The February 2023 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

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Designing a Nanotech Material: It Takes a Long Time

Material by Design is a long way off if this video is any indication

1 min read

I received some rather pointed criticism for my guest  editorial a couple of years back Material by Design: Future Science or Science Fiction? If the following video is any indication my "radical conservatism" may not have been misplaced.

In my editorial I suggested that the prospect of being able to design a material for a specific purpose is a rather long way off and that we are stuck with the 'hit or miss' iterative process that we use today for the foreseeable future.

This video shows that even the iterative process of trying to develop a material that can detect benzene can be a time consuming process and will take sudden and unexpected turns

 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/v/1nPoN-6blRQ&hl=en&fs=1&rel=0 expand=1]
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Two Startups Are Bringing Fiber to the Processor

Avicena’s blue microLEDs are the dark horse in a race with Ayar Labs’ laser-based system

5 min read
Diffuse blue light shines from a patterned surface through a ring. A blue cable leads away from it.

Avicena’s microLED chiplets could one day link all the CPUs in a computer cluster together.

Avicena

If a CPU in Seoul sends a byte of data to a processor in Prague, the information covers most of the distance as light, zipping along with no resistance. But put both those processors on the same motherboard, and they’ll need to communicate over energy-sapping copper, which slow the communication speeds possible within computers. Two Silicon Valley startups, Avicena and Ayar Labs, are doing something about that longstanding limit. If they succeed in their attempts to finally bring optical fiber all the way to the processor, it might not just accelerate computing—it might also remake it.

Both companies are developing fiber-connected chiplets, small chips meant to share a high-bandwidth connection with CPUs and other data-hungry silicon in a shared package. They are each ramping up production in 2023, though it may be a couple of years before we see a computer on the market with either product.

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