Science and Technology links (October 23rd 2021)

    1. Apple announced new processors for its computers. Here is a table with the transistor count of some recent Apple processors:
      processor release year transistors
      Apple A7 2013 1 billions
      Apple A8 2014 2 billions
      Apple A9 2015 2 billions
      Apple A10 2016 3.2 billions
      Apple A11 2017 4.3 billions
      Apple A12 2018 6.9 billions
      Apple A13 2019 8.5 billions
      Apple A14 2020 11.8 billions
      Apple M1 2020 16 billions
      Apple M1 Max 2021 57 billions

      We find that the number of transistors on commodity processors doubles every two years, approximatively. Furthermore, the energy usage of chips is trending downward: the Apple M1 Max reportedly uses less than 100 Watts, which is comparable with processors of the last two decades despite a much greater performance.
      The storage capacity and bandwidth is also trending upward: the Apple M1 Max has 64GB of RAM with a bandwidth of 400GB/s.

      However, our processors are increasingly parallel in nature: the M1 Max has ten generic processing cores and 32 graphical cores. You are unlikely to be able to make use of the 64 GB of RAM and of all of its bandwidth with a single core.

    2. It seems that older people might be more social, more likely to give to charity. It seems to confirm earlier work.
    3. A popular supplement (nicotinamide riboside) seems to partially rejuvenate the immune system of old mice. (I do not take nicotinamide riboside.)
    4. Winter is coming. Maybe you are planning to hide from the cold? It appears that cold exposure reduces neuroinflammation. Since too much inflammation is commonly a problem when you are not otherwise sick, these results suggest that going outside in the cold might do some good.
    5. Weaker students in the US have poorer and poorer scores in reading and mathematics. The best students are still doing well. The net result is that the gap between the weak students and the best students is getting larger. (These results are unrelated to the recent pandemic.)

Published by

Daniel Lemire

A computer science professor at the University of Quebec (TELUQ).

4 thoughts on “Science and Technology links (October 23rd 2021)”

  1. Re:#5

    Are other countries seeing this same result? It might be that it is increasingly difficult for individuals in the lower percentiles to find the strength to try to improve in our modern society. Personal traits such as “work ethic” and pride in individual achievement are under attack, excuses for failure are proliferating and the personal consequences of failure are being diminished by things like the undermining of achievement based standards for everything from college admissions to at work promotions and “free” stuff from governments. Some even advocate unconditional payment of a “living wage” as a “Right” for all.

    1. Do we have any data to support this sentiment? I’d believe this if drop-out rate is also increasing.

      I do see the attitude being common, along with apathy and a general disdain for education in younger people (at least at the US high school level). I think that we’ll have more to talk about whenever NAEP releases more info (looks like it’ll be in 2028?).

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