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The First Million-Transistor Chip: the Engineers’ Story

In San Francisco on Feb. 27, 1989, Intel Corp., Santa Clara, Calif., startled the world of high technology by presenting the first ever 1-million-transistor microprocessor, which was also the company’s first such chip to use a reduced instruction set.The number of transistors alone marks a huge leap upward: Intel’s previous microprocessor, the 80386,...

Video Friday: PoKeBo Cubes

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.RoboCup 2022: 11 July–17 July 2022, BANGKOKIEEE CASE 2022: 20 August–24 August 2022, MEXICO CITYCLAWAR 2022:...

IEEE STEM Activity Kits Are In Demand at 150 U.S. Public Libraries

More than 150 public libraries throughout the central United States now lend out activity kits that let children explore just about any aspect of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The kids can check them out just like they would a book. The kits teach youngsters what engineers do, as well as how to code, build robots, design video games,...

We’re Training AI Twice as Fast This Year as Last

According to the best measures we’ve got, a set of benchmarks called MLPerf, machine-learning systems can be trained nearly twice as quickly as they could last year. It’s a figure that outstrips Moore’s Law, but also one we’ve come to expect. Most of the gain is thanks to software and systems innovations, but this year also gave the first peek at what...

Meta’s AI Takes an Unsupervised Step Forward

Meta's chief AI scientist, Yann LeCun, doesn't lose sight of his far-off goal, even when talking about concrete steps in the here-and-now. “We want to build intelligent machines that learn like animals and humans,” LeCun tells IEEE Spectrum in an interview. Today's concrete step is a series of papers from Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook,...

Self-Driving Cars Work Better With Smart Roads

Enormous efforts have been made in the past two decades to create a car that can use sensors and artificial intelligence to model its environment and plot a safe driving path. Yet even today the technology works well only in areas like campuses, which have limited roads to map and minimal traffic to master. It still can’t manage busy, unfamiliar, or...

Landsat Proved the Power of Remote Sensing

On 18 September 1969, U.S. President Richard Nixon addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations. It was a difficult time in global politics, and much of his speech focused on the war in Vietnam, disputes in the Middle East, and strategic arms control. Toward the end, though, the speech took a curious and hopeful turn, as Nixon rhapsodized about...

Explosive Power Beats Even Moore’s Law

The rising number of components on a microchip is the go-to example of roaring innovation. Intel’s first microprocessor, the 4004, released in 1971, had 2,300 transistors; half a century later the highest count surpasses 50 billion, for the Apple M1 Max—an increase of seven orders of magnitude. Most other technical advances have lagged behind: During...

This Dutch City Is Road-Testing Vehicle-to-Grid Tech

Hundreds of charging stations for electric vehicles dot Utrecht’s urban landscape in the Netherlands like little electric mushrooms. Unlike those you may have grown accustomed to seeing, many of these stations don’t just charge electric cars—they can also send power from vehicle batteries to the local utility grid for use by homes and businesses. ...

Measuring AI’s Carbon Footprint

Machine-learning models are growing exponentially larger. At the same time, they require exponentially more energy to train, so that they can accurately process images or text or video. As the AI community grapples with its environmental impact, some conferences now ask paper submitters to include information on CO2 emissions. New research offers a...

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