August 7/14, 2002   

   Ultimate memory demoed
In 1959 Richard Feynman said that all the information accumulated in all the books in the world could theoretically fit in a cube 1/200th of an inch on a side. Looks like he got it right.
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Programming tool makes bugs sing
In the real world, bugs make noise. Bestowing a singing voice on the bugs that torment computer programs could make rooting out programming mistakes a bit easier. An experiment in musical programming points to new ways of interacting with data.

Nanotubes grown in place
Nanotubes have a lot of promise. They just need a little direction. The rolled-up sheets of carbon atoms ordinarily grow in a random tangle, like a pile of cooked spaghetti. A process that gets one or more of the tiny tubes to form between a pair of electrodes could go a long way toward realizing nanotubes' potential to revolutionize electronics.

Quantum secrets ride phone lines
An experiment in transmitting perfectly secret messages between two cities in western Switzerland one photon at a time over regular fiber-optic phone lines shows that quantum cryptography is ready for prime time. You can even buy the system -- all you need is a PC and a leased line from the phone company.

Chip keeps atoms in line
One way to pack more data into storage devices is to coax small numbers of metal atoms to line up at regular intervals on a silicon chip. Atom-by-atom construction would also make it easier to combine the electronics of computers with the optics of communications. Making metal and silicon meet at the right concentration and temperature might just do the trick.

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