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A Sunil Bisoyi Blog

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Physics

End of the Moore’s Law (The Silicon Era)

What’s Moore’s law? It states that every 18 months or so the computer power of a silicon chip doubles. But, how long do you think it can go on, right ? The computing efficiency of a silicon chip based computer is already on the verge and the rate is slowing down and within 10-15 years from now it will be a flat line. Why? because of overheating of the chips. When the number of silicon atoms used will reduce up to a thickness of 5 atoms of thickness or near, the chip will overheat and destroy itself in the process and as we go down to that extent the quantum phenomenon of the electron would take over and it wouldn’t be bound to a restricting path but it could be anywhere. Therefore we would not be able to do precise calculations anymore. It would be the end of Moore’s law. We no longer would be able to keep up with it using silicon chips in out computers. There would be a huge recession for sure in that period.

Don’t worry though because new candidates are coming up in order to replace the silicon chips. One of them is molecular computers. Do you know how many atoms are required to make up a single bit of memory in our ordinary memory drive ? It takes more than a million atoms; well that’s not that shocking right ! But recently IBM has managed to store a single bit of memory in exactly 12 INDIVIDUAL ATOMS. Yes only with 12 atoms. The ratio to the size of today’s memory bit is ~ 0.000012 time. But the problem with this is its very complicated to built at that scale. Building circuit in that small scale isn’t that easy. But, even with this problem we might be able to make computers with a larger number of atoms. Getting down to the size of atoms in order to compute a problem doesn’t seem like a far stretch any more. We are almost there and you can probably guess the sizes of the supercomputers in the next decade. But getting down to still smaller number of atoms create a huge problem with coherence. The coherence from outside like any kind of small vibrations can even disturb their state and would result into random rubbish in output. But, there is hope. At least we would be able to see molecular computers in the next few decades. This Picture here is taken by a Scanning Tunneling Microscope which can even interact with the atoms individually.

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And here’s a model showing how they interact with the magnetic fields of the atoms.

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And as you would have heard Quantum Computing has recently gained some popularity among physics enthusiasts. This can use the polarization of a single photon based on the direction of its polarization to store a single bit of date. But as it is in quantum state we would be able to attain a superimposed state i.e. both 1 and 0 at the same time. You might think that’s confusing, how is it going to give us the correct result then ? right ! But, you see when you would be able to attain a state of superposition, we would be able to perform a task with several results. What I mean is previously we used to allot a certain work or response to only two results i.e. 0 or 1 but now we would be able to respond to different polarization angles as well so we can attain any number in between 0 and 1 too. So, there will be an infinite number of responses we can perform according the the signal or information we get from a single polarization of a photon. So think of it this way; if we had to choose the correct path out of a maze which had a millions of possible paths but only one led you out, then a quantum computer can simultaneously will be able to test every possible path there is and will instantly give you the correct path; which a computer would do checking every path one by one. It gives us the ability to compute every possible outcome at a single go which a today’s computer has to do one by one.

But this is a far stretch though. Because, the biggest calculation we have been able to do with just five numbers of atoms (no where near photons) is ‘3 x 5=15’. So you can see how far we have to go. The same advantage of being able to attain more than just two possible outcome in a bit has become its greatest demerit too making it nearly impossible to engineer. To architect a system which can solve problems using these phenomenon will be a revolution in itself and whoever will successfully do that will be the inventor of the century. And let me remind you that we are no where near to make this possible. There is another big hurdle in the way i.e. decoherence. The smallest of vibrations even daily activity like putting the cup on the coffee table or walking near the apparatus is disturbing the synchronization of the atoms. So it is very difficult to maintain their stability. These reasons are what’s making this awesome technology very impossible to make. I hope we would be able to see this technology in my lifetime who knows maybe before the end of this millennium. But, don’t worry even if we won’t be seeing quantum computers in coming decades we might see molecular computers though. Look to two decades ahead and we might find ourselves with molecular computers in our hands and so much better and efficient than today’s technology.

The Universe: just a roll of a dice…

My dear lovely human beings,

I know you don’t understand me and I can say the same about you too. Thanks to education that taught me that I don’t have to beg at some lifeless portrait or statue to fulfill my dreams and thanks to it for it taught me to have faith in myself. People like me who see the beauty in this nature, this universe and its versatility can surely understand how lucky we are to have evolved in this planet and to have understood our world and its deep secrets (although I am not saying that creationists are incapable of admiring the nature). Yes, we are very lucky indeed. Look at this universe, never ending, never seizing, very violent but sometimes very calm.

