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36 PCB007 MAGAZINE I OCTOBER 2020 mal, but I would expect that area to accelerate greatly in the next 18 months. Last winter, some of us predicted that trade shows might have to be canceled, with the key indicator being what would happen with 2021 CES. This year's mega-event in Vegas will not take place, at least not in its usual way, but there will be a virtual show, demonstrations, and presentations. Other events have also fol- lowed that path. I predict that it will not slow down the introduction of new devices; in some cases, it will accelerate it. For example, the leading supplier of graphic processing technol- ogy, NVIDIA, just introduced their next gen- eration of GPUs (more on that later). Usually, one could expect that CES would be the perfect place to introduce this highly anticipated generation of devices, but with this show being different than the type we are used to, why not introduce the RTX 3000 series sooner? This introduction has been so success- ful that I would expect other similar acceler- ated introductions. Without major in-person trade shows, how will we focus on, stay up to date on, and easily compare all the new tech- nology and devices? With this preview, let's consider the specifics of some areas that demonstrate the accelera- tion or deceleration of change. Graphics Processing As mentioned, and as we have recently cov- ered, NVIDIA introduced their next-generation GPU—the truly beastly RTX 3000 series. These devices are utterly amazing with multiple very high-definition monitor capabilities, advanced ray tracing, and exceptional FPS. Although it's expensive, the overall value as measured by ca- pability vs. price vs. the last generation is quite good. One might ask why NVIDIA has kept the price reasonable (when compared to the last generation); perhaps it is because AMD also made progress and may announce new devices soon. For more details, you might wish to look at our NVIDIA product announcement coverage. Apparently, the first shipments of these units have all sold out. Recently, I was at Mi- cro Center for a totally different reason on the day when they were expecting to receive their first shipment of RTX3000 GPUs, and the line was literally around the block. On the nega- tive side, there have now been some reports of some level of instability. NVIDIA just released a new driver to improve stability, but the issue may be hardware—perhaps it's a capacitor is- sue. Still, it's definitely accelerating. Autonomous Transportation and Driving An area where there was a tremendous pre- dicted acceleration of change, and then an un- expected deceleration about a year and a half ago, was in autonomous transportation. This is an area that now seems to be getting past its pause. It could be the advances in AI and the abilities of the upcoming 5G network, especial- ly in the area of rapid data transfer. It feels like we are about to step on the gas (or the poten- tiometer acceleration pedal) once again. There has been modest acceleration, but it's about to increase. Blockchain, Bitcoin, and Other Types of Cryptocurrency First of all, what is blockchain? According to one online definition, "A blockchain is a digi- tized, decentralized, public ledger of crypto- currency transactions. Constantly growing as 'completed' blocks, the most recent transac- tions are recorded and added to it in chron- ological order. It allows market participants to keep track of digital currency transactions without central recordkeeping."

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