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April 2, 2012

April Fools Stories for Gullible Geeks

Robert Gelber

In the tradition of April 1st, a number of sites and news sources have gone out of their way to keep with the day’s joking tradition. Here is a roundup of a few fictional stories that popped up yesterday.

Intel plans HPC superchip

This story actually appeared to take a few members of the media off guard.

More of a misunderstanding than an April Fools joke, reports began to circulate on Monday morning about a new HPC “superchip” Intel was developing.

Hot off the heels from their Xeon E5 processor announcement, Intel’s unnamed chip was to incorporate InfiniBand I/O technology. That by itself is not an outlandish claim, since the company had recently acquired the InfiniBand assets from QLogic, fueling the speculation that Intel would use the technology to develop this new product.

At some press meetings last week in New York City,  Diane Bryant, the GM of Intel’s, Datacenter and Connected Systems Group was talking about the company’s plans in the HPC market.  However something got lost in translation, according to Intel representative Radoslaw Walczyk.

“There was an intense discussion about Intel MIC and QLogic acquisition. I’m assuming Diane referred to Intel MIC Knights Corner as our new ‘superchip’ we are working on and said that for HPC it will work perfectly with InfiniBand to deliver compelling solution,” Walczyk told HPCwire. “We have not disclosed any new superchip nor any details about our plans for InfiniBand assets acquired from QLogic”.

It appears that Intel’s “superchip” is the manycore Knights Corner part. But we already knew that.

CNN hires a supercomputer anchor

Michael Hill from NewscastStudio, posted that CNN would begin using a supercomputer as a co-anchor for election coverage. Taking stylistic advice from IBM, the system named “Uncle Sam” would be represented as an LCD panel at the anchor desk.  While the system would think, the screen would change color.

Some notable features include commentary based on big data sources, real-time camera and graphics management as well as voice recognition technology, allowing the machine to engage in conversation with people like Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer.

Uncle Sam may already be causing some friction. It was reported the supercomputer would regularly interrupt anchors when they made inaccurate statements. However, producers needing ratings may welcome its boredom meter, which the system could use to segue into more popular topics like celebrity wardrobes.  The super even has its own twitter account, which has one tweet reading “April Fools!”

Google Maps 8-bit

Google has been a regular practitioner of April Fools pranks. Since 2000, the search giant has announced new “features” like the mentalplex, Gmail Paper, and 3D E-Books. This year, they decided to announce an enhancement that leverages the popularity of the Nintendo Entertainment System, one of the best selling game consoles. The Google Lat-Long blog announced the development of Google Maps for NES to which it describes “Google Maps for NES, with beautiful low-res graphics, simple and intuitive controls, and a timeless soundtrack.” A beta of the feature can be accessed from Internet browsers.

This year’s April Fools pranks show that the tradition is certainly not lost; hopefully it caused a few tech followers to chuckle along the way.

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