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Don’t get me wrong. I am a religious man but I don’t believe in a creator or GOD as you might say. My religion is science. Religious in the sense that I prosper this universe and science, I certainly have a strong believe in science that we one day would be able to answer everything about this world. It might take a long time but we definitely will be able to answer the biggest mysteries this world. If I started believing in God I would be obligated to believe that any mystery I see is God’s tricks or work and this will never let me accomplish anything. As a scientist, as a human being I am inclined to get curious about everything I see and tend to interact. We are the only species that we know of who is capable of asking questions; we won’t be humans without it, our race would not have survived in this versatile world if it wasn’t for that curiosity. I believe, through scientific developments and new discoveries will change the way we see the world now. And from this prospective we would have understood everything this universe has to teach us and then we would have conquered the universe.

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If you understand mathematics you can pretty much predict what the chances are of evolution of an intelligent species in our universe. As we can see it took more than 13.7billion years to convert that lump of weird particles and gases in Big Bang into us; yes, us; we are that special. When the earth came into existence around 4.5billion years ago, who would have thought that such a harsh planet could one day become a home for such a vast ecosystem prospering their livelihood? But, here we are the living proof. Back then there must have been a huge numbers of stars created and still larger numbers of planets along with it which could number in billions and more. But as we see we are the only planet that has life on it. We have been recently able to explore so much of the universe near us (although it’s a tiny fraction), still we are yet to find life on any planet. It’s all about math, it’s all just probability. In such a vast majority of stars and planets we are the only living planet. It all finally comes to the chances of creating the perfect environment for life, a perfect home. What were the chances? We are just a small needle in millions of haystacks.

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No, there wasn’t any God, there wasn’t any creator watching over us who created the world out of thin air. But, it evolved. The universe itself evolved within itself like millions of species evolved in our planet; some of its parts were able to sustain life and some weren’t. It was just the matter of chances.

The Evolution of Science

We live in a generation where the biggest discoveries and the biggest questions has raised. Questions that are so fundamental that even a single answer could change the whole world as we know it.

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In just the last century the biggest discoveries have been made and new fields of science has been developed to deeply understand the universe we live in. In the last few decades the technology as predicted has exponentially increased its capabilities and still improving each day. Now on this day we are capable of asking ourselves the questions like “can we ever find an alien intelligent life?”, “are there other universes out there?”, “how will the universe end?”, “why is the light’s speed 299 792 458 m / s?”, “does god exist?”, “what is consciousness?”, “can we travel to the past?”. These are the question many of our ancestors have pondered around with to their death bed and which till now has not been answered.

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You see, this is the era where we are able to ask the big questions. We can see the that the most basic questions took a very long time to answer like gravity, relativity, electricity etc. But the technology created from it expanded like a virus. And now that these discoveries were made we have faced even greater and more complicated scenario.

Almost 4 billion years ago the earth and the solar system was created. The evolution took this long to make such a beautiful creature who was able to ask questions to himself and the world around it, who is passionate to know the meaning of life, who is able to discover and experiment with the world and tamed the whole world around it.

Maybe we will be able to answer these questions one day too. It may take a long while but I am so happy and fortunate to have born in this era and to witness the biggest revolution that science will go through till now. And gladly I can say that I am up for this roller-coaster ride.

Sex on the moon

Thad Roberts, the man who literally stole the moon for his girl. If you haven’t heard of him then you should definitely check out the book ‘Sex on the Moon’ or else wait for the movie to come. The book is by Ben Mezrich (author of ‘the accidental billionaires’ which was adapted by the film ‘the social network’), which tells the story about Thad, a genius who was a co-op at NASA at the age 22. Who then fell in love with a 19 year old beautiful biology intern at NASA. He wanted to give her the moon and so they managed to steal the moon stones which was brought by Neil Armstrong out of the highly secured place of NASA’s lab. And then tried to sell it outside which had a value of 500 billion $ and caught in the middle of the sting operation by the government. Then, he takes the blame to himself and serves 7 years of his life in the federal prison. If you are wondering why the title of the book was ‘sex on the moon’ then here is the reason. Because he had sex with his girlfriend spreading the moon stones on the bed. So, its like he literally had sex on the moon.

