Cray doubles manufacturing capacity

Cray Inc. has doubled down on Chippewa Falls, and a tangible sign of that is now on display just off Seymour Cray Sr. Boulevard.

That’s where a Cray sign in front of a building at 1955 Olson Drive signifies the company’s new supercomputer manufacturing facility, just a couple of miles away from its original one at 1050 Lowater Rd.

Recent upgrades at that primary manufacturing site, coupled with the new facility here, have essentially doubled Cray’s manufacturing capacity to approximately 213,000 square feet.

The move assures that Cray’s supercomputers will be made for years to come in the city where Seymour Cray launched the company back in 1972.

“For more than 40 years now, we have enjoyed a proud and storied history with Chippewa Falls, and the opening of our new manufacturing facility affirms our commitment to building our supercomputers in a town that is synonymous with Cray,” said Peter Ungaro, president and CEO of Cray.

“I am pleased our new facility is now up and running, and producing Cray supercomputers that are proudly made in Chippewa Falls.”

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Two local tech start-ups win grants for super-computer program

Peter Qian has come up with a way to get new industrial products on the market a lot faster.

Dennis Bahr is working on a neutron camera that will do a better job checking manufactured equipment for flaws and screening items for explosives.

The two Madison-area men and the young companies they have started were among six named last week to receive Computational Science Challenge Grants to work with Milwaukee Institute, a nonprofit computational research center founded in 2007.

This is the first year for the contest, with a $250,000 grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. and a matching grant for $250,000 worth of support services funded by Milwaukee private equity firm Mason Wells.

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Energy Efficient Brain Simulator Outperforms Supercomputers

Neurogrid brain simulator ushers in new level of research

April 24, 2013

In November 2012, IBM announced that it had used the Blue Gene/Q Sequoia supercomputer to achieve an unprecedented simulation of more than 530 billion neurons. The Blue Gene/Q Sequoia accomplished this feat thanks to its blazing fast speed; it clocks in at over 16 quadrillion calculations per second. In fact, it currently ranks as the second-fastest supercomputer in the world.

But, according to Kwabena Boahen, Ph.D., the Blue Gene still doesn't compare to the computational power of the brain itself.

"The brain is actually able to do more calculations per second than even the fastest supercomputer," says Boahen, a professor at Stanford University, director of the Brains in Silicon research laboratory and an NSF Faculty Early Career grant recipient.

That's not to say the brain is faster than a supercomputer. In fact, it's actually much slower. The brain can do more calculations per second because it's "massively parallel," meaning networks of neurons are working simultaneously to solve a great number of problems at once. Traditional computing platforms, no matter how fast, operate sequentially, meaning each step must be complete before the next step is begun.

Boahen works at the forefront of a field called neuromorphic engineering, which seeks to replicate the brain's extraordinary computational abilities using innovative hardware and software applications. His laboratory's most recent accomplishment is a new computing platform called Neurogrid, which simulates the activity of 1 million neurons.

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Environmentally safe electronics that also vanish in the body

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Physicians and environmentalists alike could soon be using a new class of electronic devices: small, robust and high performance, yet also biocompatible and capable of dissolving completely in water – or in bodily fluids.

Researchers at the University of Illinois, in collaboration with Tufts University and Northwestern University, have demonstrated a new type of biodegradable electronics technology that could introduce new design paradigms for medical implants, environmental monitors and consumer devices.

“We refer to this type of technology as transient electronics,” said John A. Rogers, the Lee J. Flory-Founder Professor of Engineering at the U. of I., who led the multidisciplinary research team. “From the earliest days of the electronics industry, a key design goal has been to build devices that last forever – with completely stable performance. But if you think about the opposite possibility – devices that are engineered to physically disappear in a controlled and programmed manner – then other, completely different kinds of application opportunities open up.”

Three application areas appear particularly promising. First are medical implants that perform important diagnostic or therapeutic functions for a useful amount of time and then simply dissolve and resorb in the body. Second are environmental monitors, such as wireless sensors that are dispersed after a chemical spill, that degrade over time to eliminate any ecological impact. Third are consumer electronic systems or sub-components that are compostable, to reduce electronic waste streams generated by devices that are frequently upgraded, such as cellphones or other portable devices.

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Who Really Invented the Internet?

By L. GORDON CROVITZ

Contrary to legend, it wasn't the federal government, and the Internet had nothing to do with maintaining communications during a war.

A telling moment in the presidential race came recently when Barack Obama said: "If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." He justified elevating bureaucrats over entrepreneurs by referring to bridges and roads, adding: "The Internet didn't get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all companies could make money off the Internet."

It's an urban legend that the government launched the Internet. The myth is that the Pentagon created the Internet to keep its communications lines up even in a nuclear strike. The truth is a more interesting story about how innovation happens—and about how hard it is to build successful technology companies even once the government gets out of the way.

For many technologists, the idea of the Internet traces to Vannevar Bush, the presidential science adviser during World War II who oversaw the development of radar and the Manhattan Project. In a 1946 article in The Atlantic titled "As We May Think," Bush defined an ambitious peacetime goal for technologists: Build what he called a "memex" through which "wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear, ready made with a mesh of associative trails running through them, ready to be dropped into the memex and there amplified."

That fired imaginations, and by the 1960s technologists were trying to connect separate physical communications networks into one global network—a "world-wide web." The federal government was involved, modestly, via the Pentagon's Advanced Research Projects Agency Network. Its goal was not maintaining communications during a nuclear attack, and it didn't build the Internet. Robert Taylor, who ran the ARPA program in the 1960s, sent an email to fellow technologists in 2004 setting the record straight: "The creation of the Arpanet was not motivated by considerations of war. The Arpanet was not an Internet. An Internet is a connection between two or more computer networks."

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A response piece from the LA Times.

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Northwestern Researchers Create “Rubber-Band Electronics”

For people with heart conditions and other ailments that require monitoring, life can be complicated by constant hospital visits and time-consuming tests. But what if much of the testing done at hospitals could be conducted in the patient’s home, office, or car?

Scientists foresee a time when medical monitoring devices are integrated seamlessly into the human body, able to track a patient’s vital signs and transmit them to his doctors. But one major obstacle continues to hinder technologies like these: electronics are too rigid.

