March 05, 2011

Opencog Artificial general intelligence roadmap

A very high level roadmap for OpenCog development in the next 12 years — all the way from here to advanced human-level AGI has been published.

For a more specific roadmap regarding the next 2 years, please consult the wiki.

OpenCog Roadmap: 2011-2023

Low temperature molten-salt battery ten times cheaper than lithium ion by 2015

Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd., in partnership with Kyoto University, has developed a lower temperature molten-salt rechargeable battery that promises to cost only about 10% as much as lithium ion batteries. Sumitomo intends to commercialize the battery around 2015 and market it as an alternative to lithium-ion batteries used in automobiles and homes.

A tunable, low-cost laser device faster wavelength division multiplexing fiber communication

A scanning electron microscopy image of the master and slave lasers integrated onto a silicon substrate to form a miniature tunable laser. © 2010 IOP

Singapore A*Star researchers are mastering bandwidth by developing tunable, low-cost laser device

Transmitting information as pulses of light through fiber-optic cables is the fastest and highest-bandwidth communications technology that exists today. Yet even this technology is being pressed to carry ever-greater quantities of information. One way to overcome this problem is to transmit light of different wavelengths simultaneously—an approach known as wavelength division multiplexing. However, the technique requires the use of tunable lasers, which are relatively expensive to produce. Hong Cai at the A*STAR Institute of Microelectronics and collaborators from Nanyang Technological University and Hong Polytechnic University have now developed a low-cost and tunable laser device made specifically for this purpose

Discretely tunable micromachined injection-locked lasers

Wireless USB would be better than Intel Thunderbolt - no accessory cables, a universal docking solution and universal device communication

Recently Apple refreshed their Macbookpro line and included Intel's Thunderbolt communication technology

Developed by Intel (under the code name Light Peak), and brought to market with technical collaboration from Apple. Thunderbolt technology is a new, high-speed, dual-protocol I/O technology designed for performance, simplicity, and flexibility. This high-speed data transfer technology features the following:

* Dual-channel 10 Gbps per port
* Bi-directional
* Dual-protocol (PCI Express* and DisplayPort*)

TechRepublic makes the case that Wireless USB would be better than Thunderbolt.

March 04, 2011

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 42

1. Idaho samizdat - Progress noted in Texas and Virginia. The nuclear renaissance in the U.S. had some tough going in 2010. The low point of the year was Constellation's decision to walk away from the Calvert Cliffs III reactor project over a dispute with the federal government about loan guarantees. The project may be turning around and there is more good news to report in Texas and Virginia. That said anti-nuclear groups are as active as ever engaging the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in a seemingly endless stream of contentions over licensing issues.

Anthony Atala printed a functioning kidney on stage at the TED conference

Anthony Atala, printed a biocompatible model of a human kidney on stage at the 2011 TED conference Thursday, in a technique that could someday be used to create new organs from a patient’s own tissue rather than relying on donated organs.

Atala explained the process whereby scanners build a 3-D image of the kidney, then a tissue sample smaller than a postage stamp was used to seed the process. The organ printer then built the kidney layer-by-layer, creating an almost perfect replica of the patient’s tissue.

Stretched Rubber Offers Simpler Method For Assembling Nanowires

Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a cheap and easy method for assembling nanowires, controlling their alignment and density. The researchers hope the findings will foster additional research into a range of device applications using nanowires, from nanoelectronics to nanosensors, especially on unconventional substrates such as rubber, plastic and paper.

Strain-Release Assembly of Nanowires on Stretchable Substrates

10 page article

Robotic bees

Harvard has a project to develop robotic bees

The aim is to push advances in miniature robotics and the design of compact high-energy power sources; spur innovations in ultra-low-power computing and electronic “smart” sensors; and refine coordination algorithms to manage multiple, independent machines. They want to make them robust and agile enough that they might one day perform sensitive and even dangerous tasks like military surveillance and weather mapping.

TI growing large-area graphene

Large-grain crystals of graphene start as perfect hexagons but grow more quickly at their tips (rather than the sides of the hexagon) resulting in snowflake-like fractal islands.

EETimes - Texas Instruments Inc. is perfecting the growth of graphene sheets. By carefully characterizing a method of growing graphene monolayers, TI hopes to pave the way for faster, smaller and lower power electronics based on carbon instead of silicon.

Nuclear roundup - a congressional bill for 200 new nuclear reactors by 2040 and Japan's energy plan

1. Five-term Congressman Devin Nunes has submitted legislation that he says would achieve energy independence for American by building 200 new reactors by 2040.

Nunes said that royalties from oil and gas development on federal land should be placed in an “Energy Trust Fund” that would promote the development of alternative and resources.

Finally, he said, the bill would mandate the construction of 200 new reactors by 2040. “New streamlined regulations and a system to manage waste will help drive private sector investments in these facilities, which today are mired in red tape, lawsuits and the liability associated with the storage of used fuel. Nuclear power is essential to achieving an abundant and affordable supply of electricity to fuel America’s economic growth and will provide the base load power needed to allow significant growth in next generation electric vehicles.”

Rice University researchers create single-atom lithography in graphene

Controlled layer-by-layer removal of graphene. (A) Schematic illustration of the method: (Step 1) The bilayer graphene on top of a Si/SiO2 substrate. (Step 2) A patterned layer of zinc metal is sputtered atop the graphene. (Step 3) The zinc is removed by aqueous HCl (0.02 M) in 3 to 5 min with simultaneous removal of one graphene layer. (Step 4) Patterning of a second zinc stripe. (Step 5) HCl treatment removes the second stripe of zinc plus the underlying carbon layer. (B to D) SEM image of the same bilayer GO flake: (B) original, (C) after the first, and (D) after the second Zn/HCl treatment. (E) SEM image of a monolayer GO flake patterned in the image of an owl. (F and G) SEM images of a continuous GO film patterned with horizontal and vertical stripes in two consecutive Zn/HCl treatments. The lightest squares (an example is marked with “n-2”), where the horizontal and vertical stripes overlap, represent areas exposed to two treatments. Areas exposed to one treatment (examples are marked with “n-1”) are with a shade between the lightest and darkest squares. The darkest squares (examples are marked with “n”) represent the areas with the original untreated GO film.

