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Archive for the ‘computing’ category

Oct 15, 2018

What Is A Quantum Computer? The 30,000 Foot Overview

Posted by in categories: computing, mathematics, particle physics, quantum physics

If you replace classical bits with qubits, though, you go back to only needing one per spin in the system, because all the quantum stuff comes along for free. You don&s;t need extra bits to track the superposition, because the qubits themselves can be in superposition states. And you don&s;t need extra bits to track the entanglement, because the qubits themselves can be entangled with other qubits. A not-too-big quantum computer— again, 50–100 qubits— can efficiently solve problems that are simply impossible for a classical computer.

These sorts of problems pop up in useful contexts, such as the study of magnetic materials, whose magnetic nature comes from adding together the quantum spins of lots of particles, or some types of superconductors. As a general matter, any time you&s;re trying to find the state of a large quantum system, the computational overhead needed to do it will be much less if you can map it onto a system of qubits than if you&s;re stuck using a classical computer.

So, there&s;s your view-from-30,000-feet look at what quantum computing is, and what it&s;s good for. A quantum computer is a device that exploits wave nature, superposition, and entanglement to do calculations involving collective mathematical properties or the simulation of quantum systems more efficiently than you can do with any classical computer. That&s;s why these are interesting systems to study, and why heavy hitters like Google, Microsoft, and IBM are starting to invest heavily in the field.

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Oct 14, 2018

​Australia gets Women in STEM Ambassador in astrophysicist professor

Posted by in categories: computing, education, engineering, government

The federal government has announced the appointment of Australia’s first Women in STEM Ambassador, with Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith charged with overseeing the country’s attempt to diversify its science, technology, engineering, and mathematics sectors.

An astrophysicist professor, Harvey-Smith will specifically advocate for girls and women in STEM education and careers, aiming also to raise awareness in the male-dominated industry and drive cultural and social change for gender equity.

SEE: The state of women in computer science: An investigative report [PDF download] (TechRepublic cover story)

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Oct 13, 2018

Life Extension & Human Longevity with Dr. Aubrey de Grey on MIND & MACHINE

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, life extension

New Aubrey interview.


Today we explore human longevity and life extension efforts focused on adding healthy years to a person’s lifespan, and even reversing the aging process.

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Oct 11, 2018

New half-light half-matter particles may hold the key to a computing revolution

Posted by in categories: computing, particle physics

Scientists have discovered new particles that could lie at the heart of a future technological revolution based on photonic circuitry, leading to superfast, light-based computing.

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Oct 11, 2018

Vacuum Tube to Transistor to Integrated Circuit [Documentary]

Posted by in categories: computing, education

This video is the culmination of documentaries from the vacuum tube, transistor and integrated circuit eras of computing.

[0:40–20:55] — Vacuum Tube Documentary

[20:55–30:00] — Transistor Documentary

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Oct 9, 2018

Ballistic graphene Josephson junctions enter microwave circuits

Posted by in categories: computing, nanotechnology, quantum physics

Superconducting quantum microwave circuits can function as qubits, the building blocks of a future quantum computer. A critical component of these circuits, the Josephson junction, is typically made using aluminium oxide. Researchers in the Quantum Nanoscience department at the Delft University of Technology have now successfully incorporated a graphene Josephson junction into a superconducting microwave circuit. Their work provides new insight into the interaction of superconductivity and graphene and its possibilities as a material for quantum technologies.

The essential building block of a computer is the quantum bit, or . Unlike regular bits, which can either be one or zero, qubits can be one, zero or a superposition of both these states. This last possibility, that bits can be in a superposition of two states at the same time, allows quantum computers to work in ways not possible with classical computers. The implications are profound: Quantum computers will be able to solve problems that will take a regular computer longer than the age of the universe to solve.

There are many ways to create qubits. One of the tried and tested methods is by using superconducting microwave . These circuits can be engineered in such a way that they behave as harmonic oscillators “If we put a charge on one side, it will go through the inductor and oscillate back and forth,” said Professor Gary Steele. “We make our qubits out of the different states of this charge bouncing back and forth.”

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Oct 8, 2018

Brain Meets Machine: The Art and Science of Brain-Computer Interfaces

Posted by in categories: computing, mathematics, neuroscience, science

Current brain-computer interface (BCI) research helps people who have lost the ability to affect their environment in ways many of us take for granted. Future BCIs may go beyond motor function, perhaps aiding with memory recall, decision-making, and other cognitive functions.


Have you ever studied a foreign language and wished you could upload the vocabulary lists directly into your brain so that you could retain them? Would you like to do mental math with the speed and accuracy of a calculator? Do you want a literal photographic memory? Well, these dreams are still the stuff of science fiction, but the brave new world of brain-computer interfaces, or BCI, is well on its way to making technological miracles of this sort a reality.

The story of BCI begins with the discovery of electrical signals emitted by the brain. In 1924, German scientist Hans Berger recorded the first electroencephalogram, or EEG, by placing electrodes under a person’s scalp. Although his research was at first met with derision, a whole new way to study the brain was born from his work. It is now well accepted that the human brain emits electric signals at a variety of frequencies currently known as brainwaves.

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Oct 8, 2018

Graduate Student Solves Quantum Verification Problem

Posted by in categories: computing, quantum physics

Urmila Mahadev spent eight years in graduate school solving one of the most basic questions in quantum computation: How do you know whether a quantum computer has done anything quantum at all?

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Oct 8, 2018

Engineers build smallest integrated Kerr frequency comb generator

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, computing, engineering, security

Optical frequency combs can enable ultrafast processes in physics, biology, and chemistry, as well as improve communication and navigation, medical testing, and security. The Nobel Prize in Physics 2005 was awarded to the developers of laser-based precision spectroscopy, including the optical frequency comb technique, and microresonator combs have become an intense focus of research over the past decade.

A major challenge has been how to make such comb sources smaller and more robust and portable. In the past 10 years, major advances have been made in the use of monolithic, chip-based microresonators to produce such combs. While the microresonators generating the are tiny—smaller than a human hair—they have always relied on external lasers that are often much larger, expensive, and power-hungry.

Researchers at Columbia Engineering announced today in Nature that they have built a Kerr frequency comb generator that, for the first time, integrates the together with the , significantly shrinking the system’s size and power requirements. They designed the laser so that half of the laser cavity is based on a semiconductor waveguide section with high optical gain, while the other half is based on waveguides, made of , a very low-loss material. Their results showed that they no longer need to connect separate devices in the lab using fiber—they can now integrate it all on photonic chips that are compact and energy efficient.

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Oct 6, 2018

New computer model designs a drug delivery strategy to fight cancer

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, nanotechnology

A better understanding of how nanoparticles move from the bloodstream into a tumor could eventually lead to more effective cancer treatment.

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