Friday, January 27, 2017

Scientists line up for world’s most controversial quantum computer

D-Wave quantum computer, D-Wave image.

Currently, each qubit in the processor can ‘talk’ to only six others, says Scott Pakin, a computer scientist and D-Wave scientific and technical lead at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, which has had a D-Wave computer since August. “The richer the connections, the easier and faster it is to get problems onto the D-Wave. So that’s top of my wish list.”

D-Wave is redesigning its fifth processor to increase connectivity significantly, says ­Jeremy Hilton, the company’s senior vice-president responsible for technology. (Full Story)

What to do with nukes? Blow up dangerous comets, of course

Comet Sliding Spring captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, NASA image.

When the comet Siding Spring was detected early in 2013, initial predictions suggested that there was a "non-negligible chance" that it would hit Mars the following year. Thought to be up to half a mile wide, the comet ended up missing the Red Planet by a cosmic hair's breadth, much to the disappointment of computational geophysicist Cathy Plesko.

"I think I was the most excited person on the planet!" Plesko recalled recently. "Because if it would have hit Mars, I would have had a published thesis with predictions about how that was going to go." (Full Story)

Hundreds of New Mexican startups have one thing in common

Vibrant Corp., which used Los Alamos National Laboratory technology to develop non-destructive testing systems for aircraft parts, has leveraged $5.5 million in SBIR grants to grow into a commercially viable firm with operations in the U.S. and Europe. It reached $2.5 million in revenue in 2015 and now employs 22 people in Albuquerque.

“The government looks for win-win projects to develop technologies it can benefit from and that can be viable commercially,” said Vibrant engineering manager Eric Biedermann. “We’ve used SBIR funding to improve our commercial position in the marketplace.” (Full Story)

The 4 greatest startups of all time. #4 Made in Manhattan

J. Robert Oppenheimer.

The Manhattan Project was originally known as the Manhattan Engineer District, and the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Manhattan District was assigned management of the construction work, because much of the early research had been performed at Columbia University.

But important work was going on around the country including the laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico, under the direction of J. Robert Oppenheimer. (Full Story)

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