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‘Spin’ Could Be Quantum Boost for Computers

August 21, 2001

Spintronics, based on magnetic properties of electrons, promises to make possible radical advances in computers and other electronic devices.Possible applications of spintronics include:

  • M-RAM, or magneto resistive memory, which will remember data after the power is turned off, eliminating boot-up time and possibly doing processing and storage in the same chip.
  • Quantum computers that can perform multiple computations simultaneously.
  • reprogrammable computer chips
  • A New Look at Large Biomolecules

    August 20, 2001

    A new method for studying the electrical charges of large biological molecules may enable researchers to make a leap from modeling molecules of 50,000 atoms to those of more than a million atoms. This may make it possible to develop more effective anti-cancer drugs.

    View a QuickTime movie of a “fly-through” of a microtubule
    The technique, developed by Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) researchers… read more

    Insect Senses Suggest Novel Neural Networks

    August 20, 2001

    A new model of neural networks, based on recent studies of fish and insect olfactory systems, suggests a way that neurons can be linked together to allow them to identify many more stimuli than possible with conventional networks. Researchers from the Institute for Nonlinear Science at the University of California, San Diego propose that connections between neurons can cause one neuron to delay the firing of another neuron system. The… read more

    MIT, HP to build quantum computer

    August 20, 2001

    Hewlett-Packard and MIT have announced a joint effort aimed at building quantum information systems.

    Researchers at HP Labs will work with their counterparts in MIT’s Media Lab, including Neil Gershenfeld and Isaac Chuang, on a joint $2.5 million quantum computing project.

    World’s fastest computer boots up

    August 20, 2001

    IBM has switched on the world’s most powerful computer, ASCI White, at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. It is the first computer capable of more than 10 trillion calculations per second and 1,000 times faster than IBM’s Deep Blue.

    Computer games stunt teen brains

    August 20, 2001

    Computer games are creating a dumbed-down generation of children far more disposed to violence than their parents, according to a controversial new study by Professor Ryuta Kawashima and his team at Tohoku University in Japan.The level of brain activity was measured in hundreds of teenagers playing a Nintendo game and compared to the brain scans of other students doing a simple, repetitive arithmetical exercise. The computer game only stimulated activity… read more

    Robots Tested in Mock Search for Urban Disaster Victims

    August 20, 2001

    Search-and-rescue teams of robots competed in a recent standardized obstacle course in an earthquake simulation. The event was part of the annual Robocup competition, held in conjunction with the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence.

    Designed by robotics experts around the world, the competitors are early iterations of search-and-rescue robots that can enter buildings after earthquakes, fires or bombings.

    Cosmic Laws Like Speed of Light Might Be Changing

    August 20, 2001

    The basic laws of nature may be changing slightly as the universe ages, an international team of astrophysicists has discovered.Observations of the behavior of metallic atoms in gas clouds 12 billion light years away revealed patterns of light absorption that the team could not explain without assuming a change in a basic constant of nature involving the strength of the attraction between electrically charged particles.

    If confirmed, the finding… read more

    Cloning and the New Jacobins

    August 20, 2001

    A curious coalition of the religious right and anti-science left has been
    whipping up a storm about the idea of a nationwide, or even worldwide ban on
    human reproductive cloning lately — an example of the clash of visions
    between the Lockean, Burkean, and Rousseauean temperaments in Anglosphere
    politics.

    Silicon senses

    August 19, 2001

    “Silicon senses” could dramatically change the way we perceive our worlds.
    Examples include a head-mounted device projects a high-resolution image directly on the retina, a robot controlled by the brain-stem cells of a fish, a computer that emits odor, and a laptop that translates spoken words into another language by searching sentences for keywords that provide a clue to their meaning.

    Synthespians more prevalent in future films

    August 19, 2001

    Newly developed computer tools are allowing filmmakers to add synthespians (virtual actors) into the action. New technology for digitally modeling hair, cloth, skin and muscles will make digital humans even more prevalent and indistinguishable from the flesh-and-blood kind over the next year.

    Virtual clones take over SIGGRAPH

    August 16, 2001

    LOS ANGELES – What’s missing from Web sites is personality. That’s about to change.Pulse is previewing software for creating photoreal, 3D characters for use on Web sites. You can build a virtual character in just five minutes by taking a digital photo of a face, converting to a 3D model, and adding voice or text-to-speech for lip-synching, as we confirmed in a demo.

    Uses include email, instant… read more

    SGI Reality Center wows SIGGRAPH attendees

    August 15, 2001

    LOS ANGELES, August 14 — SGI is wowing SIGGRAPH attendees with its 35 by 10 foot wraparound immersive Reality Center visualization facility here.The display seamlessly combines images from three projectors driven by SGI Onyx 3400 computers, generating 3.5 million pixel images in real time.

    Demonstrations include a breathtaking journey through the sixth-century Buddhist kingdom of Silla, from the SGI Reality Center in Seoul, Korea; an urban drive-around simulation of… read more

    Quantum memories should mimic ours

    August 13, 2001

    Quantum-computer engineers should design memories like our own, storing information as patterns rather than putting each item in its own labelled box, as in conventional computers, says Carlo Trugenberger of InfoCodex in Geneva, Switzerland.
    Quantum memories, Trugenberger suggests, could be associative while accessing the full storage potential of the collection of memory elements. He shows that, even if the input to such a device is noisy or incomplete, the most… read more

    Self-assembling nanotubes

    August 13, 2001

    The principle that makes DNA strands link together may someday be used to manufacture molecular wires and other components for use in electronic devices, according to Hicham Fenniri, an assistant professor of chemistry at Purdue Univ. To develop the self-assembling structures, Fenniri and his colleagues borrowed chemistry from DNA to create a series of molecules that are “programmed” to link in groups of six to form rosette-shaped rings, which then… read more

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