Micron Talks 3D NAND Sans Intel [Portfolio]

TORONTO — On the heels of shaking up its partnership with Intel, Micron Technology Chief Technology Officer Ernie Maddock took the stage at the J.P. Morgan 16th Annual Tech Forum at the 2018 International CES to field questions about the road ahead.

In a Q&A and session moderated by Harlan Sur, analyst for U.S. Semiconductor and Semiconductor Capital Equipment Research at J.P. Morgan, Maddock emphasized that the update to Micron’s working relationship with Intel is only related to NAND development.

At the top of the week, the companies announced they have mutually agreed to work independently on future generations of 3D NAND. Micron and Intel will complete development of their third-gen 3D NAND technology toward the end of the year and into 2019. Maddock said based on evolving roadmaps and the needs of each company’s respective markets, it made sense to diverge for the next node.

Read the full article over at EE Times.

 

NVM Express Set for Busy 2018 [Portfolio]

TORONTO — Following on the heels of a major specification update and its eighth annual plug fest, NVM Express is poised to have a busy year as it continues to develop the base NVMe specification while expanding the NVMe Management Interface (NVMe-MI) specification and one for accessing SSDs on a PCIe bus over fabrics.

In June, the NVMe specification got its first major update in nearly three years, putting it on the cusp of becoming the defacto standard for SSD interfaces. Version 1.3 added a significant number of new features, something that hasn’t been done since November 2014, encompassing 24 technical proposals spread across three major buckets that address client, enterprise and cloud features. Most significant was improved support for virtualization so developers can more flexibly assign SSD resources to specific virtual machines, thereby addressing latency.

Meanwhile, the eighth NVMe Plugfest at the University of New Hampshire Interoperability Laboratory last fall offered the first official NVMe Over Fabrics (NVMe-oF) compliance and interoperability transport layer testing for RoCE, Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) over Converged Ethernet, and the Fibre Channel. UNH-IOL fills the role of independent testing provider of standards conformance solutions and multi-vendor interoperability, and the latest plugfest generated 14 new certified products for the base NVMe integrators list and one for the NVMe-MI integrators list. Eight inaugural products were also approved for the newly launched NVMe-oF integrators list, which accepts RoCE initiators and targets, Ethernet switches, as well as Fibre Channel initiator, targets and switches and software.

Read the full story over at EE Times.

Go green with clean tech business solutions [Portfolio]

You’re probably all getting pretty tired of the debate raging on about the role of oil pipelines in our economy, but hopefully some info on clean tech has cut through all the noise. Behind the scenes, Canadian clean tech has been soldiering on, leveraging information technology, the Internet of Things (IoT), and even quantum computing to promote sustainability as modern tech drives us forward.

And with Canada’s Environment Minister as one of 30 committed to the Paris Accord, there are plenty of greenfield opportunities to build business solutions around clean tech in Canada. Better yet: There’s an important role for skilled IT people to play.

Read the full story over at HP Tektonika.

IBM Simulates Complex Chemistry with Quantum Computing [Portfolio]

TORONTO — A novel algorithm developed by IBM scientists is improving the understanding of complex chemical reactions and optimizing quantum computing.

The scientists have developed a new approach to simulate molecules on a quantum computer using a seven-qubit quantum processor to address the molecular structure problem for beryllium hydride (BeH2), which is the largest molecule simulated on a quantum computer to date, according to IBM. The results are significant as they could lead to practical applications such as the creation of novel materials, development of personalized drugs and discovery of more efficient and sustainable energy sources.

In a telephone interview with EE Times, IBM quantum computer research team member Abhinav Kandala outlined how they implemented an algorithm that is efficient with respect to the number of quantum operations required for the simulation. Using six qubits of a seven-qubit processor, they were able to measure BeH2’s lowest energy state, a key measurement for understanding chemical reactions. The results were just published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature, which Kandala co-authored.

Read the full story on EE Times.

MRAM Momentum Poised to Disrupt Memory Workhorses [Portfolio]

TORONTO — Last year could be described as a tipping point for the magneto-resistive random access memory (MRAM) market. Up until then, Everspin Technologies was the only company shipping commercial MRAM products. But as Spin Transfer Technologies (STT) CEO Barry Hoberman is always quick to acknowledge, Everspin’s success has helped to pave the way for other MRAM players.

The genesis of STT goes back as far as 2001 with technology originally developed from research conducted by New York University Professor Andrew Kent. STT was formed and incubated by Boston-based Allied Minds in 2007. In September 2016, the developer of orthogonal spin transfer MRAM technology (OST-MRAM) announced it had fabricated perpendicular MRAM magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs) as small as 20nm at its development fab based at the company’s headquarters in Fremont, Calif.

Since then, STT has delivered samples of its spin transfer torque MRAM to customers in North America and Asia, a milestone that’s significant in that it’s one of several emerging memories considered to be a next-generation candidate to replace DRAM and NAND flash, which face scaling challenges as the industry moves to smaller nodes. STT is one of a handful of firms developing MRAM, so the delivery of samples is an important proof point validating both MRAM in general, and STT’s technology in particular.