But, now he is totally determined to find out the most mysterious secrets of the universe. He is focused to find out the unifying theory of the universe as a tribute to Einstein. He has written a book ‘Einstein’s Intuition:Visualizing Nature in Eleven Dimensions’. His picture of space as made up of quanta is a unique way of looking at the universe for sure. It still needs to explain all the laws of physics and I am quite sure that It will be a hell of a ride.

And imagine if he would be able to become the next Einstein, I mean if his theory would be able to prove everything. Then he would be the next big thing in physics. His name would be carved next to Einstein, the greatest genius of the 20th century.

The Information Paradox

Quantum physics says an information is never lost, it just transforms or scrambles into the space and if we are able to reverse the direction of everything and let them roll again we would be able to find the previous state of the information again or we can just reverse the time to get the information back again as the equations or laws of physics is time symmetric.

But here is the twist. Hawking said a black hole is such an object which never lets anything escape out of its horizon. Let me tell you first about Horizon of black hole. Horizon is that layer around the black hole beyond which nothing can escape out and will get pulled enormously into the singularity and crush into it. Susskind explained it(in an article in magazine Scientific American, April 1997) with a beautiful example. Imagine a downstream river going into a black hole. We know the fastest fish is ‘Light fish’. If the downstream is as fast as the Light fish at the edge of the waterfall then if the light fish crosses that point it won’t be able to know that the next moment it wouldn’t be able to recover out of the downstream but it would get pulled by the stream because the speed of the waterfall would exceed its highest speed and the light fish would never be able to overcome the downstream and get crushed into the bottom of the river. This is what happens at the horizon. Light is the fastest particle in the world. But when it reaches the horizon the pull of the black hole becomes so high that the light gets pulled in by it. So, this means beyond the horizon of the black hole nothing can escape out.

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So now coming to the conclusion, if the information is sucked into the black hole then will it be lost forever? According to general theory of relativity and Hawking it should get destroyed but if it is so then it violates the quantum physics and the energy will not be conserved, which is the most important law of physics and It would mean that energy can be created or destroyed. So perhaps we should look at it again and try to find a solution. Physicists were totally puzzled by these contradicting phenomena of black hole.

But Lárus Thorlacius was the first one to see that this is not contradicting phenomena but it is complimentary. He said like every particle the black hole also has radioactive character. So anything that is being sucked into the black hole will radiate to the horizon. Actually a black hole can have as high as 10 billion degree temperature at its horizon or as small as 10­­-8 degree also due to the radiation. Therefore we can retrieve the data by reading out the temperature if we could. All this can happen because of the entropy of the black hole. According to Hawking a black hole can have entropy of 3.2×1064 per sq. centimeter. Although the physical system consisting all these bits of information have to be very dense and must have linear dimension of 10-20 times the size of proton we may say that both of the statements which were contradicting each other can be complimentary also.

Time travel

Einstein said time if flexible just as the space. They both cope with each other to make the whole world tic like it does today. He said when one increases the other decreases along with him(Space and Time I mean) i.e. when we travel faster in the space the time slows down for us and when you slow down it would gradually speed up. Till now what I think is we can only travel to the future as we have been doing our whole life but just a bit faster. If we would be able to travel at a very large speed or go under influence of a very strong gravitational force then we would have slowed the time down for ourselves. Therefore when we will stop and return to our world. It would seem like we have skipped many many years.

But why I think we cannot travel to the past is, if we were able to do that then we could have changed anything that we wanted. Which means any thing that we change might lead to ‘the butterfly effect’. There can be very wide difference in our future life. Like if you would kill your grandfather before your father was born then how would you define your existence. Some of the physicists say, the universe will somehow twist the situations so that we wont be able to threaten our existence. But I think if you would be able to just avoid their first date or something then also there might be serious results that might result to delay of your father’s birth and hence might as well effect yours. So, I think that every time that we would travel in time to the past, we will end up in a different universe where so much would have changed.  However, this debate will never end till someone can exactly prove that time travel to the past is possible.

The scientists’s group called Opera tried to use Nutrino for accelerating it faster than light. But, of course they failed. They really shocked the world when they said that they found the Nutrino travelling faster than the speed of light. It threatened the very foundation of Einstein’s theory of relativity. We already know that anything travelling faster than light will be travelling to the past. So, that means the information sent with it would reach us before we even sent them and this is what makes this idea so bizarre. Would it be possible to travel backward in time ?

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