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Micron launches 176-layer NAND flash and 1-alpha DRAM chips for the data economy

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Micron launches 176-layer NAND flash and 1-alpha DRAM chips for the data economy

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Micron Technology unveiled new memory and storage products that it said could better serve data-driven businesses as the data economy continues to develop.

The new flash memory and dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips were designed to deal with the bottleneck in feeding data between memory, storage, and processing solutions in modern computers. Micron made the announcement at the virtual Computex trade show in Taiwan this week.

The new products include its first 176-layer NAND flash and 1α DRAM technology, as well as what Micron touted as the industry’s first Universal Flash Storage (UFS) 3.1 solution for automotive applications. The products will serve everything from enterprises to games.

The new portfolio additions deliver on the company’s vision of accelerating data-driven insights through innovations in memory and storage that enable new capabilities from the datacenter to the intelligent edge, Micron chief business officer Sumit Sadana said in a press briefing. He noted that the semiconductor industry typically grows faster than the overall world economy, and demand for memory and flash grows faster than the semiconductor industry. About 30% of the chip industry is memory and storage.

“It is [going to be used] in end devices, whether mobile phones and laptops, in datacenter technologies, at the intelligent edge like industrial internet of things and smart automobiles,” Sadana said. “Every segment of the market is going to be turbocharged for the next decade or two. Those are really exciting trends that bode well for the future.”

Micron announced volume delivery of its first PCIe Gen4 solid-state drives (SSDs) built with what the company called the world’s first 176-layer NAND. This month the company is also shipping what it calls another world’s first, a 1α node-based LPDDR4x DRAM. LPDDR4x is the latest JEDEC specification for fourth-generation low-power DRAM, featuring improved input/output voltage for substantially lower power, which makes it ideal for mobile computing devices. Together, Micron said, these latest releases reinforce the company’s leadership position in both DRAM and NAND technology, which it claimed to establish this year. PCIe Gen4 SSDs are expected to grow six times in the next two years, according to market researcher Forward Insights.

Above: Micron 3400 M2 SSD module.

Image Credit: Micron

These advances will help the data economy deal with the explosion of data from AI and 5G. As those technologies reach mainstream deployment, they’re generating huge amounts of data that memory and storage products have to keep up with.

The company’s latest SSDs, the Micron 3400 and 2450, deliver high performance and design flexibility with low power consumption to enable all-day use from professional workstations to ultrathin notebooks, Micron said. The Micron 3400 SSD provides twice the read throughput and up to 85% higher write throughput compared to previous generations, the company said, enabling demanding applications like real-time 3D rendering, computer-aided design, gaming, and animation.

For customers seeking lower cost PCIe Gen4 performance, the Micron 2450 SSD is available in three form factors, as small as the 22 x 30mm M.2, to deliver immense design flexibility. Both Intel and Advanced Micro Devices have validated the tech for use with their processors. The PC market is now producing a million computers per day, Jeremy Werner, corporate vice president for storage at Micron, said in a press briefing. Market researcher IDC expects the PC market to grow 18% in 2021, following 13% growth in 2020.

Werner said the SSD products aren’t vaporware, since they’re shipping today. Micron is shipping LPDDR4x in volume on its leading 1α node this month, on the heels of its initial 1α node DRAM products in January 2021. The company also announced it has completed validation of its 1α-based DDR4 on leading datacenter platforms, including 3rd Generation AMD EPYC. Both are in volume production in Micron’s advanced DRAM fabrication facilities in Taiwan, including its newly established A3 facility in Taichung.

Micron DDR5

Above: Micron DDR5 DRAM chips.

Image Credit: Micron

Raj Hazra, senior vice president for compute and networking at Micron, said in a press briefing that the Micron 1α-based memory provides advanced technology to power innovation from data-centric workloads on server platforms to consumers’ slim notebooks. The 1-alpha design enables power-efficiency improvements for memory, enabling longer laptop battery life for both the work-from-home and study-from-home environments. Micron has partnered with Taiwan OEM Acer to integrate 1α-based LPDDR4x and DDR4 into Acer systems.

