The best possible q-analogs of codes may be useful in more efficient data transmission

In the 1970s, a group of mathematicians started developing a theory according to which codes could be presented at a level one step higher than the sequences formed by zeros and ones: mathematical subspaces named q-analogs.

For a long time, no applications were found - or were not even searched for - for the theory until ten years ago, when it was understood that they would be useful in the efficient data transmission required by modern data networks. The challenge was that, despite numerous attempts, the best possible codes described in the theory had not been found and it was therefore believed they did not even exist.

However, an international research group disagreed.

'We thought it could very well be possible,' says Professor Patric Östergård from Aalto University and smiles.

'The search was challenging because of the enormous size of the structures. Searching for them is a gigantic operation even if there is very high-level computational capacity available. Therefore, in addition to algebraic techniques and computers, we also had to use our experience and guess where to start looking, and that way limit the scope of the search.'

The perseverance was rewarded when the group consisting of five researchers found the largest possible structure described by the theory. The results were recently presented in the scientific publication Forum of Mathematics, Pi, which publishes only a dozen carefully selected articles per year. 

Aalto University (Finland), Technion (Israel), University of Bayreuth (Germany), Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences (Germany), University of California San Diego (USA) and Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) participated in the study. 

Green science

Although mathematical breakthroughs rarely become financial success stories immediately, many modern things we take for granted would not exist without them. For example, Boolean algebra, which has played a key role in the creation of computers, has been developed since the 19th century.

'As a matter of fact, information theory was green before anyone had even mentioned green alternatives,' says Östergård and laughs.

'Its basic idea is, actually, to try to take advantage of the power of the transmitter as effectively as possible, which in practice means attempting to transmit data using as little energy as possible. Our discovery will not become a product straight away, but it may gradually become part of the internet.''

Scalability of ADVA Optical Networking Technology Vital to 1,000-Mile Network

ADVA Optical Networking has announced that New England-based fiber solutions provider 186 Communications has deployed the ADVA FSP 3000 throughout the Northeast United States. The new network architecture expands 186 Communications’ fiber backbone and ensures that it can rapidly respond to the growing demands of broadband providers and enterprise customers. ADVA Optical Networking’s technology was selected for its performance, flexibility and scalability. With the capacity to quickly and easily turn up new services and the ability to scale to 100Gbit/s and beyond, 186 Communication’s new infrastructure will satisfy customer needs both now and in the future.

“Our new network, built on the ADVA FSP 3000, ensures that mission-critical data and vital services are always available. It enables us to achieve outstanding performance at the lowest cost thanks to smart amplifier design, fewer modules and optimized node placement across the network,” said Craig Smith, director, network engineering, 186 Communications. “When it came to selecting a vendor, ADVA Optical Networking was an easy choice. One key reason was the capabilities of the ADVA FSP 3000 to provide a robust, flexible and cost-efficient network architecture. But we also made the decision because we wanted the continued support of a partner who shares our values – who shares our mission of going further than before to provide extra value for customers.”

186 Communications’ new transport solution serves enterprise clients across New England, as well as providing a high-bandwidth communications corridor for local, national and global internet providers. The ADVA FSP 3000 simplifies network operations and helps to reduce capital and operational expenditure. It also ensures that the new infrastructure is built on a flexible and scalable WDM foundation. With its modular architecture, the ADVA FSP 3000 gives the network the ability to expand at the same pace as 186 Communication’s business. This means that the solution is primed and ready to scale to 100Gbit/s and beyond in the future.

“When it comes to giving customers a competitive edge, our team has a wealth of experience. Our intrinsic understanding of how to help service providers succeed, together with our advanced technology, means that we’re always able to exceed expectations,” commented John Scherzinger, senior VP, sales, North America, ADVA Optical Networking. “From design, to testing, to implementation, we've worked side-by-side with 186 Communications to develop a solution that provides the ideal combination of capacity and flexibility. And we’re already talking about the possibility of further enhancements, such as ROADM technology and infrastructure management from our network operations center.”

Only three or four supernovas happen in our galaxy every century. These are super-energetic events that release neutrinos at the speed of light. At the Super-Kamiokande detector in Japan, a new supercomputer system has been installed in order to monitor in real time and inform the scientific community of the arrival of these mysterious particles, which can offer crucial information on the collapse of stars and the formation of black holes.

A kilometre underground, in the depths of a Japanese mine, scientists have built a tank of ultra-pure water inside a gigantic cylinder full of photomultiplier tubes. This is the Super-Kamiokande experiment, one of the major objectives of which is the detection of neutrinos -particles with near-zero mass- that come from nearby supernovas.

The problem is that these stellar explosions occur very infrequently: only three or four each century in our galaxy. For this reason, the members of the international Super-Kamiokande scientific collaboration want to be prepared for one of these rare phenomena and have built a 'monitor' that is constantly on the lookout for a nearby supernova. The details are published in the journal Astroparticle Physics.

"It is a computer system that analyses the events recorded in the depths of the observatory in real time and, if it detects abnormally large flows of neutrinos, it quickly alerts the physicists watching from the control room," Luis Labarga, a physicist at the Autonomous University of Madrid (Spain) and a member of the collaboration, explains to SINC.

