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Submission + - Sphere Packing Solved in Higher Dimensions (quantamagazine.org)

An anonymous reader writes: In a pair of papers posted online this month, a Ukrainian mathematician has solved two high-dimensional versions of the centuries-old “sphere packing” problem. In dimensions eight and 24 (the latter dimension in collaboration with other researchers), she has proved that two highly symmetrical arrangements pack spheres together in the densest possible way.

Mathematicians have been studying sphere packings since at least 1611, when Johannes Kepler conjectured that the densest way to pack together equal-sized spheres in space is the familiar pyramidal piling of oranges seen in grocery stores. Despite the problem’s seeming simplicity, it was not settled until 1998, when Thomas Hales, now of the University of Pittsburgh, finally proved Kepler’s conjecture in 250 pages of mathematical arguments combined with mammoth computer calculations.

Science

Submission + - New Quantum Information Processing Technique Revealed (itproportal.com)

hypnosec writes: Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology Research have demonstrated a new technique for creating single photons for usage in optical quantum information processing. Researchers used a laser to excite a single atom in a cloud of ultra-cold rubidium gas. Atoms which have one or more electrons excited to a condition of near-ionization known as the Rydberg state have highly exaggerated electromagnetic properties, interacting strongly with one another. One Rydberg atom can stop the formation of further excited atoms within an area of 10 to 20 microns — which is known as the Rydberg blockade. The scientists found that if they confined the rubidium gas to an area covered by the blockade, they could ensure only one Rydberg atom would form when the laser hit the cloud. In other words, they could reliably create a single photon with well-known properties, which is important in a number of areas of research, including quantum information processing.

Submission + - Nanodot memory smashes RAM, sets new speed record (theregister.co.uk)

CPNABEND writes: Boffins in Taiwan and the University of California predict that nanoscale CMOS memory could soon be on its way after research showed nanodot memory operating 10 to 100 times faster than current RAM. The electro-optics researchers also emphasised that they had used materials that are compatible with mainstream integrated circuit technologies...
Privacy

Introducing the Invulnerable Evercookie 332

An anonymous reader writes "Using eight different techniques and locations, a 'security' guy has developed a cookie that is very, very hard to delete. If just one copy of the cookie remains, the other locations are rebuilt. My favorite storage location is in 'RGB values of auto-generated, force-cached PNGs using HTML5 Canvas tag to read pixels (cookies) back out' — awesome."
Space

Planck Mission Releases Images of Galactic Dust 40

davecl writes "The Planck satellite has released its first new science images, showing the large scale filamentary structure of cold dust in our own galaxy. This release coincides with the completion of its first survey of the entire sky a couple of weeks ago. There's lots more work to be done, and more observations to be made, before results are ready on the Big Bang, but these images demonstrate Planck's performance and capability. More information is available on the Planck mission blog (which I maintain)."

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