Thursday, May 16, 2013

D-Wave Quantum Computer 2013

Geordie Rose and D-Wave computer
Image copyright BBC News

A $15m computer that uses "quantum physics" effects to boost its speed is to be installed at a Nasa facility.

It will be shared by Google, Nasa, and other scientists, providing access to a machine said to be up to 3,600 times faster than conventional computers.

Reportedly costing up to $15m, housed in a garden shed-sized box that cools the chip to near absolute zero, it should be installed at Nasa and available for research by autumn 2013.

US giant Lockheed Martin earlier this year upgraded its own D-Wave machine to the 512 qubit D-Wave Two.

Unlike standard machines, the D-Wave Two processor appears to make use of an effect called quantum tunnelling.

This allows it to reach solutions to certain types of mathematical problems in fractions of a second.

Effectively, it can try all possible solutions at the same time and then select the best.

D-Wave Systems has been focused on building machines that exploit a technique called quantum annealing - a way of distilling the optimal mathematical solutions from all the possibilities.

Geordie Rose believes others have taken the wrong approach to quantum computing
Annealing is made possible by physics effect known as quantum tunnelling, which can endow each qubit with an awareness of every other one.

Read the entire news article introducing a BBC 4 radio program from here

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Intelligent communication between plants through fungus network

Image BBC Science and Environment
Clever laboratory experiment in the University of Aberdeen has demonstrated the role of fungi in a sophisticated plant alarm system.

"The team concerned themselves with aphids, tiny insects that feed on and damage plants. Many plants have a chemical armoury that they deploy when aphids attack, with chemicals that both repel the aphids and attract parasitic wasps that are aphids' natural predators."
Read the entire article in BBC May 13 2013 

Highly intelligent plants and fungus cooperation and communication!

Wonders of creation that make us respect even more the living world of plants: where's the Brain?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Insect eyes

BBC reports May 2, 2013
A digital camera that functions like an insect's compound eye is reported in the journal Nature this week.

It comprises an array of 180 small lenses, which, along with their associated electronics, are stretched across a curved mounting.

The prototype currently has few pixels, so its images are low-resolution.

But the device displays an immense depth of field, and a very wide-angle view that avoids the distortion seen in standard camera lenses.

The development team, led from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, US, believes its new imaging system could eventually find uses in surveillance and for endoscopic investigations of the human body.

The researchers also suggest such cameras could be fitted to tiny aerial vehicles one day that behaved like robotic insects.

At the moment, the "bug-eye" system's vision is comparable to that enjoyed by some ants and beetles.
Read the entire article from BBC Science and Environment News

The on-line article in Nature