Docubyte’s photographs of these aging objects have been digitally restored and returned to their original form by studio ink. Since many of the machines predate modern color photography, ‘guide to computing’ showcases them in a never-before-seen context. These massive mainframes were intended to be stood at, walked around, and sat at. The ever-evolving miniaturization of computers has rendered these objects charmingly naive and — from a modern day perspective — essentially obsolete. Set on a palette of colorful backdrops, the devices that make up the photo essay exhibit complex physical characteristics of a bygone time — a labyrinth of wires and an abundance of buttons epitomize both their beauty and fascinating mechanical attributes.
Researchers at the University of Southampton’s Optical Research Center announced on Tuesday that they’ve perfected a technique that can record data in 5 dimensions and keep it safe for billions of years. The method etches data into a thermally stable disc using femtosecond laser bursts. The storage medium itself holds up to 360 TB per disc, can withstand temperatures up to 1000 degrees C and are estimated to last up to 13.8 billion years at room temperature without degrading.
The University of Illinois’ PLATO IV terminal, part of the PLATO educational computer systems the school started developing in the ’60s, has an infrared touch panel that allows students to answer questions by touching the screen. Though other touch-screen devices existed before PLATO IV, it is the first to be widely known and used in Illinois classrooms.
After decades of progress, the speeds of microprocessors stalled around the early 2000s at 3GHz to 5GHz, mainly because silicon is reaching its physical limits. Carbon nanotubes, by contrast, can operate as transistors (or tiny electrical switches) at dimensions smaller than 10 nanometers, or 10,000 times thinner than a strand of human hair. That’s well below the size of today’s leading silicon technology (14 nanometers).
But those nanotubes are like spaghetti, and they have to be marshaled and controlled precisely to function as electronic circuitry. The contact points for the nanotubes create a lot of electrical resistance, which hinders overall performance. IBM has developed a novel way, at the atomic level, to weld — or bond — the metal molybdenum to the ends of carbon nanotubes to create a completely new contact structure.
Using this approach, the researchers in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., demonstrated the smallest contacts for carbon nanotubes at 9 nanometers, where the performance did not suffer despite the tiny dimensions. IBM’s carbon nanotube results satisfy the contact requirement all the way up to the 1.8-nanometer node (four technology generations of manufacturing technology away), showing that the technology can scale sooner than the industry thinks, IBM said.