Across the Metaverse

Have you heard about the “metaverse”? It’s the next new thing, according to Facebook founder-and-CEO-for-life Mark Zuckerberg. “Think about the metaverse as an embodied internet, where instead of just viewing content, you are in it,” he said recently as he announced the formation of a metaverse product group within the trillion-dollar social media colossus. So … Continue reading Across the Metaverse

Small, diamond-based quantum computers could be in our hands within five years

Small, affordable, ‘plug-and-play’ quantum computing is one step closer. An Australian startup has won $13 million to make its diamond-based computing cores shine. Now it needs to grow. ANU research spinoff Quantum Brilliance has found a way to use synthetic diamonds to drive quantum calculations. Now it’s on a five-year quest to produce commercially viable … Continue reading Small, diamond-based quantum computers could be in our hands within five years

Open algorithms and secret keys: will existing encryption solutions solace quantum?

When we design an algorithm for encryption, we’re not devising some kind of secret code. In fact, the whole algorithm is open – it’s published, and well-known. The only part which is not known is this relatively short 128-bit piece of information – a simple, secret key. And every time you’d like to communicate, you … Continue reading Open algorithms and secret keys: will existing encryption solutions solace quantum?

Maths, encryption, and quantum computing

Are you worried about someone listening into your calls, reading your emails, or watching your video chats? You’re not alone. The internet has changed the face of communication and how communication can be stolen, spied upon or manipulated, and it always gets harder to protect ourselves as technology evolves. This becomes even more difficult as … Continue reading Maths, encryption, and quantum computing

Breakthrough in quantum computing

Quantum engineers from UNSW Sydney have made a critical breakthrough in the development of quantum computing technology, solving a problem that has long frustrated scientists and until now represented a major roadblock to the development of the next generation of computers. The problem in question involves spin qubits, which are the basic units of information … Continue reading Breakthrough in quantum computing

Like catching smoke: can we stop a cyberwar?

Cyberattacks across the world are surging, with a new report from Accenture Security highlighting a 125% increase in such cyber intrusions across the first half of 2021. But according to a cyber expert and former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent, these known attacks are likely to be just a proportion of the actual activity. “We … Continue reading Like catching smoke: can we stop a cyberwar?

Cybersecurity: The war online

Cybersecurity – the suite of practices used to protect digital assets and information – is regularly in the news, through stories about cyber threats such as ransomware and spyware attacks, and foreign actors hacking into critical systems. Do cyber threats mean that computers are our weakest boundary fences – as individuals, companies/institutions, and nations – … Continue reading Cybersecurity: The war online

A token of safety

In June, the father of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, took his original source code for the very first Web server, “wrapped” it in a secure bit of digital packaging, brought it to the auction house Sotheby’s, and put it up for sale in a lot named, appropriately, “This Changed Everything”. So it … Continue reading A token of safety

Touch screens transmit less disease the more they’re touched

You’ve probably used many public touch-screen interfaces, to withdraw cash at ATMs, check-in at airports, and in numerous other places. As we’ve all learned during the past 18 months, they can be prime opportunities to transmit disease. But new research has found a surprising result: in some cases, they’re less germy if they’re touched more. … Continue reading Touch screens transmit less disease the more they’re touched

Do you see what I see?

In the middle of May, Google dropped a surprising new demo on us: “Project Starline” shows people communicating in what seems to be face-to-face conversations. Google then reveals its technological trickery: these folks are separated by vast distances, yet appear to be together in the same space, breathing the same air. Project Starline looks like … Continue reading Do you see what I see?

How to recognise a super-recogniser

Australian psychologists have developed a new test that aims to identify “super-recognisers” – people with an extraordinary knack for remembering faces, even those they’ve only seen once at the supermarket twenty years ago. “Being able to recognise faces of friends and family is a skill that most of us take for granted,” says David White … Continue reading How to recognise a super-recogniser

Beatrice Helen Worsley: a life of firsts

Being first at something is usually a big deal. We like people who finish first, and we even like people who start first. Beatrice Helen Worsley, who completed undergraduate studies in mathematics and physics in Canada at the University of Toronto’s Trinity College in 1944, “is believed to be the first woman in the world … Continue reading Beatrice Helen Worsley: a life of firsts