February 12/19, 2003   

   Teleporting goes distance
Quantum teleportation, the seemingly magical act of capturing the essence of a particle and re-creating it, usually on the other side of a lab bench, has been wowing scientists for several years. An experiment that uses fiber-optic lines goes way beyond laboratory walls. The technique could be used to extend unbreakable quantum cryptography to long distances.
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Scheme smooths parallel processing
Some problems are so large that solving them requires using many computers at once, which itself is a tough computational task. Nature provides a hint about how to coordinate lots of computers -- watch how crystals grow. The math involved could help keep parallel processors humming. It's all about keeping virtual time.

Butterflies offer lessons for robots
Butterflies harbor a host of tricks when it comes to flying. That fluttery motion reflects complex aerodynamics, which scientists have captured in detail using smoke and digital cameras. Tapping these tricks should allow researchers to improve tiny flying robots.

Social networks sturdier than Net
A study showing that social networks are different from their technological and biological cousins means your network of family and friends is probably more resilient than the network of computers that makes up the Internet. This doesn't bode well, however, for fighting diseases or for protecting the Net.

Logic scheme gains power
A computing architecture that plays ping-pong with individual electrons promises to enable fast, low-power computers. The trick to making the scheme work is keeping the system's signals from fading. The system's heartbeat provides the necessary boost.

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