December 24, 2007

Technologies, developments and projects to watch for 2008

1. Dwave systems' adiabatic quantum computers could reach 512 to 1000 qubits and performance superior to classical computers in 2008 Successful development of quantum computers would accelerate the development of molecular nanotechnology with superior molecular simulation and modeling.

CTO Geordie Rose revealing his 16 qubit machine in Feb, 2007. A 28 qubit machine was revealed Nov, 2007. There is controversy over the proof that the computers are using quantumness.

2. The proposed WB-7 and WB-8 fusion energy prototype devices will be constructed and tested during 2008. If the prototypes are successful then it would provide substantial evidence for the likely success of a full scale nuclear fusion device that could generate net power by 2013. This would transform the energy situation and access to space and civilization in general.

3. Memjet printers are expected in the second half of 2008 and would transform the price and performance of inkjet printers. The 2008 versions of the memjet printers are expected to be 60 page per minute. Memjet's plan is to develop a 120-KHz cycle head in two to three years, increasing the print speed sixfold to 180 pages per minute at photo quality, 360 pages per minute at normal color quality, and 720 pages per minute in draft mode.

4. Nvidia Tesla multi-teraflop GPGPU's and AMDs GPGPU will transform the performance of personal supercomputers.

5. Significant new electric vehicles and hybrid cars will be released in 2008. They will be continuing an accelerating but long term shift away from oil powered cars.

The Aptera could get up to 300mpg and will be available Oct, 2008.

6. Flash solid state drives will make continued progress versus hard drives which will enable more powerful energy efficient devices.

7. 2008 a year of significant improvements in communication speed.

150 mbps cable modems are expected to be on trial in 2008. 20 percent of Comcasts footprint is expected to be blanketed in ultrahigh bandwidth goodness by the end of 2008. 2008 may still be the year when Wimax reaches critical mass The Wimax IEEE 802.16 standard is theoretically capable of transmitting data up to 70 Mbps as far as 37 miles. Nokia should have 2+mbps wimax mobile phones.

8. Mach 10 hypersonic test aircraft should be flying in 2008.

Two Falcon Hypersonic Test Vehicles, built by Lockheed Martin with input from NASA and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa), will take to the air in 2008.

9. The reprap fabricator should announce a self-replicating version in 2008

10. 2008 might be a breakthrough year for low cost DNA sequencing and synthesis.

George Church has officially entered the DNA sequencing x-prize race.

$10 million prize will go to the first group that can sequence 100 genomes (to at least 98 percent coverage and with less than one error per 100,000 bases) in 10 days, for under $10,000 per genome.

Some other non-technological things to watch:
The Taiwan Presidential election. If Ma is elected President then there will likely be normalizing of relations between Taiwan and China and the threat of any war over Taiwan will be gone. A problematic scenario is if the current corrupt President Chen Shui-bian (who has been embezzling a lot of money) were to cause trouble and if his successor were to win, then there could be a lot of unnecessary trouble between China and Taiwan.


Al Fin said...

Very nice Christmas list.

I am skeptical of #1, but if it works out it will be revolutionary.

#2 would also be revolutionary if it pans out.

#3 would be evolutionary rather than revolutionary.

#4 lacks the type of software support to make it revolutionary--but perhaps in 5 or 10 years.

#5 is a cool car, but I am skeptical of crash safety on the same highway with SUVs. We need better batteries for EVs--give it 10 years.

#6 evolutionary

#7 evolutionary

#8 revolutionary if it flies

#9 revolutionary if it can be made into a household appliance with the ability to upgrade to newer technology as it develops

#10 the evolutionary development of an existing tool that will eventually have revolutionary repercussions in synthetic life and gene mod of existing species.

As for China and Taiwan, I think Taiwan has been around long enough--and China is big and strong enough--that China can ease off on the threatening military posturing toward Taiwan. It is China's posturing that creates Taiwanese politicians who push for complete open independence.

No one in their right minds wants to see happen to the Taiwanese people, what happened to those in Hong Kong.

Tony Pace said...

Your comment on Taiwan is unbelievably ignorant. Chen Shui-bian is the cleanest leader that Taiwan has ever seen (which means that he is corrupt on a minor scale). His opponent leads the richest political party in the world - assets that were stolen when the KMT took over Taiwan. Oh yeah, and he took about $1000000 US from a slush fund and put it in his personal account when he was mayor.

Al is completely correct when he says that Chinese military pressure creates political support for legal independence. As someone who lives under the shadow of 800 short-range missiles, frankly I support full independence as well.

When you know nothing about a situation, it's wise to educate yourself before piping up.

bw said...