Researchers at the McCormick School of Engineering, working with a team of scientists from the United States and abroad, have recently developed a design that allows electronics to bend and stretch to more than 200 percent their original size, four times greater than is possible with today’s technology. The key is a combination of a porous polymer and liquid metal.

A paper about the findings, “Three-dimensional Nanonetworks for Giant Stretchability in Dielectrics and Conductors,” was published June 26 in the journal Nature Communications.

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Rewriting Quantum Chips with a Beam of Light

Laser Technique Developed by CCNY and Berkeley Researchers Brings Ultrafast Computing Closer to Reality

The promise of ultrafast quantum computing has moved a step closer to reality with a technique to create rewritable computer chips using a beam of light. Researchers from The City College of New York (CCNY) and the University of California Berkeley (UCB) used light to control the spin of an atom’s nucleus in order to encode information.

The technique could pave the way for quantum computing, a long-sought leap forward toward computers with processing speeds many times faster than today’s. The group published their results on June 26 in “Nature Communications.”

Current electronic devices are approaching the upper limits in processing speed, and they rely on etching a pattern into a semiconductor to create a chip or integrated circuit. These patterns of interconnections serve as highways to shuttle information around the circuit, but there is a drawback.

“Once the chip is printed, it can only be used one way,” explained Dr. Jeffrey Reimer, UCB professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and the study co-author.

The team – including CCNY Professor of Physics Carlos Meriles and PhD graduate students Jonathan King of UCB and Yunpu Li of CCNY– saw a remedy for these problems in the emerging sciences of spintronics and quantum computing.

They have developed a technique to use laser light to pattern the alignment of “spin” within atoms so that the pattern can be rewritten on the fly. Such a technique may one day lead to rewritable spintronic circuits.

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Tech trend brings growth for start-up

By Guy Boulton of the Journal Sentinel

When Jim Prekop joined TeraMedica Healthcare Technology as president and CEO in 2005, the Wauwatosa company's investors asked him first to determine whether closing the start-up would be the best course.

The company opted to push ahead, and its investors now may be rewarded for their patience as the market recognizes the need for TeraMedica's software.

TeraMedica sells software for managing the millions of diagnostic images stored throughout health care systems.

The size and number of those images - digital X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, mammograms, ultrasounds - have grown exponentially with advances in technology.

They typically are stored on different systems in various departments and locations throughout a health care system. Yet they need to be accessible through the electronic health records now taking hold throughout health care.

TeraMedica's software enables those images to be stored and managed - more efficiently and for less money - from one central repository. That repository, in turn, can be linked to an electronic health record.

The company, founded in 2001, knew that image storage would become a headache at some point for health systems. But it acknowledges that it was a bit ahead of the market.

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Scientists Untangle Tough Quantum Computing Knot

By Richard Adhikari

TechNewsWorld

New research may provide the answers to overcoming one of the biggest obstacles standing in the way of the development of quantum computing: quantum decoherence. The experiment used molecular magnets, which suppress extrinsic decoherence. Extrinsic decoherence was reduced to the point where it was no longer observable, said USC's Susumu Takahashi.

A team of scientists has achieved what might prove to be a breakthrough in quantum computing.

The group has managed to partially suppress quantum decoherence, one of the major obstacles to quantum computing, by using crystalline molecular magnets.

Decoherence, which is a much-debated topic, is believed to be the loss of information from a system into the environment that fixes a system into one state.

By doing so, decoherence negates quantum states, which exist because of the entanglement of multiple electrons and molecules.

Think of it this way: A fishing net, where all the strands are linked to each other by knots, is like a quantum state. Separating out a strand by cutting the knots binding it to other strands is what happens when decoherence sets in.

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Big Blue: 100 years making things compute

By Michael Hill and Jordan Robertson, Associated Press

Endicott, N.Y. - Google, Apple and Facebook get all the attention. But the forgettable everyday tasks of technology - saving a file on your laptop, swiping your ATM card to get 40 bucks, scanning a gallon of milk at the checkout line - that's all IBM.

International Business Machines turns 100 on Thursday without much fanfare. But its much younger competitors owe a lot to Big Blue.

After all, where would Groupon be without the supermarket bar code? Or Google without the mainframe computer?

"They were kind of like a cornerstone of that whole enterprise that has become the heart of the computer industry in the U.S.," says Bob Djurdjevic, a former IBM employee and president of Annex Research.

IBM dates to June 16, 1911, when three companies that made scales, punch-clocks for work and other machines merged to form the Computing Tabulating Recording Co. The modern-day name followed in 1924.

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Civic group envisions 'design tech' cluster in Milwaukee

By Kathleen Gallagher of the Journal Sentinel

Throwing out references to "hack-a-thons" and software apps, the Greater Milwaukee Committee on Monday unveiled plans to put its weight behind creation of a second industry cluster in design technology.

The business and civic organization that counts many of the area's big-company executives among its members was a catalyst behind creation of the Milwaukee 7 Water Council.

Now it is starting to connect its corporate members to the region's geeks and entrepreneurs, and is working toward setting up a Design Tech Council, said GMC president Julia Taylor.

"We see ourselves shifting from the machine shop of the world to the design tech center of the world," Taylor said at a GMC lunch meeting.

Design technology can cover anything from software apps to engineering, but its heart is information technology, the programming and software development done by technicians who often refer to themselves as hackers. These are not nefarious types who circumvent security systems, but computer experts who have an anti-authoritarian approach to software development associated with the free software movement.

Many of the area's biggest companies were hatched in a patch of the city near First St. and Florida St., and a similar breeding ground is developing in the Grand Avenue Mall, Taylor said.

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Magical BEANs: New Nano-sized Particles Could Provide Mega-sized Data Storage

The ability of phase-change materials to readily and swiftly transition between different phases has made them valuable as a low-power source of non-volatile or “flash” memory and data storage. Now an entire new class of phase-change materials has been discovered by researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California (UC) Berkeley that could be applied to phase change random access memory (PCM) technologies and possibly optical data storage as well.  The new phase-change materials – nanocrystal alloys of a metal and semiconductor – are called “BEANs,” for binary eutectic-alloy nanostructures.

