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November 25, 2006

More from the Steve Chen Supercomputer Interview

The Chinese government supports university research and gives them money to pay for the use of the service [supercomputer grid]. That is better than to spend money on buying thousands of separate smaller systems and none of them can do significant work. China only has two supercomputer centers now. Steve Chen is recommending and apparently China is funding the provision of 10-100 Tflop/s system per node, about 100 nodes, each node supported by hundreds or thousands of 1 Tflop/s group level or smaller personal supercomputers, and link all these together as an Integral Grid with shared capability and capacity up to 1-10 Petaflop/s. The grid would be shared by the thousands of universities across China.

The Third brain project the closest thing that I have seen to a state sponsored project with strong transhumanist and artificial intelligence goals. The goals being to create new artificial higher brain functions. (Steve Chen defines the First brain as the Cerebrum and the Second Brain as the Cerebellum)

Other reading:
My first article about Steve Chen's new work

Petaflop computer projects








Smartlipo for targeted fat deposits

There is a new form of liposuction called smartlipo or Laserlipolysis or Laser-assisted liposculpture.

It is time to tighten up your tummy and thighs with plastic surgery! Smartlipo is a procedure that can help you get rid of that bulging fat. You may also want to look into liposuction surgery as well. Research these plastic surgeries, along with many more, at www.PlasticSurgeryPortal.com today.

Laserlipolysis is a new-generation procedure which user a laser to dissolve or liquefy redundant body fat with heat. Laser-assisted liposculpture deals successfully with problem areas of high fibrous content, or delicate due to their extremely thin fat layer, which are very difficult to treat by traditional methods. It also achieves a skin retraction which may not happen through other procedures.

Advantages over traditional liposuction:
1. Smart Lipo offersminimal discomfort during the procedure, and a mild dull ache after local anaesthetic has worn off, as opposed to severe pain after liposuction.
2. Minimal downtime. In a study in Brazil most of the treated patients (nurses) returned to work the same day after their SmartLipo treatment.
3. Skin tightens around the area with laser lipolysis – there is no loose pocket of skin left hanging after the treatment as there is with liposuction.
4. There is little or no bleeding and bruising with Smart Lipo fat reduction.
5. Smart Lipo fat reduction is a much safer procedure than liposuction.

Another comparison of liposuction to Smartlipo:
Old Liposuction: usually under general anesthesia, loose skin remains where fat is sucked out, a 4-to 6-mm tube sucks out solid fat; lots of tissue trauma, scarring where tube enters body; stitches often required, resume work after a week, lipo on abdomen: $6,500

SmartLipo: always with local anesthesia, tightened skin from collagen production where lasers are used (visible after three to six months), 1-mm tube fitted with laser melts fat; little trauma, almost no scarring; no stitches needed, resume work after two days, laser lipo on abdomen: $5,000

ABC News has coverage as well. Doctors say the laser system is best suited for targeting small fat deposits in otherwise healthy people, and it is not a cure for obesity.

Wikipedia has information on liposuction Liposuction, also known as lipoplasty ("fat modeling"), liposculpture or suction lipectomy ("suction-assisted fat removal") is a cosmetic surgery operation which removes fat from many different sites on the human body. Areas affected can range from the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, to neck, backs of the arms and elsewhere. The fat is usually removed via a cannula (a hollow tube) and aspirator (a suction device).


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Darpa awards contracts for underwater express

A high speed submarine will be designed with the aim of carrying out high-speed littoral missions using supercavitation technology, testing the feasibility of the technology to transport high-value cargo and/or small units of personnel at speeds up to 100 knots/hour. The notional US vehicle aims to operate covertly - if surface and acoustic signatures can be reduced enough - and manage speed while avoiding surface wave 'slamming' injuries. Proposal documents seen by Jane's suggest that the demonstrator vehicle will improve upon the Shkval with a movable, retractable cavitator on its nose cone.

The drawbacks of supercavitation would be reduced if it can be made stealthier and with better directional control. The nature of the planned operations is also to enable faster coastal deployment of special forces.