Thanks to this neutrino monitor, experts can assess the significance of the signal within minutes and see whether it is actually from a nearby supernova, basically inside the Milky Way. If it is, they can issue an early warning to all the interested research centres around the world, which they provide with information and the celestial coordinates of the source of neutrinos. They can then point all of their optical observation instruments towards it, since the electromagnetic signal arrives with a delay.

"Supernova explosions are one of the most energetic phenomena in the universe and most of this energy is released in the form of neutrinos," says Labarga. "This is why detecting and analysing neutrinos emitted in these cases, other than those from the Sun or other sources, is very important for understanding the mechanisms in the formation of neutron stars -a type of stellar remnant- and black holes".

"Furthermore," he adds "during supernova explosions an enormous number of neutrinos is generated in an extremely small space of time -a few seconds- and this why we need to be ready. This allows us to research the fundamental properties of these fascinating particles, such as their interactions, their hierarchy and the absolute value of their mass, their half-life, and surely other properties that we still cannot even imagine".

Labarga says that the Super-Kamiokande is permanently ready to detect neutrinos, except for essential calibration or repair intervals. Any day could take us by surprise. 

CAPTION The Super-Kamiokande experiment is located at the Kamioka Observatory, 1,000 meters below ground in a mine near the Japanese city of Kamioka.
CAPTION The Super-Kamiokande experiment is located at the Kamioka Observatory, 1,000 meters below ground in a mine near the Japanese city of Kamioka.

Scientists have used machine learning algorithms to teach computers to recognize the insect feeding patterns involved in pathogen transmission. The study, published in PLOS Computational Biology, also uncovers plant traits that might lead to the disruption of pathogen transmission and enable advances in agriculture, livestock and human health.

Insects that feed by ingesting plant and animal fluids cause devastating damage to humans, livestock, and agriculture worldwide, primarily by transmitting pathogens of plants and animals. These insect vectors can acquire and transmit pathogens causing infectious diseases such as citrus greening through probing on host tissues and ingesting host fluids. The feeding processes required for successful pathogen transmission by sucking insects can be recorded by monitoring voltage changes across an insect-food source feeding circuit.

In this research, entomologists and computer scientists at the United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), University of Florida, and Princeton University used machine learning algorithms to teach computers to recognize insect feeding patterns involved in pathogen transmission.

In addition, these machine learning algorithms were used to detect novel patterns of insect feeding and uncover plant traits that might that lead to disruption of pathogen transmission. While these techniques were used to help identify strategies to combat citrus greening, such intelligent monitoring of insect vector feeding will facilitate rapid screening and disruption of pathogen transmission causing disease in agriculture, livestock, and human health. 

CAPTION In the study the authors we investigated feeding of the Asian citrus psyllid (pictured above), a hemipteran vector of the pathogen causing citrus greening disease. CREDIT PROMark Yokoyama / Flickr (CCBY)
CAPTION In the study the authors we investigated feeding of the Asian citrus psyllid (pictured above), a hemipteran vector of the pathogen causing citrus greening disease. CREDIT PROMark Yokoyama / Flickr (CCBY)

Quantum supercomputing is about to get more complex. Researchers have evidence that large molecules made of nickel and chromium can store and process information in the same way bytes do for digital computers. The researchers present algorithms proving it's possible to use supramolecular chemistry to connect "qubits," the basic units for quantum information processing, in Chem on November 10. This approach would generate several kinds of stable qubits that could be connected together into structures called "two-qubit gates."

"We have shown that the chemistry is achievable for bringing together two-qubit gates," says senior author Richard Winpenny, Head of the University of Manchester School of Chemistry. "The molecules can be made and the two-qubit gates assembled. The next step is to show that these two-qubit gates work."

Traditional computers organize and store information in the form of bits, which are written out in long chains of 0s and 1s, whereas quantum computers use qubits, which can be 1, 0, or any superposition between those numbers at the same time, allowing researchers to do much more powerful computations. However, large assemblies of qubits that are stable enough to be applied to perform algorithms don't yet exist.

Winpenny and his collaborators address this problem in their algorithm designs, which combine large molecules to create both two qubits and a bridge between the units, called a quantum gate. These gates are held together through supramolecular chemistry. Studies of the gates show that the quantum information stored in the individual qubits is stored long enough to allow manipulations of the information and hence algorithms. The time information that can be stored is called the coherence time.

"Say you're in a bar and you're trying to bring two pints of beer back to your friends without spilling it. But the bar is filled with drunks who are singing, jumping around, and dancing. The coherence time is a measure of how far you can get the beer without spilling it," says Winpenny. "You want the bar to be very well behaved and very stationary so you can walk through the pub and get back to the table, just like we want the qubits to be stable long enough so we can store and manipulate information.

"The real problem seems to be whether we could put these qubits together at all. But we showed that connecting these individual qubits doesn't change the coherence times, so that part of the problem is solvable," adds Winpenny. "It's achievable to create multi-qubit gates, and we're hoping it inspires more scientists to move in that direction."

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