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Elm Grove firm inks licensing agreement with university

By Kathleen Gallagher of the Journal Sentinel

Sept. 8, 2010

An Elm Grove medical imaging software firm said Wednesday morning it has signed an exclusive licensing agreement with the University of Pennsylvania.

The agreement gives Imaging Biometrics LLC the right to develop and commercialize technology that could provide a more automated way to accurately evaluate a tumor's response to different treatments, the company said.

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Ultra-powerful Laser Makes Silicon Pump Liquid Uphill with No Added Energy

Researchers at the University of Rochester's Institute of Optics have discovered a way to make liquid flow vertically upward along a silicon surface, overcoming the pull of gravity, without pumps or other mechanical devices.

In a paper in the journal Optics Express, professor Chunlei Guo and his assistant Anatoliy Vorobyev demonstrate that by carving intricate patterns in silicon with extremely short, high-powered laser bursts, they can get liquid to climb to the top of a silicon chip like it was being sucked through a straw.

Unlike a straw, though, there is no outside pressure pushing the liquid up; it rises on its own accord. By creating nanometer-scale structures in silicon, Guo greatly increases the attraction that water molecules feel toward it. The attraction, or hydrophile, of the silicon becomes so great, in fact, that it overcomes the strong bond that water molecules feel for other water molecules.

Thus, instead of sticking to each other, the water molecules climb over one another for a chance to be next to the silicon. (This might seem like getting energy for free, but even though the water rises, thus gaining potential energy, the chemical bonds holding the water to the silicon require a lower energy than the ones holding the water molecules to other water molecules.) The water rushes up the surface at speeds of 3.5 cm per second.

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UWM researcher's program helps predict stem cell fates

By Mark Johnson of the Journal Sentinel

Posted: Feb. 7, 2010

A software program developed by a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee researcher successfully has predicted the fate of stem cells, a key step toward better understanding the developmental process and perhaps one day controlling it.

The program, developed by UWM's Andrew R. Cohen and described in a paper published Sunday in the journal Nature Methods, uses sophisticated mathematical techniques to study the movements of stem cells and translate those observations into reliable predictions about the kinds of cells they will eventually become.

Stem cells travel a path from less specific to more specific, from the limitless possibilities of an embryonic stem cell to the finished product - a piece of heart, brain, bone or skin. By studying the subtle behaviors that lead a cell to move toward one of these end points as opposed to the others, scientists hope they will discover ways to guide cells toward a particular path - perhaps skin to replace some that has been lost.

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QUANTUM COMPUTER CHIPS NOW ONE STEP CLOSER TO REALITY

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- In the quest for smaller, faster computer chips, researchers are increasingly turning to quantum mechanics -- the exotic physics of the small.

The problem: the manufacturing techniques required to make quantum devices have been equally exotic.

That is, until now.

Researchers at Ohio State University have discovered a way to make quantum devices using technology common to the chip-making industry today.

This work might one day enable faster, low-power computer chips. It could also lead to high-resolution cameras for security and public safety, and cameras that provide clear vision through bad weather.

Paul Berger, professor of electrical and computer engineering and professor of physics at Ohio State University, and his colleagues report their findings in an upcoming issue of IEEE Electron Device Letters.

The team fabricated a device called a tunneling diode using the most common chip-making technique, called chemical vapor deposition.

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Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation settles suit against Intel

Madison — The University of Wisconsin-Madison's patenting arm has settled its infringement lawsuit against computer chipmaker Intel Corp. involving technology used in a popular computer processor.

The case was expected to go to trial Monday in U.S. District Court in Madison, but both sides notified the court Friday they had reached a settlement. Details were not released, and Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy said he could not comment because the terms were confidential.

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation sued Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel in February 2008, alleging that technology used in Intel's Core 2 Duo Processor and others was created by university researchers but used by Intel without a licensing agreement.

The lawsuit claimed the micro-architecture of the Intel Core family of processors infringed on a 1998 patent based on work by four researchers, including Gurindar Sohi, a computer science professor. Intel had supported Sohi's research with about $90,000 in gifts in the 1990s and argued it was entitled to the intellectual property that resulted from the funding.

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Organic electronics a two-way street, thanks to new plastic semiconductor

Plastic that conducts electricity holds promise for cheaper, thinner and more flexible electronics. This technology is already available in some gadgets -- the new Sony walkman that was introduced earlier this summer and the Microsoft Zune HD music player released last week both incorporate organic light-emitting electronic displays.

Until now, however, circuits built with organic materials have allowed only one type of charge to move through them. New research from the University of Washington makes charges flow both ways. The cover article in an upcoming issue of the journal Advanced Materials describes an approach to organic electronics that allows transport of both positive and negative charges.

"The organic semiconductors developed over the past 20 years have one important drawback. It's very difficult to get electrons to move through," said lead author Samson Jenekhe, a UW professor of chemical engineering. "By now having polymer semiconductors that can transmit both positive and negative charges, it broadens the available approaches. This would certainly change the way we do things."

Co-authors are Felix Kim, a doctoral student working with Jenekhe, and graduate student Xugang Guo and assistant professor Mark Watson at the University of Kentucky. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and the Ford Foundation.

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Sonic laser or "Saser"

PA163/09

It was an idea born out of curiosity in the physics lab, but now a new type of ‘laser’ for generating ultra-high frequency sound waves instead of light has taken a major step towards becoming a unique and highly useful 21st century technology.

Scientists at The University of Nottingham, in collaboration with colleagues in the Ukraine, have produced a new type of acoustic laser device called a Saser. It’s a sonic equivalent to the laser and produces an intense beam of uniform sound waves on a nano scale. The new device could have significant and useful applications in the worlds of computing, imaging, and even anti-terrorist security screening.

Where a ‘laser’,(Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation), uses packets of electromagnetic vibrations called ‘photons’, the ‘Saser’ uses sound waves composed of sonic vibrations called ‘phonons’. In a laser, the photon beam is produced by stimulating electrons with an external power source so they release energy when they collide with other photons in a highly reflective optical cavity. This produces a coherent and controllable shining beam of laser light in which all the photons have the same frequency and rate of oscillation. From supermarket scanners to DVD players, surgery, manufacturing and the defence industry, the application of laser technology is widespread.

