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Computer scientists in Singapore and Germany have collaborated to create a resistive RAM chip that not only stores data but can act as a computer processor.

The breakthrough uses state-of-the-art memory chips known as Redox-based, resistive switching random access memory (ReRAM) and could lead to much faster and thinner mobile devices. Today’s computers must transfer data from the memory storage to the processor unit for computation, which along with slowing performance also requires more power.

“This is like having a long conversation with someone through a tiny translator, which is a time-consuming and effort-intensive process,” said Anupam Chattopadhyay, an assistant professor at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore. “We are now able to increase the capacity of the translator, so it can process data more efficiently.”

While the new circuit saves time and energy by eliminating data transfers between disparate storage and processors, it can also boost the speed of  processors found in laptops and mobile devices by at least two times or more, the researchers said.

By making the memory chip perform computing tasks, space can be saved by eliminating the processor, leading to thinner, smaller and lighter electronics. The discovery could also lead to new design possibilities for consumer electronics and wearable technology, the researcher said.

NTU researchers worked with others from Germany’s RWTH Aachen University and Forschungszentrum Juelich to create the new memory chips. Their research was published in the peer reviewed journal Scientific Reports.

Also known as memristor, the ReRAM came from global chipmakers such as SanDisk and Panasonic. ReRAM chips are one of the fastest memories on the market and are already commercially available for IoT applications. In 2015, Hewlett-Packard and SanDisk also announced an agreement to jointly develop “Storage Class Memory” (SCM) ReRAM that could replace DRAM and would be 1,000 times faster than NAND flash.

Until memristor, researchers knew of only three basic circuit elements—the resistor, the capacitor and the inductor. Memristor added a fourth, which consumed far less energy than previous technologies.

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An artist’s rendition of ReRAM memory. Tiny conductive filaments crisscross and connect silicon layers to represent a bit of data.

While ReRAM has been under development for many years as a storage technology, NTU’s Chattopadhyay, in collaboration with Professor Rainer Waser from RWTH Aachen University and Vikas Rana from Forschungszentrum Juelich, demonstrated for the first time how it could also process data.

“The quest for faster processing is one of the most pressing needs for industries worldwide, as computer software is getting increasingly complex while data centers have to deal with more information than ever,” the researchers stated in a news release.

How the ReRAM works

Computer processors today use the binary system where bits of data are represented as either a 0 or a 1. For example, the letter A will be processed and stored as 01000001, an 8-bit character.

However, the prototype ReRAM circuit built by Chattopadhyay and the other researchers processes data in three states instead of two. For example, it can store and process data as 0, 1 or 2, known as the Ternary number system.

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A microscopic sideview photo of a Resistive RAM circuit where tiny conductive filaments crisscross and connect silicon layers to represent a bit of data.

“Because ReRAM uses different electrical resistance to store information, it could be possible to store the data in an even higher number of states, hence speeding up computing tasks beyond current limitations,” the researchers stated.

The researchers plan to develop the ReRAM to process more than its current three states, which will lead to even greater improvements of computing speeds.

Using ReRAM for computing will be more cost-effective than other bleeding-edge computing technologies on the horizon, since ReRAMs will be available in the market soon.

“Using them not only for data storage but also for computation could open a completely new route towards an effective use of energy in the information technology,” Waser stated.

This story, “Researchers create wild ReRAM memory chips that store data and act like a processor” was originally published by Computerworld.

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Pac-Man Like Protein Eats Dead Cells, Helps Prevent Cancer

Pac-Man Like Protein Eats Dead Cells, Helps Prevent Cancer

LONDON: Scientists have identified a Pac-Man like protein which causes cells to eat their dying neighbours, helping to prevent inflammation that can lead to cancer, a finding that may find new therapies to combat the disease.

Researchers at the University of Sheffield in the UK discovered the Rac1 protein switches cell function and causes cells to respond to ‘eat me’ signals omitted from their dying neighbouring cells and clears them away efficiently to minimise damaging inflammation.

The team, led by Nasreen Akhtar from the University’s Department of Oncology and Metabolism, made the breakthrough while studying the female breast to better understand how the organ gets rid of dead cells and surplus milk when it is no longer required.

In pregnancy, specialized epithelial cells within the breast grow to form alveoli that secrete milk.

When the milk supply is no longer required the alveoli die and the breast reverts back to a non-pregnancy state. Breast epithelia also line the mammary ducts which transport milk towards the nipple when required.

Through gene deletion studies, researchers found the Rac1 protein is crucial both for the secretion of milk and its removal in the drying-up period that follows.
Inflammatory phagocytes from the immune system are normally recruited to clear up dead cells lurking in tissues and surplus fluids.

