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Submission + - IBM Makes Spintronics Memory Breakthrough (

CWmike writes: "In a paper set to be published this week in the scientific journal Nature, IBM researchers are claiming a huge breakthrough in spintronics, a technology that could significantly boost capacity and lower power use of memory and storage devices. Spintronics, short for 'spin transport electronics,' uses the natural spin of electrons within a magnetic field in combination with a read/write head to lay down and read back bits of data on semiconductor material. By changing an electron's axis in an up or down orientation — all relative to the space in which it exists — physicists are able to have it represent bits of data. For example, an electron on an upward axis is a one; and an electron on a downward axis is a zero. Spintronics has long faced an intrinsic problem because electrons have only held an 'up or down' orientation for 100 picoseconds. A picosecond is one trillionth of a second [one thousandth of a nanosecond.] One hundred picoseconds is not enough time for a compute cycle, so transistors cannot complete a compute function and data storage is not persistent. In the study published in Nature, IBM Research and the Solid State Physics Laboratory at ETH Zurich announced they had found a way to synchronize electrons, which could extend their spin lifetime by 30 times to 1.1 nanoseconds, the time it takes for a 1 GHz processor to cycle."

Comment Indistinguishable from a bird? (Score 0) 269

Aircraft makers that create stealth craft have to make them indistinguishable from a bird from the perspective of a radar. I recently watched a TED talk that featured an airplane that looked and flew like a bird. Is it too much to ask that AI designed to replicate humans do so effectively?

Comment Electronics Kit and a Microcontroller (Score 0) 799

Start out with an electronics kit and get them a small 8-bit microcontroller. Use assembly. Don't go for x86 either-I pity Intel for the monster they have created. Freescale's S08 core is a nice starter-you can get a programmer for ~ $30. The reason this is better: They get to build a circuit that has a function. No matter how simple the circuit is, it is built to fulfill a specific function that they can understand. The microcontroller code can is programmed to make the circuit behave in different ways. The reason this is more fun that high-level programming for a 12-year old: At this stage in life, they want to become in control. Hoping that your event handler ends up being called is not being in control. Wondering what on earth the computer is actually doing when you give it a command is not being in control either.

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