Rice University researchers create single-atom lithography in graphene

Layer-by-Layer Removal of Graphene for Device Patterning

The patterning of graphene is useful in fabricating electronic devices, but existing methods do not allow control of the number of layers of graphene that are removed. We show that sputter-coating graphene and graphene-like materials with zinc and dissolving the latter with dilute acid removes one graphene layer and leaves the lower layers intact. The method works with the four different types of graphene and graphene-like materials: graphene oxide, chemically converted graphene, chemical vapor–deposited graphene, and micromechanically cleaved (“clear-tape”) graphene. On the basis of our data, the top graphene layer is damaged by the sputtering process, and the acid treatment removes the damaged layer of carbon. When used with predesigned zinc patterns, this method can be viewed as lithography that etches the sample with single-atomic-layer resolution.

Universe Today looks at oceans on exoplanets

25% of Sun-like stars may have Earth-like planets – but if they are in the right temperature zone, apparently they are almost certain to have oceans.

Assuming terrestrial-like planets are indeed common – with a silicate mantle surrounding a metallic core – then we can expect that water may be exuded onto their surface during the final stages of magma cooling – or otherwise out-gassed as steam which then cools to fall back to the surface as rain. From there, if the planet is big enough to gravitationally retain a thick atmosphere and is in the temperature zone where water can remain fluid, then you’ve got yourself an exo-ocean.

Arxiv - Formation of early water oceans on rocky planets (13 pages)

Ralph Merkle inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame

The National Inventors Hall of Fame inducted Ralph C. Merkle March 3 2011. The announcement included Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman. The three jointly conceived and patented Public Key Cryptography (PKC).

Merkle realized PKC was possible in 1974 as an undergraduate at U.C. Berkeley. He joined forces with Diffie and Hellman in 1976. This fruitful collaboration saw the development of this radically new method for securing electronic communications.

Lab Grown Neurons for rapidly screening drugs and for future cell replacement for Alzheimers

Northwestern University - By creating pores in the walls of the stem cell nuclei and slipped in segments of DNA and gene-regulating proteins called transcription factors that are associated with the neurons -researchers were able to turn human embryonic stem cells into neurons.

Researchers transplanted the neurons they had engineered into slices of mouse brain, the cells wove themselves into the tissue of the hippocampus, a brain region involved in the formation of memories. The neurons produced axons, or connecting fibers, to the hippocampus and pumped out acetylcholine, a chemical needed by the hippocampus to retrieve memories from other parts of the brain.

The new technique is most exciting because it could lead to new kinds of therapy for Alzheimer's, says team member John Kessler. "Now we can have human neurons in a dish in front of us and rapidly screen tens of thousands of drugs," Kessler says. This could be useful for cell replacement therapy, in which doctors would graft lab-grown neurons into the brains of people with Alzheimer's to replace brain cells destroyed by the disease.

In new, unpublished research, Northwestern Medicine scientists also have discovered a second novel way to make the neurons. They made human embryonic stem cells (called induced pluripotent stem cells) from human skin cells and then transformed these into the neurons.

This technique to produce the neurons allows for an almost infinite number of these cells to be grown in labs.

Are Invisibility Cloaks Hiding Around the Corner?

Elena Semouchkina and colleagues are experimenting with ways of using magnetic resonance to capture rays of visible light and route them around objects, rendering those objects invisible to the human eye. They designed a nonmetallic "invisibility cloak" that uses concentric arrays of identical glass resonators made of chalcogenide glass, a type of dielectric material--that is, one that does not conduct electricity. In computer simulations, the cloak made objects hit by infrared waves--approximately one micron, or one-millionth of a meter long--disappear from view.

Molecular motor design breakthrough - first molecular piston capable of self-assembly

a) side view of the crystal structures of the host-guest complex 1É8 with single helix 1 in tube representation and rod 8 in CPK representation. b) Top view and c) side view of 1É8 with both rod and helix in CPK representation. Carbon atoms of the thread are shown in grey, nitrogen atoms in light blue, oxygen atoms in red and hydrogen atoms in white. Single helix 1 is shown in red. Isobutyl side chains and included solvent molecules have been removed for clarity.

French researchers from CNRS and the Universite de Bordeaux, in collaboration with a Chinese team , have developed the first molecular piston capable of self-assembly. Their research represents a significant technological advance in the design of molecular motors. Such pistons could, for example, be used to manufacture artificial muscles or create polymers with controllable stiffness.

Science - Helix-Rod Host-Guest Complexes with Shuttling Rates Much Faster than Disassembly

Dynamic assembly is a powerful fabrication method of complex, functionally diverse molecular architectures, but its use in synthetic nanomachines has been hampered by the difficulty of avoiding reversible attachments that result in the premature breaking apart of loosely held moving parts. We show that molecular motion can be controlled in dynamically assembled systems through segregation of the disassembly process and internal translation to time scales that differ by four orders of magnitude. Helical molecular tapes were designed to slowly wind around rod-like guests and then to rapidly slide along them. The winding process requires helix unfolding and refolding, as well as a strict match between helix length and anchor points on the rods. This modular design and dynamic assembly open up promising capabilities in molecular machinery.

English translation of the french press release from CNRS (French National Center for Scientific Research

Supercritical carbon dioxide Brayton cycle developments at Sandia

Eurekalert - Sandia National Laboratories researchers are moving into the demonstration phase of a novel gas turbine system for power generation, with the promise that thermal-to-electric conversion efficiency will be increased to as much as 50 percent — an improvement of 50 percent for nuclear power stations equipped with steam turbines, or a 40 percent improvement for simple gas turbines.

Research focuses on supercritical carbon dioxide (S-CO2) Brayton-cycle turbines, which typically would be used for bulk thermal and nuclear generation of electricity, including next-generation power reactors. The goal is eventually to replace steam-driven Rankine cycle turbines, which have lower efficiency, are corrosive at high temperature and occupy 30 times as much space because of the need for very large turbines and condensers to dispose of excess steam. The Brayton cycle could yield 20 megawatts of electricity from a package with a volume as small as four cubic meters.

The Brayton cycle, named after George Brayton, originally functioned by heating air in a confined space and then releasing it in a particular direction. The same principle is used to power jet engines today. "This machine is basically a jet engine running on a hot liquid," said principal investigator Steve Wright of Sandia's Advanced Nuclear Concepts group.

A competing system, also at Sandia and using Brayton cycles with helium as the working fluid, is designed to operate at about 925 degrees C and is expected to produce electrical power at 43 percent to 46 percent efficiency. By contrast, the supercritical CO2 Brayton cycle provides the same efficiency as helium Brayton systems but at a considerably lower temperature (250-300 C). The S-CO2 equipment is also more compact than that of the helium cycle, which in turn is more compact than the conventional steam cycle.

