September 8/15, 2004   

   Automatic icons organize files
A system that automatically generates visually distinctive icons to represent files aims to improve computer navigation. The degree of similarity between icons reflects the relatedness of the files. The system even prints out stickers to help people organize real-world items.
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Simple search lightens Net load
Searching complex networks like the Internet often takes a lot of network resources. A simple search algorithm that randomly forwards queries along a small number of links allows queries to percolate through a network efficiently. The key is using just enough links to cross the threshold that brings the whole network into reach.

Chip architecture uses nanowires
As building nanoscale electronic components becomes easier, researchers are beginning to focus on how to wire them together into the complicated circuitry of today's computer chips. The self-assembly processes that yield the components promise inexpensive chips, but they also produce high rates of defects. A scheme for configuring nanoscale logic circuits relies on redundancy and the ability to route around defective areas.

Polymer serves up single photons
Plastic electronics are cheap and easy to produce. One research team is using plastic to build devices that emit one photon at a time, boosting prospects for inexpensive, push-button, room-temperature, single-photon sources for quantum cryptography and quantum computing.

Alumina glass made in bulk... Pure crystal promises hardy chips... Nanoribbons channel light... Photonic crystal throttles light... Nano memory scheme handles defects... Nanotube transistor has power.

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