The Computers of the Future

Quantum_computerComputer architecture as we know it has not changed very much in decades. We are still using the von Neumann architecture that was created in the 1940s. Since the invention of the integrated circuit we have seen huge increase in performance measured by the exponential Moore’s Law. People have been predicting for some time that this architectural model will break and thus end of Moore’s Law. The argument is that a new and dramatically superior model will replace the current technology and replace the integrated circuit and the von Neumann architecture.

One of the benefits of teaching a course on new technologies is I get to read lot’s of papers on new stuff. Viktor Einarsson wrote a paper titled The Computers of the Future. In the paper he looks are two types of new computer designs, quantum computers and DNA computers.

If you want to know the future read this paper: The Computers of the Future.

Animated cartoons, from the old to the new: evolution for the past 100 years

Papers in my New Technology class are about how technology evolves. Some papers examine technology in historic context providing insights into how the technology has changed over the years. Each new invention will bring new types of applications. A good example of this is the art of animated films. The story of the animated cartoon is more than 100 years old and provides many examples of how new technology shapes the industry.

In this paper Eva Rún Michelsen explores the evolution of the technology for making animated films.

Abstract of the paper: This paper is a research project about animated cartoons and their history for the past 100 years. It covers several techniques used in cartoon animation, early creators, early devices and current trends. The focus is on American and European animated cartoons and covers some of the early contributors of cartoon animation like James Stuart Blackton as well as today’s creators like John Lasseter. Examples of famous cartoon characters, short films and full length cartoon animated films are presented but the paper does not cover all animated films on the market today.

Animated cartoons, from the old to the new: evolution  for the past 100 years (PDF file)

Evolution of Physics in Video Games

Video games are getting more real all the time. Latest releases are beginning to look more like movies than the games we used to know. In particular, in action games where the characters are running or walking they don’t move like stick figures but actually make realistic moves as if their actions are choreographed.

One field that has improved this experience is the evolution of physics. In his New Technology paper, Evolution of Physics in Video Games, Bjarni Þór Árnason of Reykjavík University explains the emerging field of applying physics in games.

From the abstract: Graphics and sound have evolved dramatically in video games over the last decade and are at a point where it is getting increasingly hard to improve upon. Physics have been a part of video games since their birth, but have until recently not played a key role. Developers have therefore turned to realistic physics simulations in order to further increase the realism in their games and subsequently the importance and uses of physics in video games has boomed in the last few years. Some games have even incorporated the use of physics into the gameplay with an interesting new dimension of puzzles to solve. However, improved realism comes with the burden of increased computational complexity that needs to find itself a new place away from the main CPU in order to continue the evolution of realism.