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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

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...