement called quantum supremacy that’s an important milestone for a revolutionary way of processing data. Google disclosed the results in the journal Nature on Wednesday. The achievement came after more than a decade of work at Google, including the use of its own quantum computing chip, called Sycamore.

“Our machine performed the target computation in 200 seconds, and from measurements in our experiment we determined that it would take the world’s fastest supercomputer 10,000 years to produce a similar output,” Google researchers said in a blog post about the work.

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Alphabet’s Wing begins making first commercial drone deliveries in the US

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Alphabet -owned drone delivery spin-out Wing is starting to service U.S. customers, after becoming the first drone delivery company to get the federal go-ahead to do so earlier this year. Wing is working with FedEx Express and Walgreens on this pilot, and their first customers are Michael and Kelly Collver, who will get a “cough and cold pack,” which includes Tylenol, cough drops, facial tissues, Emergen-C and bottled water (do people who have colds need bottled water?).

The Collvers are receiving their package in Christianburg, Va., which is where Wing and Walgreens will run this inaugural pilot of the drone delivery service. Walgreens gets a noteworthy credit in the bargain, becoming the first U.S. retailer to do a store-to-customer doorstep delivery via drone, while FedEx will be the first logistics provider to deliver an e-commerce drone delivery with a separate shipment.

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