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Tech-news archive: March-April 2007

Blue Gene
Mouse brain simulated on computer
(Apr 28, 2007)

US researchers have simulated half a virtual mouse brain on a supercomputer. The scientists ran a "cortical simulator" that was as big and as complex as half of a mouse brain on the BlueGene L supercomputer. In other smaller simulations the researchers say they have seen characteristics of thought patterns observed in real mouse brains.

Read more. Source: BBC

rack of computers at Industrial Light and magic
The power behind LucasFilm magic
(Apr 24, 2007)

The BBC News website takes a look at the computing power and storage which drives the creations of LucasFilm, effects gurus Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) and games division LucasArts. It should come as no surprise to learn that the firm behind Star Wars has a robot cleaning the floors of its data centre, at the heart of the Letterman Digital Arts Center, in San Francisco.

Read more. Source: BBC

teraflop chip
Chips stack up in third dimension
(Apr 13, 2007)

Stacks of chips, one on top of the other, will power the next generation of superfast PCs, IBM has announced. Laying chips vertically, instead of side by side, reduces the distance data has to travel by 1,000 times, making the chips faster and more efficient. Big blue has said that it will start producing the compact silicon sandwiches in 2008.

Read more. Source: BBC

French set new rail speed record
(Apr 3, 2007)

A French high-speed train (TGV) has smashed the world record for a train on rails by a big margin, reaching 574.8km/h (356mph). The previous TGV record was 515km/h (320mph), set in 1990. The record attempt by a modified TGV took place on a track between Paris and the eastern city of Strasbourg.

Read more. Source: BBC

Playstation 3
PS3 launch games put to the test
(Mar 27, 2007)

Sony's PlayStation 3 console has hit the shops in Europe, promising to deliver next-generation game experiences. But how do the games measure up? The launch line-up of games for a new console is never a true reflection of a platform's strengths and weaknesses but it can help deliver momentum.

Read more. Source: BBC

Quake video game
Rays light up life-like graphics
(Mar 17, 2007)

Computer game graphics could soon be much more realistic thanks to research at the University of Saarland, Germany. At the tech-fair Cebit, a team from the university demonstrated a lighting technique, known as ray-tracing, using relatively low-powered processors. Before now, many powerful computers were needed to generate the life-like images this technique can produce.

Read more. Source: BBC

scene from World of Warcraft
Virtual worlds set for shake-up
(Mar 10, 2007)

Big media firms are rushing to copy the success of online games like World of Warcraft, a conference has been told. Millions of dollars are being spent trying to emulate the massively multiplayer online game, experts at the Game Developer's Conference said. "We are going to have so many failures it is going to be unbelievable," said Mark Jacobs of Electronic Arts. The panel also predicted that non-gaming MMOs such as Second Life would be prevalent in the short term.

Read more. Source: BBC

Google helps terabyte data swaps
(Mar 7, 2007)

Google is developing a program to help academics around the world exchange huge amounts of data. The firm's open source team is working on ways to physically transfer huge data sets up to 120 terabytes in size. "We have started collecting these data sets and shipping them out to other scientists who want them," said Google's Chris DiBona.

Read more. Source: BBC

blackberry mobile device
The rise of technology addiction
(Mar 5, 2007)

The seemingly exponential growth of portable technology has sparked fears that people are becoming addicted or swamped by gadgets and their uses. One major consequence of this phenomenon is that the line between work and private life is much more blurred, now that e-mail and phones provide a 24-hour link between employers and staff.

Read more. Source: BBC


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