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A Step in the Quantum direction!

March 29, 2008

A small step for making quantum computers a reality has been achieved  by researchers in the U.K. This minor but important advancement — The creation of the first logic gate on a silicon chip that can process individual photons.

Individual photons of light show great promise as quantum bits of information (qubits) in a quantum computer because they can travel great distances through optical fibres or even air without losing their quantum nature. One reason for this is that individual photons of light do not normally interact with each other. However, this makes it hard to create devices for processing quantum information such as logic gates, which rely on the interaction of two or more photons.

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3-D chip stacks – Future of Computing?

March 23, 2008

Mr. Moore predicted that the number of transistors that fit on a piece of silicon would double almost every two years. However, this axiom will be trumped in 15 years or less. This is due to the increasing difficulty faced when manipulating transistors the size of atoms. So, what direction can our favourtie piece of silicon go?

It looks like IBM has been working on a solution to help. It’s called a 3-D chip stack and it looks promising. Hypothetically, it’s possible to move data 1000X faster than we do now. How? Using TSVs (through-silicon vias) that go through the chip and connect to the next layer directly below it. Currently, chips connect along the outer edges which is slow and limiting.

Keep your eyes peeled — IBM is slated to begin selling this technology soon.

The Time Fountain – Optical Illusion

February 25, 2008

Start with the video…

[youtube rvY7NGncCgU]

How are the effects possible?
Strobe lights work by only allowing us to see an object a few times a second. Because our brain is still merging the images it’s getting from the retina, the effect is that we perceive the object in “slow motion.” Some objects, such as a dripping water, can even be made to appear “frozen” by matching the flashes of light to the speed of the object.

You can check out more detailed info here: http://cre.ations.net/creation/the-time-fountain

Phun – 2D Physics Sandbox

February 25, 2008

Check out PHUN in this video –

[youtube 0H5g9VS0ENM]

“Phun is a Master of Science Theises by Computing Science student Emil Ernerfeldt for supervisor Kenneth Bodin at VRLab, Umeå University. The solver is based on work by Claude Lacoursière

Phun is meant to be a playground where people can be creative. It can also be used as an educational tool to learn about physics concepts such as restitution and friction.

Phun was coded in C++ using OpenGL, GLEW, SDL (for window management), SDL_image (for reading images) and boost, including boost_filesystem. Everything was coded by me, including the physics engine and user interface.”
– http://www.acc.umu.se/~emilk/index.html

Download the Beta version here

Enjoy all of the 2D physics that you can handle.

If you design anything interesting record it and we’ll post the video.

Star Wars vs. Star Trek

December 17, 2007

Free Gift With Purchase of Select Items at Newegg.com>

Crayon Physics – Something old, Something New

December 17, 2007

Try It! Download

This is one of the most innovative games that I have tried. I suggest that everyone have a go at it.

The version that has been released to the public is not the version that you currently see on YouTube and other video websites. In this version you can only draw boxes. The point of the game is to guide the red ball to the star. This may seem like a simple task (and in most cases it it) but it’s done with style and it’s something that we’ve never seen before. It’s well worth the download and the nostalgia that comes with playing with crayons again is great.

Instructions:

1. First click the link above and download crayon.zip
2. Unzip the file anywhere
3. Open the folder and double-click on “crayon.exe”
4. Enjoy!

Controls:

With the left mouse button you can draw, and with the right you can remove objects.

Space – Will reset the level
Esc – Will open the menu
Alt + enter – Will toggle fullscreen
Alt + F4 – Will quit the game

Visit the Homepage

A Clock to Measure Space-Time Fluctuations?

December 12, 2007

Well, okay not quite yet, but read on…

Scientists and engineers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado are making some progress towards it.  They use atomic clocks to achieve unfathomable accurate accounting of time on a regular basis, and these clocks are being constantly updated.  

(picture from NIST website)

Historically, NIST was charged with maintaining the world’s most accurate time-interval standards, and for officially keeping America’s time.  Now they are striving for even more accuracy which, in theory, probes the relativistic effects of Einstein’s Relativity Theory.  The current heavyweight in use is called the NIST-F1 (see picture), which is a full order of magnitude more accurate than the relatively ancient model it replaced in 1999.  In 2000 the uncertainty of the F1 was 1×10^-15 but improvements made to it have increased this to 5×10^-16.  Practically speaking, this means that the F1 will neither lose nor gain a second in 60 million years!Traditionally, these clocks observe a version of “Moore’s Law”, which means their accuracy increases by a factor of 10 every decade.  The new NIST-F2 is scheduled to go online next year, and should make great improvements yet again. 

How it works:

As an aside, the F1 is called a “fountain clock” because atoms move in the shape of a fountain to measure frequency and time.  Six lasers basically shoot at each other to create a ball of Cesium-133 atoms at near absolute zero.  Then, two vertical lasers gently push the ball of atoms upwards to a height of one meter through a microwave filled cavity, and all the lasers are switched off.  Going through the microwaves changes the state of some of the atoms, to create fluorescence.  The light that is emitted is measured by a detector.  By changing the frequency of the microwave field, more or less fluorescence is observed in the atoms.  At the Cesium atoms’ natural resonant frequency (9,192,631,770 Hz) fluorescence is maximized, and this is used to define a second.

Space-Time??

Even the F1 is precise enough to be measurably affected by general relativity.  For example, when moving the F1 from the 3rd floor to the 2nd floor of their building, the clock has to be tuned to account for the drop in altitude closer to the earth.  But more incredible are the research clocks already being used, which need to account for the fluctuations created by the NIST physical building increasing in size on a hot summer day. 

By creating even more and more precise clocks using Calcium or Ytterbium, for example, scientists will be able to actually measure the changes caused to the clocks by relativistic effects.  At a basic level, general relativity predicts that the rate of time changes depending on the observer’s surroundings.  In this case, even the minute changes in gravity caused by variations in the density of the earth beaneath and the surrounding landscapes will upset such futuristic clocks.  By measuring the amount that the rate of time has been upset, scientists will soon be able to directly measure things like magnetic fields and gravity offsets. 

Sound too Star Trek-ish? 

 Even Professor Frink would be impressed!

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