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A Billion Year Ultra-Dense Memory Chip

When it comes to data storage, density and durability have always moved in opposite directions - the greater the density the shorter the durability. For example, information carved in stone is not dense but can last thousands of years, whereas today’s silicon memory chips can hold their information for only a few decades. Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California (UC) Berkeley have smashed this tradition with a new memory storage medium that can pack thousands of times more data into one square inch of space than conventional chips and preserve this data for more than a billion years!

This video shows an iron nanoparticle shuttle moving through a carbon nanotube in the presence of a low voltage electrical current. The shuttle’s position inside the tube can function as a high-density nonvolatile memory element. (Courtesy of Zettl Research Group) “We’ve developed a new mechanism for digital memory storage that consists of a crystalline iron nanoparticle shuttle enclosed within the hollow of a multiwalled carbon nanotube,” said physicist Alex Zettl who led this research.

“Through this combination of nanomaterials and interactions, we’ve created a memory device that features both ultra-high density and ultra-long lifetimes, and that can be written to and read from using the conventional voltages already available in digital electronics.”

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IMAGING BIOMETRICS AND CLARIO MEDICAL IMAGING ANNOUNCE INTEGRATION AND DISTRIBUTION OF IB NEURO™ AND ZVISION™

Seattle, WA and Elm Grove, WI (June 3, 2009) – Clario Medical Imaging and Imaging Biometrics announced today that their two products (zVision™ and IB Neuro™) have been integrated. Clario will be non-exclusively offering the IB Neuro plug-in for sale to current and future zVision customers. The combined software will be demonstrated at the upcoming SIIM ’09 meeting in Charlotte, NC.

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Mequon company helps smash subatomic particles

Mequon - John DeFord has a red-blooded American boy's dream job:

He helps people get things going really fast so they can smash them and watch what happens.

In a bland suburban office building shared with an accountant, a lawyer and a psychic adviser, DeFord maintains a remote outpost in the quest to understand the most fundamental forces and structure of nature.

His small company, Simulation Technology and Applied Research Inc., works with physicists and engineers at the country's leading particle accelerators - massive complexes designed to hurl bits of atoms through tubes at 600 million mph or so, then ram them into a target and break them into even tinier pieces.

The idea is to find out what the universe is really made of.

A couple thousand years ago, we thought it all broke down to fire, water, earth and air. Today, we're beyond protons, neutrons and electrons to even tinier bits of matter, but there's still a long way to go.

"Our role in this is not to understand the particle physics part of it, but to help engineers design the machine that the particle physicists use," DeFord said.

Simulation Technology, he said, is one of a handful of firms creating software for modeling and designing components of particle accelerators. The company's software has been used at such facilities as the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill., and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park, Calif.

Physicists at these places study such subatomic things as neutrinos, bosons and quarks. Should one of them identify the Higgs boson, a long-theorized but as-yet-undetected bit of cosmic dust that would answer some of the most puzzling questions about matter, they'll probably win the Nobel Prize.

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Medical College of Wisconsin Microwave Engineers in Biophysics Awarded NIH Grant for EPR Spectroscopy in Aqueous Solutions

The Medical College of Wisconsin has received a four-year, $1.6 million grant from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering of the National Institutes of Health to advance microwave engineering in electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy. EPR is a form of microwave spectroscopy used to study matter on a molecular level. 

In biomedical EPR, the sample (for example, a protein) is nearly always in water. When exposed to microwave radiation, it tends to absorb energy and may become warm, just as in a microwave oven, which can invalidate the data. 

Most people have had experience with microwave ovens and radar weather reports. Both were developed by microwave engineers, who constitute a branch of electrical engineering. The Medical College has a distinguished group of microwave engineers, members of the research team at its National Biomedical Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) Center in the department of biophysics. 

This team has developed special techniques to avoid change of temperature. This grant will help further advance these new techniques by high-frequency modeling of microwave fields for samples in water.

James S. Hyde, Ph.D., professor of biophysics and director of the National Biomedical EPR Center, is principal investigator for the new grant. Other research team members are visiting professor of biophysics, Wojciech Froncisz, Ph.D., D.Sc., professor of biophysics, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland; associate adjunct professor of biophysics, Richard R. Mett, Ph.D., associate professor of physics and chemistry, Milwaukee School of Engineering; and Jason W. Sidabras, microwave engineer III, and James R. Anderson, engineer III, both in the department of biophysics at the Medical College.

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Superfast internet may replace world wide web

By Lewis Carter
Last Updated: 2:47am BST 07/04/2008

The internet could soon be made obsolete by a new "grid" system which is 10,000 times faster than broadband connections.

Scientists in Switzerland have developed a lightning-fast replacement to the internet that would allow feature films and music catalogues to be downloaded within seconds.

The invention could signal the end of the dreaded 'frozen screen', when computers seize up after being asked to process too much information.

The latest spin-off from Cern, the particle physics centre that created the internet, the grid could also provide the power needed to send sophisticated images; allow instant online gaming with hundreds of thousands of players; and offer high-definition video telephony for the price of a local call.

David Britton, professor of physics at Glasgow University and a leading figure in the grid project, believes grid technology could change society.

He said: "With this kind of computing power, future generations will have the ability to collaborate and communicate in ways older people like me cannot even imagine."

The power of the grid will be unlocked this summer with the switching on of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a new particle accelerator designed to investigate how the universe began.

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UW accuses Intel in federal lawsuit

Research arm alleges patent violation

By PAUL GORES

Intel Corp.'s popular Core 2 Duo processor, the brain of many of today's personal computers, includes technology created by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers, according to a federal lawsuit accusing Intel of patent infringement.

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the university's licensing arm, claims that while its application for a patent on the technology was pending, one of its inventors met with Intel and offered to discuss licensing it for use in future Intel products.

But instead of discussing licensing, Intel incorporated the patented technology into its products, including the Core 2 Duo processor, the research foundation's lawsuit says. Intel refuses to obtain a license from the research foundation, the lawsuit contends,

The lawsuit characterizes the technology, which improves computer efficiency and speed, as "a pioneering invention that has been widely recognized as a significant advance in computer microprocessing both by researchers in the field and those in industry."