Drawbacks as noted from wikipedia:
Naval combat frequently occurs over significant distances; the Mark 48 torpedo, the staple torpedo of the US navy, has a range of five miles with unconfirmed reports of ranges in excess of twenty miles. The maximum speed of at least 32 miles per hour, (unconfirmed reports indicate speeds upwards of 60 mph) meaning it can reach its maximum range in a matter of minutes (ten to twenty, depending on the figures used). A supercavitating torpedo traveling at 230mph would still take over a minute to reach a destination five miles away, and around six minutes to reach a target twenty miles away. This is more than ample time for a target to dodge. But whereas conventional torpedoes are capable of homing in on a target using either wires connected to the launching ship or active sonar, the nature of supercavitation precludes either method of guidance. The supercavitating engine would sever any wires attached to the torpedo, and the bubble of vapor surrounding the torpedo both enables it to travel at very high speeds and prevents the use of sonar. Supercavitation also produces an incredible amount of noise, which alerts the target to both the torpedo and the location of the launching sub. A common submarine tactic is to quietly launch a torpedo, but not to activate it until the firing sub has moved a few hundred yards away, then activating it and guiding it to the target. Supercavitating torpedoes are only capable of being "dumb-fired" directly from the launching vessel, which would immediately reveal its position, a lethal mistake in modern naval warfare. As the torpedoes produced by the American navy - and sold through arms contracts to allied navies - have incredible guidance systems, interest in supercavitation has been rather muted in the Western naval community.

November 23, 2006

Steve Chen supercomputer update and big plans

August 2006, Steve Chen and a chinese company Galactic have built 4 Tflop/s systems with high efficiency (85%). Probably we can scale up to 100 Tflop/s with high efficiency using the current set of components. 2007 we expect to achieve 250 Tflop/s with high efficiency.

They are building systems with one Tflop/s in a rack now. In four years' time they will reach the performance level of one Tflop/s per blade.


Steve Chen has created an Integral Grid for software control of resource access. I can run Video-on-Demand and IPTV applications on one side of the Grid, and healthcare, education or financial services on the other side. After midnight, the whole Grid can be running Weather Forecasting. It can provide Compute-On-Demand, Bandwidth-On-Demand and Knowledge-On-Demand instantaneously. We can detect which application is running and what it needs.

In the lower level it does so statically, not yet dynamically. So, if you say, "Today I want to partition the machine in three different ways with so many processors, so many disks, etc.", we can do it. to reach the higher levels, we need more intelligence to be integrated into the system. We need machine learning, human-machine interaction, artificial intelligence, intelligent search and pattern recognition.

This is being done in a company based in the USA and China, called HCOM, which has established the "THIRD-BRAIN Research Institute" where the core development is done. It is a long term and international effort to design a new generation of Supercomputers beyond Petaflop/s. The overall sponsoring company is called AHA!Ventures based in the USA. They are the one providing the funding as well as collaborating on the development and deployment of large-scale Integral Grid projects worldwide.

I have stepped out of Galactic completely and focused on the "THIRD-BRAIN Research Institute". And in the meantime, I am also working with the [Chinese] government, industries and universities in the actual development and deployment of large-scale healthcare and education applications on theIntegral Gridbased on the THIRD-BRAIN technologies. The applications will extend to other areas e.g. digital media, financial services, modern logistics, e-government, collaborative commerce, advanced design and R/D in semiconductors, equipments, aerospace, automotive, chemical, biomedical, pharmaceutical, petroleum, weather, material and renewable energy.

The THIRD-BRAIN is a future Bio-Supercomputer. We can use current Supercomputing Grid to simulate and emulate the THIRD-BRAIN. The THIRD-BRAIN can be thought of as an addition to the Human Brain - the First and the Second Brain (the Cerebrum and Cerebellum) inside our head.

The THIRD-BRAIN is outside and complements our own natural ones. It will do many jobs as well as or better than our Human Brain, but it will not decay, rarely be sick or can be self-healing. It can store a lot of information in addition to our Brain and will not forget easily. The Human Brain is better at higher-level intelligence. The THIRD-BRAIN cannot catch up with that in the near future. Maybe some day. We however, when we get older, we tend to forget things. If you have both Brains, functioning together, you will forget less and think fast. The THIRD-BRAIN will be close enough to emulate a real human brain for these functions.

