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When it comes to intelligence, size isn’t everything

March 30, 2006

Intelligence has more to do with when and how the brain grows rather than its overall size, suggests a new study.

In the brightest children, the thickness of the prefrontal cortex — a brain region thought to be responsible for many facets of intelligence — increased rapidly through their pre-teen years before thinning out again after the age of 11. The pattern was the same in those of average… read more

Your secrets are safe with quasar encryption

March 30, 2006

Japanese scientists have come up with a method for encrypting messages using radio waves from quasars.

The researchers believe quasars could make an ideal cryptographic tool because the strength and frequency of the radio pulses they emit is impossible to predict. Each communicating party would only need to know which quasar to monitor and when to start in order to encrypt and decrypt a message.

Scientists divided over longevity

March 29, 2006

Aubrey de Grey’s claims for long life based on SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence) have drawn criticism from some gerontologists.

Cell Phones, Reality Gaming

March 29, 2006

Games are becoming vastly more lifelike — more realistic. The addition of voice, initially driven by Xbox Live on consoles and TeamSpeak on PCs, is now improving to VoIP levels driven by Vivox.

A gaming platform called AI.Implant is helping to drive improvements in gaming AI. Implant specializes in easily giving game characters complex personalities so that the experience is more realistic. Characters act and react to players and… read more

Holographic breakthrough crams in 0.5TB per square inch

March 29, 2006

InPhase Technologies claims to have broken the record for the highest data density of any commercial storage technology after successfully recording 515Gb of data per square inch.

InPhase promised to begin shipping the first holographic drive and media later this year. The first-generation drive has a capacity of 300GB on a single disk with a 20Mbps transfer rate. The first product will be followed by a family ranging from… read more

Artificial Intelligence: Working backwards from HAL

March 28, 2006

The first part of a three-part special report, looking at the past, present and future of AI, examines the origins of machine intelligence and neural networks.

Chip ramps up neuron-to-computer communicati

March 28, 2006

A specialised microchip that could communicate with thousands of individual brain cells has been developed by European scientists.

The device will help researchers examine the workings of interconnected brain cells, and might one day enable them to develop computers that use live neurons for memory.

It is capable of receiving signals from more than 16,000 mammalian brain cells in vitro, and sending messages back to several hundred cells.

Towards a new test of general relativity?

March 27, 2006

Scientists funded by the European Space Agency have measured the gravitational equivalent of a magnetic field for the first time in a laboratory. Under certain special conditions the effect is much larger than expected from general relativity and could help physicists to make a significant step towards the long-sought-after quantum theory of gravity.

The research demonstrates that a superconductive gyroscope is capable of generating a powerful gravitomagnetic field, and… read more

Online test calculates brain speed

March 27, 2006

San Francisco-based Posit Science unveiled a program that tests how fast a person’s brain can process information, based on his or her hearing speed.

New data transmission record — 60 DVDs per second

March 27, 2006

German and Japanese scientists recently collaborated to achieve a newworld record for data transmission.

By transmitting a data signal at 2.56 terabits per second over a 160-kilometer link, the researchers bettered the old record of 1.28 terabits per second held by a Japanese group. By comparison, the fastest high-speed links currently carry data at a maximum 40 Gbit/s, or around 50 times slower.

Here’s an Idea: Let Everyone Have Ideas

March 27, 2006

Co-founders of Rite-Solutions, a software company that builds advanced command-and-control systems for the Navy, have created an internal “stock market” of ideas where any employee can propose that the company acquire a new technology, enter a new business or make an efficiency improvement.

These proposals become stocks, complete with ticker symbols, discussion lists and e-mail alerts. Employees buy or sell the stocks, and prices change to reflect the sentiments… read more

Bytes and Biology

March 27, 2006

The impact of computer science on science as a whole was considered by a group of leading researchers, led by Stephen Emmott of Microsoft Research. Their report, “Towards 2020 Science,” is at research.microsoft.com.

2020 — Future of Computing

March 27, 2006

What will the relationship between computing and science bring us over the next 15 years?

A special Nature web focus (free access) combines commentaries from leading scientists and news features analysis from journalists assessing how computing science concepts and techniques may transform mainstream science by 2020.

2020 computing: Champing at the bits

March 27, 2006

Despite some remaining hurdles, the mind-bending and frankly weird world of quantum computers is surprisingly close.

Surface plasmons squeeze light

March 24, 2006

Physicists in Denmark and France have developed a new class of waveguide that could get round one of the biggest obstacles to photonic circuits. The devices allow light at telecommunications wavelengths to be “squeezed” to below the diffraction limit, allowing it to pass though small regions such as channels on a chip without being significantly lost.

These photonic circuits could manipulate light pulses directly and therefore increase data rates.

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