Wednesday April 29, 2020

Worth Knowing

TSMC Chip Plans Suggest Company May Lose Leadership to Intel: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company may be losing ground as the most advanced manufacturing firm of its kind, according to statistics released during its latest quarterly earnings call. TSMC’s 3 nanometer chip, expected in 2023, is projected to have lower-than-anticipated transistor density. However, Intel expects to achieve comparable density in its 7 nm chip — to be released in 2021 — and greater density in its 5 nm chip, to be released in 2023. As a result, Intel could soon reclaim its status as the leading chip manufacturer in terms of transistor density.
Nvidia Purchases Mellanox for $7B: In a deal first announced in March 2019, U.S. GPU designer Nvidia completed a $7 billion purchase of Israel-based Mellanox Technologies on Monday. Mellanox provides data-center-scale networking and interconnect supplies, which facilitate running a large number of GPUs in parallel for increased computational power. After U.S. and EU regulators approved the acquisition, Chinese antitrust officials signed off last week, removing the final barrier to the deal. Mellanox will continue to operate in Israel.
MIT Ends Collaboration With iFlyTek: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has dropped its research partnership with iFlyTek, a Chinese AI company placed on the U.S. Entity List in October for human rights violations in Xinjiang. Announced in 2018, the planned five-year collaboration between MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and iFlyTek focused on computer vision, speech-to-text systems and human-computer interaction. After two of its collaborators were added to the Entity List, MIT promised to review those partnerships, and ultimately created stricter guidelines for all high-risk international proposals.
Machine Learning Spotlight — Rewriting Sentences: Microsoft announced a new tool in Word that offers sentence-level writing suggestions through machine learning. Susan Hendrich, Group Program Manager of AI and Natural Language Processing for Microsoft Office, said the system uses a Transformer-based model trained on millions of sentences. The tool allows users to give feedback so it can continue to improve. Currently available only for Word online, Microsoft plans to incorporate the system into desktop versions in the future.
Government Updates

Immigration Proclamation Concerns Tech Companies: On April 22, President Trump suspended entry for green card applicants to the United States for 60 days, with the possibility of extension. The proclamation does not affect those currently working in the country. However, some warn that it could reduce America’s access to the international tech talent pool over the long term by hurting recruiting efforts and stoking fears of tighter restrictions. CSET research has warned that a climate of uncertainty and restriction around immigration discourages AI talent from coming to the United States.

Commerce Expands Export Controls on China, Russia and Venezuela: The Department of Commerce announced Monday that it will tighten export controls for certain dual-use technologies. The update broadens the restrictions to “military end users,” makes additional technologies subject to license requirements and eliminates exemptions for civilian use. In particular, the rule expands export controls on semiconductor manufacturing equipment to Chinese companies that support the military. Nine U.S. industry associations have voiced concerns about similar changes, arguing that regulations should be narrowly tailored to avoid damaging the industry. The rules will go into effect June 29, 2020.

Bill to Create STEM Corps Introduced in the House: On April 14, Reps. Jim Banks and Andy Kim unveiled a bill to establish a STEM Corps in the Department of Defense. Under the proposed program, students in STEM fields would receive two years of tuition coverage in exchange for four years of service in the DOD; they would have the opportunity to serve the final year with an industry partner. Rep. Banks emphasized the importance of recruiting talent to work on artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and other critical projects.  

JAIC Requests Information on Testing and Evaluation: The DOD’s Joint AI Center released a Request for Information on testing and evaluation of AI systems. The RFI seeks best practices in AI testing and evaluation, software recommendations and information about relevant vendors. The JAIC wants to apply T&E processes to the Pentagon’s full range of AI and machine learning capabilities, with particular focus on human-machine interfaces, Natural Language Processing-enabled products, voice-to-text, speech-enabled products, image analysis and autonomous systems. Responses will be accepted until May 12.

In Translation
CSET's translations of significant foreign language documents on AI

Zhejiang University’s Process for Government-funded Study Abroad: Zhejiang University’s Means of Carrying Out the “2019 National Construction State-Sponsored Study Abroad Program for Graduate Students from High-Caliber Universities.” This notice describes the 2019 application process for graduate students at Zhejiang University who wished to participate in a major Chinese government-funded study abroad program. The process reflects the workings of current PRC state-sponsored study abroad programs.

What We’re Reading

Guide: Understanding AI Technology, Greg Allen, Joint AI Center (April 2020)

Report: Preliminary Findings Regarding the Department of Energy and AI, the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning Working Group (March 2020)

Report: Recommendation to Member States on the Human Rights Impacts of Algorithmic Systems, Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers (April 2020)

Paper: AI, Human-Machine Interaction, and Autonomous Weapons: Thinking Carefully About Taking “Killer Robots” Seriously, Christopher A. Ford, Office of the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security (April 2020)

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