The 1α node process provides a 40% improvement in memory density and up to 15% improvement in power savings for mobile use cases when compared to previous 1z node LPDDR4x, Hazra said. This power savings is ideal for mobile phones that must preserve battery life, he said, particularly with memory-intensive use cases like capturing photos and video.

For data-intensive automotive systems, Micron announced that it is sampling 128GB and 256GB densities of its 96-layer NAND as part of its new portfolio of UFS 3.1 managed NAND products for automotive applications. The ruggedized solutions can be used for in-vehicle entertainment and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) at the intelligent edge. ADAS vehicles now have more than 100 million lines of software code that has to be stored and quickly read for snappy user experiences.

The company said UFS 3.1 provides 50% faster sustained write performance to keep pace with the real-time local storage needs of growing sensor and camera data for Level 3+ ADAS systems and black box applications.

Micron also said its DDR5 technology enablement program has now engaged more than 250 design and technical leaders from more than 100 industry leaders, including system and silicon enablers, channel partners, cloud service providers and OEMs.

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Lucidworks: Chatbots and recommendations boost online brand loyalty

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Who is loyal

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Pandemic-related shutdowns led consumers to divert the bulk of their shopping to online — and many of those shoppers are now hesitant about returning to stores as businesses begin to open back up. A recent survey of 800 consumers conducted by cloud company Lucidworks found that 59% of shoppers plan to either avoid in-person shopping as much as possible,  or visit in-person stores less often than before the pandemic.

Above: Shoppers across the U.S. and U.K. agree that high-quality products, personalized recommendations, and excellent customer service are the top three reasons they’re brand-loyal.

Image Credit: Lucidworks

As the world stabilizes, shoppers want brands to provide a multi-faceted shopping experience — expanded chatbot capabilities, diverse recommendations, and personalized experiences that take into account personal preferences and history, Lucidworks found in its study. More than half of shoppers in the survey, 55%, said they use a site’s chatbot on every visit. American shoppers use chatbots more than their counterparts in the United Kingdom, at 70%.

The majority of shoppers, 70%, use chatbots for customer service, and 53% said they want a chatbot to help them find specific products or check product compatibility. A little less than half, or 48%, said they use chatbots to find more information about a product, and 42% use chatbots to find policies such as shipping information and how to get refunds.

A quarter of shoppers will leave the website to seek information elsewhere if the chatbot doesn’t give them the answer. Brands that deploy chatbots capable of going beyond basic FAQs and can perform product and content discovery will provide the well-rounded chatbot experience shoppers expect, Lucidworks said.

Respondents also pointed to the importance of content recommendations. The survey found that almost a third of shoppers said they find recommendations for “suggested content” useful, and 61% of shoppers like to do research via reviews on the brand’s website where they’ll be purchasing from. A little over a third — 37% — of shoppers use marketplaces such as Amazon, Google Shopping, and eBay for their research.

Brands should try to offer something for every step in the shopping journey, from research to purchase to support, to keep shoppers on their sites longer. How online shopping will look in coming years is being defined at this very moment as the world reopens. Brands that are able to understand a shopper’s goal in the moment and deliver a connected experience that understands who shoppers are and what they like are well-positioned for the future, Lucidworks said.

Lucidworks used a self-serve survey tool, Pollfish, in late May 2021 to survey 800 consumers over the age of 18—400 in the U.K. and 400 in the U.S.—to understand how shoppers interact with chatbots, product and content recommendations, where they prefer to do research, and plans for future in-store shopping.

Read the full U.S./U.K. Consumer Survey Report from Lucidworks.

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Breakroom teams up with High Fidelity to bring 3D audio to online meetings

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Breakroom teams up with High Fidelity to bring 3D audio to online meetings

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Social meeting space Breakroom has integrated High Fidelity‘s 3D audio into its 3D virtual world for social and business events.