If too many are recruited for extended periods, they can trigger inflammation within tissues, causing damage.

The study found that the breast epithelia use Rac1 to evade harmful inflammatory phagocytes from the immune system by hijacking their job.

In the first few days after weaning, live breast epithelia eat their dying neighbours and swallow all of the secretions, clearing the ducts from old milk and dead cells.

The phagocyte-like breast epithelia then die themselves and these are subsequently cleared up by professional phagocytes from the immune system.

“By doing the job themselves, the breast epithelia limit both the numbers and time of immune phagocyte infiltration which protects the tissue from becoming damaged,” Mr Akhtar said.

“Without Rac1, the dead cells and milk flood the interconnecting breast ducts causing them to bloat and triggering chronic inflammation. The bloated ducts then fail to regenerate and produce milk in a future pregnancy,” he said.

Over 90 per cent of cancers come from epithelial cells which is why unlocking the mystery of how they work is essential.

It is fundamental to understand how healthy cells work properly in order to fully appreciate why they go wrong when cancer develops, and how best to combat the disease.


The Fed is partying like it is 1998—and elevating risks: Citi strategist

2015 fireworks

The Federal Reserve’s dovish stance on interest costs is increasing the dangers of economic fallout from acharge hike in the future, Steven Wieting, Citi non-public financial institution‘s leader global investmentstrategist, stated Wednesday.

Fed policymakers indicated in March they would increase costs fewer times than they formerly deliberate,citing financial conditions in overseas markets among other things. The Federal Open market Committee will deliver a decision on prices whilst it concludes a -day meeting later Wednesday.

Wieting stated the Fed is more targeted on international developments than at any time given that 1998,when it cut hobby fees to prevent U.S. monetary boom from stalling amid the Asian financial disaster. Hestated the U.S. crucial bank has drawn a right away line between charge policy and chinese languagecurrency hazard.

A signal showing the Hong Kong dollar and chinese language yuan forex signs sits outdoor a currency exchange store in Hong Kong, China.
How the Fed may be shopping for time for China
An employee counts a hundred-yuan (15 USD) banknotes at a bank in Lianyungang, in eastern China’s Jiangsu province on January 7, 2016. China weakened the value of its yuan forex by way of zero.fifty onepercentage to 6.5646 in opposition to the usa dollar on January 7, figures from the China foreign exchangechange machine confirmed.
China and its foreign money: ‘they’re driving a bronco’

China’s yuan could be at a pivotal point

there may be never a good time to set off positive triggers,” Wieting instructed CNBC’s “Squawk container.”

if you run economic policy with those varieties of troubles in mind, the problem is behind schedule, and it is able to in reality become bigger. You check 1998, and then in which were we in 2001 and 2002?” hestated, regarding the dot-com bust and corresponding inventory market crash.

Wieting said records is not always repeating itself, and it’s too soon to inform whether or not the Fed’s initialquarter of a percent hike in December — it is first in nearly a decade — changed into a mistake.

Aneta Markowska, leader U.S. economist at Societe Generale, said it’s miles hard to say whether or not the Fed overlooked its threat to raise prices as it‘s unsure what could have happened to the dollar had policymakers hiked more aggressively.

“The greenback has finished a considerable amount of heavy lifting for them,” she informed “Squawk box” on Wednesday. “Twenty percent appreciation is equivalent to kind of six hikes, so for all intents and purposes, the cumulative tightening through economic situations has been pretty, pretty vast.”

even as the greenback has eased again to October degrees, the foundation of that decline is constructed on a dovish rate outlook, she said. on the cease of final 12 months, the market become waiting for 3 pricehikes in 2016, but traders now see the first full increase in March 2017, Markowska delivered.

Stanley Fischer listens as Janet Yellen, left, speaks at a Board of Governors meeting.

Investing like a billionaire has never been easier — or harder

Times are tough for billionaire investors. Warren Buffett’s top stock picks aren’t working — whether it’s IBM or American Express, the Oracle can’t seem to catch a break.

Buffett had his worst year since the financial crisis in 2015, and hedge fund great Bill Ackman of Pershing Square Capital Management had his worst year ever in 2015, thanks to, among other things, the dramatic fall in controversial drug company Valeant Pharmaceuticals, a top pick. David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital apologized to shareholders for a bad year and big bet gone bad on solar company SunEdison, which he failed to take profits in before the stock tanked. Though he hasn’t given up on SunEdison and now has been given a board seat at the company.

The volatile markets were supposed to be a time for stock pickers to shine. But it hasn’t worked out that way.

Einhorn said a few years ago, “It doesn’t make sense to blindly follow me or anyone else into a stock. … Do your own work.”

