Top 5 stories of the week: DeepMind and OpenAI advancements, Intel’s plan for GPUs, Microsoft’s zero-day flaws

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This week, Googled-owned tech lab, DeepMind, unveiled its first AI that is capable of creating its own algorithms to speed up matrix multiplication. Though it’s taught in high school math, matrix multiplication is actually fundamental to computational tasks and remains a core operation in neural networks.

In the same vein, OpenAI this week announced the release of Whisper — its open-source, deep learning model for speech recognition. The company claims the technology already shows promising results transcribing audio in several languages.

Joining the innovation sprint this week, Intel detailed a plan to make developers’ lives a bit easier, with a goal to make it possible to build an application once that can run on any operating system. Historically, this was a goal of the Java programming language, but even today the process is not uniform across the computing landscape — something Intel hopes to change.

On the security front, enterprise leaders had several new announcements to take note of this week, including the zero-day flaw exploit in Microsoft’s Exchange Server. The company confirmed that a suspected state-sponsored threat actor was able to successfully exfiltrate data from fewer than 10 organizations using its staple platform. 

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While it’s no secret that attacks like these continue to expand in both volume and intensity — the methods for preventing attacks are also evolving. Vulnerability solutions provider Tenable is one that has evolved to change its main focus, too. This week, the company announced it’s shifting its focus from vulnerability management to attack surface management and released a new tool for enterprises with that focus. 

Here’s more from our top five tech stories of the week:

  1. DeepMind unveils first AI to discover faster matrix multiplication algorithms
    Can artificial intelligence (AI) create its own algorithms to speed up matrix multiplication, one of machine learning’s most fundamental tasks? In a paper published in Nature, DeepMind unveiled AlphaTensor, the “first artificial intelligence system for discovering novel, efficient and provably correct algorithms.” The Google-owned lab said the research “sheds light” on a 50-year-old open question in mathematics about finding the fastest way to multiply two matrices.

    AlphaTensor, according to a DeepMind blog post, builds upon AlphaZero, an agent that has shown superhuman performance on board games like chess and Go. This new work takes the AlphaZero journey further, moving from playing games to tackling unsolved mathematical problems.

    This research delves into how AI could be used to improve computer science itself.


  1. Intel CTO wants developers to build once, then run on any GPU
    More than two decades ago, the Java programming language, originally developed by Sun Microsystems, offered developers the promise of being able to build an application once and then have it run on any operating system.

    The ability to build once and run anywhere, however, is not uniform across the computing landscape in 2022. It’s a situation that Intel is looking to help change, at least when it comes to accelerated computing and the use of GPUs. 

    Intel is contributing heavily to the open-source SYCL specification (SYCL is pronounced like “sickle”) that aims to do for GPU and accelerated computing what Java did decades ago for application development.


  1. Tenable: Vulnerability management is out, attack surface management is in
    Vulnerability solutions provider, Tenable, has launched a new cloud-based exposure management platform, known as Tenable One, designed to discover assets and assess risk across the entire attack surface.

    Exposure management gives security teams a broader view of the attack surface, offering the ability to conduct attack path analysis to analyze attack paths from externally identified points to internal assets. It also allows organizations to create a centralized inventory of all IT, cloud, Active Directory and web assets.


  1. Microsoft confirms hackers are actively exploiting Exchange zero-day flaws
    Microsoft Exchange Server is one of those enterprise staples, but it’s also a key target for cybercriminals. Last week, GTSC reported attacks had begun chaining two new zero-day Exchange exploits as part of coordinated attacks. 

    While information is limited, Microsoft has confirmed in a blog post that these exploits have been used by a suspected state-sponsored threat actor to target fewer than 10 organizations and successfully exfiltrate data.


  1. How will OpenAI’s Whisper model impact AI applications?
    Last week, OpenAI released Whisper, an open-source deep learning model for speech recognition. OpenAI’s tests on Whisper show promising results in transcribing audio not only in English, but also in several other languages.

    Developers and researchers who have experimented with Whisper are also impressed with what the model can do. However, what is perhaps equally important is what Whisper’s release tells us about the shifting culture in artificial intelligence (AI) research and the kind of applications we can expect in the future.


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