The Top 500 June 2016 Update

The June update of the top 500 is available. A new Chinese computer tops the list: Sunway TaihuLight.

After 5 consecutive flat results we are once again on the exponential growth curve, the fastest computer in the world should reach 1.0 exaflops in 2020. The sum of the top 500 fastest computers may hit an exaflop next year. Intel clusters continue to dominate the platform, there is no evidence of a "Kurzweil event" where a new computing paradigm replaces the dominant platform.

My prediction is that in a few years there will be nobody willing to pay for the electrical power necessary to keep moving forward. At that point we'll have to wait for Ray Kurzweil's predictions of a new computing hardware to come to pass. Optalysys and DWave are the leading contenders at this point.

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Making Food from Sunlight and Wind

I want to build a 21st century farm. I’ll start with a solar array and a wind generator (probably a chimney). I’ll store energy in a liquid storage facility using a redox flow battery. Then using the storage cell I’ll run a CO2 extractor and maybe a water purifier.

Then I’ll build a sealed building similar to the PlantLab system. I’ll use red and blue LED’s on for 20 hours per day (or whatever is the optimum day/night cycle for the specific food I’m growing), high concentrations of CO2, and optimum temperature/humidity to grow food dramatically faster than a traditional farm.

There are very few consumables needed, some fertilizer and seeds. It’s not clear to me how long a wind generator or solar array can last. I’m sure eventually something will be needed for repair or maintenence.

Depending on the outdoor temperature this system could work for decades. If the greenhouse were buried in 57F degree ground and well insulated it may not lose much heat to the ground.

If you like my writing on this blog you may enjoy some or all of my books.

Stress Dependent Superconductivity

Here is a interesting article from about modifying superconductivity using stress. Film stress in the semiconductor industry can change electrical properties of conductors so this makes perfect sense.

At an atomic level the concept of stress is simply the distance between atoms or molecules. In an equilibrium state the atoms want to be a specific distance from each other. Due to the formation process the atoms may be a little too close or too far from each other. Technically this is not an equilibrium state, but the positions can be locked in place so that it is difficult for the film to relax. Moderate levels of compressive and tensile stress can be stable in the long term.

It would be interesting to deposit some high temperature superconductors at a variety of film stresses ranging from compressive to neutral to tensile and see how the critical temperature and critical magnetic field depend on the stress.

On a side note, I met Lee, Richardson, and Osheroff at the 1996 Nobel Prize ceremonies. They were all friendly and exciting people to be around.

If you like my writing on this blog you may enjoy some or all of my books.