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AI-guided material changes could lead to diamond CPUs

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The technology could lead to semiconductor-based inventions that are far more powerful than usual with only minor changes. A silicon solar cell could capture as much energy as conventional models but at a thousandth the thickness, while diamond could become practical enough to replace silicon in processors and deliver a giant speed upgrade (up to 100,000 times in an ideal situation).

While the team focused on using AI to tweak electrical properties, they stress that it could also be used for optical and thermal traits. The challenge is to implement the strain, especially at the complexity levels needed for chips. Even smartphone processors have billions of transistors — it could be a long time before your handset enjoys a diamond-derived speed boost. It’s a start, though, and it indicates that strain engineering might be a solution to limits on solar energy and computing power.

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EU’s Vestager says not precluding Facebook case in future

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EU's Vestager says not precluding Facebook case in future

FILE PHOTO: The entrance sign to Facebook headquarters is seen in Menlo Park, California, on Wednesday, October 10, 2018. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Facebook is not currently in EU regulators’ crosshairs but it may well be in future because of the crucial role played by data, Europe’s antitrust chief said on Tuesday.

European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager’s comments came two weeks after the German cartel office ruled that the world’s largest social network abused its market dominance to gather information about users without their consent.

Vestager said she has no case against Facebook regarding its market power for now but nevertheless was monitoring the market.

“We have some concerns. One thing is that we don’t have an open case now, that doesn’t preclude we don’t have a case in future. We are looking at the market very closely,” she told a European Parliament hearing.

The European Commission has previously indicated that Facebook’s issues could be better handled by privacy enforcers rather than by competition regulators.

Vestager has taken on tech giants including Google and Qualcomm in recent years and handed down million-euro fines for abusing their market power.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by David Evans

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LendingClub forecasts bigger-than-expected first-quarter loss

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LendingClub forecasts bigger-than-expected first-quarter loss

(Reuters) – Online lender LendingClub Corp forecast a bigger-than-expected first-quarter loss on Tuesday, and revenue that missed Wall Street estimates, sending its shares down 5 percent in after-market trading.

FILE PHOTO: A Lending Club banner hangs on the facade of the the New York Stock Exchange in New York, New York, United States December 11, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

For the first quarter, the company expects net revenue between $162 million and $172 million, below analysts’ estimates of $181.2 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

LendingClub also forecast a first-quarter loss between $20 million and $15 million, compared to Wall Street estimates of a loss of $5.14 million.

For the full-year 2019, LendingClub forecast a loss that was bigger than Wall Street estimates. However, the company said it was targeting profitability on an adjusted basis in the second half of the year.

LendingClub CEO Scott Sanborn said in an interview that the lower-than-expected guidance was due in part to seasonal weakness in the first quarter and economic uncertainty both in the United States and overseas.

“There is a lot of uncertainty both globally and domestically,” Sanborn said.

He added that the company would focus on achieving profitability in the second half of the year by cutting costs through initiatives such as outsourcing some business processes.

The company plans to transition its loan servicing platform, to an off-the-shelf solution operated by a third party, Sanborn said. This would allow LendingClub to redeploy engineers to more “value-add” activities, Sanborn said.

LendingClub is one of the largest companies that operates an online platform that connects consumers looking for loans with individuals or institutional investors such as banks.

The San Francisco-based lender has been working to boost investor confidence since May 2016 when an internal investigation into loan malpractices led to the ouster of then-CEO and founder Renaud Laplanche.

Like other online lenders, it has also faced concerns from investors who fear companies in the nascent sector may struggle to grow fast while keeping the quality of their loans in check.

Excluding items, the company posted a smaller loss in the reported quarter on the back of higher loan originations which rose 18 percent to $2.87 billion.

LendingClub’s overall revenue rose 16 percent to $181.5 million.

The San Francisco-based company posted an adjusted loss of $4.1 million, or 1 cent per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, compared to a loss of $7.3 million, or 2 cents per share, a year earlier. (reut.rs/2EiMdjC)

Reporting by Anna Irrera in New York and Bharath Manjesh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Susan Thomas

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Image recognition startup ViSenze raises $20M Series C – TechCrunch

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Image recognition startup ViSenze raises $20M Series C – TechCrunch

ViSenze, a startup that provides visual search tools for online retailers like Rakuten and ASOS, announced today that it has raised a $20 million Series C. The round was co-led by Gobi Ventures and Sonae IM, with participation from other backers including returning investors Rakuten and WI Harper.

Founded in 2012, ViSenze has now raised a total of $34.5 million (its last round was a Series B announced in September 2016). The Singapore-based company, whose clients also include Urban Outfitters, Zalora, and Uniqlo, bills its software portfolio as a “personal shopping concierge” that allows shoppers to find or discover new products based on visual search, automatic photo tagging, and recommendations based on their browsing history. ViSenze’s verticals include fashion, jewelry, furniture, and intellectual property.

ViSenze’s latest funding will be used to develop its software through partnerships with smartphone makers including Samsung, LG, and Huawei. The company has offices in Asia, Europe, and the United States, and claims an annual revenue growth rate of more than 200 percent. Other startups in the same space include Syte.ai, Slyce, Clarifai, and Imagga.

In a statement, Rakuten Ventures partner Adit Swarup said “When we first invested in ViSenze in 2014, retailers had just started seeing the benefits of powering product recommendations with image data. Today, ViSenze not only powers recommendations for the largest brands in the world, but has helped pioneer a paradigm shift in e-commerce; helping consumers find products inside their favorite social media videos and images, as well as initiate a search directly from their camera app.”

Other participants in the round included returning investors Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) Ventures, Raffles Venture Partners, Enspire Capital, and UOB Venture Management, as well as new investors Tembusu ICT Fund, 31Ventures Global Innovation Fund, and Jonathan Coon’s Impossible Ventures.

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