Royal Caribbean Is Building the Latest World’s Largest Cruise Ship – Skift

Royal Caribbean International is going tokeepbeating its own big-ship record.

The Miami-based cruise operator announced Wednesday that its next new ship, Symphony of the Seas, will be the largest ship in the world just by a bit.

Its a familiar refrain. Royal Caribbean, the worlds largest cruise line measured by passenger capacity, launched the largest cruise ship ever in 2009. That ship, the 225,282-ton Oasis by the Seas, was followed by the slightly longer Allure of the Seas in 2010. Both carry5,400 passengers at double occupancy.

Lastyear, sister ship Harmony of the Seas become the biggest, encompassing 226,963 gross registered tons and holding 5,494 passengers. It will have to cede the title to Symphony of the Seas in April of 2018: At 230,000 tons, the new ship will have 28 more rooms than Harmony.

In a call with reporters, Royal Caribbean International president and CEO Michael Bayley called the new ship the latest, greatest, newest, most beautiful baby thats coming soon.

Bayley would not reveal many details about the upcomingship, but said there were some new features and a different design for the solarium area.

After making its debut in Europe and spending several months there,Symphony of the Seas will be based in Miami along with Allure of the Seas. Both will use a new terminal that isbeing built to handle the immense crowds that board and depart the megashipsin a matter of hours.

The other Oasis-class ships will also sail from Florida, at least in the winter: Oasis from Port Canaveral in Central Florida and Harmony from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. One of the vessels is likely to head to Europe in the summer of 2019.

Bayley said the company is not concerned about having too much capacity sailing the Caribbean next year, even as competitors including Norwegian Cruise Line plan to also sailnew ships inthe market.

Were quite bullish about the Caribbean, he said. Were seeing more and more internationalguests come into theCaribbean.

Whether or when an Oasis-class ship might make it to another hot destination China is still unclear.

Oooh, good question. You never know, Bayley told a reporter who asked about the possibility. He said the company has other classes of ships on order as well,smaller than Oasis but still giant.

Theres lots of opportunitiesfor the worlds largest ships to go to China, he said.

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Royal Caribbean Is Building the Latest World’s Largest Cruise Ship – Skift

Microsoft, Facebook Build Dualing Open Standard GPU Servers for Cloud – TOP500 News

It was only a matter of time until someone came up with an Open Compute Project (OCP) design for a GPU-only accelerator box for the datacenter. That time has come.

In this case though, it was two someones: Microsoft and Facebook. This week at the Open Compute Summit in Santa Clara, California, both hyperscalers announced different OCP designs for putting eight of NVIDIAs Tesla P100 GPUs into a single chassis. Both fill the role of a GPU expansion box that can be paired with CPU-based servers in need of compute acceleration. The idea is to disaggregate the GPUs and CPUs in cloud environments so that users may flexibly mix these processors in different ratios, depending upon the demands of the particular workload.

The principle application target is machine learning, one of the P100s major areas of expertise. An eight-GPU configuration of these devices will yield over 80 teraflops at single precision and over 160 teraflops at half precision.

Source: Microsoft

Microsofts OCP contribution is known as HGX-1. Its principle innovation is that it can dynamically serve up as many GPUs to a CPU-based host as it may need well, up to eight, at least. It does this via four PCIe switches, an internal NVLink mesh network, plus a fabric manager to route the data through the appropriate connections. Up to four of the HGX-1 expansion boxes can be glued together for a total of 32 GPUs. Ingrasys, a Foxconn subsidiary will be the initial manufacturer of the HGX-1 chassis.

The Facebook version, which is called Big Basin, looks quite similar. Again, P100 devices are glued together vial an internal mesh, which they describe as similar to the design of the DGX-1, NVIDIAs in-house server designed for AI research. A CPU server can be connected to the Big Basin chassis via one or more PCIe cable. Quanta Cloud Technology will initially manufacture the Big Basin servers.

Source: Facebook

Facebook said they were able to achieve a 100 percent performance improvement on ResNet50, an image classification model, using Big Basin, compared to its older Big Sur server, which uses the Maxwell-generation Tesla M40 GPUs. Besides image classification, Facebook will use the new boxes for other sorts deep learning training, such as text translation, speech recognition, and video classification, to name a few.

In Microsofts case, the HGX-1 appears to be the first of multiple OCP designs that will fall under its Project Olympus initiative, which the company unveiled last October. Essentially, Project Olympus is a related set of OCP hardware building blocks for cloud hardware. Although HGX-1 is suitable for many compute-intensive workloads, Microsoft is promoting it for artificial intelligence work, calling it the Project Olympus hyperscale GPU accelerator chassis for AI, according to a blog posted by Azure Hardware Infrastructure GM Kushagra Vaid.

Vaid also set the stage for what will probably become other Project Olympus OCP designs, hinting at future platforms that will include the upcoming Intel Skylake Xeon and AMD Naples processors. He also left open the possibility that Intel FPGAs or Nervana accelerators could work their way into some of these designs.

