computers to understand humans the way humans
understand humans is a tremendous challenge.
Intonation and gestures, and the way they
work together, convey meaning that is usually
lost on computers. Teaching computers to listen
to how we speak and to connect intonation
to gesture could go a long way toward bringing
them up to speed.
protein orders metal bits
To withstand near-boiling temperature water you
need hearty genes. A protein produced by a bacteria
that lives in hot springs makes for a biological
material that holds up to rigorous handling. Using
genetic engineering to give the tube-like protein
sticky ends makes the material a building block
for tomorrow's computer memory, optical networks
and quantum computers.
increase Net risk
The Internet was designed to be so decentralized
that it could survive a nuclear attack. But economic
considerations are driving today's commercial Net
toward a hub-and-spoke configuration, making it
more vulnerable to catastrophic failures. A study
lays out just how the chips would fall.
pairs power quantum plan
There are lots of ideas for how to build quantum
computers, but it's far too soon to tell which,
if any, will pan out. Designs based on today's semiconductor
technology, however, seem to be gaining momentum.
A plan that uses microscopic squares of semiconductor
is angling for an advantage by following some age-old
advice -- keep it simple.
fields could speed storage
A material whose magnetic and electric orientations
line up could make for faster magnetic data storage
devices. The trick will be getting the alignment
to stick at temperatures well North of cryogenic.