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.
Think your USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt port delivers blazing fast transfer rates? You must not be a high-energy physicist. While the rest of the world was patiently waiting for Intel to drag Thunderbolt ports from Macs to PCs, a group of the aforementioned scientists and network engineers decided to get a little more proactive and develop a technology that transfers two-way data at a rate of 186 friggin’ Gbps per second – a new world record that makes the 10 Gbps offered by Thunderbolt absolutely sluggish.
Imagine a microchip with the most beautiful blue eyes you've ever seen and absolutely no propensity towards disease. Now get that picture out of your head because it has nothing to do with what IBM is experimenting with.
IBM is, however, playing around with artificial DNA nanostructures, or "DNA origami," as a way to develop even smaller chips at cheaper prices, according to a paper published on Sunday in the journal of Nature Nanotechnology.
"This is the first demonstration of using biological molecules to help with processing in the semiconductor industry," IBM research manager Spike Narayan said in an interview with Reuters. "Basically, this is telling us that biological structures like DNA actually offer some very reproducible, repetitive kinds of patterns that we can actually leverage in semiconductor processes."
Narayan went on to say that if the DNA origami process scales to production level, manufacturers could look at spending less than a million dollars on polymers, DNA solutions, and heating implements, rather than hundreds of millions of dollars on complex tools.
Sounds great, but the technology is still a ways off. It will be take at least another decade of experimentation and testing, Narayan says.
The process begins when a message encrypted using Vanish is sent. The message can only be read until a pre-specified time is reached, after which the message can not be decrypted, as the encryption key is permanently “lost due to a set of both natural and programmed processes.”
Vanish works by shattering the encryption key and distributing the various fragments among computers on a peer-to-peer network – both parties holding the online conversation don’t possess the key. The pieces of the key begin to vanish due to the fact that “machines constantly join and leave the P2P network.” A prototype of the tool is now available. It supports timeouts of 8-9 hours, which simply means your messages will vanish without a trace after that time.