Our goal is to establish an initial [third-brain] model within three years, and to refine the model to show some meaningful results within five years.


So the plan is bio-supercomputer extension to our brains with meaningful results in 5 years.

Other reading:
Petaflop supercomputer projects

A PDF of a powerpoint presentation of the status of supercomputer work in China as of June 2006








Tyan's 20-core and 40-core personal supercomputers

The Typhoon box packs up to five two-socket server boards in a 21 inch x 14 inch x 28 inch wheelable case. 20 cores worth of Intel's Woodcrest chips or 40 cores worth of the four-core Clovertown chip. A Typhoon 600 Series box should reach 256 gigaflops, while eating only 1,400 watts. A Woodcrest version of the Typhoon system will start at around $11,000, while a fully-stacked version of the personal cluster with the best chips on the market will top out at $25,000





Petaflop supercomputer projects

Supercomputer systems discussed at conference including petaflop supercomputer projects.

Makoto Taiji, RIKEN of Japan, discussed the current MDGrape3 system (1.4 Petaflop), the 2008 GRAPE-DR project (2 Petaflop), and the 2012 NexGen project (10 Petafop).

Zeng Yu said the current Dawning 5000A system scales to 100 TF peak performance and Dawning plans a petascale computer. Chinese leading supercomputer vendor, Dawning Information Industry Co. Ltd of Beijing has the Dawning 5000 (100 teraflop system) and Dawning 6000 (petaflop system) based on both commercial chips and homegrown chips.

LANL's plans to scale the IBM "Roadrunner" to petascale Linpack performance in a couple of years.

Argonne National Laboratory has a 100-teraflop Blue Gene/L and intends to advance to a peak petaflop in a few years.

Blue Gene/L successor will be Blue Gene/P (for petaflop), followed by Blue Gene/Q (10 petaflops). Power6 is due out in about one year.

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Broadband competition is needed in the USA

Ars technica points out the need for the FCC to encourage more competition with broadband

The best options being requiring sharing of the telephone lines for different DSL providers and to encourage and support cities and towns with municiple broadband rollouts.

100mbps cable internet in Korea, 2007 through 2011 rollout for USA

Some South Korean cable Internet subscribers are now able to get 100Mbps connections thanks to deployment of pre-DOCSIS 3.0 hardware by cable operator ARRIS. With pre-DOCSIS 3.0 hardware reliably delivering speeds in excess of 100Mbps, it bodes well for the introduction of fully-compliant hardware in the latter part of 2007. Once the hardware becomes widely available, US cable companies will begin upgrading their networks to support 3.0. ABI Research estimates that just shy of 40 percent of cable customers will have DOCSIS 3.0 equipment in their homes by 2011, which means that those 100Mbps connections are still a ways off in North America.

Destroying bunkers and entrances down to 300 feet

Defence tech provides the latest on Deep digger and arrays of Deep diggers that can reach hardened bunkers down to 300 feet

The latest information is that Deep Digger as being able to dig down to 150 feet, which is deeper than the best brute force approach. (Blu-113 a 4600 lb missile that is optimized for underground penetration reachs about 100 feet of dirt and 22 feet of concrete. In the ‘Concept Of Operations’ on Slide 4: an array of 20 Deep Diggers would be detonated together to produce a shockwave which will collapse all underground structures to a depth of 300 feet over a 200-yard square area. This would be even deeper than the nuclear bunker buster. The nuclear bunker buster has a maximum yield of 340 kilotons, the destruction depth would be roughly 70 meters [ =210 feet ] for a hardened target.

Deep Digger has some key advantages over earlier weapons:

- Deep penetration means that all of the blast goes into creating an underground shockwave, not just digging a crater. For blasting rock, it’s basic that the charge need to be drilled to a depth to be effective.

- Deep Digger parachutes down to a soft landing before digging in. Other bunker busters hit the ground very hard and experience a deceleration tens of thousands of g's. This affects their reliability, and the loss of a few warheads may make the whole array ineffective.

