Friday, July 20, 2018

We at the TTI/Vanguard newsletter cull our material from current news. It is no secret that this week’s has been dominated not by advances in science and technology, but by politics, on which we choose not to take a public stance. We do, however, firmly believe in the integrity of the intelligence community.
The custom chip wars (Dave Patterson, Doug Burger, San Francisco, Dec 2017) are heating up. Facebook just grabbed Shahriar Rabii to head a silicon effort that just began earlier this year. Rabii’s previous achievements include the chip powering the Google Pixel smartphone.
As it happens, the agenda for our September meeting, Less Is More, includes a talk by Pete Warden, whose group at Google is working to push machine learning onto IoT devices that have even fewer resources than a Raspberry Pi (Eben Upton, Detroit, May 2015; Jul 2013).
And the latest addition to the agenda is Chris Eliasmith. His company, Applied Brain Research, has developed a compiler and developer tools for Intel’s forthcoming neuromorphic chip, expected this fall (Rohini Rewari, Brooklyn, Jul 2018; Justin Rattner, Seattle, Dec 2012). 
Yesterday marked the start of the launch window for the Parker Solar Probe, which will be the first space vehicle to enter the Sun’s atmosphere. Those of us who attended the Sep 2017 field trip to Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab had the opportunity to see the Probe first-hand as well as in virtual reality.
When you register for the Sep 2018 meeting, don’t forget to take into account our field trip to the USDA’s Beltsville Agricultural Research Center.
Other less-is-more ideas:

And a couple of other quick hits:

A team of “Indian-origin researchers” at Washington University is looking to see if trees can pull all their nutrition out of the air by isolating genes from the bacterium Cyanothece, which operates on a circadian rhythm (David Virshup, Seattle, Dec 2006), photosynthesizing by day and fixing nitrogen by night. The idea led us to look up Breatharianism, which, according to Wikipedia, holds “that food, and in some cases water, are not necessary for survival, and that humans can be sustained solely by prana, the vital life force in Hinduism.”
Speaking of chemistry, chemists often can’t anticipate all the possible reactions from an experiment; simulation can run up against limitations in our knowledge as well. Now, researchers at Glasgow University have “paired a machine-learning system with a robot that can run and analyze its own chemical reaction.” (Robert Murphy, San Jose, Feb 2012; Bartosz Grzybowski, Miami, Dec 2011)  
Nest (Yoky Matsuoka, San Francisco, Dec 2013) has now been so thoroughly integrated into Google's home and living room products team that CEO Marwan Fawaz is leaving the company.
As anyone who has studied yoga probably knows, your torso can offer better control than a joystick at, say, flying an airplane, in a videogame or maybe even real life. (Marc Whitten, Seattle, Dec 2012; Jeri Ellsworth, San Francisco, Dec 2013; George Burger, San Francisco, Dec 2016)

“Integrity is the essence of everything successful.”
 —Buckminster Fuller

The TTI/Vanguard Team

Author: Steven Cherry

Director of TTI/Vanguard, “a unique forum for senior-level executives that links strategic technology planning to business success. In private conferences that are part classroom, part think-tank, and part laboratory, its members—corporate and government leaders, entrepreneurs, researchers, and academics—explore emerging and potentially disruptive technologies.”

Twenty years experience as a technology journalist and editor, at the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). Founded the award-winning podcast series, Techwise Conversations covering tech news, tech careers and education, and the engineering lifestyle. Teaches an intensive writing class as an adjunct instructor at NYU. Previously taught essay writing and creative writing at The College of New Rochelle.