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Algae could be key to faster computer chips

The key to the next big computer chip breakthrough could be tiny algae that encase themselves in intricately patterned, glass-like shells.

The unicellular algae, called diatoms, exist in oceans, lakes and even wet soil and build their hard cell walls by laying down microscopic lines of silica, a compound related to the key material of the semiconductor-industry silicon.

"If we can genetically control that process, we would have a whole new way of performing the nanofabrication used to make computer chips," Michael Sussman, a UW-Madison biochemistry professor and director of the UW-Madison's Biotechnology Center, said in a UW press release.

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Photon-transistors for the supercomputers of the future

Scientist from the Niels Bohr Institute at University of Copenhagen and from Harvard University have worked out a new theory which describe how the necessary transistors for the quantum computers of the future may be created. The research has just been published in the scientific journal Nature Physics.

How to build a supercomputer

Researchers dream of quantum computers. Incredibly fast super computers which can solve such extremely complicated tasks that it will revolutionise the application possibilities. But there are some serious difficulties. One of them is the transistors, which are the systems that process the signals.

Today the signal is an electrical current. For a quantum computer the signal can be an optical one, and it works using a single photon which is the smallest component of light.

“To work, the photons have to meet and “talk”, and the photons very rarely interact together” says Anders Søndberg Sørensen who is a Quantum Physicist at the Niels Bohr Institute. He explains that light does not function like in Star Wars, where the people fight with light sabres and can cross swords with the light. That is pure fiction and can’t happen. When two rays of light meet and cross, the two lights go right through each other. That is called linear optics.

What he wants to do with the light is non-linear optics. That means that the photons in the light collide with each other and can affect each other. This is very difficult to do in practice. Photons are so small that one could never hit one with the other. Unless one can control them – and it is this Anders Sørensen has developed a theory about.

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Transparent transistors to bring future displays, 'e-paper'

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Researchers have used nanotechnology to create transparent transistors and circuits, a step that promises a broad range of applications, from e-paper and flexible color screens for consumer electronics to "smart cards" and "heads-up" displays in auto windshields.The transistors are made of single "nanowires," or tiny cylindrical structures that were assembled on glass or thin films of flexible plastic.

 

"The nanowires themselves are transparent, the contacts we put on them are transparent and the glass or plastic substrate is transparent," said David Janes, a researcher at Purdue University's Birck Nanotechnology Center and a professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

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From a failure comes success

HARVEY BLACK For the State Journal

Gillware is a Madison company whose beginning was failure - specifically the failure of the hard drive on the computer of Tyler Gill, one of its founders.

The year was 2003.

The UW-Madison student was faced with what could be called the nightmare of anyone who uses a desktop or laptop computer.

Could he find a company to recover the data on that failed hard drive?

"I was looking around and couldn't find anything cheaper than $1,200 or $2,500. I didn't have $200 to spend on it," he said.

The hard drive is a thin, rapidly spinning disc on which all the computer's data and operating software are stored.

If it fails - and it can fail for mechanical, electronic or software reasons - a computer owner is faced with a serious problem.

Can the data, which can include everything from personally valuable photos to business information, be recovered?

Well, Tyler Gill and his roommates - including his brother, Brian, and Greg Piefer - started a company called Gillware with that mission in mind. Today, Tyler Gill is vice president and chief operating officer of the company.

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Wow! Astronomers Explode a Virtual Star

Jeanna Bryner
Staff Writer
SPACE.comThu Mar 22, 5:30 PM ET

For years astronomers have tried in vain to blow up an Earth-size star using strings of computer code. Finally, mission accomplished. And the resulting 3-D simulation has revealed the step-by-step process that fuels such an explosion.

Dubbed white dwarfs, stars about the size of Earth and weighing as much as the Sun end their lives with quite a show. When their core furnace begins to burn out, white dwarfs explode in so-called type-1a supernovas that astronomers say could be responsible for producing most of the iron in the universe.

Until now, a peek beneath the hood of such a white-dwarf explosion has been tricky.

Prior attempts to produce the simulated explosion required scientists manually tell the computer model to detonate the star, which meant the model was not quite right or it would have generated its own cataclysm. With more tweaking of models, University of Chicago scientists generated natural detonations of white dwarf stars in simplified, two-dimensional simulations.

"There were claims made that it wouldn't work in 3-D," said Don Lamb, director of the University of Chicago's Center for Astrophysical Thermonuclear Flashes. With some extreme computing, the team produced a 3-D detonation.

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Teraflops chip points to future

A chip with 80 processing cores and capable of more than a trillion calculations per second (teraflops) has been unveiled by Intel.

The Teraflops chip is not a commercial release but could point the way to more powerful processors, said the firm.

The chip achieves performance on a piece of silicon no bigger than a fingernail that 11 years ago required a machine with 10,000 chips inside it.

The challenge is to find a way to program the many cores simultaneously.

Current desktop machines have up to four separate cores, while the Cell processor inside the PlayStation 3 has eight (seven of them useable). Each core is effectively a programmable chip in its own right.

But to take advantage of the extra processing power, programmers need to gives instructions to each core that work in parallel with one another.

There are already specialist chips with multiple cores - such as those used in router hardware and graphics cards - but Dr Mark Bull, at the Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre, said multi-core chips were forcing a sea-change in the programming of desktop applications.

"It's not too difficult to find two or four independent things you can do concurrently, finding 80 or more things is more difficult, especially for desktop applications.

"It is going to require quite a revolution in software programming.

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Chips push through nano-barrier

The next milestone in the relentless pursuit of smaller, higher performance microchips has been unveiled.

Chip-maker Intel has announced that it will start producing processors using transistors with features just 45 nanometres (billionth of a metre) wide.

Shrinking the technology that underpins the basic building blocks of chips will make them faster and more efficient.

Computer giant IBM has also signalled its intention to start production of microchips using the technology.

"Big Blue", which developed the technology with partners Toshiba, Sony and AMD, intends to incorporate the transistors into its chips in 2008.

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New Technique Stores and Retrieves Entire Image from a Single Photon

Ultra-Dense Optical Storage — on One Photon

Researchers at the University of Rochester have made an optics breakthrough that allows them to encode an entire image's worth of data into a photon, slow the image down for storage, and then retrieve the image intact.

