Intel's New 'Coffee Lake' Core Chips to Give Laptops a Boost

Today’s topics include Intel promising faster laptops with its new "Coffee Lake" Core chips; game developers being warned of a remote vulnerability in the popular game platform Unity; Microsoft researchers setting a new record for speech recognition; and Microsoft’s release of Visio Custom Visual.

Intel is rolling out its latest generation of PC processors that officials boast will deliver a 40 percent performance increase over the current “Kaby Lake” chips.

The new 8th-Generation 14-nanometer Core processors—code-named “Coffee Lake”—are aimed at midrange laptops and two-in-one systems, and come at a time when the dominant chip maker is facing increasing competition from longtime rival Advanced Micro Devices and the worldwide PC market continues to contract.

Intel executives are calling the 40 percent speed boost in Coffee Lake a significant increase in performance—one that is rarely seen with new generations of processors.

As warned by Unity on Aug. 18, its popular game platform that’s used by professionals and hobbyists alike is vulnerable to remote compromise because of a flaw in the Windows game editor.

Unity has advised developers who use the Windows version of its editor to update immediately. Users of the Mac version of the editor are not affected by the flaw.

As stated to eWEEK by Amanda Taggart, Unity’s head of global communications, “By proactively working with internal and external security researchers, a Remote Code Execution flaw in the Editor has been identified and we have rolled out a critical security patch to the global community. Security is paramount at Unity and is enabled by close collaboration with our security partners and customers to provide the most trustworthy software possible.”

Microsoft researchers this week reported significant progress in their speech recognition efforts. A year ago, the company attained a 5.9 percent word error rate in Switchboard, a conversational speech recognition task. Switchboard is a collection of recorded phone conversations that is commonly used by researchers to benchmark their speech recognition technologies.

On Aug. 20, Microsoft technical fellow Xuedong Huang announced his team had hit a human parity word error rate of 5.1, a new record.

"We reduced our error rate by about 12 percent compared to last year's accuracy level, using a series of improvements to our neural net-based acoustic and language models," stated the Microsoft researcher.

Power BI users now have another way of making sense of their analytics data with the release of Visio Custom Visual for the cloud-enabled business intelligence offering from Microsoft. Currently available in preview, the new visual allows users to take diagrams created in Visio and use them as a foundation on which to overlay meaningful business insights.

According to Tzvi Keisar, a program manager at Microsoft Power BI, "Using Visio and Power BI together, you can illustrate and compare data both as diagrams and as traditional Power BI visuals in one place, driving operational and business intelligence to understand the overall picture.”

When added to Power BI, and after a few clicks, the software transforms Visio diagrams into interactive visualizations, Keisar said.