- Deep Digger may be able to maneuver underground, correcting the configuration of the array after it is in place.

And Deep Digger is only a first-generation active penetrator. Devices like General Dynamics Worm which Noah described last week may burrow much more effectively.

The worm digging machine is described in this pdf

Bunkers can always be dug deeper. One British Cold War plan involved relocating government centres to coal mines 5,000 feet underground. Successful Deep digger devices would make the vast majority of existing bunkers obsolete or insecure. If Deep diggers are more effective than nuclear bunker busters that could eliminate the need for the nuclear devices.

New human gene map shows unexpected differences

Human DNA can have up to 10% variation based upon the number of duplicated sequences. The finding that questions the idea that everyone on Earth is 99.9 percent identical genetically.

Instead of showing single variations in human DNA that make people unique, the map looks at differences in duplications and deletions of large DNA segments known as copy number variants or CNVs, which can help explain why some people are susceptible to illnesses such as AIDS and others are not.

The scientists, whose findings are reported in the journals Nature, Nature Genetics and Genome Research, compiled the CNV map by comparing DNA from 270 healthy people in China, Japan, Nigeria and the United States.

The consortium identified 1,447 different CNVs that covered about 12 percent of the human genome. About 285 of them are associated with diseases, including schizophrenia, psoriasis, coronary heart disease and congenital cataracts.

"With these new tools, we and our clinical colleagues are able to find previously undetectable deletions or duplications of the genome in a patient. The CNV map now allows us to identify which of these changes are unique to the disease," said Dr. Nigel Carter, of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.

November 22, 2006

the Richest County in the USA

This is a pdf article about how a county in the Washington DC area became the richest in the USA.

Basically the slimming down of the fed gov't gave a bunch of opportunities for those with outsourced businesses to cash in. Plus the fairly well off lobbyists who get $400K-3M+/year.

What is interesting is the Really Rich ($100-500M net worth) 7200 households,
and the Tycoon rich ($500M-1B) 490 households seems to be over 5% of the US total for
those categories. Stats for the networth numbers are not great but I think it is at least 5% and could be as high as 10%.

The US gov't gravy train is sweet.

Here is a summary of the Merryl Lynch wealth report which lists numbers of people with high incomes I would equate those with $30 million/year in income as Tycoon rich and at least half of those who are Really Rich according to the categorization of the Loudoun county article.

Heart stem cells discovered

The New Scientist reports that heart stem cells have been discovered by three different groups This will be good news for those with heart and vascular disease when it works its way through further research, development, testing and regulatory approvals.

Danny Hillis talks about the difficulties of AI and supercomputers

Danny Hillis talks about Artificial intelligence, supercomputers and his company Thinking Machines Supercomputer software markets have too few customers. AI are many tough problems.

November 21, 2006

Detecting uranium in soil

Near infrared spectroscopy can also be used to remotely detect uranium Using a fibre optic probe and the near infrared spectroscopy technique uranium minerals can be detected in soil.

Femtosecond lasers create true black metal

The process, using an incredibly intense burst of laser light, holds the promise of making everything from fuel cells to a space telescope's detectors more efficient--not to mention turning your car into the blackest black around.


Guo is also quick to point out that the nanostructures' remarkable increase in a metal's surface area is a perfect way to catalyze chemical reactions. Along with one of his research group members, postdoctoral student Anatoliy Vorobyev, he hopes to learn how the metal can help derive more energy from fuel cell reactions. The new process has worked on every metal Guo has tried, and since it's a property of the metal itself, there's no worry of the black wearing off.

Currently, the process is slow. To alter a strip of metal the size of your little finger easily takes 30 minutes or more, but Guo is looking at how different burst lengths, different wavelengths, and different intensities affect metal's properties. Fortunately, despite the incredible intensity involved, the femtosecond laser can be powered by a simple wall outlet, meaning that when the process is refined, implementing it should be relatively simple.

During its brief burst, Guo's laser unleashes as much power as the entire grid of North America onto a spot the size of a needle point. That intense blast forces the surface of the metal to form and nanostructures--pits, globules, and strands that both dramatically increase the area of the surface and capture radiation. Some larger structures also form in subsequent blasts.

