Microsoft sees future in Windows 8 amid iPad’s rise

Windows 8 could spawn a new breed of hybrid machines.

Microsoft is scrambling to preserve what’s left of its kingdom, and it’s pinning its hopes on a new version of Windows that could spawn a new breed of hybrid machines: part tablet computer, part laptop.

Since the company released its Windows operating system in 1985, most of the sequels have been variations on the same theme. Not that it mattered much. Regardless of the software’s quality, Microsoft managed to remain at the center of the personal computing universe.

The stakes are much different as Microsoft Corp. puts the finishing touches on Windows 8—perhaps the most important piece of software the Redmond, Wash., company has designed since co-founder Bill Gates won the contract to build the first operating system for IBM Corp.’s personal computer in the early 1980s.…Read More

IBM pursues computer chips that behave more like brains

Researchers said the new chips have parts that behave like digital 'neurons' and 'synapses.'

In a development with important implications for research and education, IBM Corp. announced Aug. 18 that it has built two prototype computer chips that it says process data more like how humans digest information than the chips that power today’s PCs and supercomputers.

Computers, like humans, can learn. But when Google tries to fill in your search box based only on a few keystrokes, or your iPhone predicts words as you type a text message, it’s only a narrow mimicry of what the human brain is capable.

The challenge in training a computer to behave like a human brain is technological and physiological, testing the limits of computer and brain science. But researchers from IBM say they’ve made a key step toward combining the two worlds.…Read More