Alphabet’s latest X project is a crop-sniffing plant buggy

Alphabet’s X lab, the former Google division that launched the Waymo self-driving car unit and other ambitious projects, has officially announced its latest “moonshot”: a computational agriculture project the company is calling Mineral.



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© Photo: Alphabet


The project is focused on sustainable food production and farming at large scales, with a focus on “developing and testing a range of software and hardware prototypes based on breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, simulation, sensors, robotics and more,” according to project lead Elliott Grant.

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A blog post outlining the project’s vision says Mineral, which now has an official name but may have launched in secret around 2017 according to Grant’s LinkedIn page, will try and aim technology toward solving issues around sustainability. Those include feeding of Earth’s growing population, and producing crops more efficiently by understanding growth cycles and weather patterns. The project will also hope to manage land and plant life

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AMD Project Quantum Possibly Revived: Potential Zen 3 And RDNA 2 Mini Gaming PC Incoming?

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Over five years ago, AMD launched the R9 Fury, R9 Nano, and showed off something called Project Quantum. Project Quantum would have been a wholly redesigned PC from AMD with its own hardware inside. As the GPUs came and went, Project Quantum went dark… until today. A Twitter user by the name @Pete_2097 discovered a patent from AMD, which was filed in February and granted last month, for the design of Project Quantum.

2015 was undoubtedly an intriguing year for computer cases. That was the year HotHardware gave away a CyberPower Trinity Xtreme PC, which had three separate chambers. AMD also had their interesting design with the Project Quantum PC. The PC was designed to be “the VR PC of the future” with a complete redesign from the ground up. It was a small form-factor device with a split chamber setup. The bottom chamber would house water-cooled components, and the

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Microsoft’s Apple workaround: How Xbox could bring Project xCloud to iOS via the web in 2021

Project xCloud, as shown at the Xbox E3 Showcase in the Microsoft Theater at L.A. Live, Sunday, June 9, 2019 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Casey Rodgers/Invision for Xbox/AP Images)

Microsoft is working on a browser-based edition of its cloud gaming service Project xCloud, according to multiple reports. Business Insider reported that Xbox chief Phil Spencer told Microsoft employees at a meeting Wednesday that the company will pursue a “direct browser-based solution” for bringing the cloud-based, multi-platform version of its Xbox Game Pass subscription service to Apple’s family of devices. The Verge cites unnamed sources confirming the plans.

This news comes almost a month after Apple launched a new set of rules for its App Store in September. It would have allowed Microsoft to officially bring an xCloud app to iOS, but only if each game on the service was submitted to Apple as a separate playable app. As there

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IBM advanced Project Debater effort with Key Point Analysis

IBM has developed a natural language processing advance via its Project Debater effort called Key Point Analysis that aims to use artificial intelligence to sum up crowd-sourced arguments.

The technology, led by IBM Research, is being showcased on Bloomberg TV’s “That’s Debatable” show. The show aired Friday and featured a debate on wealth distribution with US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, former Greece finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and Manhattan Institute’s Allison Schrager.

Noam Slonim, lead researcher for IBM’s Project Debater effort, said the goal of Key Point Analysis is to “enable AI systems to manage the human language.” “There’s a significant opportunity for using national language processing,” he said.

Primers: What is AI? | What is machine learning? | What is deep learning? | What is artificial general intelligence?    

In the debut episode of “That’s Debatable,” IBM used Key Point Analysis to distill points

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14 Project Management Tips For New Tech Leaders

Tech leaders know there’s no shortage of project management systems, processes and programs out there—so many that a newcomer to the tech field can feel overwhelmed. While a new tech leader can use trial and error to eventually work through all the pros and cons of systems and processes and pin down what’s right for their organization, a smoother, faster path would be to turn to experienced tech leaders for their insights.

We asked the members of Forbes Technology Council to share top project management tips new tech leaders should remember. Their answers are below.