Operation and Analysis of a Supercritical CO2 Brayton Cycle (101 pages)

3D organ printing - interview with Gabor Forgacs of Organovo

Organovo is trying to come up with two products. One of them is focused on blood vessels, which I call vascular grafts and the other focus is on nerve grafts. You need vascular grafts, or substitute blood vessels, when you have a clogged artery or symbiosis where you need to replace blood vessels. We are building blood vessels using the 3D printing technology but we’re not yet at the point where our vessels can be safely introduced into a living organism. We’re very close but we’re not yet there.

China increases defence budget to 91.5 billion

China plans to increase defense spending 12.7 percent this year China will spend 601.1 billion yuan ($91.5 billion) on defense. The Pentagon is requesting $671 billion for fiscal 2012, starting Oct. 1, $37 billion less than this year’s request. U.S. analysts say China’s actual defense spending is much higher, because the announced figures may not include international arms purchases and other expenses.

Navy looks for desktop manufacturing of micro-robot swarm and a lot more

Navy technology solicitations

Desktop Manufacturing with Micro-robot Swarm

Develop a swarm of micro-robotic fabrication machines that will enable the manufacture of new materials and components. Address the major technical issues in developing these micro-robotic machines, the platform hardware, and the architecture for their communication and control.

A micro-robot swarm should be able to perform material synthesis and component assembly, concurrently. The micro-robots could be designed to perform basic operations such as pick and place, dispense liquids, print inks, remove material, join components, etc. These micro-robots should be able to move cooperatively within a workspace to achieve highly efficient synthesis and assembly. This behavior should be programmable, in particular, the micro-robotic behavior should be more adaptive as the ability for real-time in-situ sensing increases. The research focus is on the enabling manufacturing technology; however, as a proof-of-concept demonstration, a component of interest will be produced by this technology that highlights its unique capability. Examples of complex material systems of potential interest include but are not limited to: multi-functional materials, programmable materials, metamorphic materials, extreme materials, heterogeneous materials, synthetic materials, etc.

March 03, 2011

Microfluidic Assembly Line for mass producing synthetic cell-like compartments

The Scripps Research Institute have built a microscopic assembly line that mass produces synthetic cell-like compartments. The new computer-controlled system represents a technological leap forward in the race to create the complex membrane structures of biological cells from simple chemical starting materials.

Stepwise Synthesis of Giant Unilamellar Vesicles on a Microfluidic Assembly Line

Among the molecular milieu of the cell, the membrane bilayer stands out as a complex and elusive synthetic target. We report a microfluidic assembly line that produces uniform cellular compartments from droplet, lipid, and oil/water interface starting materials. Droplets form in a lipid-containing oil flow and travel to a junction where the confluence of oil and extracellular aqueous media establishes a flow-patterned interface that is both stable and reproducible. A triangular post mediates phase transfer bilayer assembly by deflecting droplets from oil, through the interface, and into the extracellular aqueous phase to yield a continuous stream of unilamellar phospholipid vesicles with uniform and tunable size. The size of the droplet precursor dictates vesicle size, encapsulation of small-molecule cargo is highly efficient, and the single bilayer promotes functional insertion of a bacterial transmembrane pore.

Economics of retrofit air pollution control technologies

Particulates (PM10 - 10 micron and PM 2.5 2.5 micron) are the main pollutant, along with sulfur dioxide (smog) and Nitrogen oxides that cause the main health issues.

Economics of retrofit air pollution
control technologies
The technology is many orders of magnitude cheaper than carbon sequestration for dealing with carbon dioxide and would save more lives.

Legislation in the USA has resulted in the installation of air pollution control technology such as selective catalytic reduction (SCR) for NOx removal and wet FGD scrubbing for SO2 control on many plants. Some plants were allowed to not install that technology. All plants should be required to install those systems.

There are many technologies available for reducing air pollutant emissions from existing pulverised coal-fired power plant (including nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter (PM), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and mercury (Hg)).

The particulate control technology costs about $50,000,000 per 1 gigawatt coal plant to achieve 99-99.5% reduction in particulates. A total of about $400 million for the more effective air pollution technologies for Sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulates.

So it is perfectly feasible and economic to retrofit existing coal plants to prevent most of the air pollution and the damage that they cause. The costs is far less than what is required to deal with carbon dioxide (pipes to capture and put it all into large places underground).

China will roll out genetically modified rice and corn on a large scale from domestic seeds after 2013

Yuan Longping, dubbed “Father of Hybrid Rice” in China, looks at his super hybrid rice in an experimental fi eld in Changsha, Hunan province. XINHUA

China's rice output is No 1 in the world, accounting for 33 percent. China currently produces approximately 500 million tons of rice annually. With its population expected to grow to 1.6 billion by 2020, 630 million tons of rice will be needed.

China is investing more than 20 billion yuan (US$3 billion) in genetically modified crops and research. Officials said that by 2020, the country could be a leader in genetically modified foods, cloning, large-scale transgenic technology and new breed promotion. Rice and corn are the foods nearest commercialization.

Chinese technologies in genes transfer rice also have a leading role and one type of genetically modified corn, developed by Fan Yunliu, a fellow of the China Agricultural Science Institute, has huge market potential.

The Chinese government is considering putting genetically modified corn and rice into commercial production. If planted, the growing of genetically modified rice would benefit 110 million farmers, adding $100 to the net income of each household.

EUV lithography needs at least 80 wafers per hour and is targeting a 250 Watt light source

The stated goal of the ASML EUV (extreme ultra violet) tool is to have an overall throughput of 60 wafers an hour by year’s end. But right now, the tool has a throughput of 5 wafers an hour. In other words, the tool requires a ''10X’’ (ten times) improvement in the power source-or about 100 watts-to meet the stated goal of running 60 wafers per hour, he said.

ASML has recently shipped the world's first pre-production EUV lithography tool (NXE:3100) to a customer, reportedly Samsung Electronics Co. Lrd.

IEA World Oil supply report for Feb 2011 and China Oil Demand

The IEA oil market report from Feb 10, 2011

World oil supply rose 0.5 mb/d in January, to 88.5 mb/d, on higher OPEC crude and NGL output. Non‐OPEC supply was unchanged from December at 53 mb/d, as outages continued to constrain production. 2010 estimates remain at 52.8 mb/d, while the 2011 outlook is nudged up 0.1 mb/d to 53.5 mb/d on higher North American output.

Air Pollution and Fossil Fuel Damage in Pictures and Stories

Air Pollution in New York in the 1950s from LIFE magazine

Some people do not trust or cannot absorb the horrific numbers that describe the scale of the damage and deaths from air pollution.

The direct benefits (mostly from fewer air pollution deaths and disease) from the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments are estimated to reach almost $2 trillion for the year 2020, a figure that dwarfs the direct costs of implementation ($65 billion).

