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Processors Continue Downward Trend

February 22, 2012 by  
Filed under Computing

Analyst over at Carnegie have said that world chip sales are likely to be only $22.7billion in January, compared to $23.8 billion in December.

Seasonally adjusted, that would be down 1-2 per cent on a monthly basis and mean that actual chip sales will likely fall 15-16 per cent on a yearly basis. The reason for the fall, the analysts say, is due to disk drive shortages in Thailand which have forced costs to rise. The PC market is likely to be more back-loaded this year, the report notes.

Handset chip sales were likely also soft in January. Chips for cars were softer after a strong December. Other quirks, such as an early Chinese New Year also contributed the low figures in January. Although several chip makers indicated the inventory problems in fourth quarter had ended, Carnegie thinks that the indicator shows that the trend will continue into this year.

PC’s are the biggest chip users, followed by cell phones. Cars, appliances, base stations, and instruments are other significant users, the analyst said.



University Scientist Create Millimeter Computer

March 8, 2011 by  
Filed under Computing

Scientist at the University of Michigan have created the first of it kind millimeter-scale computing system.

The tiny computer is being called the Phoenix chip, its size is 1 cubic millimeter and was made to be used in the human eye. The little computer does not have a lot on its plate.  The Phoenix has the job of monitoring the intraocular pressure of glaucoma patients, do not be fooled by the assumed simple task,  the device is considered a computer by all technical standards.

Researcher Dennis Sylvester, a professor at the University of Michigan says the Phoenix computer comprised of an ultra-low-power microprocessor, a pressure sensor, memory, a ultra slim battery, a solar cell and a wireless radio with an antenna that can transmit data to an external device.

The Phoenix amazingly uses only 5.3 nanowatts while in use, otherwise it sleeps.  The researchers profess that such tiny computers will one day be utilized to track pollution, monitor structural integrity, perform surveillance, or make virtually any object smart and track-able.

We are always glad to see Universities lead with amazing research to make our lives better.

IBM Puts Efforts Into Developing Quantum Computing

November 11, 2010 by  
Filed under Computing

Ramped-up research efforts at IBM and other labs in the U.S. and Europe could lead to more powerful and more available quantum computers in the near future.

IBM is breathing new life into a quantum computing research division at its Thomas J. Watson Research Center, reports New York Times. The computer giant has hired alumni from promising quantum computing programs at Yale and the University of California-Santa Barbara, both of which made quantum leaps in the past year using standard superconducting material.

Groups at both universities have been using rhenium or niobium on a semiconductor surface and cooling the system to absolute zero so that it exhibits quantum behavior. As the Times reports, the method relies on standard microelectronics manufacturing tech, which could make quantum computers easier and cheaper to make.

The Santa Barbara researchers told the Times they believe they can double the computational power of their quantum computers by next year.

Rather than using transistors to crunch the ones and zeroes of binary code, quantum computers store data as qubits, which can represent one and zero simultaneously. This superposition enables the computers to solve multiple problems at once, providing quick answers to tough questions. But observing a qubit strips it of this duality — you can only see one state at a time — so physicists must figure out how to extract data from a qubit without directly observing it. That’s where quantum entanglement comes in handy; two qubits can be connected by an invisible wave so that they share each other’s properties. You could then watch one qubit to see what its twin is computing.

None of this is simple, however; there are several competing methods for making the qubits, including laser-entangled ions, LED-powered entangled photons, and more. Google is working with a Canadian firm called D-Wave that has claimed 50-qubit computers, although skeptics have questioned that number. In most systems, the number of entangled qubits remains small, but Yale researchers believe they will increase in the next few years, the Times says.

Even better: with all this practice, physicists are getting a lot better at controlling quantum interactions. Their precision has increased a thousand-fold, one researcher said. That’s good news for anyone studying quantum mechanics.