We've already covered a new ThinkGeek gadget today, so let's keep the "Think Geek" ball rolling and talk about a concept that keeps real-life geeks awake at night, jittering at the thought of its awesomeness: quantum computing. Even though Lockheed Martin signed up to buy an underperforming "Maybe it's a quantum computer" from D-Wave One a few months back, the face-melting power we think of when uttering the words "Quantum computer" is still a long ways off. A pair of researchers at Purdue University just inched it a little bit closer to reality, however.
For many, supercomputing seems like something that’s out of reach. At the most, we’ll usually just contribute our spare processor cycles to a project that involves it. But Purdue University is looking to change all that with their latest venture, Rack-A-Node.
Rack-A-Node is a flash-based game that requires you to become the network admin, and set up each rack so that they hold a solid cluster of servers that are good at tackling a variety of different tasks. From chemistry to physics, it’s all up to you to figure out if you’ll need more CPU power, more RAM or a wicked fast connection.
While the game isn’t meant to actually turn the average man into a supercomputing whiz, it is meant to let us get one step closer to it. “This is a dry and boring topic even for geeks,” claimed Gerry McCartney, the chief information officer at Purdue. “So, we wanted a way to get people excited about these things.”
Evidently they’ve been asked to create a more sophisticated version of the game that would be designed as a learning tool. “It is not stupid right now, but it’s way too simple,” Mr. McCartney said.
Don't worry, you needn't fear seeing your neighborhood turned into a tricked out light display with gimmicky LEDs (the same can't be said about your neighbors' PCs), but inside those homes, incandescent and compact fluorescent lightbulbs might be on their way to becoming extinct. Helping put them on the endangered tech list are researchers at Purdue University who claim to have found a way to create low-cost LEDs.
Light-emitting diodes are said to be about four times more efficient than your standard lightbulb, they're easier on the environment, and with a lifespan perhaps as long as 15 years, LEDs seem destined to light up your living room. One thing preventing them from doing that are the high manufacturing costs, driven in large part by a costly sapphire substrate used to make LEDs. Compared to conventional incandescent and fluorescent lightbulbs, LED replacements would be at least 20 times more expensive.
Find out how researchers from Purdue University say they can get around the cost barrier associated with LEDs after the jump.
The folks at Purdue University who are working to bring us miniaturized refrigeration are also working on Quantum computing. They have created a new, hybrid molecule in which its quantum state can be intentionally manipulated, useful in the building of quantum computers. Quantum computers could harness the strange behaviors found in quantum physics to create computers that would carry information using quantum bits, or qubits. Got a headache yet?
They go on to say that quantum computers also could take advantage of the strange behaviors of quantum mechanics perhaps like two quantum computers could communicate instantaneously across any distance imaginable, or maybe the binary bits we are used to dealing with could exist in their usual on or off state, but also a both on and off state. Okay I need aspirin now.
We don’t have to worry about seeing a quantum PC anytime soon. They say this new discovery won’t bring quantum computers even 10 years closer.
Who knew? Purdue doesn’t just bring chicken to mind anymore. They are working hard on building the future PC enthusiast's dream machine.
Researchers at Purdue University are working on a miniature refrigeration system small enough to fit inside laptops and personal computers. Their research focuses on how to design miniature compressors and evaporators, which are needed for refrigeration systems. Depending on how effective and reliable these systems can be made will determine their actual usability. They could very well suffer from the same trouble as Peltier coolers, which is price and condensation.
We’ll have to stick with conventional PC cooling techniques for awhile. The findings will be detailed in two papers being presented during the 12th International Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Conference and the 19th International Compressor Engineering Conference on July 14-17 at Purdue. It has to be better than spraying your PC with upside-down canned air.