You Tell Us: What Your Tattoo Says About You

3 min read

Researchers are hard at work on systems for identifying people based on their physical characteristics. The aim is to do a better job of verifying who you are for situations like crossing national borders or conducting financial transactions, or to ferret out your identity if you refuse to identify yourself to police. There are already huge biometric databases full of fingerprints, face scans, and genetic material. As iris and palm-vein scanners become more widespread, so will the number of database records based on those features.

Last year, Anil Jain, a Michigan State University computer science professor and coauthor of ”A Touch of Money” in the July 2006 issue of IEEE Spectrum , expanded the field of biometrics when he announced he had begun work on an automated tattoo recognition system that will allow authorities to identify people more quickly and accurately based on the ink embedded under their skin. Jain points out that tattoos and other marks cannot uniquely identify a person. But he says that his system will still be valuable because of its ability to help authorities narrow down the list of identities to which they’ll compare a suspect they have in custody.

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An IBM Quantum Computer Will Soon Pass the 1,000-Qubit Mark

The Condor processor is just one quantum-computing advance slated for 2023

4 min read
This photo shows a woman working on a piece of apparatus that is suspended from the ceiling of the laboratory.

A researcher at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center examines some of the quantum hardware being constructed there.

Connie Zhou/IBM

IBM’s Condor, the world’s first universal quantum computer with more than 1,000 qubits, is set to debut in 2023. The year is also expected to see IBM launch Heron, the first of a new flock of modular quantum processors that the company says may help it produce quantum computers with more than 4,000 qubits by 2025.

This article is part of our special report Top Tech 2023.

While quantum computers can, in theory, quickly find answers to problems that classical computers would take eons to solve, today’s quantum hardware is still short on qubits, limiting its usefulness. Entanglement and other quantum states necessary for quantum computation are infamously fragile, being susceptible to heat and other disturbances, which makes scaling up the number of qubits a huge technical challenge.

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