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Google Partners With UCSB To Build Quantum Processors For Artificial Intelligence

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Google today announced that it is expanding its research around quantum computing and that it has hired UC Santa Barbara’s (UCSB) John Martinis and his team – one of the most prolific research groups in this area — to work on new quantum processors based on superconducting electronics. Researchers in Martinis’ lab were among the first to use this technique back in 2008.

Google has long shown an interest in quantum computing. It was one of the first companies to buy one of D-Wave’s quantum computers, for example, even when it was still unclear how (or even if) D-Wave’s processor worked. Since 2013, Google has also been working on quantum computing research with NASA and the Universities Space Research Association as part of its Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab.

Now, Google is going beyond using other people’s hardware. “With an integrated hardware group, the Quantum AI team at Google…

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When Does Uber Become Cheaper Than Owning A Car?

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Thanks to the proliferation of local transportation services like Uber, we’re entering a world in which people have less reason to drive everywhere they need to go. But at what point will it become less expensive to rely on someone else to drive you around rather than driving yourself? In a Medium post, HomeHero founder Kyle Hill does the math to find out, so that you don’t have to.

As with any broad economic model, there are a number of external factors that could influence it. The overall cost of owning a vehicle will be determined by its gas mileage, the cost of gas in any given market, the length of one’s commute, and (if applicable) the cost of parking in a major city. As a result, if goes without saying that results may vary significantly.

Hill says he did the calculations after selling his own car — in…

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How The Digital Revolution Can Fix Scientific Publishing And Speed Up Discoveries

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Editor’s note:Daniel Marovitz is CEO of Faculty of 1000. Prior to that, he was the CEO and co-founder of buzzumi, a cloud, enterprise software company.

Scientific, Technical, and Medical (STM) publishing is big business. It generates $19 billion in revenue per year, the majority of which is earned by a few powerful publishers that enjoy profit margins of up to 40 percent. Inflated subscriptions sold to academic libraries keep them moving ahead because the librarians feel they have no choice but to buy. These companies add little value to the actual publishing product but they are entrenched.

Many forces are now at work to change the status quo which has existed for more than 100 years.

The primitive publishing model employed by these publishers is actually a detriment to science. Research paid for by taxpayers is often restricted behind pay walls, major breakthroughs that could potentially save lives languish in articles…

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Ecuador to become first country to launch government-backed virtual currency

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Ecuador is on track to become the first country in the world to launch a government-backed virtual currency. The as-yet named currency is expected to launch in December alongside the country’s existing currency, the U.S. dollar, which was officially adopted in 2000 following a crippling banking crisis.

Technical details remain unknown at this hour although Central Bank officials say it won’t be like Bitcoin.

Deputy director Gustavo Solorzano said the virtual currency would be backed by liquid assets and will allow users to make and receive payments for a small fee using their mobile phones. Its use will be voluntary and according to the law, it can’t be used to pay public employees or state contractors.

The idea is to give the 2.8 million people of Ecuador that cannot afford traditional banking a way to send and receive payments in a more affordable way.

Officials added that the amount of virtual currency created will depend primarily on demand.

Given the recent rise in popularity of cryptocoins, it was really only a matter of time before someone decided to create a government-backed version. It’s far too early to know if Ecuador’s virtual currency will be a success but as you can imagine, there are several people opposed to the idea.

Nathalie Reinelt, an emerging payments analyst with the U.S.-based Aite Group, told the Associated Press that she doesn’t understand any other motivation for creating such a currency than to allow Ecuador to increase its money supply and ultimately devalue its U.S. dollar holdings. Others believe it could be the first step in abandoning the U.S. dollar completely.

Source: Techspot

China’s homegrown desktop OS could hit market in October

microsoft, china, smartphone, desktop, operating system

In an effort to break foreign software monopoly, China is developing its own operating system, and is hoping to launch it by October. The OS will initially be made available for desktops, with support for smartphone and other mobile devices coming later.

“We hope to launch a Chinese-made desktop operating system by October supporting app stores”, said Ni Guangnan, who heads an official OS development alliance established in March by the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

China has increasingly sought to limit the use of US technology in the wake of Snowden’s leaks. The Chinese authorities recently banned government use of Windows 8, and also launched anti-monopoly investigations against Microsoft.

Guangnan said that there is a huge gap between China’s technology and that of developed nations, however he hoped that the new OS would be able to replace foreign desktop operating systems within one to two years and their mobile counterparts within three to five.

This isn’t the first time China is coming up with a homegrown operating system. Back in 2000, it launched Red Flag Linux with great fanfair, yet the OS failed to gain a major foothold ultimately halting operations earlier this year.

In January, the Chinese government launched COS (China Operating System), a  Linux-based open source mobile OS. It was developed jointly with China’s Institute of Software at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (ISCAS) and Shanghai Liantong.

China also helps fund Ubuntu Kylin, a version of Ubuntu designed for Chinese users. According to Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, over three million people downloaded the OS in the first 12 months.

Source: Techspot

SoundCloud introduces ads as a way to pay artists

ads, advertising, soundcloud, subscription service, on soundcloud, revenue sharing, monetization

Berlin-based audio sharing platform SoundCloud has launched a new creator partner program called On SoundCloud. This program lays the foundation for content creators to make money from their work.

In order to make this possible, however, SoundCloud had to introduce advertising for the first time ever. As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end.

The On SoundCloud program has three tiers: Partner, Pro and Premier. The Partner tier is designated for beginners. It’s free to join, upload your tracks and get feedback and basic stats. For $6 per month or $55 annually, Pro members get twice as much total upload time at six hours, more detailed statistics, the ability to post in quiet mode and the ability to spotlight tracks and playlists on your profile.

Members can also sign up for the unlimited plan at $15 / month or $135 / year which includes unlimited track uploads, everything in the aforementioned Pro package plus even more detailed stats.

The new Premier class is the only one of the bunch that includes revenue sharing. It also boasts additional features like promoted tracks and profiles but unfortunately, it’s invite-only at this time. It’s also worth pointing out that monetization occurs only when content is played in the US.

SoundCloud said they’re bringing ads on gradually and those in the US will start to notice occasional ads from brand partners including Comedy Central, Red Bull and Jaguar.

Source: Techspot

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Predictive First: How A New Era Of Apps Will Change The Game

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Editor’s note: Vik Singh is CEO of Infer.

Over the past several decades, enterprise technology has consistently followed a trail that’s been blazed by top consumer tech brands. This has certainly been true of delivery models – first there were software CDs, then the cloud, and now all kinds of mobile apps. In tandem with this shift, the way we build applications has changed and we’re increasingly learning the benefits of taking a mobile-first approach to software development.

Case in point: Facebook, which of course began as a desktop app, struggled to keep up with emerging mobile-first experiences like Instagram and WhatsApp, and ended upacquiring them for billions of dollars to play catch up.

The Predictive-First Revolution

Recent events like the acquisition of RelateIQ by Salesforce demonstrate that we’re at the beginning of another shift toward a new age of predictive-first applications. The value of data science…

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