Tech 2.0 for Monday, June 17, 2013

Contributor: Matt Davenport
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Updated: 6/17/2013 12:40 pm


Apple is the latest major tech company saying U.S. law enforcement officials made thousands of requests for data about its users. In a statement released Monday morning, the company said it got up to 5,000 requests from federal, state and local authorities over the last seven months. The requests covered up to 10,000 accounts or devices. Apple said some of the requests were related to national security matters. But most were made by police investigating crimes, searching for missing persons or trying to prevent suicide. The revelation comes after a computer analyst leaked details of a secret U.S. government program surveillance program called "PRISM." That program monitors e-mails, photos, search histories and other data from American-based Internet companies.

Google has settled a shareholder lawsuit to clear the way for a long-delayed split of the Internet search leader's stock. The agreement announced Monday resolves allegations that Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin engineered the stock split in a way that unfairly benefits them and shortchanges the rest of the company's shareholders. The split calls for a new class of stock with no voting power to be issued for each share of an existing category of voting stock. The structure is designed to ensure that Page and Brin retain control over the company. The settlement will require Google Inc. to compensate owners of the new class of if stock if it's worth less than the existing class of stock after one year of trading.

China has built the world's fastest computer for a second time, beating the U.S.'s Titan machine. The semiannual TOP500 official listing of the world's fastest supercomputers says the Tianhe-2 developed by the National University of Defense Technology in Changsha city in central China is capable of sustained computing of 33.86 petaflops per second. That's the equivalent of 33,860 trillion calculations per second. The list was released Monday. The Tianhe-2 knocks the U.S. Department of Energy's Titan machine off the no. 1 spot. It achieved 17.59 petaflops per second. It's the second time China has been named as having built the world's fastest supercomputer. In 2010, predecessor Tianhe-1A gained that honor. Supercomputers are used for complex work such as modeling weather systems, simulating nuclear explosions and designing jetliners.

Microsoft Office is now available for the iPhone. iPhone users can now edit in Microsoft Excel or work on a Powerpoint on the go. But they cannot start any new documents. Just a few days ago, Apple announced that its own iWork suite is now compatible with Microsoft products. No word if Office will be available for Android users anytime soon.


Full Details Uncovered on Chinese Tianhe-2 Supercomputer (is this a stolen copy of a US computer?) With help from a draft report from Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Jack Dongarra, who also spearheads the process of verifying the top of the pack supercomputer, we get a detailed look at China's Tianhe-2 system. As noted previously, the system will be housed at the National Supercomputer Center in Guangzhou and has been aimed at providing an open platform for research and education and to provide a high performance computing service for southern China. From Jack's details: '... was sent results showing a run of HPL benchmark using 14,336 nodes, that run was made using 50 GB of the memory of each node and achieved 30.65 petaflops out of a theoretical peak of 49.19 petaflops, or an efficiency of 62.3% of theoretical peak performance taking a little over 5 hours to complete.The fastest result shown was using 90% of the machine. They are expecting to make improvements and increase the number of nodes used in the test.

China Surpassing U.S. With 54.9 Petaflop Supercomputer: China has developed a supercomputer capable of 54.9 petaflops, more than twice the speed of any system in the United States, according to University of Tennessee professor Jack Dongarra. China's newest system, which was built with Intel chips but also contains Chinese-produced technologies, would be the world's fastest. Dongarra says the new system, called Tianhe-2, has 32,000 multicore Intel Xeon Ivy Bridge chips and 48,000 Xeon Phi chips. The world's current fastest supercomputer is located at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and runs at nearly 18 petaflops. However, Dongarra notes that China may have the leading system for some time, as the next large acquisition of a supercomputer for the U.S. Department of Energy will not be until 2015. U.S. researchers recently warned Congress that the United States is at risk of falling behind in high-performance computing development unless it commits hundreds of millions of dollars to exascale research. China wants to produce an exascale system before 2020, while the United States is not expected to produce an exascale system until about 2025, according to industry experts.
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