The deal is a convergence of some virtual world pioneers who have made their mark on the development of virtual life. Philip Rosedale is the CEO of High Fidelity, and he also launched Second Life in 2003. And Sine Wave Entertainment, the creator of Breakroom, got its start as a content brand in Second Life before it spun out to create its own virtual meeting spaces for real world events.

Adam Frisby, chief product officer and cofounder of Sine Wave, said in our interview conducted inside Breakroom that the High Fidelity spatial audio will help Breakroom create a triple-A quality experience in a virtual world.

“The real benefit of having 3D audio in a virtual world like this is you can have lots of conversations going on simultaneously,” said Frisby. “3D audio is the only way to replicate the real-world experience in an online environment. You can have a 150-person conference and end up with 10 groups of people talking at the same time. That has helped us with engagement.”

Above: Breakroom lets an event have dozens of simultaneous conversations where people don’t talk over each other, thanks to High Fidelity.

Image Credit: Sine Wave

Most online events get engagement times of 20 or 30 minutes. But Breakroom’s average events, ranging from 600 to 1,000 attendees, have engagement times of an hour and 40 minutes, Frisby said.

Sine Wave’s Breakroom draws heavily on lessons learned in Second Life to create a frictionless, mass market, user-friendly virtual world.

“You can hear everything better with High Fidelity,” said Rosedale, in our interview in Breakroom. “Breakroom combines low-latency server-side video and spatial audio in a way that lets you hold an event like it’s in the real world.”

High Fidelity is a real-time communications company. Its mission is to build technologies that power more human experiences in today’s digital world. The company’s patented spatial audio technology, originally developed for its VR software platform, adds immersive, high-quality voice chat to any application — for groups of any size. You can really tell how close you are to someone in a High Fidelity space when they talk to you, as voices become fainter the farther away they are.

“We are super excited about this general direction and we wound up building the audio subsystem and extracting that first,” Rosedale said. “It works well where there is no possibility of face-to-face meetings.”

breakroom 3

Above: I could hear Philip Rosedale’s voice clearly in this conversation in Breakroom.

Image Credit: Sine Wave

Spatial audio in a 3D virtual world helps encourage spontaneous conversations into a fun, productive setting, in a way that flatscreen video calls and webinars simply can’t match, Frisby said. It’s easy to tell in Breakroom who is speaking to you, and from what direction.

It took me a little while to figure out how to unmute my voice. Rosedale was jumping up and down while we were talking.

“It’s all remote rendered. And that means that we can bring people in on a variety of platforms,” Frisby said. “No matter what your target hardware is, you can actually get in here and still get good high fidelity. It’s a good quality 3D rendering experience here regardless of what device you’re on.”

I asked Rosedale if he could hear me chewing lettuce, which sounded very loud on my headsets. But he said no. It definitely helps if you have good headsets with 3D audio.

Breakroom is being used by organizations like Stanford University, the United Nations, and The Economist. Breakroom runs on any device with a Chrome browser, offering good 3D graphics and audio quality, with no installation required.

Frisby said that Breakroom is also a way for companies to enable remote workers to gather and meet each other in more relaxed environments as if it were an intermediate space between online-only environments and going back to work in offices.

breakroom 4

Above: Breakroom and High Fidelity are enabling conferences with spatial audio.

Image Credit: Sine Wave

Its full suite of communication tools includes voice chat, instant messenger, and in-world email. It has video conferencing, media sharing, and desktop sharing tools. It has a diverse range of fully customizable avatars and scenes. You can get around just by pointing and clicking on the environment.

It also has event management tools to facilitate conversation and agenda flow, branded interactive exhibition stands, and private meeting rooms, available for rent by sponsors. It has environments including dance clubs, beach and mountain retreats, casual games, quiz shows, and live music/comedy shows. It has an integrated shop where brands can upload and sell their content to customers for real cash.

It gives you the ability to seamlessly license and import any item from the Unity Asset Store (Sine Wave is a verified partner of Unity). The iOS and Android version of Breakroom is in closed beta and Breakroom for consoles and the Oculus Quest 2 coming soon. It has LinkedIn and Eventbrite integration, including ticket sales. It also has a self-serve portal for customers to quickly customize and configure their organizations’ Breakroom, as well as sub-licensing agreements which enable Breakroom customers to host and monetize events and experiences to their own customer base.