Globally air pollution deaths still cause 3 million deaths each year which is comparable to the annual combat deaths of World War (each year 3 to 3.5 million people were killed in combat for each of the 7 years of World War 2.

Controversial EMdrive claims to have transferred technology to a major US aerospace compan

a high temperature superconductor emdrive thruster, which operates at 3.8 GHz, and was designed using an update of the software used for the previous S band designs. Super-conducting surfaces are formed from YBCO thin films on sapphire substrates. Small signal testing at 77 deg K confirmed the design, with a Q of 6.8x106 being measured.

The heart of the controversial Emdrive is a resonant, tapered cavity filled with microwaves. According to Shawyer, a relativistic effect generates a net thrust, an effect confirmed by various Emdrives he has built as demonstrations. Critics say that any thrust from the drive must come from another source. Shawyer is adamant that the measured thrust is not caused by other factors. In 2008, professor Yang Juan of the College of Astronautics at Northwestern Polytechnical University (NPU) in Xi’an was happy to confirm that they were building an Emdrive which would be tested by the end of 2009.

EMdrive claims - In August 2010, a technology transfer contract with a major US aerospace company was successfully completed. This 10 month contract was carried out under a UK Export Licence and a TAA issued by the US State Department. Details are subject to ITAR regulations.

Directed Self Assembly, nanoimprint and memristor nanowires for sub-10 nanometer nodes

Eetimes - Directed Self Assembly is gathering momentum to be used in major ways for advanced lithography The technology is moving from the lab to a more serious phase of commercial development.

In the event that EUV cannot be made commercially viable, there are several other possibilities for future chip scaling, including DSA. But some say DSA and other technologies may have a future role even if EUV is put into volume production for high-end, mainstream logic chips.

DSA—which is potentially much less expensive than EUV production—could have applications in, for example, flash memory production, where the regular structure of circuits and cost sensitivity of the market may make it attractive.

handheld camera that uses millimeter and microwave signals to look into structures in real time

The science similar to the type used in airport body scanners could soon be used to detect everything from defects in aerospace vehicles or concrete bridges to skin cancer, thanks to researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology Researchers have developed a patented handheld camera that uses millimeter and microwave signals to non-intrusively peek inside materials and structures in real time.

China's Energy Plan and discussion of a carbon tax starting in 2013-2016

China plans to reduce its energy consumption per unit of GDP, or carbon intensity, by 40 to 45 percent by 2020 based on 2005 level.

China has set a target of reducing emissions of lead, mercury, chromium, cadmium and arsenic by 15 percent from 2007 levels over the next five years.

China discharged 900 tonnes of the highly toxic metals in 2007, the paper reported, and Environment Minister Zhou Shengxian said 75 billion yuan (US$11.4 billion) would be needed over the five years to address the problem.

Memristor Research roundup - Process for Memristor based applications and memristor logic arrays

Equations of circuit theory led to a prediction of the memristor almost 40 years before the device was discovered. The equations state relations among four variables: charge (q), current (i), voltage (v) and magnetic flux (phi). Taking these variables in pairs, there are six possible combinations, but only five equations were known

1. (Journal of the American Scientist) - The Memristor - The first new passive circuit element since the 1830s might transform computer hardware

Will the memristor turn out to be a transformative technology, the key to putting hundreds of trillions of devices in the palm of your hand? Or will we be asking, a few years from now, “Whatever happened to the memristor?”

The TiO2 memristor is just one of many contending new technologies. Considering only the realm of switched-resistance memory elements, there are several other candidates, including devices based on phase changes, on magnetic fields and on electron spin. (Chua argues that all these devices should be classified as memristors.) To evaluate the long-term prospects of such technologies, one would have to go beyond basic principles of operation to questions of reliability, longevity, uniformity, cost of manufacturing and dozens of other details.

March 02, 2011

Memristors designed to solve mazes using massive parallelism

MIT Technology Review - Pershin and Di Ventra begin by creating a kind of a universal maze in the form of a grid of memristors, in other words an array in which each node is connected to another by a memristor and a switch. This can be made to represent any regular maze by switching off certain connections within the array.

Solving this maze is then simple. Simply connect a voltage across the start and finish of the maze and wait. "The current flows only along those memristors that connect the entrance and exit points," say Pershin and Di Ventra. This changes the state of those memristors allowing them to be easily identified. The chain of these memristors is then the solution.

That's potentially much quicker than other maze solving strategies which effectively work in series. "The maze is solved in a massively parallel way, since all memristors in the network participate simultaneously in the calculation," they say.

China predicted to be 100 trillion RMB in 2020

A senior official with the National Development and Reform Commission predicts that China's economy will be 100 trillion RMB in 2020

Chen Dongqi, vice president of the Academy of Macroeconomic Research, a think tank under the NDRC, said that China's GDP in 2020 will be equivalent to that of the U.S. in the same year, and its per-capita GDP will equivalent to one fifth of the U.S.', up from one tenth at present.

Chen added that China will not see a lost decade as in Japan and a middle income trap as in Latin America partly because it has a large population that will generate robust demand.

Over the last decade, China's annual economic growth was about 10%. Chen estimated that China's economy will expand by at a rate of about 9% during the period from 2011 to 2015.

Global Middle Class

Most economists choose to measure the middle class in terms of income or consumption levels.

Taking an absolute approach, a recent study defined the global middle class as those households with daily expenditures between $10 and $100 per person in purchasing power parity terms. The lower bound is chosen with reference to the average poverty line in Portugal and Italy, the two advanced European countries with the strictest definition of poverty.

Today, 1.8 billion people in the world are middle class, or 28 percent of the global
population. About half of these people live in developed economies, with another fifth found in Brazil, Russia, India, and China – the so-called emerging BRIC economies. Less than 2 percent of the world’s population is rich by our definition; a significant majority, 70 percent, is poor.

2022 marks the first year more people in the world are middle class than poor. By 2030, 5 billion people – nearly two thirds of global population – could be middle class.

NOTE- this Brookings Institute analysis from 2010 uses the World Bank 2005 PPP figures which probably understate China's PPP GDP by 27% versus updated Penn World Tables 7.0 numbers and India's by 13%. Correcting the PPP GDP figures would mean more people in China and India are middle class already and more will become middle class earlier.

World’s most powerful optical microscope can see 50 nanometers

Schematic of the transmission mode microsphere superlens integrated with a classical optical microscope. The spheres collect the near-field object information and form virtual images that can be captured by the conventional lens.