Guo's research team has tested the absorption capabilities for the black metal and confirmed that it can absorb virtually all the light that fall on it, making it pitch black. The huge increase in light absorption enabled by Guo's femtosecond laser processing means nearly any metal becomes extremely useful anytime radiation gathering is needed. For instance, detectors of all kinds, from space probes to light meters, could capture far more data than an ordinary metal-based detector could.

Ray Kurzweil predictions

Ray Kurzweil has some more predictions about the future that he made at a speech at SC06 (supercomputer conference 2006). Most are in his book the Singularity is Near.

Isreali weapons program not revolutionary

From foresights nanodot and the center for responsible nanotechnology it is reported that Isreal has a five year weapons program that Isreal labels a nanotechnology weapons program.

It sounds to me like the Isreali's are working on advanced robotics, MEMS and maybe NEMS.

In terms of advanced weapons being usable by the enemy, the side that makes advanced weapons usually has far better access to them than their enemy. Captured weapons are a small percentage. Plus for weapons for which there is some concern, a military version of lojack (anti-car theft) systems can be put into them. Advanced tech also allows for other security measures to be taken relatively easily.

It is not necessarily more deadly weapons that are being created. But sensors to make targeting more effective and cost reduction for more cost effective measures.

Current military choices are to use far more force to be effective or to use less force and be ineffective. Clearly it is reasonable that a weapons program would be designed to help make current forces more effective.

None of the announced programs sound that different than some of things that DARPA has in the works.

The newspapers quote the Isreali's as talking about hornet sized UAVs and robotic power gloves for soldiers.

Here is a summary of work on miniature UAVs from a few years ago

Here is the wikipedia entry for miniature UAVs

Here is the entry for micro air vehicles

Here is the wikipedia entry on artificial powered exoskeletons

Here is an entry from this site that field tests are expected for US exoskeletons in 2008

RNA interference used to make cotton seed edible

From the New Scientist, cotton that has been genetically engineered so its seed is no longer toxic could provide protein-rich food for poor countries. The researchers say the technology used could make other toxic plants safe to eat.

Cottonseed contains about 22% protein, and the cotton already produced worldwide has enough protein to meet the requirements of 500 million people. But it also contains the toxin gossypol, making it poisonous to animals, including humans.

Rathore and his colleagues achieved this – after what he says has been a 10-year race with teams in China and Australia – using RNA interference (RNAi) technology.

The team chose to target an enzyme that is critical in the production of gossypol. They constructed a genetic sequence that would only be active in cotton seeds and which contained a portion of the enzyme’s gene, followed by the same sequence in reverse. They introduced their construct into cottonseed cells. There, it generated a strand of messenger RNA with two halves which stuck to each-other in a hair-pin shape.

In cells, this hairpin RNA gets chopped up into small bits by a "dicer enzyme" and, through a mechanism that is not completely understood, the small bits stick to the original enzyme’s messenger RNA. This tags the RNA, labelling it for destruction by a cellular mechanism known as the RISC complex. The net result is that the production of gossypol in the modified cottonseeds is interrupted.


Other crops can be amde safe to eat, such as Lathyrus sativus, also knows as grass pea, chickling vetch, or Indian pea. This legume is an emergency crop which farmers in Asia and Africa plant in times of drought because it is resists the toughest growing conditions.

It will be ten years of safety checks and other processes before the cottonseed is on sale.

November 20, 2006

Countering bioweapons

The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology talks about some discussion by Kofi Annan about safegaurds against biological terrorism Annan talks about sronger rules and treaties. Rules for scientists and treaties will be mostly useless.

Unlike nuclear technology there are few bottlenecks to getting biological technology capabilities. As I noted in a prior post biotech labs and biotech work is widespread

We need to improve each of the layers of detection and defense. We cannot put all of our hopes and lives on paper treaties and promises.

We have to develop and deploy better sensors such as the laser detection of viruses

The public health system needs to be revamped. Diseases natural and artificial need to be detected and tracked in real time with dispersion projections.

We need to use gene therapy, RNA activation, RNA interference and other technology to boost human immune systems.

