#370 July 15, 2014 – China’s Computer is Fastest

This week’s headline story: China’s Computer is Fastest

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China continues to lead the benchmark list of the 500 most powerful computers. Last week, the country’s Tianhe-2 supercomputer was cited as the world’s No. 1 system, capable of speeds of up to 33.86 petaflops. Powerful supercomputers like the Tianhe-2 enable higher resolutions for modeling and simulations, supporting more complex science and improving the possibility of researchers making breakthrough discoveries. Because of the research power supercomputers can provide a country, global competition in supercomputing has really ramped up in recent years. Still, the U.S. needn’t become overly concerned over China’s recent victory. While China may claim the fastest supercomputer, 90% of the top 500 supercomputers are made by U.S. vendors.

and elsewhere in Tech News.

  • FTC Goes After Amazon for Fleecing Kids [Ecommerce Times]

    The United States Federal Trade Commission has filed suit against Amazon over billing kids for unauthorized in-app purchases that in many cases they did not know they had made. Amazon’s setup lets children playing kids’ games spend unlimited amounts of money to pay for virtual items within the apps without parental involvement, the commission charges. The FTC is seeking a court order requiring Amazon to refund victims for the unauthorized charges, and permanently banning it from billing parents and other account holders for in-app charges without their consent.

  • Python bumps off Java as top learning language [Computerworld]

    The Java programming language has been the language of choice for introducing computer programming to several generations of college students. Not anymore! A recent study by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) revealed that Python has surpassed Java as the top language with 8 out of the top 10 universities using it as the programming language in their introductory programming courses.

  • Most with college STEM degrees go to work in other fields, survey finds [The Washington Post]

    While many schools are pushing hard to increase enrollment in STEM degree programs hoping to fill a perceived need in these fields, the U.S. Census Bureau has released an interesting related fact: nearly 75 percent of professionals who graduated with degrees in science, technology, engineering and math, don’t have jobs in STEM occupations.

  • Forget the Shortest Route Across a City; New Algorithm Finds the Most Beautiful [TechnologyReview]

    The “shortest path” algorithm has been a favorite puzzle for computer science student for decades, and has valuable application in navigation systems. Google Maps, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps and Mapquest are all very efficient at suggesting the shortest route for drivers. Some can even take into account current traffic congestion. But can any of these suggest the most beautiful route? Thanks to the work of Daniele Quercia at Yahoo Labs in Barcelona, Spain, this may become a popular new navigation feature. Daniele and his team have worked out how to measure the “beauty” of specific locations within cities and then designed an algorithm that automatically chooses a route between two locations in a way that maximizes the beauty along it. “The goal of this work is to automatically suggest routes that are not only short but also emotionally pleasant,” they say.

and in Information Security news this week..

  • Think You’ve Wiped Those Old Android Phones? Think Again [NewsFactor]

    A word of caution for those thinking of selling, giving away, recycling or throwing away an old Android phone. It turns out that the “factory reset” feature intended to clear the data off an Android phone leaves many files for hackers to access. Security firm Avast Software bought 20 used Android smartphones, and was able to recover tens of thousands of personal files. They included personal photos, e-mails, text messages, and even nude selfies of the owners. Apps are now available to securely wipe a phone before passing it on to another user or the trash.

  • Report: Chinese Hackers Hit U.S. Personnel Networks [NewsFactor]

    The New York Times is reporting that Chinese hackers broke into the computer networks of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management earlier this year with the intention of accessing the files of tens of thousands of federal employees who had applied for top-secret security clearances.

and in Tech Industry news…

  • LG Unrolls a TV Screen That Rolls Up [NewsFactor]

    LG Electronics has announced a new kind of OLED TV screen that can be rolled up into a tube. The flexible 18-inch screen features a resolution of 1200 x 810, and can be rolled into a cylinder measuring 3cm across. Another screen shown by the South Korean company, also an 18-inch OLED panel, is transparent and has less haze than many existing transparent screens.

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