Coming up with new CPU designs isn't quite as easy as coming up with new flavors of ice cream. First, you need to figure out exactly what you want the core to accomplish, along with what critical components are needed to meet that goal. Then, after that's sorted, the process moves to a second stage called "design implementation" -- basically, figuring out how to actually make the CPU the architectural engineers dreamed up. It's a long, laborious procedure, but now North Carolina State University researchers claim they've developed a tool to quickly automate the design implementation process.
If you watched HDD prices soar after the Thailand floods and found yourself grumbling that SSDs should be cheaper, good news! Your wish has come true, at least to some degree. The hardworking souls over at The Tech Report and Camelegg have analyzed scads and scads of SSD price points over the past year and found that prices are down nearly 50 percent in that time frame, with several models now dropping below the vaunted $1/GB price point.
Oh, those wacky Nigerian princes and their tales of lost fortunes. If only they had your help! But they don't, of course, because anybody with half a brain can see through the scam. And that's the key to the scheme, one Microsoft researcher says in a 14 page report about Nigerian scams; the fantastic stories serve to screen out skeptical folks, leaving the scammers free to pick off the low-hanging fruit that responds to wild emails from African royalty.
A team of researchers from prominent institutions around the world claim that they've figured out how to make computer processors smaller, faster and more power efficient than ever before: by letting chips mess up once in a while. No, seriously. By allowing "inexact" chips to make a pre-calculated amount of errors rather than striving for absolute perfection, the researchers claim that drastic power reductions can be made -- and they already have a working prototype.
What's even cooler than a kick-ass high-speed wireless network? A kick-ass high-speed wireless network powered by frickin' lasers. It may just lay in our future: researchers from the National Taipei University of Technology managed to create a rudimentary, working 1Gbps network that bypasses radio frequencies entirely, using basic AAA battery-powered red and green laser pointerss and about $600 worth of components. That's waaaaay faster than the 802.11n Wi-Fi routers found in homes today.
Powerful quantum computing and instantaneous long-distance quantum communication (ala the Normandy's quantum entanglement communicator in Mass Effect) sound well and good, but in reality, that sort of technology will never blossom unless we figure out how to create working quantum networks first. Oh wait! We have. Yesterday, scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Germany announced that they've created the first quantum link between two atoms located far away from one another physically.
A handful of technological quandaries are keeping our small, yet powerful gadgets from becoming even smaller and powerful; one of those issues -- as any iPad or Asus Transformer Prime owner can tell you -- is heat dissipation. The copper technology found in most modern day doo-dads just ain't cutting it anymore. Fortunately, an NC State researcher has devised a new way to cool down hot electronics 25 percent faster than existing technology -- and at a lower price, to boot.
Tablets are all the rage these days, with the Apple iPad leading the pack and selling like hotcakes in stores throughout the country. Some of the more cynical Maximum PC readers may snort and say that part of the iPad's appeal is its simplicity; I've heard people comment that even a monkey could find his way around iOS. At least one monkey lover disagrees. Ken Schweller, chairman of the Great Ape Trust in Des Moines, Iowa, wants to slap modified non-Apple tablets in the hands of his hyper-intelligent primate pals to spur communication development. And he needs your help!
They say two heads are better than one, but in processors with integrated graphics -- think Intel's Sandy Bridge or AMD's APUs -- the GPU and CPU actually do very little communicating. For the most part, the GPU does its thing while the CPU knocks about on something else. There has to be something better! And as it turns out, there is: a group of researchers from North Carolina State University recently coaxed CPUs and GPUs on integrated processors into helping each other out, and they report a performance boost of over 20 percent as a result.
Quantum computing isn’t the only nifty next-gen PC advancement scientists are all a-flutter about; there’s plenty of attention being focused on intelligent bio-computers made from organic materials, too. A Japanese scientist by the name of Toshiyuki Nakagaki thinks that he’s found just the organism that can make it possible, too: amoeboid yellow slime mold. That’s right, the nasty goop covering downed trees and leaves is actually a pretty intelligent little bugger that could one day be designing transportation routes and electrical grids. Man, science is cool – and weird.