We can measure when real progress is being made by seeing how well we are able to defend against the normal diseases we face such as flu which kills 250,000-500,000.

Cheaper controlled and segregated biosystems both temporary and permanent need to be produced. Closed ecological systems could be used to create firewalls for civilization against biological weapon, environmental and natural disease catastrophes. Temporary underwater enclosed systems like submarines and development of large scale space colonization.

There needs to be zero tolerance for rogue states. This will take a lot of time and will be made possible by pushing ahead with transformational technologies.

The good guys need to push ahead with better technologies and policies. It also means that we have to more efficient with our budgets and stop wasting money on useless or ineffective technologies and plans. More use of results based prizes to spur successful innovation.

We need to not holding back the powerful technologies that would definitely transform the technological and political landscape. We are spending about 100 billion for a space station that is being launched with chemical rockets. Since the 1960's we have known a better way which is nuclear rockets.

Some of the new technologies that should be pursued are molecular nanotechnology, synthetic biology, quantum computers, thorium nuclear fission reactors, new nuclear fusion other than tokomaks, superconductors and previously mentioned new sensor and monitoring technologies.

Pictures of project orion nuclear spaceships which could be used to colonize space The science of project Orion works and we have the fusion bombs for war but not for space colonization. A fusion Orion could launch an 8 million ton space ship anywhere in the solar system. We could take 3 million tons of payload which is enough to launch 100,000 people and all of their supplies and equipment. A bigger launch makes it simpler to make a sustainable colony. Load up 14 ton shipping container after 14 ton shipping container with equipment and supplies.

Minimag Orion

How efficient project Orion would be

A collection of information about space colonization

High speed laser communication

The Dec 2006 scientific american discusses how supercontinuum lasers could drive communication speeds to 1 pbit/s or faster

UK report on global high speed communication plans. Japan has 2.5 gbps to the home in the works.

End to end IP Communication speed records started 2006 at about 8 Gbps.

The latest transmission record is 100 gigabit ethernet over 4000 km of fiber by Infinera. Unlike Infinera's demonstration, NTT's 14 tbit/s transmission was accomplished over a single 100-mile-long fiber optic line. NTT's backbone consists primarily of 1Tbps fiber; most US IP backbones consist of multiple 10Gbps links.

100 tbit/s routers planned since 2004

14 terabits per second over a single optical fiber is the record so far in 2006.

Vitesse Semiconductor Corporation (Pink Sheets:VTSS) on oct 31, 2006 unveiled the world's highest capacity semiconductor device with breakthrough 1.5 Terabit per second (Tbps) switching capacity and advanced Signal Integrity technology, laying the groundwork for new broadband services such as HDTV, Video-on-Demand and Fiber-to-the Home (FTTH).

Currently in the USA the fastest communication services are:
Verizon Communications currently offers three tiers in its Fios service: 5Mbps (megabits per second) downstream/2Mbps upstream for $34.95 per month; 15Mbps/2Mbps for $44.95; and 30 Mbps/5mbps for $179.95. It is available to a total of 6 million premises by year-end 2006 (18% of the Verizon network of 33 million), with an additional 3 million a year planned through 2010.

Comcast, the nation's largest cable operator, doubled download speeds of its fastest broadband service in four cities to 16Mbps for downloads and 1Mbps for uploads at a cost of $52.95 per month.

Cablevision, which also competes with Verizon, offers consumers two tiers of service: 15Mbps/1Mbps for $49.95 or 30Mbps/2Mbps for $64.95. The cable television operations serve more than 3 million households in the New York metropolitan area.

Fast wireless communication is coming via wimax and some new cellphone standards. The wireless record demo is about 2.5 gbps.

Robert Bussard's electrostatic fusion system

Robert Bussard the designer of the Bussard ramjet has an electrostatic fusion device that is 100,000 times better.

The key discovery for the improvement was :
no metal surface penetrated by B fields must occupy more than about 1E-4 to 1E-5 of the total surface available to the recirculating electrons. If this dead fraction is larger, there is NO hope of net power from any such machine. AND, it is essential that the device be recirculating, i.e. that the electrons can circulate out and back through the cusps all over the machine. It is consistent with the need for electrons to recirculate about 100,000 times before being lost to collisions with structure, to yield net power.


