random toons

Thursday, January 26, 2006

New processor computes at light speed

A superfast computing processor that uses light, not electrons, to perform calculations has gone on sale for the first time. Lenslet, the Israeli company that developed the processor, say its light speed calculations deliver the power of a supercomputer in a single device.

The device is called Enlight and can perform 8000 billion arithmetic operations per second, about 1000 times faster than a standard processor. Previously this type of processor was only available to highly financed government laboratories.

EnLight will be useful across a broad range of applications, from military projects to compressing high definition video images. Enlight is not a general purpose processor like a Pentium. Instead, each processor will be custom-built to perform a specific set of tasks, and will not be programmable.

Much research has been done to try to exploit the much faster speed at which light travels compared to electronic signals, but most commercial work in this area has focused mainly on optical interfaces. These devices allow fibre optic and related systems to communicate with traditional electronic systems.

Strictly speaking, EnLight is a hybrid device, housing both electronic and optical circuits, but it is the optical processing that make it so fast. It allows you to do a massive level of operations in parallel.

The processing in the Enlight device is carried out using a process called vector matrix-multiplication, which allows calculations to be performed on 256 optical inputs.

The beams from 256 lasers are added or multiplied together when shone on a matrix device called a spatial light modulator. The outputs are then read by an array of light detectors.

Lenslet would not put a precise price on how much an EnLight processor would cost, because each will be made to order.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Pluto mission lifts off

A probe named New Horizons was launched on January 21, 2006 to explore the only unexplored of the solar system, Pluto.Its on a trek of 9 and 1/2 years and is the fastest object to ever leave the earth's atmosphere at 58000km/h or 16km/sec.New Horizons is the size of a toy piano. It'll slingshot off Jupiter's gravity to add another 145000km/h boost.If successful, the probe will reach Pluto, and Charon, its largest moon, in July 2015.The ashes of Clyde Tombaugh, the asronomer who discovered Pluto have been placed aboard New Horizons.

Saturday, January 7, 2006

Hindi-vital for US national security

Bush Administration has identified Hindi among half a dozen critical foreign languages vital for its national security. It now plans to spend millions of dollars in the coming years to recruit experts of these languages — Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Persian and Hindi — to teach students from kindergarten to universities.

The National Security Language Initiative aimed to strengthen the national security and prosperity in 21st century was launched by the US President, George Bush, at the US University Presidents Summit on International Education, on Wednesday.

With an initial proposed budget of $114 million in 2007, the National Security Language Initiative, the project has three broader goals. First is to expand the number of Americans mastering "critical need" languages and start at a younger age.

Second is to increase the number of advanced-level speakers of foreign languages with an emphasis on "critical needs" languages.

By 2009 it aims to produce 2,000 advance speakers of Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Persian, Hindi and Central Asian languages.

Finally, the initiative aims to increase number of foreign language teachers and resources by establishing the National Language Service Corps for Americans with proficiencies in critical languages to serve the nation.

Croc jaws

The jaws of a crocodile are powerful enough to crush the bones of a small animal, but so weak in opening that they can be hel together by hand.