Daniel Lemire's blog

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Science and Technology links (March 9th 2019)

  1. In 2007-2008, the recipient of a bone-marrow therapy (Timothy Brown) was cured of HIV. Another person was cured following a bone marrow transplant. And then yet another. The trick to it seems that some of us are naturally immune to the HIV virus. If we donate some of our bone marrow to an HIV-infected individual, it appears that we cure them. So it is effectively a gene therapy. Bone-marrow transplantations are never going to be dirt cheap, but it should be possible to do genetic manipulations to achieve the same result, at much lower cost. News agencies seem to report that it makes three people who might have been cured, but there is also another patient, who might have been cured credibly earlier after receiving hydroxyurea.
  2. The majority (53%) of all doctoral degrees are granted to women in the US: women are the clear majority in health and biological sciences. The majority of medical students are women.
  3. Most start-ups that are claimed to do artificial intelligence do no such thing in practice. Basically, artificial intelligence acts a marketing buzzword.
  4. Most commodity processors have instructions that can operate over wide registers, processing a large number of bits per instruction. We call them SIMD instructions. The ARM processors in your phone have 128-bit instructions whereas Intel processors are up to 512-bit instructions. The wider the registers, the faster you can go; you can also use them to save on power usage. This week I learned that some Qualcomm processors (found in Android phones) support 1024-bit SIMD instructions. (Credit: Wunkolo)
  5. In the US, spending on music is reaching a record high, most of it digital music.
  6. The Queen, Elizabeth II, is on Instagram. She signs “Elizabeth R.”. She is in her 90s.