Frisby said it has been a technical challenge so that people don’t get kicked out of the room, but his team has managed to refine the technology during the pandemic. He thinks conferences are great use cases for the technology because so many people come together simultaneously and push the tech to the limit.

As for High Fidelity, Rosedale believes that the education market will come around, and the whole world will eventually move to better spatial experiences.

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GamesBeat’s creed when covering the game industry is “where passion meets business.” What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you — not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it.

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Moderne helps companies automate their code migration and fixes

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uR9EPALJKjI&feature=emb_title

Elevate your enterprise data technology and strategy at Transform 2021.


While every company may well be a software company these days, the software development sphere has evolved greatly over the past decade to get to this stage, with developer operations (DevOps), agile, and cloud-native considerations at the forefront.

Moreover, with APIs and open source software now serving as critical components of most modern software stacks, tracking code changes and vulnerabilities introduced by external developers can be a major challenge. This is something fledgling startup Moderne is setting out to solve with a platform that promises to automatically “fix, upgrade, and secure code” in minutes, including offering support for framework or API migrations and applying CVE (common vulnerabilities and exposures) patches.

The Seattle-based company, which will remain in private beta for the foreseeable future, today announced a $4.7 million seed round of funding to bring its SaaS product to market. The investment was led by True Ventures, with participation from a slew of angel and VC backers, including GitHub CTO Jason Warner; Datadog cofounder and CEO Olivier Pomel; Coverity cofounder Andy Chou; Mango Capital; and Overtime.vc.

Version control

If a third-party API provider or open source framework is updated, with the older version no longer actively supported, companies need to ensure their software remains secure and compliant. “It requires revving dependencies [updating version numbers in configuration files] and changing all the call sites for the APIs that have changed — it’s tedious, repetitive, but hasn’t been automated,” Moderne CEO and cofounder Jonathan Schneider told VentureBeat.

Moderne is built on top of OpenRewrite, an open source automated code refactoring tool for Java that Schneider developed at Netflix several years ago. While developers can already use the built-in refactoring and semantic search features included in integrated development environments (IDEs), if they need to perform a migration or apply a CVE patch, they have to follow multiple manual steps. Moreover, they can only work on a single repository at a time.

“So if an organization has hundreds of microservices — which is not uncommon for even very small organizations, and larger ones have thousands — each repository needs to be loaded into [the] IDE and operated one by one,” Schneider said. “A developer can spend weeks or months doing this across the codebase.”

OpenRewrite, on the other hand, provides “building blocks” — individual search and refactoring operations — that can be composed into an automated sequence called recipes anyone can use. Moderne’s offering complements OpenRewrite and allows companies to apply these recipes in bulk to their codebases.

Above: Moderne screenshot

Enterprises, specifically, can accumulate vast amounts of code. One of Moderne’s early product design partners is a “large financial institution” that incorporates some 250 million lines of Java code — or “one-eighth of all GitHub Java code,” Schneider noted, adding that this is actually on the “low to medium” side for what a typical enterprise might have.

“Some of this code is obsolete (e.g. accrued through historical acquisitions), some is under rapid development (e.g. mobile apps) — but the majority represents super valuable business assets, such as ATM software and branch management software,” Schneider said.

And let’s say a company decides to redeploy developers internally to work on rapid development projects — it still needs to consider the core software components that underpin the business and need to be maintained. Moderne automates the code migration and CVE patching process, freeing developers to work on other mission-critical projects.

When Moderne eventually goes to market, it will adopt an open core business model, with a free plan for the open source community and individual users, while the premium SaaS plan will support larger codebases and teams with additional features for collaboration.

The company said it will use its fresh cash injection to grow a “vibrant open source community for OpenRewrite,” expand its internal engineering team, and bolster its SaaS product ahead of launch.

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  • up-to-date information on the subjects of interest to you
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