ADN Issue 9, August 2014

Contents

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More News from World

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China’s supersonic submarine, which could go from Shanghai to San Francisco in 100 minutes, creeps ever closer to reality
Sebastian Anthony
ExtremeTech, August 27, 2014

Researchers in China are reporting that they’ve taken a big step towards creating a supersonic submarine. This technology, which could just as easily be applied to weaponized torpedoes as military or civilian submarines, could theoretically get from Shanghai to San Francisco — about 6,000 miles — in just 100 minutes. If all this doesn’t sound crazy enough, get this: This new advance by the Chinese is based on supercavitation, which was originally developed by the Soviets in the ’60s, during the Cold War.

Enter supercavitation, a technique devised by the Soviets in 1960 with the explicit purpose of creating high-speed torpedoes. Supercavitation gets around the drag of water by creating a bubble of gas for the object to travel through. The USSR’s research resulted in the Shkval torpedo, which uses a special nose cone to create the supercavitation envelope, allowing it to travel through the water at speeds of up to 200 knots (~230 mph, 370 kph) — much, much faster than the standard torpedoes fielded by the US.


Tags: Defense, Military,
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US military’s experimental hypersonic weapon explodes seconds after launch
Sebastian Anthony
ExtremeTech, August 26, 2014

It must be the season for exploding rockets: The US Army’s experimental Advanced Hypersonic Weapon, which will eventually be able to bomb anywhere in the world within an hour, exploded just four seconds after launch in Alaska.

The Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW) is part of the USA’s Prompt Global Strike program, which is investigating various ways of delivering a conventional weapon strike (i.e. not nuclear) anywhere in the world within an hour. In recent years, the US armed forces have lamented that, unless you use ICBMs, deployment time is generally measured in days or weeks — and you can’t use ICBMs, because both Russia and China have launch-detection systems that would trigger an all-out nuclear war (yay for mutually assured destruction). Basically, the US needs a weapon/missile that has the speed and range of an ICBM — but which also follows a different trajectory (so it can’t be mistaken for an ICBM) and with a strictly non-nuclear warhead.


Tags: Defense, Military, Space,
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The final ISA showdown: Is ARM, x86, or MIPS intrinsically more power efficient?
Joel Hruska
ExtremeTech, August 25, 2014

One of the canards that’s regularly trotted out in discussions of ARM vs. x86 processors is the idea that ARM chips are intrinsically more power efficient thanks to fundamental differences in the ISA (instruction set architecture). A new research paper examines these claims using a variety of ARM cores as well as a Loongson MIPS microprocessor, Intel’s Atom and Sandy Bridge microarchitectures, and AMD’s Bobcat.

ISA investigations are intrinsically difficult given that it’s effectively impossible to separate the theoretical efficiency of an architecture from the proficiency of its design team or the technical expertise of its manufacturer. Even products that seem identical can have important differences — ARM revised the Cortex-A9 core four different times and has released three updates to the Cortex-A15. Then you have the particulars of manufacturing — Intel, TSMC, Samsung, and GlobalFoundries aren’t carbon copies of each other and the CPU inside a Tegra K1 isn’t 100% identical to the Cortex-A15 inside a Samsung Exynos SoC.


Tags: CPU, Hardware, Architecture,
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Hackers take down PSN with DDOS, and Sony president’s plane with a bomb threat
Sebastian Anthony
ExtremeTech, August 25, 2014

In a rather bizarre twist of events, a group by the name of Lizard Squad has taken hacking to the next level: Not only did the hackers take down the PlayStation Network with a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack, but they also took down Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley’s airplane with a bomb threat. Sony has since restored service to PSN, and says there’s no evidence of any personal information being stolen. Smedley’s San Diego-bound American Airlines flight was quickly landed in Phoenix, but the only harm done was a lot of annoyed and delayed passengers. Perpetrating a DDOS attack is one thing, but bomb threats are an entirely different can of worms. Heads will undoubtedly roll in the next few days as federal investigators identify the members of Lizard Squad.


Tags: Cybersecurity,
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RISC rides again: New RISC-V architecture hopes to battle ARM and x86 by being totally open source
Joel Hruska
ExtremeTech, August 21, 2014

One of the pioneers of the original RISC instruction set has returned to the design table with a goal that’s nothing short of massive. David Patterson wants to reinvent computing with a completely open ISA, and he’s hoping that the time is right to finally blow the doors off the CPU industry — this time, by advocating for the adoption of the completely open ISA, RISC-V.

There are already a variety of open ISAs, but Patterson is hoping RISC-V will spark interest and uptake where other projects have sputtered. It’s hard to argue with the man’s credentials — he’s one of the original inventors of the RISC concept — but some of his critiques of the problems he wants RISC-V to solve ring truer than others.


Tags: Hardware, CPU,
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