AI
all the way
With the
slow, yet steady advancement of Artificial Intelligence, machines
and in this instance computers, are being treated with more respect
than ever before. Since 1997, when IBM's Deep Blue beat world chess
champion Garry Kasparov, the intelligence of computers has been compared
to that of humans on many occasions. The years since have seen chess
champions and experts in many fields being challenged by computers
and the results have been 'interesting' to say the least.
Are we capable
of making truly intelligent computers yet? The simple answer is
'no'. We are still quite far away from getting there, but it would
be foolish to forget the fact that all it would take is one simple
breakthrough in the field of AI to turn the world upsidedown and
cause a revolution. But the question is, 'Are we ready to handle
it yet?'
The social
implications of these super intelligent machines could be far more
significant than their effect on technology and enterprise. The
social impact of super intelligent machines could potentially be
quite dangerous as much as they could be beneficial. The milliondollar
question is, 'will intelligent computers need to have a set of moral
guidelines?' It is obvious that an intelligent entity with no grounding
in morality can threaten every department of society that it comes
into contact with, but as much as we can 'code knowledge and reason
in binary' how do we teach morality to these machines? Food for
thought, do you think?
Write in with
your views to technopage_lk@yahoo.com
The power of quantum computing
In a traditional computer, information is presented in a series
of Bits, and these must be manipulated via Boolean logic gates in
order to produce a useful end result. Similarly, a quantum computer
manipulates qubits by executing a series of quantum gates, each
a 'unitary transformation' acting on a single qubit or pair of qubits.
In applying
these gates in succession, a quantum computer can perform a complicated
unitary transformation to a set of qubits in a given initial state.
The qubits can then be measured, and this measurement will serve
as the final computational result. This similarity in calculation
between a classical and quantum computer means that in theory, a
classical computer can accurately simulate a quantum computer.
But this is
hardly the case in a practical sense. Although a classical computer
can theoretically simulate a quantum computer, it is incredibly
inefficient, so much so that a classical computer is effectively
incapable of performing many tasks that a quantum computer could
perform with ease. One example is finding the factors of, e.g. a
thousanddigit number would take much longer than the age of the
universe using today's classical computers, while a quantum computer
might find them within seconds! But why would anyone like to find
the factors of such large numbers? Actually, they are of great practical
relevance, since many of the most commonly used cryptographic algorithms
(RSA, PGP, etc.) are based on the virtual impossibility of finding
those factors of very large numbers. Thus, the availability of a
quantum computer would invalidate current security schemes previously
considered to be uncrackable.
Scientists like
Peter Shor and Lev Grover have devised quantum algorithms, which
solve a problem in polynomial time which needs exponential time
with classical computers. (Imagine the number of digits in the target
number is N and the number of digits is doubled to 2N. With exponential
growth, the time that is required to solve this would increase from
CN to C2N, where C is a constant related to the particular algorithm.
With polynomial growth on the other hand, the increase in time is
of a more relaxed pace from NC to 2NC where C is a constant.)
In 1994, Shor
invented his algorithm which would allow a quantum computer to find
the prime factors of a large number in polynomial time and this
has found potential applications in quantum cryptography (as mentioned
earlier). Shor's algorithm harnesses the power of quantum superposition
to rapidly factor very large numbers (on the order ~10200 digits
and greater) in a matter of seconds.
The second
major quantum algorithm is Grover's algorithm, which was invented
in 1997. It finds a marked item in an unsorted database containing
N entries with about square root of N queries to the database. On
a classical computer, the best algorithm needs on the order of N
queries. This is an example where quantum computing definitely provides
a speedup and undoubtedly brings many new and exciting applications.
Sent in by
Nuwan
Karunaratne
Kasparov Vs Deep Junior
The six chess games between Garry Kasparov and computer Deep
Junior came to an inconclusive end on February 8, 2003 when the
sixth and final contest ended in a draw. The last game between Kasparov
and Deep Junior ended in a draw, meaning a tie in the match. Out
of the six games, four ended in draws. The prize money of $300,000
will be shared between the programmers and Kasparov who earned $500,000
just for daring to play against a computer again. In 1997, Kasparov
was soundly thrashed by IBM's Deep Blue.
Rock and
local music news
Have you been to http://www.vurbrock.net/ yet? Then maybe you've
been missing the latest news in the world of rock music and the
local music scene. Take a look and post your comments!
Data transfer speeds
Discover data transfer speeds used in Local and Wide Area Networks
(LANs and WANs) and the Internet.
13.21 Gbps
OC255
10 Gbps
OC192
4.976 Gbps
OC96
2.488 Gbps
OC48, STS48
1.866 Gbps
OC36
1.244 Gbps
OC24
933.12 Mbps
OC18
622.08 Mbps
OC12, STS12
466.56 Mbps
OC9
155.52 Mbps
OC3, STS3
100 Mbps
CDDI, FDDI, Fast Ethernet, Category 5 cable
51.84 Mbps
OC1, STS1
44.736 Mbps
T3, DS3 North America
34.368 Mbps
E3 Europe
20 Mbps
Category 4 cable
16 Mbps
Fast Token Ring LANs
10 Mbps
Thin Ethernet, category 3 cable, cable modem
8.448 Mbps
E2 Europe
6.312 Mbps
T2, DS2 North America
6.144 Mbps
Standard ADSL downstream
4 Mbps
Token Ring LANs
3.152 Mbps
DS1c
2.048 Mbps
E1, DS1 Europe
1.544 Mbps
ADSL, T1, DS1 North America
128 Kbps
ISDN
64 Kbps
DS0, pulse code modulation
56 Kbps
56flex, U.S. Robotics x2 modems,
33.6 Kbps
56flex, x2 modem communications rate
28.8 Kbps
V.34, Rockwell V.Fast Class modems
20 Kbps
Level 1 cable, minimum cable data speed
14.4 Kbps
V.32bis modem, V.17 fax
9600 bps modem speed circa early 1990s
2400 bps
modem speed circa 1980s
Bit = smallest unit of digital information, i.e. ones & zeros
byte = a set of bits
bps = bits per second
Kbps = kilobits per second =1000 bits per second
Mbps = Million bits per second =1,000,000 bits per second
Gbps = Gigabits per second = 1,000,000,000 (one billion) bits per
second
Tbps = Terabits per second = 1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion) bits
per second
