Personal Supercomputers

Technology Review writes:

[Recently], Intel announced a research project that made geeks jump with glee: the first programmable “terascale” supercomputer on a chip. The company demonstrated a single chip with 80 cores, or processors, and showed that these cores could be programmed to crunch numbers at the rate of a trillion operations per second, a measure known as a teraflop. The chip is about the size of a large postage stamp, but it has the same calculation speed as a supercomputer that, in 1996, took up about 2,000 square feet and drew about 1,000 times more power.

This research chip is one of Intel’s first steps toward massively multicore technology, says Nitin Borkar, engineering manager and lab project head at Intel. The goal, he says, is to use this chip to test techniques that could make massively multicore technology faster, more energy efficient, and, most daunting, easy to program. These techniques will be “funneled into future products” that could appear, if all goes well, within five to ten years.

Researchers and visionaries are already thinking about how these supercomputer chips can best be used. Intel thinks that recognition, mining, and synthesis (RMS) applications will be key. Put together, these technologies could allow real-time language translation via cell phones, real-time video search by spoken phrase or image, and better recommendation systems for shopping, meal planning, and even health care.

Turning Online Community to Business

WSJ writes:

Quentin’s Friends is part of a growing group of small online communities that started as hobbies but are evolving into viable small businesses. While these niche sites don’t attract as much attention as social-networking standouts like MySpace and Craig’s List, they are demonstrating that even small players have the potential to become profitable if they establish a community that others will want to be a part of.

Charlene Li, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc. in Foster City, Calif., says niche sites can succeed because there’s a pent-up demand for sites that cater to specific interests and demographic groups. They are “filling the gap left by giant sites like MySpace,” which are so big that it can be hard for users to find information and like-minded people, she says.

Local Search

iLeher has a post by Vivek Garg: “Local search has been a very interesting challenge and alot of old and new companies are taking a stab. Lets look at this entire continuum and where each player sits. Radical idea is to find information that is geo tagged. This information can be as granular as lat-long or as coarse as a city name. So when you setup a shop to solve local search, first question is how do you collect & tag this information? How do you present this informaton so that it creates the most wholesome experience? How do you make money from this high investment business?”

Long Tail and Mobile Web 2.0 Apps

Ajit Jaokar lays out the problem statement:

The current Mobile Web ecosystem presents a complex and an evolving framework. Within this framework, the questions we address here are:

a) How to sell the vision to the all players in the industry; especially to Mobile Operators

b) How to empower grassroots developers by creating a vibrant ecosystem a problem which I have historically been discussing in my blog and books

c) Operators face the problem of how to work with incremental/grassroots innovation. In contrast to existing top down services which are complex for an Operator to deploy(and approve within their own organization), they need a simpler, more granular framework to handle the many Long tail applications

d) How to harness innovation arising from the many grassroots / Long Tail applications many of which will never take off. A few will be super hits. However, an ecosystem is needed to allow them all to flourish

e) How can Operators gain financially from new innovation without taking on the complex task of working with thousands of developers

Google and Brand Advertising

Advertising Age writes:

Google’s VP-advertising sales, Tim Armstrong, touted his company’s ability to court brand advertisers during a question-and-answer session at Bank of America’s Technology Conference.

He talked of a Long Tail of products, explaining that previously, by using traditional media, marketers could only advertise one or two products at a time because of how long it would take to create and execute the advertising. With services like Google’s, however, he said, brand marketers are advertising all of their products, all the time — and that’s contributing to much of the online brand advertising growth.

“Most marketers are used to advertising just a fraction of their products due to that human scale required to advertise them,” he said. Five years ago, he said, Hewlett Packard was running only two or three of their products on search. Today they’re running thousands.

TECH TALK: 3GSM 2007: Snippets

Here is what others had to say about 3GSM:

FT.com:

The theme of this years 3GSM World Congress was summarised by Naguib Sawiris, chairman and chief executive of Orascom, the Egyptian mobile phone operator, at the first keynote session of the conference.

“This is the time of the emerging markets to come back. Just look at us. We have two Indians and an Egyptian on stage,” he said.

Indeed, a packed auditorium of telecoms executives were hanging on the every word of a powerful “emerging markets” trio of Arun Sarin, chief executive of Vodafone, Sanjiv Ahuja, chief executive of Orange and Mr Sawiris, whose Orascom has a strong grip not only in the Middle East but recently acquired operators in Italy and Greece as well.

Carlo Longino: One thing that was noticeable was the clear invasion of the mobile world by internet brands…It will be interesting to see how this trend plays out, because (surprise surprise), youve got operators doing deals on one side (Vodafone with YouTube and MySpace, for instance), then handset vendors working with some of the same companies (Nokia and YouTube, Yahoo and whoever). While its heartening to see signs of a sea change, a realization that users want access to the services and sites theyre familiar with on their computers, you get the feeling were lining up for another spat over who gets to own the customer or own the relationship or something similarly silly.

Dean Bubley: The only discernable megatrend emerging here in Barcelona is the confirmation that mobile-centric content and operator-specific portals are dead, or at least confined to a handful of small niches & individual national markets…Everything else is about taking the real Internet onto mobile (there isn’t, nor ever has been, nor ever will be, a “mobile Internet”) . YouTube, Google, MySpace, Yahoo and so on – yes, optimised a little bit for mobile devices & networks, but only insofar as browser, screen and network technology can’t quite cope with the full-on web today.

Techdirt Wireless: It’s been a slightly odd event, full of people and companies but largely devoid of the ridiculous hype that’s plagued events of years past. Is the mobile industry finally realizing it just sets itself up to fail by hyping technologies to stupid levels, then failing to deliver on them? Somehow that seems optimistic. Still, a few trends have been clear, chief among them the continued interest in mobile TV and video. What’s interesting, though, is to see non-broadcast video getting a growing amount of attention as smart companies cotton on to the idea that non-linear, channel-organized video isn’t the be-all and end-all of mobile video, and that consumers are going to want mobile access to the sort of internet video content they enjoy on their PC. This is set against the backdrop of a bigger trend: that companies, including handset vendors and operators, are realizing people want internet content on their mobile phones, not some whacked-down mobile-specific content. The two biggest stories of the show, though, were Vodafone’s big Indian acquisition, and the launch of Motorola’s hot MOTORIZR Z8, which despite the silly name, is the kind of device Motorola’s been needing to follow the RAZR.

Jason Ankeny: 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona generated a staggering number of announcements, deals and opinions, and while it will no doubt take some time to sort through and make sense of them all, the one phrase that sticks out for me is “iPhone killer.” It’s an expression bandied about quite a lot lately, especially given that the iPhone itself is still months away from release. Of the many “iPhone killers” launched at 3GSM, perhaps the most intriguing is Music Station, a new subscription service created by London-based Omnifone that offers consumers unlimited downloads from a catalog of over one million songs for 1.99 per week. Omnifone has already signed deals with 23 mobile operators in 40 countries, in large part because, unlike Apple’s iTunes, Music Station promises compatibility with any existing music-capable handset.

Rudy De Waele: This 3GSM is definately too early for the many mobile 2.0 (web) companies, many of them need to work harder on their business models; one may try to go around the operators but I think the next couple of years start-ups need to combine their innovative ideas and technology to work with the network operators to deploy compelling new services, supposing these become available for the masses with affordable fees of course. In any case, this show didnt had any grouped sign of mobile 2.0 companies yet, hopefully we can expect some changes next year.

Tomorrow: Snippets (continued)

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