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.

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.

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

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

‘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
  • Haptics adds touch to computers

    August 21, 2001

    Haptics -– the science of integrating the sense of touch into human/computer interactions — promises to greatly expand the reach of computers into everyday life.
    Examples of haptics interfaces shown at SIGGRAPH:

  • A sensing chair that contains tiny vibrators that can send sensations to the person sitting in it. It also contains 4,032 sensors that pick up subtle cues from the person sitting in it. A potentially useful
  • read more

    Micromachine manipulates cells

    August 22, 2001

    Sandia National Laboratories has created a micromachine that interacts at the scale of cells and could have important uses in genetic engineering and medicine.

    The device uses silicon microteeth that open and close like jaws to momentarily trap individual cells to implant materials.

    The ultimate goal of the Sandia device is to puncture cells and inject them with DNA, proteins, or pharmaceuticals to counter biological or chemical… read more

    Program detects emotions in facial expressions

    August 22, 2001

    A computer program that detects emotions in facial expressions has been developed by University of California, San Diego (UCSD) researchers under CIA funding.The program is based on a coding system that breaks down facial expressions into 46 individual motions, or action units.

    With this software and a video camera mounted on your monitor, project manager Terrence Sejnowski, UCSD professor of biology, thinks your computer might someday read you as… read more

    Man-beast hybrid beyond talking stage

    August 22, 2001

    The idea of combining the DNA of animals and humans has gone beyond the talking stage — it’s been attempted.
    The first publicized case of animal-human hybrids took place in 1996 when Jose Cibelli, a scientist at the University of Massachusetts, took DNA from his white blood cells by swabbing the inside of his cheek. He then inserted the DNA sample into a hollowed-out cow egg.

    Cibelli’s experiment came… read more

    Celebrity cloning

    August 22, 2001

    The DNA Copyright Institute (DCI) of San Francisco is offering celebrities the chance to establish copyright over their DNA to prevent unwanted duplication.In theory, all someone needs to clone their hero or heroine is a few living cells from them left behind on a glass or exchanged in a handshake, for example.

    DCI is offering to record celebrities’ DNA fingerprint, check that it is unique and store it. As… read more

    Nanochains could yield single-electron transistors

    August 24, 2001

    Researchers at Osaka University believe that cheaply-produced crystalline nanochains could lead to the development of single-electron transistors (SETs) and nanoscale photon devices such as field-effect transistors (FETs) within 10 years.They have bulk-produced carpets of micrometer long chains of alternating crystalline globules and silicon dioxide stems that they believe could much simpler and much cheaper to produce than the advanced techniques being developed for nanotubes.

    These nanoscale processes could result… read more

    AI researcher Hugo de Garis joins Utah State University Computer Science department

    August 27, 2001

    AI researcher Hugo de Garis has accepted a tenure-track Associate Professor position in the Computer Science department at Utah State University (USU), starting September 10, 2001, KurzweilAI.net has learned.
    “I will continue my artificial brain work of course, for the next 20 years, corresponding with the “Moore window,” in which Moore’s law remains valid until it hits the atomic barrier around 2020,” de Garis said. “The next-smallest thing to atoms… read more

    Lithography Unmasked

    August 28, 2001

    Researchers are pursuing a cheaper way of designing and fabricating computer chips, using mirrors instead of masks.

    Photolithography —- the standard chip manufacturing technique — requires expensive masks costing up to $1 million to create the patterns.

    Researchers are using an array of tiny mirrors under computer control to turn individual beams on and off as the whole setup scans across the wafer.

    Maskless technologies could allow… read more

    Denial and the Ravaging of Cyberspace

    August 30, 2001

    While some view it as an expansive bastion of decentralized communication and democratic discourse, the World Wide Web is scarcely more civic-minded than your local bank, says media critic Norman Solomon.
    Solomon sees these trends:

  • Online media consolidation. Websites operated by just four corporations account for 50.4 percent of the time that U.S. users of the Web are now spending online.
  • Web browsers will become outdated
  • read more

    Viruses sounded out

    August 31, 2001

    A single virus particle can be spotted in medical samples by the sound it makes, UK researchers have found. The researchers used quartz crystals, which vibrate in an electrical field. They coated the crystals with an antibody, to which particles of the human herpesvirus attached.

    Increasing the voltage shook the crystal faster until the viruses became dislodged, with an accompanying burst of sound. The vibrating crystal picks up the… read more

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