December 06, 2008

Computers, Robotic and Communication Developments to Watch in 2009 and a Little Beyond

The technological and other developments to watch is expanding to four parts:
1. Computers, robots, electronics and communication
2. Energy and transportation
3. DNA/biotech/synthetic biology, nanotechnology
4. Medicine, life extension, space, manufacturing and anything else that was not covered

Dwave has a 128 qubit quantum computer chip at the end of 2008. In early 2009, this chip will continue tests and work and will either prove to be the design that they first choose to scale and/or Dwave will go through some more design revisions. So either in Q1 2009 or as long as Q3, Dwave will press onto scaling a successful 128 qubit design. Dwave should end 2009 with somewhere from a 512 to 8000 qubit chip.

Can they impact important niches and drive science ?
Can they impact important business niches and generate a big business ? so they can afford more R&D and thus get momentum to fund impact on science ?
Their research should also answer how much of a speed up they are expecting with this and more highly connected designs as they scale qubits and make other design changes.
2009 could provide key clarification of the timing and level and breadth of impact of quantum computers. Note: there are many other kinds of approaches to making quantum computers. Trapped Ion QC, spin-based QC and many others

Trapped ion quantumcomputers could achieve a near term 300 qubit design.

Experimental methods for laser-control of trapped ions have reached sufficient maturity that it is possible to set out in detail a design for a large quantum computer based on such methods, without any major omissions or uncertainties. The main features of such a design are given, with a view to identifying areas for study. The machine is based on 13000 ions moved via 20 micron vacuum channels around a chip containing 160000 electrodes and associated classical control circuits; 1000 laser beam pairs are used to manipulate the hyperfine states of the ions and drive fluorescence for readout. The computer could run a quantum algorithm requiring 109 logical operations on 300 logical qubits, with a physical gate rate of 1 MHz and a logical gate rate of 8 kHz, using methods for quantum gates that have already been experimentally implemented.

2. Mobile Broadband at 42-80 mbps 2009 and 100-250 Mbps in 2010

Mobile broadband could hit 42 megabit per secnd in 2009. Evolved HSPA and improved encoding.

We go to the modulation that is 64 QAM, that's 64 combinations of information in the same slot as one piece of information. MIMO, multiple in multiple out, is multiple radios on a device, this is like Wi-Fi uses with the N standard. With MIMO we can go from 14Mb/sec to 28Mb/sec. We can then combine them to get 42Mb/sec. We can probably squeeze that to 80Mb/sec, and that's before we even get to Long Term Evolution (LTE).

Japan's NTT is launch LTE (called Super 3G) in 2010 and will have 100+ Mbps. 250 Mbps on the downlink for LTE tests have been reached.

There is more 4G speed after that to above Gbps speeds.

3. Can Wimax, white space modems, 60Ghz wireless or free space optics make a big impact in 2009 ?

The USA is using slower mobile phone technologies than in Asia and Europe so that could still provide a window for Wimax, white space modems and other technologies.

4. Mobiles phones of 2012 and 2009

2012: 12-20MP phone cameras, record HD video, 100-250 Mbps and 1 GHz processor

2009: 8MP cellphone cameras and 12.5 MP cameras are already demonstrated in 2008

Nokia's 2009 cellphone roadmap has 8 MP cameras and much more.

Nokia Corolla
* 3" display with a VGA resolution
* An 8 megapixel camera (a first for Nokia)
* A “half QWERTY keyboard”
* aGPS & Wi-Fi connectivity
* HSPA support
* 8GB of internal memory

Nokia Ivalo
* 3.5" display
* Wi-Fi connectivity
* 5 megapixel camera
* Bluetooth connectivity
* TV out
* FM transmitter and receiver
* 32GB of internal memory

Handheld projectors could be made to interoperate with the phones and eventually be reduced in size and power requirements further and get integrated with the phone.

The local (wifi range) connection speed could leap to 5 Gbps with the integration of the new and cheap 60 GHz chip from Taiwan.

5. Will a new superior form of computer memory make a breakthrough ?

Most likely: low market share as production is started and scaled up, niche markets as first versions have limitation in performance and capacity.

Leading candidates
Programmable metallization cell which is also called conductive-bridging RAM, or CBRAM and NEC has a variant called “Nanobridge” and Sony calls their version “electrolytic memory”.

Memristor based Ram is begin targeted for 2009 [unknown capacity, but should have energy efficiency and other advantages for at least niche market success].

Nanochip is targeting 100GB - 1Terabyte devices for 2010 at lower cost than Flash and leverages some Flash technology and has Intel backing. In 2009, see if they announce that they are on track for a high volume splash in 2010.

