Sick and tired of waiting around for some exascale computing? So's the Department of Energy. The agency has offered up a $12.4 million contract to NVIDIA as part of its FastForward program, an attempt help speed up exascale development. The chipmaker will be using the two-year contract to help develop architecture for an exascale computer that operates at a "reasonable power level," in order to "advance the frontiers of science." Possible implications for exascale computing include the study of climate change, development of efficient engines, the search for disease cures, according to NVIDIA -- not to mention "reasons of national security and economic competitiveness."
Tasked with mine detection and eradication in the Persian Gulf, the US Navy has sent a fleet of unmanned submarines to help keep the Strait of Hormuz open in Iran. Dubbed the SeaFox, each vehicle houses an underwater TV camera, sonar and a dose of explosives. Tipping the scales at less than 100 pounds, the subs are about four feet in length and are controlled via fiber optic cable that sends the live feed back to the captain of each ship. SeaFoxes can dive to depths of 300 meters and boasts a top speed of six knots. The units are thrust into action from helicopters, small rubber boats and off the rear of minesweepers and are capable of disposing of the aforementioned weapons of both the floating and drifting sort. There is one small catch: the $100,000 submarine destroys itself in the process, making each successful trek a suicide mission of sorts.
At first it was faint -- a blurry smear bisecting the sky above, running roughly north to south and flanked by a second, even more indistinct line to the west. Soon, though, both lines began to change, coalescing and intensifying into bright green streaks impossible to miss and difficult to ignore.
As the night began to expire and the morning matured, those lines grew brighter and brighter and then, without warning, they started to dance. Numbing feet and chilly fingers forgotten, bundled-up onlookers looked skyward to gasp and laugh out loud as the evergreen, spectral curtains far above began to waver and move, blown by a fickle celestial wind. Waves traveled from north to south and back as the luminescent lines above twisted, forming glowing knots of purple and red before slowly spreading out, covering the night sky in green, bright enough that even the snow-colored landscape glowed like an emerald wonderland. Gradually, the motion stopped and slowed, seeming to stall in the sky above, exhausted before -- encore; the heavenly dance began anew.
The recent release of the Radeon HD 7970 Ghz Edition is having knock-on benefits further down the stack. $20 has now been shaved off the regular 7970 rrp in addition to the last discount we reported, while the 7950 is down $50 to $349 and the 7870 has also been nudged $50 deeper into the mid-range sweet spot at $249. Other cards in the line-up may also drop by some degree, although there's no official word on those just yet. These summer prices should start having an impact in stores from today -- just in time to benefit from the latest Catalyst 12.7 drivers, which promise to bring significant performance gains and hence even more tension to your NVIDIA product comparisons.