Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis


For electronic devices, photonic computer

Photonics: Because Light Travels Faster Than Electricity

Fibre optics (light) is used to transmit data via the internet but on the stationary computer, it’s the slower electrons that rule. Some researchers hope to change that

As Ryan Hamerly explains at IEEE Spectrum, optical fibers can carry more than electrical wires. But they face a limitation: But there is a big difference between communicating data and computing with it. And this is where analog optical approaches hit a roadblock. Conventional computers are based on transistors, which are highly nonlinear circuit elements—meaning that their outputs aren’t just proportional to their inputs, at least when used for computing. Nonlinearity is what lets transistors switch on and off, allowing them to be fashioned into logic gates. This switching is easy to accomplish with electronics, for which nonlinearities are a dime a dozen. But photons follow Maxwell’s equations, which are annoyingly linear, meaning that the output of an optical device…

Starlight night

Quantum Physicist: Aliens May Communicate by Starlight

Terry Rudolph of Imperial College, London, argues that they may have evolved so as to take advantage of quantum mechanics via photonics more easily than we can

Terry Rudolph of Imperial College in London argues in a recent preprint paper that technologically advanced extraterrestrials might manipulate the light from stars to send messages over great distances“ — almost like a series of interstellar smoke signals,” as science writer Dan Robitzski puts it: The physics of the ordeal get a bit dense — which is probably reasonable if aliens are rapidly communicating across star systems — but the basic idea is to use entangled photons from different stars to transmit messages that appear to be random twinkling to any nosy onlookers. Dan Robitzski, “Scientist claims that aliens may be communicating via starlight” at Futurism That’s a reason, it is suggested, why we might not “see” extraterrestrials. Rudolph’s open-access…