September 17, 2007

Reviewing some of my predictions on the Future

I had made about 156 prediction back in March 2006 in the nanotech-now article. 15 of the predictions appear either to have come true, are partially true or are coming true. Most of the other predictions are for events that were projected to be many years into the future.

Three appear to be correct but one require confirmation

Thousand CPU, FPGA simulator 2007-2008
Advanced microscopes with 0.5 angstrom accuracy and repeatability 2006-2008
Cellular life found on Mars 2010+ (being confirmed)

Four appear to be partially correct.

Syria war 2008 (Israel, US ally, bombed Syria using 8 planes, tensions increasing)
Gecko mimicing wallcrawling suits for military and enthusiasts 2008-2012
Jet airtaxi's (5000 existing regional airports in USA, 450-550mph, park and fly) 2006-2008
Carbon nanotube fiber inexpensive and with over 50GPa tensile strength 2014-2018

Eight are on track to being accurate predictions:
100 qubits 2010-2014 [expect 2008]
Customized [biological] cells 2010-2014 (close, synthetic life work)
80-200mpg cars - mainstream, batteries, ultracapacitors 5-10 times better 2008-2012 (close new hybrids and high mileage diesels, mass priced electric cars)
10 petaflop computer by 2012-2013 (Japan, IBM, Sun micro products and projects)
Clean fission (possible, projects underway)
Nuclear Fusion (several promising projects)
Thousand CPU [processor/cores] workstation mainstream chip vendor 2009-2012
US War with Iran 2007 (on track in regards to ratcheting tensions, hope I am wrong but just tracking it)

Correct Prediction: Thousand CPU, FPGA simulator 2007-2008

The RAMP Blue v3.0 rack, with 21 BEE2s, each with 48 cores, for a total of 1008 MicroBlaze cores

When the new TEAM microscope is delivered to Berkeley in 2008 then I would consider it a fulfillment of my prediction
Advanced microscopes with 0.5 angstrom accuracy and repeatability 2006-2008

Prediction: Cellular life found on Mars 2010+
If the Mars soil turns out to be 0.1% extremophile then that would definitely be a hit for my prediction that

Another prediction is getting a partial hit very soon:

Jet airtaxi's (5000 existing regional airports in USA, 450-550mph, park and fly) 2006-2008
Dayjet is starting service in Florida in about Sept, 2007 to Oct 2007

There is progress towards :
Gecko mimicing wallcrawling suits for military and enthusiasts 2008-2012

What we have now is the gekkomat

Here is the gekkomat.

If they get this improved with smaller canisters and better adhesion, so that it has some adoption by some military and enthusiast users then I would count this as a successful prediction.

Some could feel that the extra suction is a cheat and I can see that is valid in terms of human gecko wall crawling but not for a practical form of human wall crawling in general.

Here is some info on how a gecko does it. (13 page pdf)

There is other work on pure reusable adhesive by BAE Systems Advanced Technology Center and others.

Hybrid glue work from Northwestern University in Illinois. They built an array of nano-sized pillars from a soft flexible polymer. They then dip-coated these arrays in solutions containing different polymers designed to mimic the mussel proteins.

Professor Nicola Pugno, engineer and physicist at Polytechnic of Turin, Italy, has formulated a hierarchy of adhesive forces that will be strong enough to suspend a person's full body weight against a wall or on a ceiling, while also being easy to detach.

Carbon nanotube-based technology could be used to develop nano-molecular hooks and loops that would function like microscopic Velcro. This detachable, adhesive force could be used in conjunction with van der Waals forces and capillary adhesion

This prediction may have been half fulfilled:

Carbon nanotube fiber inexpensive and with over 50GPa tensile strength 2014-2018
Superthread made by Los Alamos may have over 50Gpa of strength

In terms of the second half of the prediction of inexpensive carbon nanotube fiber, this could be resolved by 2010. Production of carbon nanotubes could ramp up from the 60 tons per year now in 2007 Bayer has scaled up its production pilot plant from 30 to 60 tons/yr. The next step reportedly will be to boost capacity to 200 tons/yr in the next two years, with an industrial-scale 3000-ton (6.6-million lb) plant envisioned for 2011-12. This could reduce prices from $250-1000/kg now down to $10-50/kg in 2012.

From bionano:
Customized [biological] cells 2010-2014
I would count the successful creation of synthetic life as fulfilling this prediction We are pretty close.

dwave Systems of Vancouver could fulfill my prediction of Quantum computing 100 qubits 2010-2014 a bit early in 2008.

In the wildcard predictions was:
US War with Iran 2007
US War with Syria 2008

The recent news that Israel bombed Syria on Sept 6, 2007 is a fairly close hit for one of my predictions from Mar, 2006

Predictions were made at nanotech-now back in March 2006

I would view a US proxy war where Israel (as a US ally and in some view proxy for the USA) has a war with Syria as counting as a reasonably successful prediction for US war with Syria. I would count this bombing run with eight planes as a partially successful prediction already. My prediction is way more specific and accurate than any Nostrodamus.

A US ally, Israel, bombed Syria with a bombing run of 8 planes. This is a lot more than nothing but is some portion of a hit in the prediction of US war with Syria.

The prediction with Iran is not true, but there was the British hostage incident.
If the US or any of its allies bombs Iran then I would consider this a fulfilled prediction. I don't think that a US or US ally bombing of Iran would be the end of the matter, so marginal hair splitting may not be necessary in judging whether I was correct.

Prediction: Clean nuclear fission technology developed
I would consider the development of thorium nuclear reactors or any of the Gen IV nuclear reactors as completing my prediction of a
breakthrough in handling or reducing long term waste from nuclear fission - makes nuclear fission "clean" 2010+. Those advanced nuclear reactors can handle the most of the long term radioactive materials -Uranium and leave only materials with 30 years or less halflife and making up about 5% of the material by weight.

If Robert Bussard's Inertial Electrostatic fusion system is made to work that would definitely fulfill my prediction:

Develop useful power generation from forms of nuclear fusion 2020+

As would Trialpha Energy's colliding beam fusion

a rapid fire Z-machine system
or the laser fusion plan or ITER if they reach net positive energy generation capability.

Almost all fish (for food) comes from massive ocean ranches (over 100 ranches, each larger than a cubic mile in area) 2015-2025

Almost all fish comes from fish farming. So fulfilling this prediction would be to shift the bulk of fish farming from fresh water farms to the ocean.

Sun Microsystems and IBM have announced multi-petaflop computers Japan has funded a ten petaflop supercomputer project with an expected delivery of 2010 or 2011
There are several competitors who could achieve my prediction of a
10 petaflop computer by 2012-2013.

Prediction: Thousand+ CPU workstations- mainstream chip vendors 2009-2012
Nvidia's Tesla GPU has 128 cores and has been made into a supercomputer workstation
The Tesla D870 deskside supercomputer is a PCI Express workstation powered by two 128-processor computing core GPUs. The Tesla S870 GPU computing server is a 1U form factor server with four 128-processor computing core GPU. (512 processors).

If the 3U rack mount with eight Tesla GPUs is built that would be 1024 processor cores. A 12 Teraflop system (24 GPUs) that will cost $60,000-70,000 will be selling soon from Evolved Machines would have 3072 processor cores.

When Toyota releases its next Prius or the one after with 80+ mpg or one of the competing car companies then this prediction would get fulfilled. There is already 80mpg cars in Europe.
80-200mpg cars - mainstream, batteries, ultracapacitors 5-10 times better 2008-2012
There are other diesel and electric cars that could fulfill this prediction if they achieve enough commercial success to be considered mainstream options with widespread availability.