1. Know that modern project management tools are much more collaborative.

Project management is not what it used to be. Remember the old PMI? The principles are still useful, but today teams are empowered with agile delivery that’s iterative and client-centric. For these reasons, modern tools have way more collaboration in them. Think of

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University of Oregon-led project identifies the age, depth and carbon stock of the world’s oldest tropical peatlands — ScienceDaily

Researchers probing peatlands to discover clues about past environments and carbon stocks on land have identified peatland that is twice as old and much deeper than previously thought.

Their findings, detailed in an open-access paper published Sept. 14 in the journal Environmental Research Letters, show that an inland site near Putussibau, not far from the Indonesia-Malaysia border, formed at least 47,800 years old and contains peat 18 meters deep — roughly the height of a six-story building.

The study provides new insights about the climate of equatorial rainforests, especially during the last ice age, said study co-author Dan Gavin, a professor of geography at the University of Oregon.

“This existence of this very deep and old peatland provides some clues on past climate,” Gavin said. “It tells us that this area remained sufficiently wet and warm to support peat growth through the last ice age. The climate during that

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Synopsys Outreach Foundation Science Project Package Application Period Open

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Oct. 5, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The Synopsys Silicon Valley Science & Technology Outreach Foundation (known as the Synopsys Outreach Foundation) today announced it has opened applications for its Science Project Package Program.  The materials are offered to teachers in the California free of cost.  Applications can be submitted directly on the Synopsys Outreach Foundation website until October 15th.

Each package provides educators with STEM project materials including tri-fold boards, science fair collateral materials, and new science supplies or kits.  Educators in Santa Clara County, Calif. may also receive a membership to Resource Area for Teaching or California Association of Science Educators.

“The Science Project Package Program offers much needed materials enabling distant project-based STEM teaching and learning,” says Katherine Houston, President of the Synopsys Outreach Foundation.   “Additionally, providing memberships to professional associations empowers teachers to access professional learning whenever they need it, continuously

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Montana climate project to install remote weather stations

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — University of Montana researchers recently received a $21 million government contract, bringing more support and longevity to what has been a grassroots effort to build a better climate monitoring network across the state.

The funding from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will pay to expand and enhance a collaborative project spearheaded by UM’s Montana Climate Office in 2016 that aims to fill in gaps in weather and soil moisture data throughout the state.

“This project is very unique,” said Kelsey Jencso, a lead researcher and associate professor of watershed hydrology at UM. “This is a very applied project. It has a particular goal, which is to better monitor soil moisture, snowpack, weather hazards and climate conditions.”

Through partnerships with government agencies, including the Montana Department of Agriculture and Bureau of Land Management, Montana State University, watershed groups, and private farmers and ranchers, the Montana Climate

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Five Australian universities launch project to improve voice assistants for kids

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A joint project between five Australian universities, called AusKidTalk, has been launched to improve the performance of voice recognition systems when being used by children.

The universities involved in AusKidTalk are University of New South Wales, the University of Sydney, Western Sydney University, Macquarie University, and the University of Melbourne.

As part of the project, they aim to build a database of Australian children’s voices by recording samples of typical speech, including the repeating of words, digits, and sentences, as well as disordered speech such as unscripted storytelling spoken by 750 children aged between three to 12.

UNSW School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications senior lecturer Beena Ahmed explained that up until now, speech recognition software, which underpins virtual assistant technologies such as Google Assistant, Alex, and Siri, have always relied on samples of adult voices and the accuracy of these systems had been poor when it came to interacting

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CoinList president has joined a crypto project backed by Uber co-founder

CoinList president and co-founder Andy Bromberg has seen a number of token projects raise funds, and now he’s going to lead a project himself. 

“I’m leaving CoinList to join Eco as CEO,” he said in an email shared with The Block.

Uber co-founder Garrett Camp backed the project, which intends to serve as a currency to be used in commonplace transactions. Eco will allow users to open interest-bearing accounts like they could with a bank. Users can put portions of their paychecks toward crypto and earn up to 2.5% to 5% on interest.

“Eco is the most compelling project I have seen across crypto and fintech,” Bromberg said in the email, “And the opportunity was too good to pass up.” Bromberg said he recognized Eco’s “real shot” to quickly onboard the world to crypto.

“I believe Eco has finally figured it out,” Bromberg said.

Bromberg co-founded CoinList in 2017, where

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