EE Times recently spoke with Hoberman about the company’s ramp up, and the opportunities for MRAM as more players go to market, including where it might be a viable replacement for incumbent technologies.

Read the full Q&A on EE Times.

NASA Increases Happy Landings for Drones [Portfolio]

TORONTO – Statistically, flying is the safest way to travel. We don’t worry about airplanes dropping from the sky. But drones are another thing altogether.
If a drone runs into mechanical problems, there’s no Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger to land it on the Hudson River. To keep unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from landing on our heads, NASA is trying to make them smarter.

Dubbed Safe2Ditch, the technology is aimed at allowing drones to continuously run self-diagnostics during flight to anticipate problems. If something goes wrong, the system could make changes to how the drone is flying and estimate how much longer it could stay in the air.

Since a drone with mechanical problems would need to set down quickly, Safe2Ditch would immediately begin to search its database for safe landing locations and autonomously land at the closest spot. Safe landing options would include fields, parking lots or parks, said Lou Glaab, assistant branch head for the Aeronautics Systems Engineering Branch at the NASA Langley Research Center. Worst case scenario, a drone might have to land in a dense forest to avoid people, but the goal is to keep avoid damaging the drone in an emergency landing.

Read my full article for EE Times.

Avoidable IoT security vulnerabilities are unacceptable—period [Portfolio]

It seems like just yesterday everyone was gearing up to secure their organization for the anticipated BYOD deluge. Today, IoT security has quickly evolved to become the new front line in our connected world.

In early February, a grey-hat hacker compromised as many as 150,000 printers using an automated script that searches for open printer ports to send out rogue print jobs. He was able to affect printers of all makes and sizes at both large enterprises and small town restaurants. This hacker claimed he didn’t intend to cause harm, according to reports. Instead, he was educating people to the dangers of exposed devices and holes in IoT security. The reality is that the consequences of a single, exposed device can be far worse depending on what networks it’s connected to.

Read my full story on Tektonika.

Are Self-Charging Batteries a Decade Away? [Portfolio]

TORONTO – The onus of improving power efficiency in smartphones has often been placed on other components such as the memory or flash storage, but within the next decade they may have self-charging batteries, thanks to researchers at a Canadian university.

In collaboration with provincial power utility Hydro-Québec’s research institute, IREQ, Montreal’s McGill University may eliminate the frustrating experience of being without use of a phone after forgetting to recharge it. In an interview with EE Times, professor George Demopoulos, the university’s chair of mining and materials engineering, said that while lithium-ion batteries have enabled the proliferation of all kinds of mobile devices, they still require frequent recharging because of their limited energy density.

Read my full story on EE Times.

Faster Networks Push Interface Development [Portfolio]

TORONTO – As Ethernet speeds get faster, Rambus is looking to make sure memory and interfaces can keep up with the recent launch 56G SerDes PHY.

The analog-to-digital converter (ADC) and (DSP) architecture of the 56G SerDes PHY is designed meet the long-reach backplane requirements for the industry transition to 400 GB Ethernet applications, said Mohit Gupta, senior director of product marketing at Rambus. This means it can support scaling to speeds as fast as 112G, which are required in the networking and enterprise segments, such as enterprise server racks that are moving from 100G to 400G.

“Ethernet is moving faster than ever,” Gupta said. “The pace has picked up substantially due to big data, the Internet of Things (IoT) and other trends putting high demands on communication channels. There is already a forum for 112G SerDes speed which will drive the 800G standard.”

One clear usage case, said Gupta, is data center deployment by the “big four” — Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon and Google.

Read my full article on EE Times.

Canadian CIOs value gamer grads

I’m not a gamer, unless you count the hours lost playing Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri on my PC or video pinball on my Atari Flashback. But if I were working in IT as opposed to just writing about it, new research suggests it would behoove me to play more video games.

A new survey by Robert Half Technology of more than 270 Canadian CIOs suggest they may value the time spent on gaming by entry-level IT job seekers as well as hackathons and website development. Technology leaders also see backgrounds outside of IT as beneficial to professionals in the field, including math, psychology, and business and marketing.

Web site and app development was the top stand-out skill for IT grads cited by respondents at 72 per cent, followed by hackathons at 46 per cent. Video game playing and development came in at 28 per cent. These interests as well as non-IT backgrounds are indicators that to CIOs that IT grads still have the drive and skills to succeed even if their relevant work experience is limited.

By highlighting a range of interests and abilities can help new grads stand out as being versatile and interested in developing their careers. Robert Half Technology recommends that hiring managers consider more than just work experience and academic achievements when evaluating IT grads for entry-level roles.
Meanwhile, grads should be sure to draw parallels between their pastimes and how they will add value as an employee. Managers are drawn to professionals who are naturally curious and want to learn, according to Robert Half Technology, so these traits should be emphasized in job interviews. They should also showcase their soft skills as hiring managers look for people with exceptional interpersonal abilities, such as problem solving and communication.
Turns out playing Tetris is not only good for improving dishwasher stacking skills.