University of Manchester scientists have produced the world’s most powerful optical microscope, which could help understand the causes of many viruses and diseases.

Previously, the standard optical microscope can only see items around one micrometre – 0.001 millimetres – clearly.

But now, by combining an optical microscope with a transparent microsphere, dubbed the ‘microsphere nanoscope’, the Manchester researchers can see 20 times smaller – 50 nanometres (5 x 10^-8m) – under normal lights. This is beyond the theoretical limit of optical microscopy.

Not only have we been able to see items of 50 nanometers, we believe that is just the start and we will be able to see far smaller items.

“Theoretically, there is no limit on how small an object we will be able to see.

Nature Communications - Optical virtual imaging at 50 nm lateral resolution with a white-light nanoscope

Cloud computing speed tests and estimate of cloud computing hardware market

CloudSleuth by Compuware Gomez is trying to create performance data to compare the speed of different cloud computing services.

The average global performance is based on response times gathered from Gomez Last Mile Peers. The response times provided above have been averaged by month from all geographies. More about the sample application being monitored can be found in the GPV Methodology.

Gomez Last Mile Peers are 100,000+ real, consumer-grade desktops connected to 2,500+ local ISPs and wireless carriers located in 168+ countries. 200 Last Mile test transactions are run per hour on each of the test target instances. These test transactions are run from 125 peers located in the U.S, and 75 peers located outside the U.S.

Korea is widely deploying WIBro, a version of WIMAX and LTE Advanced

Korea is deploying Wibro Evolution (a version of WIMAX), which is expected to provide speed 10 times fasters than the apparent 3G networks. This version of Wimax is expected to provide 120 Mbps downlink and 60 Mbps uplink. Yota and Samsung will begin the trail of 802.16m Wimax in the end of 2010.

The current version of Wibro is being expanded to 82 cities in South Korea which would then cover 85% of the population. The current version of Wibro has a top speed of 40.32 mbps.

Apple iPad 2 and Steve Jobs both thinner

Apple Inc. Chief Executive Steve Jobs surprised a crowd of fans by taking the stage Wednesday to unveil the next version of his company's iPad tablet.

The executive, who took a medical leave earlier this year, joked with the audience, saying he "didn't want to miss today."

Mr. Jobs, a cancer survivor and transplant recipient, appeared energetic though thin as he took the stage at the invitation-only event.

The Cupertino, Calif., consumer electronics maker unveiled a second-generation iPad. Mr. Jobs said the iPad 2, which has a dual-core microprocessor and two video cameras, is thinner and lighter than its predecessor.

Nvidia and Alienware can handle Crysis 2

NVIDIA's Ben Berraondo was at CEbit to show an Alienware laptop outfitted with a GeForce GTX 460M mobile graphics card run through Crysis 2 at 'Gamer' settings. What's more, it did so with GPU-bashing 3D Vision activated.

Crysis 2 may not be the system-killing title many had feared

The article has a different video of a laptop running Crysis 2. Below I have a Youtube video of some other Alienware/Nvidia hardware running Crysis 2.

More Air Pollution controls would save a lot of lives and money - Air pollution deaths similar to World War 2 military deaths each year

In March 2011, EPA issued the Second Prospective Report which looked at the results of the Clean Air Act from 1990 to 2020. According to this study, the direct benefits from the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments are estimated to reach almost $2 trillion for the year 2020, a figure that dwarfs the direct costs of implementation ($65 billion).

In 2020, the Clean Air Act Amendments will prevent over 230,000 early deaths. Most of the $2 trillion in economic benefits (about 85 percent) are attributable to reductions in premature mortality associated with reductions in ambient particulate matter.

The central benefits estimate exceeds costs by a factor of more than 30 to one, and the high benefits estimate exceeds costs by 90 times. Even the low benefits estimate exceeds costs by about three to one.

There are more lives to be saved and damage to be prevented by eliminating particulate air pollution with stronger controls or a shift to nuclear power from coal or a shift from oil for cars.

NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts Version 2 is starting and two other NASA Technology Initiatives

NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) is soliciting low Technology Readiness Level (TRL) research in support of the Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT) Early Stage Innovation Division. In the spirit of the original NIAC, this call invites innovative, technically credible advanced concepts that could one day change the possible in aeronautics and space.

NIAC will be focused on early studies of visionary aerospace concepts. These may be
architecture, mission, or system concepts, roughly TRL 1-3 in maturity, aiming 10 or
more years in the future.

(H/T Hobbyspace)

Summary links to older coverage on nextbigfuture of the previous NIAC program.

Carnival of Space 186

The Carnival of space 186 is up at Weird Warp

Cartosat-2A satellite panchromatic image of nearside of the Moon showing the location of the study area as a rectangular box (red) in Oceanus Procellarum on the western nearside. Also shown are the major mare basins (Fr, Mare Frigoris; Im, Mare Imbrium; Ir, Sinus Iridum (a lunar bay); Hu, Mare Humorum; Nu, Mare Nubium; Nc,
Mare Nectaris; Fe, Mare Fecunditatis; Cs, Mare Crisium; Se, Mare Serenitatis; Va, Mare Vaporum; Tr, Mare Tranquillitatis and Gr, Grimaldi basin) and the prominent craters (Plato, Aristarchus, Copernicus, Kepler, Tycho).

Parallel Spirals looks at the Chanrayaan-1 data to assess habitability of sites on the moon

The high spatial resolution of the Terrain Mapping Camera and the close 100 km orbit helped scientists build Digital Elevation Models (DEM) to help study the lunar terrain in great detail. This was used to study potential human habitability sites on the Moon. Based on previous studies, they concentrated their efforts on riles and lava tubes on the lunar surface. Study on the Oceanus Procellurum region on the Moon showed that lava tubes were good places for possible human habitability. They found that there was no effect of cosmic rays deeper than 6 meters, no effect of solar particles deeper than 1 meter, no radiation effects and no significant temperature difference was observed with the temperature remaining nearly constant at -20 degrees Celsius. It is also opined that the presence of partial lava tube structure reduces requirement of construction. Scientists also think that the cool temperatures here could make these a candidate for water and ice traps on the lunar surface. Lava tubes also provide a dust free environment.

GPS guided mortar rounds being deployed to Afghanistan

The Accelerated Precision Mortar Initiative (APMI) has developed GPS guided mortars

Current conventional mortar rounds used by the army only have an accuracy of about a 136 meter (446 ft) Circular Area Probable (CEP). This means that 50 percent of rounds will land within 136 m of the target, 43 percent will land between 136 m and 272 m, 7 percent between 272 m and 408 m and the proportion of rounds that land further than this is less than 0.2 percent.

