Computing

10

At Microsoft's Build conference, the dorkiest of companies put on a big show, complete with fog machines and fancy lights, in order to show it's a cool competitor to Apple and Google. The speakers who came on stage during keynotes had stylish hair. "Do they have dressers backstage?" an attendee asked a group of us when it was all over.

1

Jurassic Park had just six minutes of computer-generated dinosaurs in it, compared to modern blockbusters which can have thousands of shots requiring complex visual effects. It's no surprise that animators are eager to embrace any shortcut they can — which is why realistic-looking CG mud could be a game changer.

0

Announced at GTC 2017, the Tesla V100 is an enterprise-level processor powered by the Volta GV100 GPU: the first chip in the world built with a 12nm FFN process. A single Volta GV100 packs in 21 billion transistors, 5120 CUDA cores, 320 texture units and a 4096-bit HBM2 memory interface with a boost clock speed of 1455MHz. It's equipped with 640 Tensor Cores capable of providing 120 teraflops of tensor operations. (And yes, it will totally play Crysis - one day.)

3

Over the past few weeks, Facebook and Instagram feeds have been flooded with creepily realistic facial transformations produced by "FaceApp", a free app for iOS and Android whose filters add smiles to photos, alter faces to make them older or younger, and even make them "male" or "female". The app's startling believability is made possible by neural networks, a kind of artificial intelligence where a computer learns by analysing thousands, sometimes even millions of example images with known traits.

10

Computer specs can be a baffling mix of acronyms and numbers at the best of times, but it's worth learning something about them: It will help you choose a new computer, troubleshoot your old computer, and generally understand more about the relationship between the specs on the page and the experience you're getting.