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The Case of the Elusive Majorana: So-Called ‘Angel Particle’ Still a Mystery Penn State News

Sam Sholtis
January 3, 2020

A study by researchers at Pennsylvania (Penn) State University and Germany’s University of Wurzburg casts doubt on the reported discovery of the chiral Majorana fermion in 2017. Analog versions of Majorana fermions are considered a potential pathway for building a topological quantum computer, with quantum bits shielded from environmental decoherence. The researchers analyzed dozens of devices similar to the one used to generate the so-called angel particle in the 2017 report. They found that the feature claimed to be the manifestation of the Majorana fermion was unlikely to be triggered by its existence. Said Penn State’s Cui-Zu Chang, “An important first step toward this distant dream of creating a topological quantum computer is to demonstrate definitive experimental evidence for the existence of Majorana fermions in condensed matter. Over the past seven or so years, several experiments have claimed to show such evidence, but the interpretation of these experiments is still debated.”


Intel’s Jim Clarke on its New Cryo-controller and why Intel isn’t Late to the Quantum Party

By John Russell

December 9, 2019

Intel today introduced the ‘first-of-its-kind’ cryo-controller chip for quantum computing and previewed a cryo-prober tool for characterizing quantum processor chips. The new controller is a mixed-signal SoC named Horse Ridge after one of the coldest regions in Oregon and is designed to operate at approximately 4 Kelvin.


Python Programming Language, AWS Skills Demand Has Exploded

Liam Tung
November 20, 2019

Analysis of Indeed.com job search engine listings over the last five years found explosive growth in demand for skills in Python, showing the coding language is the most popular one, or on its way to becoming most popular. Job listings mentioning Python climbed from 8% in September 2014 to 18% in September 2019, with the upsurge often credited to growth in data science and interest in machine learning and artificial intelligence, helped by abundant third-party Python packages and developer tools. Indeed also revealed skyrocketing demand for developers with Amazon Web Services (AWS) skills, with about 14% of current listings calling for AWS knowledge. Indeed Hiring Lab economist Andrew Flowers said, “A big reason behind the exceptional growth of Python and AWS is that the underlying tech job mix is changing in ways that favor these programming languages.”


World’s Fastest Supercomputers Hit Higher Speeds with Linux

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols
November 18, 2019

The latest Top500 supercomputer ratings found Linux-powered supercomputers currently average 1.14 petaflops in speed, with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Summit system topping the list with a High-Performance Linpack benchmark of 148.6 petaflops. Ranked second is Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Sierra system, with a speed of 94.6 petaflops, despite using the same Power9 central-processing units and Nvidia Tesla V100 graphic-processing units as Summit. Although China owns nearly half the world’s fastest supercomputers, U.S. systems have a 37.8% aggregate performance share to China’ 31.9%. The Green500 list of the most energy-efficient supercomputers ranked the A64FX prototype the top system, with 16.9 gigaflops/watt. Meanwhile, HDR InfiniBand-based machines account for 40% of the Top500’s aggregate performance, and Ethernet-based systems account for 29%.


Machine Learning Advances Tool to Fight Cybercrime in the Cloud Purdue University News

Chris Adam
November 5, 2019

Purdue University researchers used machine learning to develop a cloud forensic model that collects digital evidence associated with illegal activities in cloud storage applications. The system deploys deep learning models to classify child exploitation, illegal drug trafficking, and illegal firearms transactions uploaded to cloud storage applications, and to automatically report detection of any such illegal activities via a forensic evidence collection system. The researchers tested the system on more than 1,500 images, and found that the model accurately classified an image about 96% of the time. Said Purdue’s Fahad Salamh, “It is important to automate the process of digital forensic and incident response in order to cope with advanced technology and sophisticated hiding techniques and to reduce the mass storage of digital evidence on cases involving cloud storage applications.”


IBM Hopes to Change Weather Forecasting Around the Globe Using Big Data, Supercomputer

Steve Liesman
November 14, 2019

IBM has launched a global weather model that it says offers more accurate forecasts for the entire world and can provide details for regions as small as two miles wide. The Global High-Resolution Atmospheric Forecasting (GRAF) model runs only on IBM’s new DYEUS supercomputer, which will publish 12 trillion pieces of daily weather data and process hourly forecasts; many global weather models only update every six to 12 hours. Individuals can access data via the Weather Channel app on smartphones, and in other sources employing IBM data. DYEUS utilizes IBM’s Power 9 processing chips, and graphics processing units used in video gaming, to expedite visual output processing. GRAF, which IBM said can collect data from aircraft sensors and smartphones, will deliver forecasts of up to 15 hours for 26 million locations worldwide.


Graphene Enables Clock Rates in the Terahertz Range

 Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf
Christine Bohnet
September 10, 2018

Researchers at Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR), the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE), and the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P), all in Germany, have demonstrated that graphene can convert electronic signals with frequencies in the gigahertz range extremely efficiently into signals with several times higher frequency. The researchers used graphene containing many free electrons from the interaction of the graphene with the substrate onto which it is deposited, as well as with the ambient air. When these mobile electrons are excited by an oscillating electric field, they share their energy with the other electrons in the graphene, which react like a heated fluid. An electronic “vapor” forms within the graphene, causing rapid and strong changes in its conductivity. MPI-P researcher Mischa Bonn said, “We have demonstrated that carbon-based electronics can operate extremely efficiently at ultrafast rates. Ultrafast hybrid components made of graphene and traditional semiconductors are also conceivable.”