While the initial test image consists of only a few hundred pixels, a tremendous amount of information can be stored with the new technique.

The image, a "UR" for the University of Rochester, was made using a single pulse of light and the team can fit as many as a hundred of these pulses at once into a tiny, four-inch cell. Squeezing that much information into so small a space and retrieving it intact opens the door to optical buffering—storing information as light.

"It sort of sounds impossible, but instead of storing just ones and zeros, we're storing an entire image," says John Howell, assistant professor of physics and leader of the team that created the device, which is revealed in today's online issue of the journal Physical Review Letters. "It's analogous to the difference between snapping a picture with a single pixel and doing it with a camera—this is like a 6-megapixel camera."

"You can have a tremendous amount of information in a pulse of light, but normally if you try to buffer it, you can lose much of that information," says Ryan Camacho, Howell's graduate student and lead author on the article. "We're showing it's possible to pull out an enormous amount of information with an extremely high signal-to-noise ratio even with very low light levels."

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NIST physicists boost 'entanglement' of atom pairs

Nondestructive method may be useful in quantum computing and communications
Entanglement
Picture by Bill Pietsch, Astronaut 3 Media Group Inc.

BOULDER, Colo.--Physicists at the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have taken a significant step toward transforming entanglement--an atomic-scale phenomenon described by Albert Einstein as "spooky action at a distance"--into a practical tool. They demonstrated a method for refining entangled atom pairs (a process called purification) so they can be more useful in quantum computers and communications systems, emerging technologies that exploit the unusual rules of quantum physics for pioneering applications such as "unbreakable" data encryption.

The NIST work, reported in the Oct. 19, 2006, issue of Nature,* marks the first time atoms have been both entangled and subsequently purified; previously, this process had been carried out only with entangled photons (particles of light). The NIST demonstration also is the first time that scientists have been able to purify particles nondestructively. Direct measurement would destroy the delicate entangled state of atom pairs; the new experiment gets around this problem by entangling two pairs of atoms and measuring only one pair.

Entanglement is a curious property of quantum physics that links the condition and behavior of two or more particles, such as atoms or photons. Entanglement can occur spontaneously when two atoms interact. For the initial interaction, the atoms have to be in close proximity, but the entanglement may persist even if they are physically moved apart. The quality of the entanglement can be degraded by many environmental factors, such as fluctuating magnetic fields, so the process and the transport of entangled particles need to be tightly controlled in technological applications. The purification process implemented at NIST can clean up or remove any distortions or "noise" regardless of the source by processing two or more noisy entangled pairs to obtain one entangled pair of higher purity.

"We demonstrated entanglement purification with relatively high success rates in an ion trap system that could be scaled up to build quantum computers of a practical size," says Dietrich Leibfried, an author of the paper and designer of the experiment. "It's a more complicated procedure than anything we've demonstrated before, and it will be useful in many contexts once we improve our purification procedures."

The NIST team used ultraviolet lasers to entangle two pairs of beryllium ions (electrically charged atoms) in an electromagnetic trap. A similar process was used to cross-entangle the entangled pairs--that is, to entangle each member of the first pair with its counterpart in the second pair. Then the first pair of ions was measured, and the results were used as an indication of whether the second pair (unmeasured, and thus with its quantum state intact) was entangled with higher purity. Additional tests were performed to verify that the quality of the entanglement had indeed improved.

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UC Santa Barbara and Intel develop world's first Hybrid Silicon Laser

UC Santa Barbara and Intel develop world's first Hybrid Silicon Laser
Chip that emits and guides light could drive silicon photonics

SANTA BARBARA, Calif., Sept. 18, 2006 – Researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) and Intel Corporation have built the world's first electrically powered Hybrid Silicon Laser using standard silicon manufacturing processes. This breakthrough addresses one of the last major barriers to producing low-cost, high-bandwidth silicon photonics devices for use inside and around future computers and data centers.

The researchers were able to combine the light-emitting properties of Indium Phosphide with the light-routing capabilities of silicon into a single hybrid chip. When voltage is applied, light generated in the Indium Phosphide enters the silicon waveguide to create a continuous laser beam that can be used to drive other silicon photonic devices. A laser based on silicon could drive wider use of photonics in computers because the cost can be greatly reduced by using high-volume silicon manufacturing techniques.

"This could bring low-cost, terabit-level optical 'data pipes' inside future computers and help make possible a new era of high-performance computing applications," said Mario Paniccia, director of Intel's Photonics Technology Lab. "While still far from becoming a commercial product, we believe dozens, maybe even hundreds of hybrid silicon lasers could be integrated with other silicon photonic components onto a single silicon chip."

"Our research program with Intel highlights how industry and academia can work together to advance the state of science and technology," said John Bowers, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at UC Santa Barbara. "By combining UCSB's expertise with Indium Phosphide and Intel's silicon photonics expertise, we have demonstrated a novel laser structure based on a bonding method that can be used at the wafer-, partial-wafer or die-level, and could be a solution for large-scale optical integration onto a silicon platform. This marks the beginning of highly integrated silicon photonic chips that can be mass produced at low cost."

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Cell-sized 3-D structure could hold key for next-gen hard drives

Physicists trap, map tiny magnetic vortex
Cell-sized 3-D structure could hold key for next-gen hard drives

In a research first that could lead to a new generation of hard drives capable of storing thousands of movies per square inch, physicists at Rice University have decoded the three-dimensional structure of a tornado-like magnetic vortex no larger than a red blood cell.

"Understanding the nuances and functions of magnetic vortices is likely going to be a key in creating next-generation magnetic storage devices," said lead researcher Carl Rau, professor of physics and astronomy. "It's widely believed this technology will support storage densities in the range of terabits per square inch, and our group is equally excited about the potential for magnetic processors and for high-speed magnetic RAM."

The findings are available online and due to appear in an upcoming issue of Physical Review Letters.