Indeed, it’s never been harder to be a billionaire investor, but here’s the catch: It’s never been easier, either.

And it’s the latter that should have the attention of individual investors.

Warren Buffett's five tips for long-term investing

CNBC recently covered an interesting report from Goldman Sachs equity strategists who said that a concentrated list of hedge fund stock picks created by Goldman, the Hedge Fund VIP List, was just about the worst investment in the market right now. In fact, Goldman strategists advised investors looking for a viable equity strategy to do the exact opposite of the Hedge Fund VIP List — chase stocks that are among the least popular in hedge fund portfolios.

But here’s the curious thing. Goldman Sachs recently filed for an exchange-traded fund based on — yes, you guessed it — the Hedge Fund VIP List.

Now before you cry foul and accuse Goldman of being up to Wall Street financial crash tricks, selling retail investors on an investment that Goldman executives are calling a dog internally, the divide between Goldman’s short-term stock strategist call and Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s ETF plans may not be a divide at all.

As noted in the recent CNBC article on the recent Goldman anti-hedge “conviction list” market advice, “What Goldman calls its ‘VIP’ list, or the one that includes the 50 most-owned stocks, has beaten the S&P 500 on a quarterly basis 64 percent of the time since 2001.”

Goldman Sachs declined to comment on its plans to launch the “VIP List” ETF at a time when its analysts have released a report advising investors to do the opposite.

But Goldman isn’t the only asset manager that believes an ETF based on the stock picks of investing giants is a good idea.

There are now at least seven ETFs offering a way to invest in the ideas of investing greats. Not surprisingly, after getting off to a good start, these ETFs have underperformed the market right alongside Buffett and Ackman more, and are they likely on a shorter leash than Buffett. He has earned his softly stated distaste for a short-term performance focus thanks to decades of excellence.

[“source -cncb”]

Cramer: What made the bulls run like crazy

Tuesday scored a clear market win for the bulls. Jim Cramer saw the perfect confluence of events that allowed stocks to soar higher.

The first event that took place hinged on two pieces of data that came out of China. Investors learned that things were even worse than many thought when manufacturing numbers matched the lowest level in seven years.

“The governing council of China, its parliament, meets Saturday, and you know the stars may be aligned for the biggest stimulus package yet,” the “Mad Money” host said.

Workers with Raven Drilling line up pipe while drilling for oil in the Bakken shale formation outside Watford City, North Dakota.

Getty Images
Workers with Raven Drilling line up pipe while drilling for oil in the Bakken shale formation outside Watford City, North Dakota.

“All I can say is hallelujah. I cannot stress enough just how important this speech was.”-Jim Cramer

Investors who believe China can turn around helped drive the market shift on Tuesday, Cramer said.

More importantly, the shockingly dovish speech from New York FedPresident Bill Dudley made the bulls happy. Dudley was previously instrumental in a recent sell-off with his commentary that indicated he did not believe the economy had become weaker since the December rate hike.

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Dudley’s tune changed when he gave a speech in China that said he was less confident about the economy than he was before and that a tightening on the financial markets could indeed impact the U.S. economy negatively.

“All I can say is, hallelujah. I cannot stress enough just how important this speech was,” Cramer said.

When Cramer factored in the statements from former hawkish St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, he was almost certain that there will be no rate hike this month.

It was also significant that this commentary occurred shortly before the release of the Labor Department’s big jobs report on Friday. The presumption Cramer made was that Dudley knows it will be a soft report, and that is what boosted stocks at the open. A weak employment number could mean that the Fed won’t feel compelled to act.

In addition to the Fed commentary and Chinese data, Cramer pointed to another event acting as a catalyst for stocks.

The U.S. manufacturing number was stronger than expected, and a small business survey from Paychex showed improvement in hiring. Additionally, Ford released excellent numbers that showed a pick up in sales, which calmed many fears that autos could be peaking.

This prompted a rotation out of the ultra-low risk Treasurys, and put money to work in stocks.

Additionally, the price of crude rallied Tuesday and Marathon Oil filed an equity offering to ensure there would be no balance sheet problems. Investors greeted the equity offering positively, and it seemed less likely that oil companies could default to their lenders.

“The map played perfectly out for the bulls today, as the plethora of needle-threading news came together in a single session,” Cramer said.

And now that investors know what was behind the rally, they know what makes the bulls happy.

[“source -cncb”]

Young workers like those high-deductible health plans

The big boys are embracing health plans with big deductibles.

Slightly more than half of large employers analyzed in a new report now offer their workers at least one high-deductible health insurance plan, underscoring a broad trend nationally toward such coverage.


