Google says its AI chips smoke CPUs, GPUs in performance tests

Four years ago, Google was faced with a conundrum: if all its users hit its voice recognition services for three minutes a day, the company would need to double the number of data centers just to handle all of the requests to the machine learning system powering those services.

Rather than buy a bunch of new real estate and servers just for that purpose, the company embarked on a journey to create dedicated hardware for running machine- learning applications like voice recognition.

The result was the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), a chip that is designed to accelerate the inference stage of deep neural networks. Google published a paper on Wednesday laying out the performance gains the company saw over comparable CPUs and GPUs, both in terms of raw power and the performance per watt of power consumed.

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Twitter changes its default profile photo from an egg to a human-shaped blob

Twitter has ditched the egg, abandoning the bird motif for a more generic option.

On Friday, Twitter introduced a new default profile picture, switching from the well-known egg to a simple human silhouette. Twitter hopes this change will encourage users to replace the default image with a real photo of themselves, dissuading people from remaining anonymous or being associated with trolls.

The egg has been Twitter’s default profile picture for seven years, but recently it has taken on a new meaning beyond the cute bird motif. Obviously, Twitter trolls, bots and others who use the site solely for abuse and harassment choose to remain anonymous, so the egg photo has become a signifier for this type of user. As playwright Ken Armstrong put it, “Never argue with an egg.”

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US House votes to undo broadband privacy rules

The U.S. House of Representatives has followed the Senate in voting to repeal privacy rules that can prevent broadband providers from selling customers’ internet-browsing histories and other data without their permission.

On Tuesday, the House voted 215-205 to do away with the privacy rules that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission passed last year. The rules had yet to come into effect.

They require broadband carriers to first obtain opt-in approval from customers before using and sharing their sensitive personal information, such as web browsing history, geo-location data and what applications they’ve used.

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