Rau and postdoctoral researcher Jian Li used a one-of-a-kind scanning ion microscope to first create and then measure ultra-thin circular disks of soft magnetic cobalt. Their goal was to trap and image a single magnetic vortex, a cone-like structure that's created in the magnetic field at the disk when all the magnetic moments of the atoms in the disk align into uniform concentric circles. However, towards the core of the disk, the magnetic moments point more and more out of the plane of the disk, like a swirling cone. If the vortex spins in a right-handed direction, the cone points up, and if the vortex spins left, the cone points down.

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UA Physicists Invent 'QuIET'- Single Molecule Transistors

UA Physicists Invent 'QuIET'- Single Molecule Transistors

By Lori Stiles
August 30, 2006

University of Arizona physicists have discovered how to turn single molecules into working transistors. It's a breakthrough needed to make the next-generation of remarkably tiny, powerful computers that nanotechnologists dream of.

They have applied for a patent on their device, called Quantum Interference Effect Transistor, nicknamed "QuIET." The American Chemical Society publication, "Nano Letters," has published the researchers' article about it online at Nano Letters. The research is planned as the cover feature in the print edition in November.

A transistor is a device that switches electrical current on and off, just like a valve turns water on and off in a garden hose. Industry now uses transistors as small as 65 nanometers. The UA physicists propose making transistors as small as a single nanometer, or one billionth of a meter.

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Radical 'Ballistic Computing' Chip Bounces Electrons Around Like Billiards

Radical 'Ballistic Computing' Chip Bounces Electrons Around Like Billiards

"Everyone has been trying to make better transistors by modifying current designs, but what we really need is the next paradigm," says Quentin Diduck, a graduate student at the University who thought up the radical new design. "We've gone from the relay, to the tube, to semiconductor physics. Now we're taking the next step on the evolutionary track."

That next step goes by the imposing name of "Ballistic Deflection Transistor," and it's as far from traditional transistors as tubes. Instead of running electrons through a transistor as if they were a current of water, the ballistic design bounces individual electrons off deflectors as if playing a game of atomic billiards.

Though today's transistor design has many years of viability left, the amount of heat these transistors generate and the electrical "leaks" in their ultra-thin barriers have already begun to limit their speed. Research groups around the world are investigating strange new designs to generate ways of computing at speeds unthinkable with today's chips. Some of these groups are working on similar single-electron transistors, but these designs still compute by starting and stopping the flow of electrons just like conventional designs. But the Ballistic Deflection Transistor adds a new twist by bouncing the electrons into their chosen trajectories—using inertia to redirect for "free," instead of wrestling the electrons into place with brute energy.

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UW-Madison team invents fast, flexible computer chips on plastic

UW-Madison team invents fast, flexible computer chips on plastic

Madison -- New thin-film semiconductor techniques invented by University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers promise to add sensing, computing and imaging capability to an amazing array of materials.

Historically, the semiconductor industry has relied on flat, two-dimensional chips upon which to grow and etch the thin films of material that become electronic circuits for computers and other electronic devices. But as thin as those chips might seem, they are quite beefy in comparison to the result of a new UW-Madison semiconductor fabrication process detailed in the current issue of the Journal of Applied Physics.

A team led by electrical and computer engineer Zhenqiang (Jack) Ma and materials scientist Max Lagally have developed a process to remove a single-crystal film of semiconductor from the substrate on which it is built. This thin layer (only a couple of hundred nanometers thick) can be transferred to glass, plastic or other flexible materials, opening a wide range of possibilities for flexible electronics. In addition, the semiconductor film can be flipped as it is transferred to its new substrate, making its other side available for more components. This doubles the possible number of devices that can be placed on the film.

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New Ion Trap May Lead to Large Quantum Computers

Physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have designed and built a novel electromagnetic trap for ions that could be easily mass produced to potentially make quantum computers large enough for practical use. The new trap, described in the June 30 issue of Physical Review Letters,* may help scientists surmount what is currently the most significant barrier to building a working quantum computer—scaling up components and processes that have been successfully demonstrated individually.

Quantum computers would exploit the unusual behavior of the smallest particles of matter and light. Their theoretical ability to perform vast numbers of operations simultaneously has the potential to solve certain problems, such as breaking data encryption codes or searching large databases, far faster than conventional computers. Ions (electrically charged atoms) are promising candidates for use as quantum bits (qubits) in quantum computers. The NIST team, one of 18 research groups worldwide experimenting with ion qubits, previously has demonstrated at a rudimentary level all the basic building blocks for a quantum computer, including key processes such as error correction, and also has proposed a large-scale architecture.

Quatum_computer

Photo: Signe Seidelin and John Chiaverini/NIST

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Robot device mimics human touch

Robot device mimics human touch
By Rebecca Morelle
Science reporter, BBC News

A device which may pave the way for robotic hands that can replicate the human sense of touch has been unveiled.

US scientists have created a sensor that can "feel" the texture of objects to the same degree of sensitivity as a human fingertip.

The team says the tactile sensor could, in the future, aid minimally invasive surgical techniques by giving surgeons a "touch-sensation".

The research is reported in the journal Science.

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Honda Says Brain Waves Control Robot

May 25, 7:44 AM EDT

Honda Says Brain Waves Control Robot

By YURI KAGEYAMA
AP Business Writer

TOKYO (AP) -- In a step toward linking a person's thoughts to machines, Japanese automaker Honda said it has developed a technology that uses brain signals to control a robot's very simple moves.

In the future, the technology that Honda Motor Co. developed with ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories could be used to replace keyboards or cell phones, researchers said Wednesday. It also could have applications in helping people with spinal cord injuries, they said.

In a video demonstration in Tokyo, brain signals detected by a magnetic resonance imaging scanner were relayed to a robotic hand. A person in the MRI machine made a fist, spread his fingers and then made a V-sign. Several seconds later, a robotic hand mimicked the movements.

Further research would be needed to decode more complex movements.

The machine for reading the brain patterns also would have to become smaller and lighter - like a cap that people can wear as they move about, said ATR researcher Yukiyasu Kamitani.

What Honda calls a "brain-machine interface" is an improvement over past approaches, such as those that required surgery to connect wires. Other methods still had to train people in ways to send brain signals or weren't very accurate in reading the signals, Kamitani said.

