This is a guest post from Mike Montemorra, who is a technology guru with long and successful career in computer industry. Mike keeps an eye on the latest developments in computer and storage technology and publishes his observations weekly. Below is his brief summary of what was important in the past week.
What did we learn last week?
Well, for us in Colorado, we enjoyed a week of warm weather giving us line-of-sight to summertime, but as of today (3/29), it appears that winter is back for at least a couple days… Ugh! Well, be sure to enjoy every day… get out and have fun despite the weather as I am going to do! Here are some technology snippets from the weeks’ news for your enjoyment!
We all know that MRAM is one of the more promising next generation data storage elements, but have you considered how MR (magnetoresistive) sensors will evolve post-HDD? This question was studied by IEEE and sensor roadmaps for a few promising industries identified. Some may surprise you as there are many applications for these ultra-sensitive (down to femtotesla) magnetometers, especially in IoT (biomedical, pneumatic, automotive, ultra-small sensors, etc).
Here’s an interesting development in nano-magnetism that might ultimately enable such things as skyrmion based switching as well as novel storage schemes. What they have found seems to be more than simple exchange magnetism; the researchers found that if a nano-magnet is oriented north (or south), then the neighboring nano-magnet is oriented west (or east). This observation was repeatable at the atomic level, leading to optimism that new storage or even compute elements could be built (assuming, of course, that defects in these ultra-thin films can be controlled).
Image source: Superuser.com
We’ve discussed the migration from SATA to NVMe (due to its speed and flexibility) for solid state storage systems and this article underscores that migration, driven of late by the dramatic reductions in SSD pricing.In the data center, it looks like WDC is becoming a force with increasing customer wins and revenues. Their ActiveScale and OpenFlex system designs are some of the key technologies that enabled those customer wins. Keep up the nice work, guys!
It looks like the gloves are off in a bare knuckle fight over lucrative GPU share. Intel recently announced how its new ‘Gen 11’ GPU architecture improves performance (and more importantly, improves their competitiveness with Nvidia and AMD). AMD, not to be outdone, released a white paperdescribing all the proprietary performance bottlenecks included within Intel processors (and why EPYC is the better way to go).
Here is a line of RISC-V processors that span the range from a low power IoT processor with integrated transciever to a full-on multi-core processor. The more of these kinds of products that become available, the more pervasive open-source RISC-V systems will become.
In an interesting quantum computing development, scientists at Penn State have found a way to improve measurement accuracy of the quantum state of super-cooled cesium atoms. The atoms, after measurement, can be reused so this is a practical approach for a quantum computer. The team is now looking at this as a major step toward developing an accurate quantum computer. Here’s the layman’s summary and the full paper with lots of detail.
The use of radiative pressure to move objects helped the inventor of the ‘optical tweezer’ win the 2018 Nobel prize in physics. This new development using a similar approach looks like it could revolutionize the ‘remote control’ by fetching your beer, but more importantly it could revolutionize spacecraft propulsion! Cool for sure! Here’s the full paper from Cal Tech.
As the 5G hype continues, the thought that other wireless standards do exist (like 802.11ax) and should be considered as you consider new home or business hardware. 5G is powerful butt will take years for it to become ubiquitous. Meanwhile this article discusses the pros and cons of WiFi 6 (802.11ax) vs 5G. Note that most 802.11ax routers also come with the new WPA3 security protocol.
For those of us that use Android phones, beware of the antivirus software you install. This analysis shows that many don’t work as advertised… see where yours stands.
Also, on the subject of Android, it looks like Google is testing a feature that will alert you when a site is trying to access sensor or other data from your phone and allow you to ‘disallow’ access. This approach differs somewhat from what Apple has done in their iOS 12.2 release (items 11 and 13 in this article).
Some good management tips advising us to listen more, internalize the other party’s message and then talk. It is a difficult skill to learn as most can attest, but effective in the long run.