Hello loyal readers and welcome to yet another exciting edition of This Week in Technology for May 9th, 2013. Don’t let the surprisingly cold temperatures across the nation fool you; summer is just around the corner and with it we can expect lots of tech conferences showing off new and improved innovations. In fact, we will be debuting two of those new technologies for you this week with the Silvermont Atom mobile processor and a new concept in the realm of Quantum computing. We will also take a look at the newly passed Internet sales tax that just left the Senate and will likely change the way that you rationalize online purchases. So without further delay, here is This Week in Technology:
Smartphone Tech Gets a Major Boost
Our first news story of the day comes from Intel and the launch of their second generation Atom processor that is known by code name Silvermont. As you can see from the illustration above, this new chip brags about delivering three times the processing power in a manner that’s nearly five times more efficient; which is quite an accomplishment by modern standards. Then again, the Atom has not been improved on since its original launch in 2008 so this innovation has been long overdue in the tech world.
So what allows Silvermont to achieve such impressive benchmarks? It starts with a new 22-nanometer, 3D transistor architecture design that powers up to eight processing cores. It also utilizes an out of order execution to boost overall performance while reducing overall power consumption; which is a first in mobile devices. There will also be several different types of second generation Atom processors from this Silvermont innovation and they will begin hitting the stores shelves around the holiday season in December.
Earlier this week, the Senate decided that the $11.4 billion dollars in sales tax that is lost to online sales within the United States was far too costly to ignore any further. A new bill has been passed to make it easier for each individual state to pursue collecting tax revenue off online sales that occur both in and out of state, which is a direct rebuttal of the 1992 Supreme Court decision. This bill is also proposing to simplify the tax collection process for retailers and reduce the amount of paperwork required to meet the bill’s criteria.
While the new bill may sound like a good idea on paper, thousands of small business owners are calling it a logistical nightmare. Take the average eBay seller, for example, and the task of having to keep up with sales tax forms, payments, and other data for 50 individual states…while still running their business at the same time. This bill, if passed into law, will essentially drive tens of thousands of small owner/operators out of the marketplace and that’s not good for anyone.
The Reality of Quantum Computing
Our final story of the day takes a look at D-Wave Systems and their attempt to introduce the world’s first quantum computer to the marketplace. Initial testing shows that this strange new computer system can perform at levels up to 3,600 times faster than today’s average high-end business system so its capabilities are not in question here; skeptics instead argue the practical usage of quantum physics and how it can redefine our understanding of technology and possibly the universe itself.
Of course, whether or not this is actually the world’s first quantum computer is an argument for another day. Professor Catherine McGeoch argues that the point of whether D-Wave’s creation falls into that specific category makes no difference anyway- the larger picture is that the technology could make modern supercomputers obsolete since the initial results are exponentially more impressive. A working model has already been sold and installed for technology development group Lockheed Martin and initial feedback has been almost entirely positive.
“There is no sense in which this is the definitive statement about quantum computing,” Ms. McGeoch said. “I’m more interested in how well it works, not whether or not it is quantum.”
Well, that’s all we have for This Week in Technology so be sure to check back next week to see where the world of tech will take us.