Scientists Develop the Next Generation of Reservoir Computing

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Phys.Org: A relatively new type of computing that mimics the way the human brain works was already transforming how scientists could tackle some of the most difficult information processing problems. Now, researchers have found a way to make what is called reservoir computing work between 33 and a million times faster, with significantly fewer computing resources and less data input needed. In fact, in one test of this next-generation reservoir computing, researchers solved a complex computing problem in less than a second on a desktop computer. Using the now current state-of-the-art technology, the same problem requires a supercomputer to solve and still takes much longer, said Daniel Gauthier, lead author of the study and professor of physics at The Ohio State University. The study was published today in the journal Nature Communications. Reservoir computing is a machine learning algorithm developed in the early 2000s and used to solve the "hardest of the hard" computing problems, such as forecasting the evolution of dynamical systems that change over time, Gauthier said. Previous research has shown that reservoir computing is well-suited for learning dynamical systems and can provide accurate forecasts about how they will behave in the future, Gauthier said. It does that through the use of an artificial neural network, somewhat like a human brain. Scientists feed data on a dynamical network into a "reservoir" of randomly connected artificial neurons in a network. The network produces useful output that the scientists can interpret and feed back into the network, building a more and more accurate forecast of how the system will evolve in the future. The larger and more complex the system and the more accurate that the scientists want the forecast to be, the bigger the network of artificial neurons has to be and the more computing resources and time that are needed to complete the task. In this study, Gauthier and his colleagues [...] found that the whole reservoir computing system could be greatly simplified, dramatically reducing the need for computing resources and saving significant time. They tested their concept on a forecasting task involving a weather system developed by Edward Lorenz, whose work led to our understanding of the butterfly effect. Their next-generation reservoir computing was a clear winner over today's state-of-the-art on this Lorenz forecasting task. In one relatively simple simulation done on a desktop computer, the new system was 33 to 163 times faster than the current model. But when the aim was for great accuracy in the forecast, the next-generation reservoir computing was about 1 million times faster. And the new-generation computing achieved the same accuracy with the equivalent of just 28 neurons, compared to the 4,000 needed by the current-generation model, Gauthier said. An important reason for the speed-up is that the "brain" behind this next generation of reservoir computing needs a lot less warmup and training compared to the current generation to produce the same results. Warmup is training data that needs to be added as input into the reservoir computer to prepare it for its actual task. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2021-09-21 23:45:03 preview's
China Vows End To Building Coal-Fired Power Plants Abroad

Chinese President Xi Jinping told the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday that his country "will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad" and plans to boost support for clean energy in developing nations. Axios reports: The pledge, if maintained, would mark a breakthrough in efforts to transition global power away from the most carbon-emitting fuel. Nations, including the U.S., have been urging China -- historically a key source of coal-plant finance -- to make such a commitment. Xi's pledge on coal financing comes just weeks before a critical United Nations climate summit. However, his remarks did not provide any details on the commitment or its implementation timeline. China is by far the world's largest coal producer and consumer, and is still building new coal-fired power generation domestically. Xi reiterated China's pledge to have it's greenhouse gas emissions peak before 2030 and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, but did not offer strengthened domestic commitments. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2021-09-21 22:15:02 preview's
US Committee Is Reviewing Zoom's $14.7 Billion Deal For Five9 On National-Security Grounds

