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The closest star system found in a century

March 14, 2013

This image is an artist's conception of the binary system WISE J104915.57-531906 with the Sun in the background (credit: Janella Williams/Penn State)

A pair of stars in the third-closest star system to the Sun has been discovered by an astronomer —  the closest star system discovered since 1916.

The discovery was made by Kevin Luhman, an associate professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State University and a researcher in Penn State’s Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds.

The star system,  named “WISE J104915.57-531906″ (discovered in a map by… read more

The cockpit of the future

February 3, 2009

German research scientists have developed a novel car dashboard that functions as a 3-D display and shows velocities, engine speeds, and warnings in three dimensions.

The Collider, the Particle and a Theory About Fate

October 13, 2009

The hypothesized Higgs boson, which physicists hope to produce with the Large Hadron Collider, might be so abhorrent to nature that its creation would ripple backward through time and stop the collider before it could make one, suggest Holger Bech Nielsen, of the Niels Bohr Institute and Masao Ninomiya of the Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Physics.

The Coming Chip Revolution

April 8, 2005

Carbon nanotubes are emerging as a leading candidate to replace silicon in future chips.

One IBM prototype device using carbon nanotubes can carry up to 1,000 times the current of copper wires used in today’s silicon chips, making it vastly more efficient.

In addition to being excellent conductors of heat, nanotubes are 10 times stronger than steel and are resistant to radiation. This matters because as chips get… read more

The Coming Data Explosion

June 2, 2010

As more and more “things” in the world are connected to the Internet, driven by a “sensor revolution” (including data from mobile phones and “ubiquitous nanosensors”), a new computing platform is required to deal with this massive influx of exascale data and the complexity of processing it in real-time.

The Coming Robot Revolution

July 14, 2004

“In the future, robots could help determine the outcome of wars and identify problems in data centers. Office buildings may come to life as they use Wi-Fi to dispatch robots to control human access, test heating and cooling systems, and fetch tools for workers.”

The coming war on general computation

January 2, 2012

Cory Doctorow's talk

The coming century will be dominated by war against the general-purpose computer, and the stakes are the freedom, fortune and privacy of the entire human race, said Cory Doctorow in “The coming war on general computation” keynote talk at the Chaos Computer Congress in Berlin.

“The last 20 years of Internet policy have been dominated by the copyright war, but the war turns out only… read more

The Coming Wave of Gadgets That Listen and Obey

January 27, 2008

Devices that incorporate speech recognition are starting to hit the mass market in cellphone and other non-desktop-computer locations.

The Coming Wireless Revolution

November 14, 2008

Within the next couple of years, high-bandwidth (tens of megabits per second), far-reaching wireless Internet signals will soon blanket the nation, thanks to a decision by the FCC last week to allow use of megahertz frequency bands that were previously allocated to television broadcasters.

The company that spooked the world

August 6, 2012

Huawei-Headquarters

The “Cyber Security Evaluation Centre” set up in England by Huawei, a Chinese telecom giant, in 2010 marks a new way of persuading purchasers, and the British government, that equipment from the manufacturer that runs it can be trusted, The Economist reports.

It operates in close cooperation with GCHQ, Britain’s signals-intelligence agency. Its security-cleared staff, some of whom used to work for GCHQ, are responsible… read more

The Complete Guide to Googlemania!

February 25, 2004

They named their new search engine Google, for the biggest number they could imagine. But it wasn’t big enough. Today Google’s a library, an almanac, a settler of bets. It’s a parlor game, a dating service, a shopping mall. It’s a Microsoft rival. It’s a verb. At more than 200 million requests a day, it is, by far, the world’s biggest search engine. And now, on the eve of a… read more

The Computational Universe

July 4, 2006

The universe can be viewed as a giant quantum computer made up of connected quantum gates that flip quantum bits and thereby propagate information and uncertainty, says Seth Lloyd in a new book, Programming The Universe.

The “ultimate laptop” (one with 1 kilogram of mass and 1 liter of volume) would have a maximum of 1051 operations per second on 1032 bits, but would be roughly 100 times hotter… read more

The Computer at Nature’s Core

February 10, 2004

The computational worldview — that the universe itself is governed by the laws of computation and is, in fact, a computer — is the death of the notion that technology is applied science.

If both the physical universe and the biological world are best understood in terms of information and computation, it no longer makes sense to think that technology results from an application of science. Indeed, if computation… read more

The computing trend that will change everything

April 10, 2012

computer_trend_600

The electrical efficiency of computing (the number of computations that can be completed per kilowatt-hour of electricity used) has doubled every year and a half since the dawn of the computer age.

The power needed to perform a task requiring a fixed number of computations will continue to fall by half every 1.5 years (or a factor of 100 every decade). As a result, even smaller and less power-intensive computing devices… read more

The consequences of machine intelligence

October 28, 2012

race_against_the_machine

In their 2011 book, Race Against The Machine: How the Digital Revolution is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy, authors Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee argued that “technological progress is accelerating innovation even as it leaves many types of workers behind,” says Rice University professor of computational engineering Moshe Y. Vardi in The Atlantic.

“While the loss of millions of jobs over the past… read more

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