In addition, Vail brought up the possibility of a ARM-based OCP server via the companys engagement with chipmaker Cavium. The software maker has already announced its using Qualcomms new ARM chip, the Centriq 2400, in Azure instances. Clearly, Microsoft is keeping its cloud options open.

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Microsoft, Facebook Build Dualing Open Standard GPU Servers for Cloud – TOP500 News

NEC develops reliable FPGAs for space travel – Electronics Weekly – Electronics Weekly

Typically SRAM-based FPGAs when used in space, can experience the problem of changes to the information written in the SRAM due to the effects of radiation, says NEC.

For example, radiation can cause an electrical charge in the semiconductor substrate. As a result, a failure occurs to the SRAMs in FPGAs that record information based on the amount of charge, causing a change in the circuit configuration.

NEC claims its NanoBridge technology enables a tenfold improvement over the power efficiency of conventional FPGAs as well as providing them with high radiation tolerance.

NEC has conducted an operation demonstration jointly with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), using the newly developed NB-FPGA in a tough radioactive terrestrial environment.

As a result, it has confirmed that the ON and OFF states of the NanoBridge remain unchanged, whether radiation is delivered or not.

Yuichi Nakamura, general manager at NEC Research Laboratories, writes:

Based on the result, NEC expects that the NanoBridge will be able to reduce the frequency of errors caused by radiation to one percent or less and contribute to the creation of an LSI that offers high radiation tolerance and ultra-low power consumption simultaneously.

The next step is to validate the NB-FPGA by incorporating it in the Satellite Technology Demonstration 1, which will be launched in FY2018.

The NanoBridge uses the cross-link of metal atoms in a solid electrolyte to place the signals into the ON or OFF state (See Figure.1 right).

The ON or OFF state is maintained even after voltage is released. The cross-link created by metal atoms in the NanoBridge is free from the impact of electrical charges generated by the delivery of radiation.

Accordingly, the possibility of rewriting is extremely remote in the circuit of NB-FPGA, even in a space environment that is exposed to a large amount of radiation, which improves reliability, says NEC.

In the Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstration 1, a demonstration experiment of compressing and transmitting camera-captured images through the NB-FPGA will be carried out in a harsh environment.

Image:Operation mechanism of NanoBridge (left), NB-FPGA chip (right)

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NEC develops reliable FPGAs for space travel – Electronics Weekly – Electronics Weekly

NASA to Test Orion Space Capsule Parachute – Space.com

A test of the Orion human space capsule’s parachute system in December 2012. NASA plans to conduct another Orion drop test on March 8, 2017.

The NASA spacecraft that could one day help ferry humans to Mars is scheduled to undergo a parachute test tomorrow (March 8).

The Orion spacecraft can carry humans on long trips into deep space, but once it returns to Earth, it needs a little help touching down. Like the Apollo spacecraft, Orion relies on a parachute system to lower it down through Earth’s atmosphere, and safely return astronauts to the ground.

The test is scheduled to take place at 7:30 a.m. local time (9:30 a.m. EST/1430 GMT) at the U.S. Armys Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. A model of Orion will be dropped from a C-17 aircraft flying at an altitude of 25,000 feet, according to a statement from the agency. NASA is currently investigating the possibility of flying two astronauts on a test flight of the Orion spacecraft as early as 2019.

Tomorrow’s parachute test will simulate what would happen if an abort sequence took place during Orions launch. If something goes wrong with NASA’s Space Launch Systems (SLS) rocket that Orion is riding on, NASA officials may decide to abort the flight, meaning the spacecraft would be ejected from its seat atop the rocket. In such an event, the parachutes would deploy and drop the spacecraft safely back to Earth. During an abort sequence, the spacecraft will be traveling at the relatively slow speed of about 130 mph [210 km/h], rather than speeds of about 310 mph [500 km/h] during re-entry after reaching space, according to NASA. The drop will last for about four minutes total; the last one to two minutes will take place under fully deployed parachutes, according to a NASA representative.

Orion’s parachute system consists of 11 parachutes in total: three forward bay cover parachutes (deployed first), two drogue parachutes (deployed second, at about 25,000 feet), and three pilot parachutes (deployed at about 9,500 feet) that subsequently deploy three main parachutes. The parachute system can slow down the space capsule to just 20 mph [32 km/h] before touchdown, according to NASA. During tomorrow’s test, the Orion team will focus on “deployment of Orion’s two drogue parachutes at low speeds, and deployment of its three main parachutes in preparation for landing.”

This will be Orion’s second airdrop parachute test in a series of eight qualifying drop tests that will replicate various scenarios in which Orion’s parachute system would need to be deployed, according to the statement.

Follow Calla Cofield @callacofield. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.

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NASA to Test Orion Space Capsule Parachute – Space.com