A U.S. government committee is reviewing Zoom's agreement to acquire cloud contact center software company Five9 for $14.7 billion on national-security grounds. CNBC reports: According to a letter dated Aug. 27, the Federal Communications Commission was asked to refer the case to the Committee for the Assessment of Foreign Participation in the United States Telecommunications Service Sector. Attorney General Merrick Garland is chair of the committee. Zoom announced the deal with Five9 in July, marking the video-chat company's first billion-dollar-plus acquisition. Zoom ballooned in value during the pandemic and, with Five9's technology, is trying to expand into adjacent markets. Zoom is based in San Jose, California, and founder and CEO Eric Yuan, a native of China, is a U.S. citizen. The company has a significant research and development hub in China, and last year House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California referred to Zoom as "a Chinese entity" during an MSNBC interview. "USDOJ believes that such risk may be raised by the foreign participation (including the foreign relationships and ownership) associated with the application, and a review by the Committee is necessary to assess and make an appropriate recommendation as to how the Commission should adjudicate this application," David Plotinsky of the Justice Department wrote in the letter to the FCC. Zoom still expects the acquisition to close in the first half of 2022, a company spokesperson told CNBC in an email. "We have made filings with the various applicable regulatory agencies, and these approval processes are proceeding as expected," the representative said. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2021-09-21 21:30:03 preview's
iOS 15.1 Beta Lets Users Add COVID Vaccination Card To Wallet App

The iOS 15.1 beta that was introduced today allows iPhone users to upload their COVID-19 vaccination status to the Health app and then generate a vaccination card in Apple Wallet. MacRumors reports: The Apple Wallet vaccination card can be shown to businesses, venues, restaurants, and more that are requiring vaccines for entry. As outlined in an announcement to developers, verifiable health records are based on the SMART Health Cards specification. California is using SMART Health Cards, so users in California can add their vaccination records to the Wallet app after installing iOS 15.1. Other states and health organizations that use the SMART Health Cards will be able to use a button to let users know that they can download and store their vaccination information in the Health app and in the Wallet app. California, Louisiana, New York, Virginia, Hawaii, and some Maryland counties support Smart Health Cards, as do Walmart, Sam's Club, and CVS Health. So those in the specific supported states should be able to look up their information in state databases, but those who were vaccinated through companies like Walmart and CVS will also be able to add their information to the Health and Wallet apps because it's the same system. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2021-09-21 21:00:04 preview's
FBI Held Back Ransomware Decryption Key From Businesses To Run Operation Targeting Hackers

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Washington Post: The FBI refrained for almost three weeks from helping to unlock the computers of hundreds of businesses and institutions hobbled by a major ransomware attack this summer, even though the bureau had secretly obtained the digital key needed to do so, according to several current and former U.S. officials. The key was obtained through access to the servers of the Russia-based criminal gang behind the July attack. Deploying it immediately could have helped the victims, including schools and hospitals, avoid what analysts estimate was millions of dollars in recovery costs. But the FBI held on to the key, with the agreement of other agencies, in part because it was planning to carry out an operation to disrupt the hackers, a group known as REvil, and the bureau did not want to tip them off. Also, a government assessment found the harm was not as severe as initially feared. The planned takedown never occurred because in mid-July REvil's platform went offline -- without U.S. government intervention -- and the hackers disappeared before the FBI had a chance to execute its plan, according to the current and former officials. The previously unreported episode highlights the trade-offs law enforcement officials face between trying to damage cyber criminal networks and promptly helping the victims of ransomware -- malware that encrypts data on computers, rendering them unusable. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2021-09-21 20:15:02 preview's
Florida’s new surgeon general skeptical of vaccines, opposes masks

Ladapo signed the Great Barrington Declaration and suggests embracing "the reality of viral spread."
2021-09-21 19:15:02 preview's
China to stop building coal plants in developing nations

President Xi Jinping announces a necessary step to controlling global emissions.
2021-09-21 18:30:05 preview's
Linux Foundation says companies are desperate for open source talent

The 2021 survey shows 97% of hiring managers prioritizing FOSS professionals.
2021-09-21 18:30:05 preview's
Porsche finds yet another way to slice the 911: The 2022 911 Carrera GTS

From top-down cruiser to canyon carver, there's a GTS for almost every occasion.
2021-09-21 18:30:05 preview's
PS5 storage analysis concludes: Spend less, get the same gaming performance

Less expensive drives still copy games slower, though.
2021-09-21 18:00:02