Technology (category filter × )

Extremely energy efficient microprocessor developed using superconductors
  • To build ultra-low-power, high-performance microprocessors, researchers used adiabatic quantum-flux-parametron (AQFP), an energy-efficient superconductor.
  • It’s an attempt to build extremely energy-efficient electronics for the next generation of data centers and communication networks.
  • Their processors have roughly the same performance as current state-of-the-art, and they’d cost much less to run.
  • Even though they’d need to be kept in extremely low temperatures to work, they’d still be more energy efficient.

Desalination Breakthrough Could Lead to Cheaper Water Filtration
  • Removing salt from water has been a challenge for scientists for decades, and this new study might provide a way to make it easier.
  • Researchers found that membranes used to clean water in desalination technology are inconsistent - making them uniformly dense at the nanoscale can help.
  • This can improve membrane efficiency by 30-40%, making desalination cheaper.
  • Desalination is becoming more important every year, as more people struggle to get access to clean water.

A fast and safe way to store natural gas
  • Using a newly devised method, natural gas can be converted to a non-explosive solid in just 15 minutes, the fastest time ever.
  • The solid form is called a gas hydrate, or “combustible ice” - natural gas molecules are trapped in “cages” formed by water molecules.
  • It’s the same way that nature stores natural gas, only it takes nature millions of years to create gas hydrates.
  • Other scientists used toxic substances to speed up this reaction, whereas here researchers used L-tryptophan, an essential amino-acid in our diets.
  • The end product is stable, can be stored in -5 degrees Celsius, and scientists are working towards commercializing this technology, and scaling it up for industrial use.

Bones May Be The Future Of Battery Design
  • Working on sodium batteries (potential alternative to lithium batteries), researchers discovered that mammalian bone design might stabilize their chemistry.
  • They created cathodes (electrodes that carry electrons) that are tough on the outside, and spongy on the inside.
  • Their proof-of-concept battery was able to maintain 91% capacity for over 10,000 charge cycles.
  • Lithium is explosive, and mining it is difficult and environmentally damaging, whereas sodium batteries are based on ubiquitous salt.
  • This is still just proof-of-concept, it gives hope, but sodium batteries are still a long way from being a viable replacement to lithium batteries.

‘The game has changed.’ AI triumphs at solving protein structures
  • DeepMind’s algorithm solves a 50-year old problem of predicting how proteins fold into 3D shapes that carry out life’s tasks.
  • Before, scientists solved the structures of only 170,000 out of 200 million proteins, but this algorithm is a game changer that will speed up this research insanely.
  • The algorithm was trained on the 170,000 solved proteins in an earlier version, but the new version has an added “attention algorithm” that really did the trick.
  • It works similarly to how we solve puzzles - first connects pieces in small chunks, and then searches for ways to join them together.
  • This opens up new avenues for science, could dramatically speed up the discovery of new medications, as well as development of enzymes for biofuels and recycling.




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  • History History (19) ‘Viking’ was a job description, not a matter of heredity, massive ancient DNA study shows
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  • Technology Technology (110) Extremely energy efficient microprocessor developed using superconductors
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