The new 120 mm APMI precision rounds, which have been undergoing testing since late last year, have been able to demonstrate a CEP of less than 10 meters at ranges in excess of 6,500 meters to greatly improve accuracy and reduce the risk of collateral damage. This equates to 50 percent falling within 10 meters of the target, 43 percent between 10 meters and 20 meters and 7 percent within 20 meters to 30 meters.

The quantum singularity - doing the first thing quantumly that classical computers cannot

A beam splitter is a device, like the one depicted here, that bifurcates a beam of light. An experiment proposed by MIT researchers, which relies on beam splitters, would exploit the strange behavior of quantum particles to perform calculations that are hopelessly time consuming on conventional computers.
Graphic: Christine Daniloff

A new experiment would use quantum effects to perform otherwise intractable calculations, but conducting it should be easier than building a quantum computer.

Quantum Computing with Noninteracting Particles

Weak model of QC
* Probably not universal
* Restricted kind of entanglement
* Not qubit-based

Why do we care?
* Gains with less quantum
* Easier to build
* Mathematically pretty

* Encode values into mirrors
* Generate single photons
* Have photons hit mirrors at same time
* Detect output photons

The Computational complexity of linear optics (96 pages)

We give new evidence that quantum computers—moreover, rudimentary quantum computers built entirely out of linear-optical elements—cannot be efficiently simulated by classical computers. In particular, we define a model of computation in which identical photons are generated, sent through a linear-optical network, then nonadaptively measured to count the number of photons in each mode. This model is not known or believed to be universal for quantum computation, and indeed, we discuss the prospects for realizing the model using current technology On the other hand, we prove that the model is able to solve sampling problems and search problems that are classically intractable under plausible assumptions.

March 01, 2011

Radical New Medicine coming from DARPA

Wired reports on five DARPA medical projects

1. Autonomous Diagnostics to Enable Prevention and Therapeutics

Darpa researchers will try to build quick-and-dirty portable machines that can measure specific markers of disease in the blood. They’ll also work on developing unique molecular techniques by which they can quickly spot and analyze newly evolved markers.

Other uses for the $25 million invested in the project include finding new methods to prepare and store patient samples (like blood, urine or semen) for field diagnosis and fresh ways to urgently extract chemicals from the blood for analysis.

Structural Stability of Clean, Passivated, and Partially Dehydrogenated Cuboid and Octahedral Nanodiamonds Up to 2 Nanometers in Size

A new nanotechnology article written by Robert Freitas and co-authors.

Journal of Computational and Theoretical Nanoscience - Structural Stability of Clean, Passivated, and Partially Dehydrogenated Cuboid and Octahedral Nanodiamonds Up to 2 Nanometers in Size

The use of precisely applied mechanical forces to induce site-specific chemical transformations is called positional mechanosynthesis, and diamond is an important early target for achieving mechanosynthesis experimentally. The next major experimental milestone may be the mechanosynthetic fabrication of atomically precise 3D structures, creating readily accessible diamond-based nanomechanical components engineered to form desired architectures possessing superlative mechanical strength, stiffness, and strength-to-weight ratio. To help motivate this future experimental work, the present paper addresses the basic stability of the simplest nanoscale diamond structures—cubes and octahedra—possessing clean, hydrogenated, or partially hydrogenated surfaces. Computational studies using Density Functional Theory (DFT) with the Car-Parrinello Molecular Dynamics (CPMD) code, consuming ∼1,466,852.53 CPU-hours of runtime on the IBM Blue Gene/P supercomputer (23 TFlops), confirmed that fully hydrogenated nanodiamonds up to 2 nm (∼900-1800 atoms) in size having only C(111) faces (octahedrons) or only C(110) and C(100) faces (cuboids) maintain stable sp3 hybridization. Fully dehydrogenated cuboid nanodiamonds above 1 nm retain the diamond lattice pattern, but smaller dehydrogenated cuboids and dehydrogenated octahedron nanodiamonds up to 2 nm reconstruct to bucky-diamond or onion-like carbon (OLC). At least three adjacent passivating H atoms may be removed, even from the most graphitization-prone C(111) face, without reconstruction of the underlying diamond lattice.

Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides discusses the next decade in space

George Whitesides has recently replaced Will Whitehorn as the CEO/President of Virgin Galactic. In an interview with Sander Olson, George Whitesides discusses suborbital spaceflight, orbital hotels, and the Government's role in cultivating commercial spaceflight.

From the last answer George Whiteside believes we could see daily suborbital flights by 2020 and thousands of people will have flow to suborbit.

George Whitesides
Question: You recently moved from NASA to Virgin Galactic, to become President/CEO of Galactic. What caused the switch?

HP Making Nanostores using memristors

IEEE Computer - From Microprocessors to Nanostores: Rethinking Data-Centric Systems

Historically, the first computer to achieve terascale computing (10^12, or one trillion operations per second) was demonstrated in the late 1990s. In the 2000s, the first petascale computer was demonstrated with a thousand-times better performance. Extrapolating these trends, we can expect the first exascale computer (with one million trillion operations per second) to appear around the end of this next decade.

Emerging technologies such as photonics, nonvolatile memory, 3D stacking, and new datacentric workloads offer compelling new opportunities. The confluence of these trends motivates a rethinking of the basic systems’ building blocks of the future and a likely new design approach called nanostores that focus on data-centric workloads and hardware-software codesign for upcoming technologies.

HP Data Central blog provides an overview of the memristor work.

SuperMUC is the next hot water cooled IBM supercomputer

At this year's CeBIT, IBM is presenting its first so-called hot-water-cooled systems, which will provide a sneak preview of future innovations: Supercomputers the size of sugar cubes.

The next hot-water-cooled IBM system is already on the drawing board, this time in Germany. It will be significantly larger than Aquasar and is expected to go into operation at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) in Munich, Germany, by 2012. Called SuperMUC, this new computer will be part of the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE) HPC infrastructure and made available to scientists and research institutes throughout Europe. The system has a peak performance of 3 petaflop/s (10^15 arithmetic operations per second) and is based on an IBM System X iDataPlex ®, which contains more than 14,000 Intel Xeon next-generation processors. SuperMUC will be more powerful than 110,000 PCs, enabling LRZ scientists to verify theories, develop experiments and predict results to an unprecedented extent—all this, while still requiring massively less energy.

