Software

Linus Torvalds in 2014

On August 25, 1991, Linus Torvalds (photo ┬ęKrd) announced in a message on the comp.os.minix newsgroup the project of a new operating system that actually diverged considerably from Minix. Unhappy with the Minix license, Torvalds adopted a license from the GNU project, the GPL, which seemed to him free enough. After a few weeks, the first Linux kernel was released. The availability of various components released by the GNU project and the contributions of several people who joined the project helped to spread it. Thirty years later, Linux is being used by virtually everyone in one way or another, even if only a small minority realize it.

A schematic of how the system called genomatnn recognizes adaptive introgression

An article published in the journal “eLife” reports the development of an approach based on convolutional neural networks (CNNs) to identify genes inherited from other species such as Neanderthals that brought positive effects. A team of researchers led by Graham Gower of the Danish University of Copenhagen developed this deep learning technique to examine genomes of modern humans for examples of what is technically called introgression, which means genes that a hybrid between two species brought into one of his parents’ species. Various possible examples have been found, for example, genes inherited from Denisovans have been found in Melanesians that affect various metabolic and disease-related traits.

Fastly network's status after being back to normal

On Tuesday, a lot of websites worldwide suffered malfunctions that led to some parts missing up to being impossible to connect to them. That was due to a serious problem of Fastly, a CDN (Content Delivery Network o Content Distribution Network) supplier, which means a service that normally allows faster access to a website. The problem started when it was night in the USA with consequences all around the world then it was solved about an hour after being recognized at Fastly. The trouble didn’t last long but show how something going bad in the system of a very important Internet operator can have consequences on a lot of websites. In this case, it was a bug introduced in a recent update that was supposed to be discovered before it caused any damage.

Arm CEO Simon Segars

The leading graphics processor company NVIDIA has reached an agreement to buy the British microprocessor company Arm Ltd. from the Japanese telecommunications holding SoftBank Group Corp. for $12 billion in cash and $21.5 billion in shares. The agreement provides for an additional $5 billion that SoftBank could receive under certain conditions and $1.5 billion for Arm employees for a total of 40 billion dollars. The operation is expected to close in 18 months.

Parts of the Fugaku supercomputer (Photo courtesy RIKEN Center for Computational Science (R-CCS))

The Japanese supercomputer Fugaku was crowned the new king of the Top 500 ranking by passing Summit, which held the title for two years. Fugaku has almost triple performance compared to its predecessor with a computing power of 415.5 Petaflops against 148.6 for a theoretical peak of 513.8 Petaflops against 200.8. As has been common for supercomputer kings for a long time, it uses the Linux operating system, specifically the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 distribution. An interesting novelty is that Fugaku is the first supercomputer king based on ARM architecture being built around 2.2GHz A64FX 48C processors. In the Top 500 ranking, only three other supercomputers are based on ARM architecture.