Google, Apple, and Intel busted in antitrust class action lawsuit for colluding to keep pay low and not hire each other’s software engineers.
Archive for April, 2012
Electronics are becoming so energy-efficient, and radio transmitters so common, that simple electronic devices can run forever just by harvesting ambient radio waves. Here’s a sample of devices already entering the market that run forever just on the free energy transmitted from TV/radio broadcast stations, cellphone towers, and Wi-Fi networks:
- Thermometers that can broadcast their temperature readings every 5 seconds
- Hard hats that beep when the wearer moves too close to dangerous construction equipment
- Wall clocks
- CO2 alarms
- Shelf label displays
One ramification of this trend is with more sensors come more data, and the easy proliferation of sensors will help to quickly make “big data” normal.
The devices that transmit signals use about 50 microwatts on average, while the display-only devices use less than 5 microwatts on average. A radio station transmitter easily produces 50 microwatts of harvestable energy more than 2.5 miles away from the tower.
Not only is processing power doubling every 18 months in relation to dollar cost, it’s also doubling every 18 months in relation to energy usage, and has been for the last 60 years. In other words, energy usage of devices is getting cut in half every 1.5 years for the same processing power. For example, today an office-range gigabit wireless router costs less than $100 and uses 5 watts. Projecting forward, in 10 years the same system could be powered by ambient radio waves and cost less than a buck (5 watts/2^7 = 39 microwatts; $100/2^7 = $0.79), easily making mesh networks freely accessible everywhere.
Scientists have made a breakthrough in quantum computing by creating a functioning multi-qubit quantum computer within a diamond. And it operates at room temperature without shielding. The first qubit was formed with the spin state of a rogue nitrogen nucleus trapped in the impurity of a diamond. The second qubit was made from synchronizing the first qubit to the spin of an electron trapped within another impurity in the diamond. They cracked the problem of disruptive environmental interactions by protecting the quantum information stored in the subatomic particle’s spin from decoherence with microwave pulses that repeatedly reversed the electron’s spin back and forth.
They were able to prove that their diamond computer used quantum effects to solve a search problem by showing that the system behaved according to Grover’s quantum search algorithm. Normally when searching an unsorted dataset, sometimes you’d find it on the first try, other times after searching through the whole dataset, but after many searches on average you’d find what you’re looking for after searching through half the dataset. In other words, if you had a dataset of 4 items, on average you’d find it after 2 tries. With Grover’s quantum search algorithm, a quantum computer would find the correct answer the first try every time. The quantum system created by the team was able to find the correct answer on the first try 95% time. While not perfect, it is enough to demonstrate that it operates in a quantum fashion.
Want the complete annotated human genome for more than 2000 people? Want to compare those genomes to the complete genomes of elephants, dolphins, or Tasmanian devils? You can do all that for free on Amazon AWS.
“Previously, large data sets such as the mapping of the Human Genome and the US Census data required hours or days to locate, download, customize, and analyze. Now, anyone can access these data sets from their Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances and start computing on the data within minutes.”
To get the data, just do these three easy steps:
1. Sign up for an Amazon EC2 account.
2. Launch an Amazon EC2 instance.
3. Create an Amazon EBS volume using the Snapshot ID listed in the catalog above for your chosen snapshot.
You only pay for the computing time on your own apps.