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A diagram of a three-dimensional indium-gallium-arsenide transistor (Image: Peter Ye, Purd...

Starting next year, computers will be available with three-dimensional transistors – these will incorporate vertical components, unlike the flat chips that we’re used to seeing. This structure will allow them to have shorter gates, which are the components that allow the transistors to switch the electrical current on and off, and to direct its flow. The shorter the gate, the faster the computer can operate. While the new 3D transistors will have a gate length of 22 nanometers, as opposed to the present length of about 45, the use of silicon as a construction material limits how much shorter they could ultimately get. That’s why scientists from Purdue and Harvard universities have created prototype 3D transistors made out of indium-gallium-arsenide – the same compound recently used in a record-breaking solar cell.  Read More

Scientists have created one of the smallest electronic circuits ever, and it has led to a ...

A team of scientists from Montreal’s McGill University have successfully formed a circuit between two wires which were separated by a gap of only 15 nanometers – that’s about the width of 150 atoms. It is reportedly “the first time that anyone has studied how the wires in an electronic circuit interact with one another when packed so tightly together.” Along with being one of the smallest electronic circuits ever created, it has also led to a discovery that may have big implications for the world of computing.  Read More

The design of an 'AND gate' created by Imperial College London scientists using E-Coli bac...

DNA is often referred to as the building block of life. Now scientists from Imperial College London have demonstrated that DNA (and bacteria) can be used to create the fundamental building blocks of a computer - logic gates. Using DNA and harmless gut bacteria, the scientists have built what they claim are the most advanced biological logic gates ever created by scientists. The research could lead to the development of a new generation of microscopic biological computing devices that, amongst other things, could travel around the body cleaning arteries and destroying cancers.  Read More

By applying electrical pulses to the new nanomaterial, a sea of small negatively charged i...

By now, we’re all fairly used to electronic devices such as smartphones, which can act as a mobile phone, computer, camera and navigation unit all at once. These devices, while multi-functional, still use different hard-wired electrical circuits for their different functions. Thanks to research being carried out at Chicago’s Northwestern University, however, all those functions may one day be able to utilize the same physical piece of electronic material – the electrical current would simply be “steered” through it differently, depending on what was needed. This means that a single section of the material could act as a resistor, rectifier, diode or transistor, as instructed by a computer.  Read More

The all-conquering smartphone seems headed for ubiquity

Over the last decade, mobile telephones have gone from being a rarity in most countries, to being carried by the vast majority of human beings. Now, according to new research, smartphone (which is actually a misnomer – it is actually a Very Personal Computer) sales will top a billion units a year by 2015 as the smartphone's share of phone shipments rockets from 15.8% in 2009, to 32.5% this year to 54.4% in 2015). Planet Earth only has 6.75 billion human inhabitants. If this trend continues, by the turn of the decade, the vast majority of human beings will be carrying a networked personal computer on their person at all times. We are undoubtedly living through a period of unprecedented change in human history.  Read More

Steve Jobs has resigned from his post as CEO of Apple (Photo: Matt Yohe)

In what was not an entirely surprising move, Steve Jobs announced yesterday that he has resigned as Chief Executive Officer of Apple. While neither Jobs nor Apple gave a reason for his resignation, it is widely suspected that his ongoing health problems played a major part in his decision. He will remain with the company as Chairman of the Board, while former Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook has taken over as CEO, in accordance with Jobs’ recommendation.  Read More

IBM has unveiled two prototype computer chips that are said to emulate the human brain (Im...

In April, the University of Southern California made the headlines when it announced that researchers there had created a functioning synthetic synapse circuit using carbon nanotubes. Well, today IBM unveiled a new class of experimental computer chips that are designed to emulate the human brain’s abilities for perception, action and cognition. According to the company, “The technology could yield many orders of magnitude less power consumption and space than used in today’s computers.”  Read More

Samsung has unveiled its SSD 830 Series, which utilizes a SATA 6 Gbps interface, and is en...

Soon there could be another reason to replace the spinning disk-based HDD in your desktop or laptop computer with a cutting-edge Solid State Drive (SSD) - Samsung has unveiled its new SSD 830 Series, which utilizes a SATA Revision 3.0 6 Gbps interface, and is encased in a brushed metal housing. It is aimed at the retail market.  Read More

Google and the Bletchley Park Trust have announced a fundraising scheme aimed at restoring...

Search giant Google has teamed up with the Bletchley Park Trust to kick start a fundraising effort to rebuild the records center known as Block C. A Google-supported garden party was held within the grounds of the famous WW2 decoding center last week to start off the restoration fund, which aims to transform the now derelict building into a visitor and learning center.  Read More

A new software tool has been developed, for getting frozen computers out of infinite loops...

There are few things as maddening as being in the middle of a task on a computer, and having the software freeze up on you. This can be particularly enraging if you haven’t backed up your work recently, and you know that the only way of “thawing out” the program will be to execute a force quit – your work will be lost, all because the (insert word of your choice here) computer didn’t know what to do next. Fortunately, however, researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have developed a tool that jolts stalled programs back into action.  Read More

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