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Famed Pessimistic Economist Sees Hope in Nanotechnology

Nouriel Roubini waxes optimistic about nanotechnology

1 min read

Christine Peterson at the Foresight Institute who appears to be blogging again for Nanodot, picked up on a recent article in The Atlantic in which Nouriel Roubini, who became more widely known at the onset of the economic crisis for his prescient predictions of its arrival, seems to be indicating that nanotechnology  may be the way we avoid our bubble-and-bust economics.

“The question is, can the U.S. grow in a non-bubble way?” [Roubini] asked the question rhetorically, so I turned it back on him. Can it?

“I think we have to …” He paused. “You know, the potential for our future growth is going to be lower, because of the excesses we’ve had. Sustainable growth may mean investing slowly in infrastructures for the future, and rebuilding our human capital. Renewable resources. Maybe nanotechnology? We don’t know what it’s going to be. There are parts of the economy we can expect to lead to a more sustainable and less bubble-like growth. But it’s going to be a challenge to find a new growth model. It’s not going to be simple.” I took this not as pessimism but as realism.

I would like to take encouragement from this quote as Christine Peterson has, but unfortunately it makes me somewhat uneasy. If the typical behavior of humans is any guide, this will just feed some more nanotechnology hype with the end result being that we won't face "the challenge" in nanotech or in finding a new growth model, as Roubini urges.

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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.


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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