Time Travel theory that avoids Grandfather paradox with some quantum effect validation

Experiment to illustrate the P-CTC predictions of the grandfather paradox. a) Diagram of the quantum circuit. Using a CNOT gate sandwiched between optional Z and X gates, it is possible to prepare all of the maximally entangled Bell states. The Bell state measurement is implemented using a CNOT and a Hadamard. Each of the probe qubits is coupled to the forward qubit via a CNOT gate. b) Diagram of experimental apparatus. The polarization and path degrees of freedom of single photons from a quantum dot are entangled via a calcite polarization-dependent beam displacer (BD1), implementing the CNOT. Half-wave plates (HWP) before and after BD1 implement the optional Z and X gates. The state | +i is created by setting the angle of both HWPs to zero. To complete the teleportation circuit, the post-selection onto | +i is carried out by first recombining the path degrees of freedom on a polarizing beamsplitter (performing a CNOT gate between path and polarization) and then passing the photons through a calcite polarizer set to 45 degrees and detecting them on a cooled CCD. A rotatable HWP acts as a quantum gun, implementing the unitary [formula]. Removable calcite beam displacers (BD2 and BD3) couple the polarization qubit to two probe qubits encoded in additional spatial degrees of freedom. When the beam displacers are inserted in the setup, four spots on the CCD correspond to the probe states 11, 10, 01, and 00.

Closed Timelike Curves via Postselection: Theory and Experimental Test of Consistency

Closed timelike curves (CTCs) are trajectories in spacetime that effectively travel backwards in time: a test particle following a CTC can interact with its former self in the past. A widely accepted quantum theory of CTCs was proposed by Deutsch. Here we analyze an alternative quantum formulation of CTCs based on teleportation and postselection, and show that it is inequivalent to Deutsch’s. The predictions or retrodictions of our theory can be simulated experimentally: we report the results of an experiment illustrating how in our particular theory the “grandfather paradox” is resolved.

A team of researchers has proposed a new theory of CTCs that can resolve the grandfather paradox, and they also perform an experiment showing how such a scheme works. The researchers, led by Seth Lloyd from MIT, along with scientists from the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, Italy; the University of Pavia in Pavia, Italy; the Tokyo Institute of Technology; and the University of Toronto.

Arxiv - The quantum mechanics of time travel through post-selected teleportation (9 pages)

Arxiv - Closed timelike curves via post-selection: theory and experimental demonstration (5 pages)

Stronger Than Steel but Moldable as Plastic

A team led by Jan Schroers, a materials scientist at Yale University, has shown that some recently developed bulk metallic glasses (BMGs)-metal alloys that have randomly arranged atoms as opposed to the orderly, crystalline structure found in ordinary metals-can be blow molded like plastics into complex shapes that can't be achieved using regular metal, yet without sacrificing the strength or durability that metal affords. Their findings are described online in the current issue of the journal Materials Today.

Materials Today journal - Thermoplastic blow molding of metals

Progress to Multi-Terabit per inch bit patterning and more reported at 2011 SPIE conference

Progress toward 1 Terabit/inch2 bit patterned media by Seagate and partners

We will present our recent progress in 1 Terabit/in.2 BPM fabrication. We will report a novel strategy to integrate directed self-assembly of block copolymer (BCP) with nano-imprint lithography for >1 Terabit/in.2 template fabrication. A concentric full track disk template at an areal density of 1 Terabit/in.2 has been demonstrated for the first time. This full-track template with pillar-tone dot features was fabricated on a 6" quartz substrate by combining rotating e-beam lithography with imprint lithography and BCP process. 1 Terabit/in.2 hole-tone resist dot pattern with good size uniformity and position was formed on a disk using UV imprint lithography. A reverse-tone process was used to create the thin hard mask layer that is needed in the following dry etch process to form 1 Terabit/in.2 magnetic dots. We will present the preliminary results on size sigma and positioning accuracy, magnetic sigma, and spinstand recording test. Several key challenges will be addressed, such as defect reduction in the template fabrication, servo pattern integration, and the improvement of magnetic signal uniformity.

Directed self-assembly (DSA) technology for the sub-20-nm half-pitch nodes from JSR and IBM

EEtimes - JSR Corp., along with its U.S. operations, JSR Micro Inc., have rolled out a new directed self-assembly (DSA) technology for the sub-20-nm half-pitch node. Developed as part of an ongoing research agreement with IBM Corp., the new technology eliminates dual exposure steps and is compatible with conventional 193-nm lithography equipment.

Talks from the 2011 SPIE - SPIE Alternative Lithographic Technologies III provide the details

Gene therapy produces HIV-resistant CD4 T-cells and a first for gene modification of a patients own cells

Gene therapy that interferes with co-receptors on the surface of T-cells can protect these cells from HIV infection, representing a potential first step toward achieving a "functional cure" for AIDS. This was also the first successful use of genetically modified cells from a patients own body being used for treatment. T-cells were filtered from a blood sample, genetically modified, expanded and up 10 to 30 billion genetically modified cells were re-introduced into the patient. The modified cells behaved as regular T-cells. Genetically modifying stem cells could offer longer term and perhaps life long protection.

February 28, 2011

Workshop on lunar superconductor applications

The purpose of a new lunar superconducting workshop is to bring together experts in these four cutting edge arenas and to give them an opportunity to learn of each other’s work and recent discoveries.

* High Temperature Superconductor Applications
* Low Temperature / Ultra Low Power Electronics
* CryoRobitic Rovers, Landers, and Laboratories
* Astrochemistry and Cryoscience at the Lunar Poles

March 3-5, 2011 at Hilton University of Houston Houston, TX, USA

The workshop precedes the Global Lunar Superconductor Applications Virtual Workshop, July 8-9, 2011, and the LSA 2012 workshops.

Sanswire Stratellite and comparing different air surveillance systems

We covered a stratospheric airship in 2009

They continue to make progress with the STS-111 airship and advance the program closer to hosting customer demonstrations. The platform has performed to the initial specifications they set out for, and they will continue to pursue our ultimate goal of producing a stratospheric platform to serve a number of surveillance needs.

Computational chemistry proposes T-carbon

Replacing carbon atoms in diamond with pyramids of carbon could produce a new material that is both lightweight and hard.

Diamond may have a softer side: T-carbon.

This fluffy form of diamond, simulated in a Chinese supercomputer, could be used for a variety of applications — if someone can make the stuff and prove its stability in the real world.

