While Apple may be new to computer chips, it's been making its own processors ever since the original iPad and the iPhone 4. In fact, it's one of the biggest advantages to Apple's approach to design: Apple builds the chips, Apple makes the software, and Apple designs the hardware - every part of the process is under Apple's control. Now, Apple is potentially poised to bring those same benefits to its Macs. The switch to ARM - which the company refers to as "Apple silicon" - is the third major hardware platform for Macs. The most recent one was the 2005 transition from PowerPC chips to Intel, which then-CEO Steve Jobs explained was for a simple reason. Apple needed the more powerful performance and better battery efficiency that Intel's chips offered; PowerPC's roadmap just simply wasn't good enough for the devices Apple wanted to build.' After that change, Apple's laptops underwent a radical change in design. The ultra-thin Macbook Air and the unibody designs for its Macbook and MacBook Pro lineups burst onto the scene, all of which have had a huge influence on the overall computer industry while still being faster than ever before. Now, Apple is citing those same promises of improved processing power better battery life as the motivation for the latest switch to ARM, which could indicate that a smiliar leap forward in design could be coming.
A multi-disciplinary research team has shown that radiation from natural sources in the environment can limit the performance of superconducting quantum bits, know as qubits. The discovery, reported today in the journal Nature, has implications for the construction and operation of quantum computers, and advanced form of computing that has attracted billions of doallars in public and private investment globally. The collaboration between teams at the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), helps explain a mysterious source of interference limiting qubit performance. "Our study is the first to show clearly the low-level ionizing radiation in the environment degrades the performance of superconducting qubits," said John Orrell, a PNNL research physicist, a senior author of the study, and an expert in low-level radiation measurement. "These findings suggest that radiation shielding will be necessary to attain long-sought performance in quantum computers of this design." Computer engineers have known for at least a decade that natural radiation emanating from materials like concrete and pulsing through our atmosphere in the from of cosmic rays can cause digital computers to malfunction. But digital computers aren't nearly as sensitive as a quantum computer. "We found that pracitcal quantum computing with these devices will not be possible unless we address the radiation issue." said PNNL physicist Brent Van Devender, a co-investigator on the study.
Working with two companies, Xtera and KDDI Research, the research team led by Dr. Lidia Galdino (UCL Electronic & Electrical Engineering), acheived a data transmission rate of 178 terabits a second (178,000,000 megabits a second) - a speed at which it would be possible to download the entire netflix library in less than a second. The record, which is double the capacity of any system currently deployed in the world, was achieved by transmitting data through a much wider range of colors of light, or wavelengths, than is typically used in opitcal fiber. (Current infastructure uses a limited spectrum bandwisth of 4.5THz, with 9THz commercial bandwidth systems entering the market, whereas the researchers used a bandwidth of 16.8THz.) To do this, researchers combined different amplifier technologies needed to boost the signal power over this wider bandwidth and maximized speed by developing new Geometric Shaping (GS) constellations (patterns of signal combinations that make best use of the phase, brightness and polarisation properties of the light), manipulating the properties of each individual wavelength. The achievement is described in a new paper in IEEE Photonics Technology Letters. The benefit of the techniques is that it can be deployed on already existing infrastructure cost-effectivley, by upgrading the amplifiers that are located on optical fiber routes at 40-100km intervals. (Upgrading an amplifier would cost $16,000, while installing new optical fibers can, in urban areas, cost up to $450,000 a kilometer.) The new record, demonstrated in a UCL lab is a fifth faster than the previous world record held by a team in Japan.
No lines are longer than 80 characters, TYVM. Other specified properties aren't being scored automatically at this time so this is not necessarily good news...