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Neurognostics signs a strategic partnership with Medical Numerics

Neurognostics signs a strategic partnership with Medical Numerics

Milwaukee, WI, March 29, 2006 – Neurognostics, Inc., a Milwaukee-based company specializing in functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) products and services, has signed a strategic partnership agreement with Medical Numerics, Inc., a software development company specializing in medical image visualization and analysis.

Working to provide the clinical community with the most comprehensive functional MR Imaging fMRI tools and applications, Neurognostics and Medical Numerics today announced a strategic alliance to deliver a new line of products to enhance fMRI’s utility in a clinical setting. The new product line will be based on Medical Numerics’ proprietary fMRI tool set, and Neurognostics’ MindState fDPD fMRI application software.

“We are thrilled about the opportunity to work with Medical Numerics,” said Neurognostics’ CEO, Douglas M. Tucker, Ph.D., M.B.A. “Both of our goals include advancing fMRI technology into clinical practice. It made sense for us to collaborate on our efforts to develop clinically useful fMRI tools and make them available to the clinical community. We explored a range of options to deliver fMRI tools into the hands of clinicians worldwide and concluded that Medical Numerics’ fMRI software solutions were by far the best. By partnering with Medical Numerics, we have the opportunity to add value by integrating our fMRI applications knowledge and expertise into one of the leading image visualization and analysis applications, and ultimately, leverage our expertise into the marketplace through Medical Numerics’ software applications and its scanner OEM relationships.”

“I am very excited about working with Neurognostics,” said Bob Steagall, Chief Operating Officer of Medical Numerics. “In combining their domain expertise in fMRI for detecting and staging central nervous system disorders with our expertise in software engineering and fMRI for neurosurgical planning, we will be able to offer our scanner OEM partners a set of fMRI applications of unmatched clinical utility. Our OEM partners will in turn be able to provide leading-edge clinical fMRI tools of the highest quality to their customers, ultimately benefiting the patient.”

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State hopes to blanket cities with wireless Internet access

State hopes to blanket cities with wireless Internet access

(Published Thursday, January 19, 2006 07:29:41 AM CST)

By Dinesh Ramde
Associated Press

MILWAUKEE - When she needs to surf the Internet away from school, Jennifer Roeh's only option is to stop by a local coffee shop.

. . .

Matt Miszewski, Wisconsin's chief information officer, said making Wi-Fi access a priority would build the state's reputation for technology savvy.

"We want businesspeople to know they can land at the airport and have connectivity from the airport all the way to their hotel rooms," he said.


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Software makes MRI more useful

A new way to look at the brain
Software makes MRI more useful
By KATHLEEN GALLAGHER
kgallagher@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Dec. 23, 2005

Many doctors want to use the groundbreaking information a new generation of imaging machines is producing but don't know how.

A 1-year-old spinoff from the Medical College of Wisconsin aims to show them the way.

Kyron Clinical Imaging Inc., founded by three Medical College radiology professors, has a part-time employee and no product yet.

But the Wauwatosa company received Food & Drug Administration clearance this week to market its BrainViewRx Viewer; has four patents with three more pending; and is operating in one of the hottest areas in medical research.

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Biggest Wi-Fi Cloud Is in Rural Oregon

Biggest Wi-Fi Cloud Is in Rural Oregon
Oct 16 9:16 PM US/Eastern

By RUKMINI CALLIMACHI
Associated Press Writer

HERMISTON, Ore.

Parked alongside his onion fields, Bob Hale can prop open a laptop and read his e-mail or, with just a keystroke, check the moisture of his crops.

As the jack rabbits run by, he can watch CNN online, play a video game or turn his irrigation sprinklers on and off, all from the air conditioned comfort of his truck.

While cities around the country are battling over plans to offer free or cheap Internet access, this lonely terrain is served by what is billed as the world's largest hotspot, a wireless cloud that stretches over 700 square miles of landscape so dry and desolate it could have been lifted from a cowboy tune.

Similar wireless projects have been stymied in major metropolitan areas by telephone and cable TV companies, which have poured money into legislative bills aimed at discouraging such competition. In Philadelphia, for instance, plans to blanket the entire city with Wi- Fi fueled a battle in the Pennsylvania legislature with Verizon Communications Inc., leading to a law that limits the ability of every other municipality in the state to do the same.

But here among the thistle, large providers such as local phone company Qwest Communications International Inc. see little profit potential. So wireless entrepreneur Fred Ziari drew no resistance for his proposed wireless network, enabling him to quickly build the $5 million cloud at his own expense.

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Patents office rejects Microsoft FAT bid

Patents office rejects Microsoft FAT bid
By Matthew Broersma, Techworld

The US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has issued a preliminary rejection of two patents key to Microsoft's control of the FAT file system.

FAT has been in use since the 1970s, and is widely used in removable media such as USB memory sticks and cameras. Microsoft claims it developed FAT in 1976, and was granted a patent on the system in 1996. It began licensing the system to third parties in late 2003 and has signed up several major licensees, including Rockwell International, Creative Technology and Seiko, according to the company.

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AmberWave Files Patent Suit Against Intel

AmberWave Files Patent Suit Against Intel

By Ed Sutherland
July 20, 2005 4:03PM

"As an engineering firm, we are very proud of the significant advances offered by our patent-protected technologies," said AmberWave CEO Richard Faubert. "We have no choice but to defend our intellectual property rights."

Chipmaking giant Intel is facing yet another lawsuit, this time for technology used in the semiconductor-manufacturing process to reduce the heat and increase the speed of processors designed for mobile devices.

The lawsuit, filed by Salem, N.H.-based AmberWave Systems in Texas, alleges that Intel is infringing AmberWave's patent involving the processor-creation technology called strained silicon.

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European Antitrust Regulators Search Various Intel Offices

Regulators Search Various Intel Offices

By PAUL AMES, Associated Press Writer 12 minutes ago

BRUSSELS, Belgium - European regulators raided Intel Corp. offices in Britain, Germany, Spain and Italy on Tuesday, two weeks after rival U.S. chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices filed lawsuits in Japan and the United States claiming Intel violated antitrust rules.

Investigators also visited offices of companies that make or sell computers. Dell Inc. offices in Britain were among them, said company spokesman Jess Blackburn in Austin, Texas.

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