Shift to 450 mm wafers may wait two nodes for the 10 nm node in 2015-2017 according to Intel researcher

The 10-nm process node appears to be the ideal point for the adoption of manufacturing on 450-mm diameter wafers, according Leonard Hobbs, head of research for Intel Ireland. Speaking at the Industry Strategy Symposium here (ISS Europe) he also indicated that the transition could not come sooner and could be pushed later, depending on the efficacy of industry collaboration. Hobbs portrayed the transition taking place 2015 to 2017

Progress to a vaccine against Alzheimer's and stroke

Researchers led by Dr. Dan Frenkel of Tel Aviv University's Department of Neurobiology at the George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences are working on a nasally-delivered 2-in-1 vaccine that promises to protect against both Alzheimer's and stroke. The new vaccine repairs vascular damage in the brain by rounding up "troops" from the body's own immune system.

Increasing processor efficiency by "shutting off the lights"

Die micrograph of the fully integrated DC-DC converter chip. Image courtesy of Wonyoung Kim.

Harvard - Plug-and-play multi-core voltage regulator could lead to "smarter" smartphones, slimmer laptops, and energy-friendly data centers.

To promote energy-efficient multitasking, Harvard graduate student Wonyoung Kim has developed and demonstrated a new device with the potential to reduce the power usage of modern processing chips.

The advance could allow the creation of "smarter" smartphones, slimmer laptops, and more energy-friendly data centers.

Kim's on-chip, multi-core voltage regulator (MCVR) addresses what amounts to a mismatch between power supply and demand.

If you're listening to music on your MP3 player, you don't need to send power to the image and graphics processors at the same time

Virgin Galactic Announces World’s First Commercial Contracts to Send Researchers to Space

Virgin Galactic’s signed contract with the Southwest Research Institute is the first such agreement to fly scientists into space (over 100 kilometers or 328,000 feet above the Earth), enabling valuable microgravity, biology, climate and astronomy research.

Thin Coating of nanowires will boost thermoelectric effect

Significant Reduction of Thermal Conductivity in Si/Ge Core−Shell Nanowires

We report on the effect of germanium (Ge) coatings on the thermal transport properties of silicon (Si) nanowires using nonequilibrium molecular dynamics simulations. Our results show that a simple deposition of a Ge shell of only 1 to 2 unit cells in thickness on a single crystalline Si nanowire can lead to a dramatic 75% decrease in thermal conductivity at room temperature compared to an uncoated Si nanowire. By analyzing the vibrational density states of phonons and the participation ratio of each specific mode, we demonstrate that the reduction in the thermal conductivity of Si/Ge core−shell nanowire stems from the depression and localization of long-wavelength phonon modes at the Si/Ge interface and of high frequency nonpropagating diffusive modes.

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 41

The Carnival of Nuclear Energy 41 is up at cool Hand Nuke

Nuclear Green looks at the challenges for the mass deployment of renewable energy

Poverty Statistics and estimates and definitions

The World Bank is the most commonly used source of statistics on poverty. They define poverty as having purchasing power parity (PPP) per capita income from 2005 statistics of less than $1.25 per day. There has been criticism of the 2005 PPP statistics based on the collection of data for China and India from cities and not rural areas. This has been claimed to have underestimated the PPP per capita income by about 27% in China. The University of Pennsylvania is releasing the Penn World Tables 7.0 which correct for that city/rural problem. The World Bank will not have updated PPP data for another 3-4 years. The current World Bank data is adjusted based of the 2005 basis.

If the Penn World Tables 7.0 is correct then the number of poor people in China and India is overestimated by a large amount. The World Bank does not updates its poverty statistics very often and using older estimates the fast economic growth in China and India is likely causing more citizens to not be classified in living in poverty and would effect the global estimates of poverty [This exact case is made by a Brookings Institute analysis which was covered here].

There have been other criticisms of the World Bank data based on the usage of the single PPP metric. The other criticisms if correct might adjust the estimates to indicate that there are more people in poverty.

Infinera achieves One Terabit per Second Data Rate on a Single Integrated Photonic Chip

A single PIC can integrate upwards of fifty optical components that would otherwise each require a separate package.

Infinera achieved a record one trillion bits per second (1 Terabit/s) speed on a single integrated indium phosphide chip.

Infinera’s latest photonic integrated circuits (PIC) is at the heart of a new 10-channel receiver, each channel operating at 100 Gbit/s data rates. This is the first in the industry to achieve a capacity of 1 Terabit/s on a single photonic integrated chip. It contains more than 150 optical components—such as frequency tunable local oscillator (LO) lasers, devices for mixing the LO and incoming signals, variable optical attenuators for LO power control, a spectral demultiplexer to separate the individual wavelength channels, and 40 balanced photodetector (receiver/transmitter) pairs—all integrated onto a chip smaller than a fingernail.

February 27, 2011

China Godson Chip Roadmap and 15 other technology projects

The Godson-3A chip was implemented in a 65 nanometer process and ran at 1 GHz to deliver 16 gigaflops of floating point oomph. The chip has 425 million transistors, an area of 174.5 square millimeters, and burned only 10 watts under load. The chip included two 16-bit HyperTransport ports (licensed from Advanced Micro Devices), 4 MB of L2 cache, and two on-chip memory controllers that support either DDR2 or DDR3 main memory.

The Godson chip effort is one of 16 different projects, in fact, that are each funded with between $5bn and $10bn. The massive projects focus on specific technology areas that China reckons are key for its technological independence and economic future, including processors and operating systems, chip process technology, 4G wireless networks, nuclear fission power plants, water pollution control and treatment, aircraft design and construction, high-resolution satellite imaging, and manned spaceflight and lunar exploration.

Update on Taiwan and China relations and Asia free trade

1. Taiwan is set to relax controls on investments from China in high-tech companies

* Chinese companies will be allowed to own up to a 10 percent share in Taiwanese semiconductor and flat-panel manufacturers

* Chinese firms will also be allowed to own up to a 20 percent share in the less-sensitive tech sectors such as mechanical and metallurgical industries, as well as the medical equipment industry.

* Chinese companies will also be permitted to set up joint ventures with Taiwanese technology firms, with shares capped at 49 percent in such ventures

Living without Cable or Satellite Television

Last year I dropped my Satellite TV and switched to using the Nintendo Wii to view Netflix. I used the Nintendo Wii because it could hook up to an older TV that did not have an HDMI connection but the older component (Red, White, Yellow) connection.

Devices like Roku can be used to connect TVs with HDMI to Netflix and Hulu.

Amazon has started streaming television and movies to those with Amazon Prime ($79/year).

Laptops and computers can access foreign TV and movies and Netflix, Hulu and other video sources in a more complete way than most of the dedicated devices.

There are many cables available at Amazon and other electronic sources for connecting your computer to send output to a larger television screen. The proper connections are important. You need to examine what kind of computer video output you have and the inputs into your TV. (For example an older Macbook has a mini-DVI output.)