Patent Prowess

Comprehensive data for the past year reveal strong movement in electronic-book technology and new leaders in semiconductor manufacturing and vehicle safety

5 min read
Screenshot of the Patent Power scorecard

screenshot of the patent power scorecardClick here for an animated list of the charts.

Tech stocks may still be dropping in markets around the world, but that isn’t because companies are running out of new ideas, to judge from the compilation IEEE Spectrum is publishing here for the third year in a row. Last year inventors and their employers continued to file patent applications at an ever-increasing rate: there were 456 154 applications for U.S. “utility” patents—those for inventions as opposed to design ideas, new organisms, and so on—an increase of 7 percent over 2006. That was more than twice the number filed a decade ago, according to the data compiled by 1790 Analytics, which specializes in evaluating intellectual property.

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Flying Robots 3D-Print Structures in Flight

New drone strategy may help build structures in remote, difficult-to-reach sites

3 min read
two drone flying in the air, one printing a 3d structure
University College London

Flying 3D-printing robots modeled after wasps and birds may one day repair and build structures at remote sites beyond the reach of standard construction teams, a new study finds.

Construction robots that can 3D-print structures on sites may one day prove faster, safer and more productive than human teams. However, construction robotics currently mostly focus on ground-based robots. This approach is limited by the heights it can reach, and large-scale systems requiring tethering to a power supply, limiting where they can get deployed.

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Posits, a New Kind of Number, Improves the Math of AI

The first posit-based processor core gave a ten-thousandfold accuracy boost

4 min read
Squares with 0s and 1s form a colorful brain shape and blue background.
Hiroshi Watanabe/Getty Images

Training the large neural networks behind many modern AI tools requires real computational might: For example, OpenAI’s most advanced language model, GPT-3, required an astounding million billion billions of operations to train, and cost about US $5 million in compute time. Engineers think they have figured out a way to ease the burden by using a different way of representing numbers.

Back in 2017, John Gustafson, then jointly appointed at A*STAR Computational Resources Centre and the National University of Singapore, and Isaac Yonemoto, then at Interplanetary Robot and Electric Brain Co., developed a new way of representing numbers. These numbers, called posits, were proposed as an improvement over the standard floating-point arithmetic processors used today.

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Get the Coursera Campus Skills Report 2022

Download the report to learn which job skills students need to build high-growth careers

1 min read

Get comprehensive insights into higher education skill trends based on data from 3.8M registered learners on Coursera, and learn clear steps you can take to ensure your institution's engineering curriculum is aligned with the needs of the current and future job market. Download the report now!