MRAM will be at 16 MB in 2009 and some companies are claiming 2015 when they will be competitive with Flash

6. Will Memristors make FPGAs a major force and have other impacts ?

From MIT Technology review: memristors could vastly improve one type of processing circuit, called a field-programmable gate array, or FPGA. By replacing several specific transistors with a crossbar of memristors, we showed that the circuit could be shrunk by nearly a factor of 10 in area and improved in terms of its speed relative to power-consumption performance. Right now, we are testing a prototype of this circuit in our lab.

And memristors are by no means hard to fabricate. The titanium dioxide structure can be made in any semiconductor fab currently in existence. (In fact, our hybrid circuit was built in an HP fab used for making inkjet cartridges.) [NOTE: this also means that printable electronics might target memristor based devices] Emulating the behavior of a single memristor requires a circuit with at least 15 transistors and other passive elements. The implications are extraordinary: just imagine how many kinds of circuits could be supercharged by replacing a handful of transistors with one single memristor.

-the wires and switches can be made very small: we should eventually get down to a width of around 4 nm, and then multiple crossbars could be stacked on top of each other to create a ridiculously high density of stored bits.
- memristor behavior is similar to that of synapses. Right now, Greg is designing new circuits that mimic aspects of the brain. The neurons are implemented with transistors, the axons are the nanowires in the crossbar, and the synapses are the memristors at the cross points. A circuit like this could perform real-time data analysis for multiple sensors
[so big sensor and AI impacts]

There are already FPGA desktop supercomputers that do not leverage the memristor benefits

7. Many core processors and advanced GPGPU will fight for the top end personal systems

Nvidia Tesla GPGPU line, AMD Firestream GPGPU and Intel's many core Larrabee chips should be watched for the leading mainstream edge.

Tensilica is a company to watch for configurable processors and potential supercomputer breakthroughs

8. HP is targeting 2009 for its first optical interconnect technology in products by harnessing their expertise in nanoimprint lithography to fashion low-cost, high-speed silicon photonic device.

HP Labs also showed how its optical bus could harness nanoimprint lithography to fashion cheap plastic waveguides, micro-lenses and beamsplitters. Its first demonstration was of a 10bit-wide optical data bus that used just 1mW of laser power to interconnect eight different modules at 10Gbps/channel for an aggregate bandwidth of over 250Gbps.

"What we are working towards now are novel optical connections, such as board-to-board connections using a photonic bus that enables us to replace an 80W chip that performs the electronic switching function today with a moulded piece of plastic," said Morris.

Most photonic interconnects use vertical cavity surface-emitting lasers, but HP Labs also showed inexpensive methods of eliminating the need for expensive gallium arsenide chips, using plasmonic LEDs that could cut costs, and a silicon ring resonator that it hopes to fashion with imprint lithography.

"HP Labs has already demonstrated one of the world's smallest and lowest power silicon ring resonators. Now we want to show how to do it with nanoimprint lithography because a dense pattern that takes 60 hours to create with e-beam lithography could take only 30 minutes for nanoimprint lithography," Morris claimed.

HP contends that its photonic interconnects are poised for commercialisation.

9. When will optical computers breakout ?

Nader Engheta's, professor at university of Pennsylvania, work provides "a vision, consisting of building blocks, along with instructions on how to arrange them together to enable transplanting well-known passive inductor-capacitor-resistor [LCR] electrical networks to the optical domain. This includes the direct optical realization of filters, antennas, power-distribution networks, microwave transmission-line metamaterials and many more. He has theories about creating equivalent structures for optical component versions for all of the components of electrical computers. Some of components would require new types of not yet created metamaterials to be developed.

Transformation optics is a field of optical and material engineering and science embracing nanophotonics, plasmonics, and optical metamaterials.

Transformation optics may enable invisibility, ultra-powerful microscopes and optical computers by harnessing nanotechnology and "metamaterials."

Terabit internet,photonic chips and optical computers are the goal of the Centre for Ultrahigh bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems (CUDOS)

MIT has several approaches for all optical computers which they hope to realize by 2012.

All optical computers could approach the theoretical speed of a photonic switch which is estimated to be on the order of petahertz (10**15). They should definitely achieve multi-terahertz speeds. So 1000 to 1 million times faster than current computers at 4 Gigahertz (4 * 10**9).

10. Robotics
Heartland robotics could revolutionize low cost industrialization.

Prosthetics and robotics possibilities.

Other robotics companies

Small pill to bactera sized robots

11. Category disrupting technology

Red Camera digital and still video cameras

Memjet printers

12. Other research to monitor

A promising molecular computer appraoch

Avogadro scale computing and programmable matter work.

Brain Emulation

Intel's all digital radios and approaching micron size catom claytronics (currently millimeter size)

Graphene computer memory and electronics and graphene based technology in general

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