Agnieszka Wozniak | Caiaimage | Getty Images

And slightly more than 40 percent of workers at large firms that give them the option are choosing the high-deductible option over a traditional health plan, according to the report issued Tuesday byBenefitfocus, a provider of benefits-management software.

Benefitfocus also found that younger workers were much more apt to choose the high-deductible option when given the choice. These plans tend to have lower monthly premium payments for their enrollees than traditional health plans.

But they also require enrollees to pay more in out-of-pocket charges when they obtain health services than what they are required to pay under traditional plans. The minimum deductible for a high-deductible plan is $1,300 for self-only coverage, and $2,600 for family coverage.

Benefitfocus’ report was based on an analysis of actual 2015 enrollment data from about 500 employers with more than 1,000 workers apiece. In all, the report reflects enrollment choices of more than 700,000 workers.

High-deductible plans have become increasingly common in recent years as companies and insurers look for ways to control health spending. The plans are seen as encouraging more careful shopping for and consumption of health services, such as by opting for a generic drug as opposed to a brand-name prescription.

Jeff Oldham, vice president of Benefitfocus’s Benefitstore, compared traditional plans to “all-you-can-eat” pizza buffet for a college student, who has no financial incentive to moderate his consumption of slices.

Workers who don’t use a lot of health services can realize significant savings by enrolling in a high-deductible plan — while also running the risk of paying a lot more if they end up needing health care.

Oldham told CNBC that the embrace of high-deductible plans by employers reflects the fact that “they’d pretty much run out” of options to control health-care costs and utilization of health benefits by tweaking the design of traditional plans.

Oldham also said that the trend toward high-deductible coverage is a reaction by employers who want to avoid Obamacare’s coming “Cadillac Tax,” which starting in 2020 will impose a surcharge on health plans whose premiums exceed a certain maximum threshold.

Asked if both factors will lead to more companies offering high-deductible plans in the future, Oldham said, “Absolutely.”

The plans’ offer of paying-less-now/possibly-pay-more-later is most attractive to millennials, those workers who were born between 1980 and 1998, and decreasingly attractive as workers get older, according to the Benefitsfocus report.

The report found that 44 percent of millennials working at the large firms analyzed opted for a high-deductible health plan when given the choice.

That compares to just 22 percent of workers who were born in 1948 or before, a group defined as “Traditionalists” by the report.

“This could simply be the result of familiarity (HDHP’s are less of a novelty for millennials, while Traditionalists might be more reluctant to change), or that of income (millennials presumably earn less than older generations and therefore choose to spend less on premiums),” the report said.

Although millennials were the biggest fans of high-deductible plans, they also were the least avid participants in health-savings accounts, which the plans are paired with.

HSAs are tax-advantaged tools designed to help participants save and invest money that they may need later for out-of-pocket costs. HSAs allow participants to contribute pretaxed pay to the account; allow them to invest that money without the capital gains being taxed; and also allow them to withdraw money from the account without paying taxes as long as they use the funds for qualified medical expenses.

Benefitsfocus’ report found that between individual and family accounts, participants in high-deductible plans analyzed contributed only just about 42 percent of the maximum amounts allowed for HSAs in 2016. The maximums are $3,350 for a self-only high-deductible plan, and $6,750 for a family plan, with workers 55 and older allowed to kick in an extra $1,000 against both limits.

The average single, 25-year-old worker analyzed by the report contributed just 22 percent of his maximum allowed HSA contribution.

Millennials think themselves “to be indestructible,” which could lead them to put less in HSA’s than their older colleagues, Oldham said.

He also noted that many millennials enter the workforce with significant amounts of student loan debt, which can limit their ability or inclination to contribute to HSAs.

[“source -pcworld”]

Microsoft Lumia 850 photographed in the wild, looks just like the renders

The Microsoft Lumia 850 starred in a few 3D renders late last year, but now there are photos of the actual device.

There was a lot of uncertainty about the screen size, but the latest info points to 5.4″ in size. Above it is a front-facing flash and what is probably an iris scanner for Windows Hello.

Microsoft Lumia 850 (allegedly) Microsoft Lumia 850 (allegedly) Microsoft Lumia 850 (allegedly) Microsoft Lumia 850 (allegedly) Microsoft Lumia 850 (allegedly)
Microsoft Lumia 850 (allegedly)

Interestingly, the microUSB 2.0 port (and it does look like 2.0 rather than the new Type-C) is on top, while the 3.5mm audio jack is on the bottom. Things usually go the other way around.

Anyway, the Microsoft Lumia 850 is expected to have a Snapdragon 617 chipset, like the HTC One A9 and the Samsung Galaxy A5 (that one actually uses S615, but close enough).

[“source -pcworld”]