TL;DR: This week, OpenAI broke new ground with GPT-4o, a vastly improved language model. IBM opened the pathway for revolutionizing software development by making its language model, Granite, open-source; Intel announced Aurora, the world's most potent AI supercomputer, and Ebury's evolution to 400,000 compromised servers spewing crypto-stealing malware has given a new perspective to cybersecurity. Lastly, Reddit and OpenAI joined forces, promising enhanced AI-powered features for Reddit users.

Artificial Intelligence

Aurora Supercomputer Breaks Exascale Barrier, Leads in AI (~7 min.) : At ISC High Performance 2024, Intel announced that the Aurora supercomputer, developed with Argonne National Laboratory and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, has surpassed the exascale threshold, reaching 1.012 exaflops, and is now the fastest AI supercomputer globally with 10.6 AI exaflops. Aurora’s design includes 166 racks, 21,248 Intel Xeon CPUs, and 63,744 Intel GPUs, optimized for AI and HPC tasks. This achievement underscores the importance of open ecosystems in advancing high-performance computing and AI research.

Meet GPT-4o, The AI That’s 4x More Powerful Than Its Predecessor! (~1 min.) : OpenAI, a leading AI research organization, has introduced GPT-4o, an upgraded version of its popular language model. GPT-4o boasts improved conversational abilities, with users able to engage in more human-like discussions and even solve simple math problems. The new model is also more knowledgeable about specific topics, such as science and history, making it a significant advancement in natural language processing technology. With its enhanced capabilities, GPT-4o has the potential to transform industries like customer service and content creation.

IBM Shines Light on Open-Source LLMs: Revolutionizing Software Development, One Code Model at a Time! (~4 min.) : IBM has made its largest language model, Granite, open-source, allowing developers to use it for research and commercial purposes without restrictions. The company has taken great care to avoid copyright issues by training the models on publicly available datasets and natural language code-related data. With Granite, developers can automate tasks such as writing unit tests, generating documentation, and finding bugs, making software development more efficient. IBM’s open-sourcing of Granite aims to transform the generative AI landscape for software development, empowering the open community to innovate without restrictions.


UNCOVERING EURY’S EVIL EVOLUTION: 400,000 Compromised Servers Spew Malware and Steal Crypto (~5 min.) : Ebury, a server-side malware campaign, has evolved significantly since its initial discovery 10 years ago. Despite the arrest and conviction of one perpetrator, the botnet continues to grow, with hundreds of thousands of compromised Linux servers worldwide. The malware family has diversified to include credit card and cryptocurrency theft, using various methods such as hosting provider exploitation and ARP spoofing to propagate itself. Additionally, new malware families have been deployed to monetize the botnet, including those used for spam, web traffic redirection, and financial details theft.


Snap into Action: Create a Photo Library and Editor like No Other with Next.js! (~1 min.) : Photobox is an innovative library built with Next.js that enables users to create stunning photo galleries and interactive editors. With Cloudinary as its image host, Photobox allows for seamless control over image storage and manipulation. This cutting-edge toolset combines the power of TanStack Query, Tailwind CSS, and shadcn/ui to give creators the freedom to craft unique experiences for their images. By using Photobox, users can create captivating collages, animations, and more, revolutionizing how they showcase their memories.


Alien Invasion Continues: Netflix Renews ‘The 3 Body Problem’ for Second Season! (~2 min.) : Netflix has renewed its sci-fi series “3 Body Problem” for a second season, with David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, and Alexander Woo returning as executive producers and writers. The show, based on Cixin Liu’s award-winning book trilogy, follows scientists as they navigate humanity’s place in the universe amidst the threat of technologically advanced aliens. Despite not sharing specific metrics, Netflix stated that the first season enjoyed a strong performance, ending on a cliffhanger with alien forces barreling towards Earth. The renewal comes as Benioff and Weiss renew their deal to write and direct shows exclusively for Netflix, hinting at future projects beyond “3 Body Problem”.


Siri, Play Nice: Denon Smart Speakers Now Boast Apple’s Voice Assistant! (~2 min.) : Denon has become the second non-Apple device to integrate Siri voice control, after Ecobee thermostats in 2021. The feature is now available on Denon’s smart speakers, including the Home series 150, 250, 350, and Soundbar 550, which start at $250. With this update, users can control music playback, initiate smart home commands, and use Siri for various tasks through these speakers. However, users must choose between Siri or Amazon Alexa, as both cannot be used simultaneously, and a HomePod or HomePod Mini is required to process Siri commands over the same Wi-Fi network.

Everything Else

Mindfulness in Schools: Does it Really Work? New Study Raises Doubts on Universal Benefits for Teens’ Mental Health (~4 min.) : A new study has found that school-based mindfulness programs, which have become increasingly popular in recent years, do not significantly benefit adolescents’ mental health or well-being. The study reanalyzed data from over 16,000 participants and found that across multiple measures, there was no significant difference between students who received mindfulness training and those who did not. While some individual findings suggested small improvements, the overall results suggest that these programs may not be an effective way to prevent mental disorders in teens. The study’s authors raise questions about the value of universal school-based mindfulness interventions as a public health prevention strategy for youth.

Reddit Unlocks the Power of AI: Enhancing ChatGPT with Timely Conversations & AI-Powered Features for the Win! (~2 min.) : Reddit has announced a partnership with OpenAI to enhance user experiences through AI-powered features. As part of this collaboration, OpenAI will integrate Reddit content into its ChatGPT platform, allowing users to discover and engage with relevant Reddit communities. In return, Reddit will develop new AI-powered features for its users and moderators, leveraging OpenAI’s platform of AI models. The partnership also marks the beginning of OpenAI’s role as a Reddit advertising partner.

Thank you for joining me in this week’s exploration of the tech universe. Amidst the endless stream of information, I strive to bring you news that is not only relevant but also thought-provoking. Your thoughts and feedback are always welcome. Don’t forget to spread the word about the Friday Tech Focus Newsletter and stay tuned for more curated insights next week!