Here is a description of his work which had some government funding for a demo but needs $200 million for a full scale system

One of the biggest obstacle is the world-wide tokamak lobby, which perpetuates the fraud that Hirsch, Trivelpiece and Bussard foisted on the country in the 1970's when they started the big tokamak ball rolling.

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Publicly acknowledged sound surveillance

Surveillance cameras in the city of Groningen have been adapted to listen out for voices raised in anger. Microphones attached to the cameras feed the sound signals to software that can detect voices that are aggressive in tone. "Aggressive people tend to tense their larynx, and the sound made by their vocal cords is distorted," says Peter van Hengel of developer Sound Intelligence, a spin-off of the University of Groningen.

In a trial earlier this year, police made three arrests after being alerted by the system. Tests are also under way in Rotterdam, on Dutch trains and in stations.

Related news:
Sound telescopes from microphone arrays

Mundane spy gear

November 19, 2006

New architectures for better supercomputers

Thomas Sterling is leading the Nasa Gilgamesh project to develop the MIND architecture, a fault tolerant space-borne PIM chip and is an investigator on the DARPA-sponsored Cray Cascade Project to build a Petaflops computer by 2010. Important near term developments are streaming, the Data Vortex network, processor in memory, multithreading, and parcel-driven transaction processing among others.

SC06 (supercomputer 2006) conference also discussed 100Ghz superconductor systems

Japan's plans for 10 petaflop computer and ambitions for 100 petaflop and exaflop machines

Study shows it's feasible to read data stored as nuclear 'spins'

They have resolved a major obstacle for building a particular kind of quantum computer, the phosphorus-and-silicon quantum computer

Boehme's new study deals with an approach to a quantum computer proposed in 1998 by Australian physicist Bruce Kane in a Nature paper titled "A silicon-based nuclear spin quantum computer." In such a computer, silicon – the semiconductor used in digital computer chips – would be "doped" with atoms of phosphorus, and data would be encoded in the "spins" of those atoms' nuclei. Externally applied electric fields would be used to read and process the data stored as "spins."

Spin is difficult to explain. A simplified way to describe spin is to imagine that each particle – like an electron or proton in an atom – contains a tiny bar magnet, like a compass needle, that points either up or down to represent the particle's spin. Down and up can represent 0 and 1 in a spin-based quantum computer, in which one qubit could have a value of 0 and 1 simultaneously.

In the new study, Boehme and colleagues used silicon doped with phosphorus atoms. By applying an external electrical current, they were able to "read" the net spin of 10,000 of the electrons and nuclei of phosphorus atoms near the surface of the silicon.

A real quantum computer would need to read the spins of single particles, not thousands of them. But previous efforts, which used a technique called magnetic resonance, were able to read only the net spins of the electrons of 10 billion phosphorus atoms combined, so the new study represents a million-fold improvement and shows it is feasible to read single spins – something that would take another 10,000-fold improvement, Boehme says.

With improved design, it should be possible to build a much smaller device that "lets us read a single phosphorus nucleus."


This kind of quantum computer is still some time from development. Other quantum computers like the adiabatic quantum computing are closer to realization.

Maps showing countries strong in biotech and permissive with stem cells

The university of Minnesota has some maps that show leading countries in biotechnology Countries that are strong are in brown color.



The next map shows which countries are permissive with stem cells. Permissive countries allow various embryonic stem cell derivation techniques including somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT).


Brown shows permissive countries.

The list for 2006 of stem cell research centers around the world



Permissive stem cells countries ranked by their global economic competitiveness

Finland - 1
Sweden - 3
Taiwan - 4
Denmark - 5
Singapore - 7
Switzerland - 8
Japan - 9
Iceland - 10
United Kingdom - 11
The Netherlands - 12
Australia - 14
Canada - 15
New Zealand - 18
Israel - 19
Estonia - 20
Hong Kong - 21
Spain - 23
Belgium - 25
France - 27
Korea - 29