Items tagged with computers

New research out of the University of Manchester in Britain appears to herald the imminent creation of the Cylon race.  It appears the structure for computer processors will switch from silicon to carbon, just like people, perhaps, eventually. It's not news that graphene (carbon in sheets an atom thick) conducts electricity exceptionally well. But it needs to insulate as well, and until recently, it wasn't clear it could do the job. The university's research showed graphene can be modified to insulate. What does that mean? It means there can be electronics made entirely from carbon, silicon... Read more...
Many techs will agree: antivirus programs can be a hassle. Mostly, the issues tend to stem from slower performance and similar issues that result from using an antivirus program. Still, it’s a bit of a lesser of two evils deal: you can risk getting a virus, or you can deal with lags in performance. Usually, you can count on well-known antivirus programs to only touch malicious files, but this isn’t always the case.AVG, a free antivirus scanner, recently created problems for some of its users when it mistook user32.dll, a critical Windows component, for a container for the Trojan Horses PSW.Banker4.APSA... Read more...
Researchers are planning to conduct an experiment at the University of Reading to see if humans can be fooled into thinking they are talking with another human, when in fact they will be talking with a machine. The experiment is a homage to mathematician, logician and cryptographer Alan Turning, who originally proposed the Turing Test, in which a human judge engages in a natural language conversation with one human and one machine, each of which try to appear human; if the judge cannot reliably tell which is which, then the machine is said to pass the test."Can machines think? That was the question... Read more...
You run into an interesting problem if you're a computer manufacturer. You're supposed to make your units better and faster all the time, of course, but overall the price you charge for your rigs generally gets cheaper. That means you could sell more units year over year and still end up with less revenue because each unit is worth less. It's apparently not a problem this year, as estimates for the total value of PCs sold worldwide for the year are growing at a brisk rate, and there's  a rosy outlook for revenue through 2012.IDC now expects shipments to rise 15.2 percent over last year, compared... Read more...
Sounds like a science fiction movie doesn't it?  But it's not.The newly recognized species is believed to have arrived in a cargo shipment through the port of Houston. Scientists are not sure exactly where the ants came from, but their cousins, commonly called crazy ants, are found in the Southeast and the Caribbean."At this point, it would be nearly impossible to eradicate the ant because it is so widely dispersed," said Roger Gold, a Texas A&M University entomologist.The good news? They eat fire ants, the stinging red terrors of Texas summers.They have ruined pumps at sewage pumping... Read more...
Researchers at MIT have developed chip architecture that runs on 70 percent less voltage than a conventional processor. The savings in power consumption would have profound effects on the battery life you could expect from portable devices. They may even require only movement and body heat to power chip-enabled sensors and communication devices. "It will extend the battery lifetime of portable devices in areas like medical electronics," said Anantha Chandrakasan, a professor of electrical engineering at MIT. "When you look at the digital processor, the fact is that we may be able to reduce the... Read more...
Computers have gotten to the point where they can routinely decimate the best human players at many games, but most of those games can be boiled down to simply analyzing x number of moves in advance and seeing which move(s) result in the highest probability of success.  What about games that might use a bit of instinct and intuition, especially in regards to observing betting trends?We might get an answer soon as computers are going to try to take on a pair of poker champions at their own game: Texas Hold ‘Em. “Laak will play with a partner, fellow pro Ali Eslami. The two will be in separate... Read more...
Care to guess how many computer viruses, thefts, hacker break-ins, and other security issues the Department Of Homeland Security has suffered over the past 2 years?  If you guessed over 800, you're a right! "In one instance, hacker tools for stealing passwords and other files were found on two internal Homeland Security computer systems. The agency's headquarters sought forensic help from the department's own Security Operations Center and the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team it operates with Carnegie Mellon University.In other cases, computer workstations in the Coast Guard and the Transportation... Read more...
A few government agencies and even a couple of large corporations have decided to delay purchasing Vista for the time being with reasons of (but not limited to) security, support, and high hardware requirements.  Apparently the agency in charge of the airways in the U.S. falls into the last category: "An internal memo from top technology officials at the Federal Aviation Administration cites Windows Vista's hardware requirements as a major reason why the government agency may pass on upgrading its computer systems to Microsoft's widely-hyped new operating system.The memo, which was authored just... Read more...
It looks like the trend of making more energy efficient PCs has spread from common laptops, desktops and servers, all the way up to supercomputers.  The system is designed for defense and scientific research. "Called Maxwell, the computer has been built at the University of Edinburgh and uses field programmable gate arrays (FPGA) in place of conventional processors. Its Scottish developers believe Maxwell represents a new generation of compact and energy-efficient computers. Unlike ordinary general-purpose processors, FPGA chips can be programmed to perform very specific tasks. Once that programming... Read more...
According to researchers, a simple formula calculated by a computer could be more effective then asking loved ones whether or not to 'pull the plug'. The program predicted the wishes of a patient accurately 78% of the time where as surrogates only made accurate decisions 68% of the time. Besides being more accurate then a surrogate, researches also claim the program will also preserve ethics. If the idea of a computer choosing whether you live or die gives you the creeps, advanced directives remain your best bet for specifying your future medical decisions, but very few people ever fill... Read more...
We've all heard of bits and bytes.  Ever hear of a qubit?  So it goes like this.  Bits, as we traditionally know them, are either in a 1 or 0 state.  Right, well, a qubit exists in a quantum state. So for example, it can be either 1 or 0 or both or somewhere in between.  This is the crux of quantum computing.  Sufficiently confused?  What if we told you a quantum computer or a system built with a quantum computing 16 qubit engine could carry out 64,000 calculations simultaneously in parallel universes?  Oh and a machine built with a hundreds of qubits... Read more...
First Gary Kasparov loses his match with IBM's Deep Blue, and now Vladimir Kramnik loses to Deep Fritz... "BONN, Germany (AP) - World chess champion Vladimir Kramnik lost his final game in a match against computer program Deep Fritz on Tuesday, ceding a hard-fought Man vs. Machine series 4-2. Kramnik, seeking a final win to level the match, played an unbalanced opening with Black. He built up a good position and equalized. But he then went astray, losing a pawn from which he never recovered."... Read more...
If you've ever wondered what some of today's top supercomputers are up to, this article on CNN explains many of the more common applications.  Some of them are used for tasks like forecasting weather, designing safer more fuel-efficient cars, mapping DNA, exploring the cosmos and even calculating the curvature of Pringles potato chips. "Supercomputers allow researchers to do in real time -- meaning days, weeks or months -- what could not be done during a lifetime with a single personal computer. "The amount of data that some of these... Read more...
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