Google snags Microsoft’s Top Engineer & Other Tech Headlines for 12/16-12/20

by Modis on December 20, 2013

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Approximate Computing Saves Energy and Improves Efficiency

Researchers are working on computers capable of using “approximate computing” to take care of calculations good enough for tasks that do not require perfect accuracy. This has the potential to double efficiency and reduce overall energy consumption. This all stems from the need for new sources of efficiency and a shift in computer workloads, according to a Purdue Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. At first, computers were intended to be precise calculators that solved problems with an exact numerical value. Now, devices are processing media rich material, and getting smart enough to understand us, and our computers are still designed to provide precise and accurate data even when they don’t need to. Changing the way our computers work to match how we use them has nearly endless potential.

Duplicate Content Takes Up 25% to 30% of the Web

We’ve known for a while now that duplicate content isn’t a bad thing—Google doesn’t think it is spammy, and unless you’re implementing “black hat” techniques, it won’t get you penalized. But, what we’re just now learning is somewhere between 25% and 30% of the Web is duplicative. That’s what Matt Cutts of Google says. That means that more than one quarter of everything we see on the Web can be found in more than one place. It doesn’t really sound like a lot to the average user, because Google only picks one of those pages to show, so users don’t really “see” how much of the Web is the same. It’s only cool for the sites that manage to make it to the top.

Bitcoin Value Plummets

The digital cryptocurrency Bitcoin has lost nearly 50% of its value overnight, thanks to BTC China saying it could no longer accept deposits in Chinese currency. The decision comes as a result of action from third-party payment provider, YeePay. Though it can no longer accept deposits, it can still process withdrawals. Bobby Lee, BTC’s chief executive blames Yeepay’s decision on government regulation. In early December, China’s central bank warned that Bitcoin had no real meaning and was not legally protected, and prohibited financial institutions from using the currency. This week, the ban was also extended to payment companies, and gives payment companies until the Chinese New Year, beginning on January 31, to be compliant.

Professional Developer Job Growth to Slow

At the start of 2014, there will be some 18.5 million software developers worldwide; of those, 7.5 million are hobbyists. Thanks to low population and workforce growth, along with competition from developing industries, the number of new professionals entering the workforce will be limited. The IDC report projects low single digit percentage growth rates in most countries for the foreseeable future. 19% of today’s developers are in the United States; 10% are in China, and 9.8% are in India. India has more professional developers compared to China, where more hobbyists are located.  In 2011, IDC estimated there were 10.5 million professional developers worldwide.

Top Microsoft Engineer Goes to Google

Former Microsoft engineer Blaise Agüera y Arcas is heading to Google’s team. He originally joined Microsoft in 2006, after the company purchased his Seadragon startup. He worked as a key software architect who played a role in developing the Bing Maps service and Photosynth software. According to the New York Times, Agüera y Arcas will join Google and work on machine learning, something that Microsoft’s research teams have been focused on recently. Agüera y Arcas says the decision to leave Microsoft was one the hardest of his life, especially as it’s so rare for senior Microsoft employees to join Google. Microsoft has previously sued Google because the company hired their former vice president, and the two companies are in the heat of competition with one another on various levels.

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