I am aware of the KMT's past corruption. I am familiar with Taiwan and China's situation. I lived in Taiwan and then Hong Kong from 1994-1995. The missile tests in 1996 were a stupid mistake on China's part. so I was under the shadow of those missiles as well and in the USA I have been under the shadow of soviet missiles. I consider the shadow of missiles irrelevant, especially as in my analysis using them would have the opposite effect of intimidation.

However, From what I have seen Chen is more corrupt than Ma. BBC lists a series of corruption scandals

There were anti-Chen corruption demonstrations

Wikipedia lists the issues with Chen

Ma's scandals are listed as well

I believe the incidents that Chen had just prior to each of his elections were stunts.

The shooting incident I believe was a stunt for sympathy votes.

However, my main point is that aside from the local politics, my prediction is that China is going to ascend to be the largest economy (on an exchange rate basis) in the world by about 2018 plus or minus three years and then will continue to become as large as the USA and the EU combined by 2030. All of the Asian countries in the region will be in China's economic orbit. Taiwan independence will be as meaningful as Quebec trying to be independent. Either place would be economically tiny and still embedded in the larger regional economy and culture. Quebec in the NAFTA trade block and dominated by the USA and Taiwan under China's economic and social influence.

Anonymous said...

Solar or Green Energy not in the top 10?

bw said...


I consider the electric and hybrid cars related to green tech and the DNA synthesis and synthetic life could lead to far more economic biofuels or make the algae process viable. I do not see something happening in 2008 that will make a major difference in regards to solar and green tech. In 2007, nanosolar is starting to sell their $1/watt to produce solar cells. However, the production of solar cells and concentrated solar power is not at high enough levels to matter. I think the climate change legislation is something to watch in the USA but I believe that will pass in 2009. The change in the economics will boost renewables and nuclear. I will try to put together a 2007 important news list and a things to watch in 2009 and 2010 list.

I think the most important green tech with the highest possible impact the soonest is thermoelectrics (can boost existing thermal power sources by 50% and boost vehicle engine efficiency), MIT's 50% power uprate for existing nuclear plants, the hyperion small nuclear reactor (nuclear battery), Fuji molten salt reactor, bussard fussion, tri-alpha energy colliding beam fusion, kitegen wind power.

Another point for Tony Pace. How is Taiwan better off if Chen DPP wins ? Does China aim its missiles elsewhere ? Does Taiwan's economy gets better ? How would things get better ?

I think if MA and the KMT win then Taiwan and China cut a trade deal and get direct flights and Taiwan's economy improves. The people of Taiwan would lose no rights and freedoms that they currently have.

bw said...

Asia sentinal view of the Taiwan election

Ma has a substantial lead in opinion polls.

both Ma and the DPP candidate are talking about relaxing economic constraints between China and Taiwan. Ma's measures go farther than the DPP. The DPP is in now and Chen could have but has not loosed economic restraints.

these measures are too little, too late for the thousands of Taiwan firms that have long called for the lifting of all limits on business with China. According to mainland figures, Taiwan firms have invested US$45 billion in 74,000 ventures in China. Unofficial estimates put the figure at US$100 billion, with money routed via Hong Kong, the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands, making Taiwan the mainland’s largest foreign investor.

Unable to raise money in Taiwan and remain below the 40 percent ceiling, they turn to other markets, as did Uni-President China Holdings, the mainland arm of Taiwan’s largest food and beverage conglomerate, which raised US$477 million in an IPO in Hong Kong on Monday. It will use the money to expand production of juices and instant noodles in China

Brooking's institute analysis of Taiwan politics

China post article

Several surveys show the governing Democratic Progressive Party may be losing out to the main opposition Nationalist Party because of widespread voter complaints about the sluggish economy under Chen's 8-year rule.

Anonymous said...

The nanowire battery development has got to be a technology to watch. 2008? I really hope so. I'm going to invest ASAP in whomever they team with...

Tony Pace said...

A good question: Why would Taiwan be better off under the DPP?

The bottom line: Hsieh would not sign a Hong Kong deal on the sly. It's more than possible that the KMT would do this, as long as they were the favored governors under the new system.

Such a deal would have huge geopolitical effects, isolating Japan and the Phillipines in China's sphere of influence. It would probably prompt Japan to produce their own nuclear weapons.

bw said...

Whether it is Taiwan, Japan, Philippines "outside" of China's influence or just Japan and Philippines it is the same. Taiwan is only 8% of that equation in terms of population and economy.

Plus I do not think Philippines and Japan are outside the influence of China and they will be less and less as china rises more