24th Sep2011

Results from OPERA Neutrino experiment claim faster-than-light speeds

by Skibs

CERN has released a paper with experimental results suggesting that neutrinos may be moving slightly faster than the speed of light. The OPERA experiment, sent neutrinos from a source in Switzerland to a detector at Gran Sasso in Italy. The neutrino got there 60 nanoseconds ahead of when a particle moving the speed of light would be expected. The researchers conducting the experiment were only able to account for 10 nanoseconds worth of error in their measurement.

The result disagrees with current models of the theory of relativity, and because this is the first time such results have arisen, physicist are skeptical about the accuracy of the results. Potential sources of error that are currently being investigating include: distance errors, time-of-flight errors, and errors in the timing of neutrino production.


[Sources: ars technica #1, ars technica #2, Cornell University Library]

12th Sep2011

Faster Boot Times in Windows 8

by Skibs

The first in a series of Windows 8 “fundamentals” has been posted on the MSDN blog. This entry is concerned with improving the “cold-boot” speeds of machines running Windows 8. The new boot scheme needed to achieve three goals: 1) Effectively zero watt power when off 2) A fresh session after every boot 3) Very fast times between pressing the power button and being able to use the PC.

With this criteria in mind, a “fast startup” modification was proposed which replaces with the lengthy system initialization phase of the boot process with a load of a hiberfile created exclusively of the kernel session followed by driver initialization. With this new scheme, the new OS boasts boot-up speeds which are, on average, 30%-70% shorter than would be had on Windows 7.

[Source: MSDN]

07th Sep2011

3M and IBM Plan to Develop Adhesives for 3D Semiconductors

by Skibs

3M and IBM announced their joint plan to develop new types of adhesives which can be used to create truly three-dimensional semiconductors. The adhesive would be applied between different chips, allowing a stack of up to 100 chips to operate as a single micro-processor. The research would offer greatly improved heat conduction to the resulting brick of silicon, superseding current 3D packaging technology as a result.

“Today’s chips, including those containing ‘3D’ transistors, are in fact 2D chips that are still very flat structures,” said Bernard Meyerson, VP of Research at IBM. “Our scientists are aiming to develop materials that will allow us to package tremendous amounts of computing power into a new form factor – a silicon ‘skyscraper.’ We believe we can advance the state-of-art in packaging, and create a new class of semiconductors that offer more speed and capabilities while they keep power usage low — key requirements for many manufacturers, especially for makers of tablets and smartphones.”

[Source: IBM]