Weekly Takeaways:January 18, 2022
Updated: Mar 11
Read - Write - Wait Imagine you are collaborating with your team on a document. You ping each for inputs. And then you wait. This is, at a basic level, how distributed databases work. The benefits of distributed databases are obvious from the name - it allows distributed resources to act as one computer for better resiliency and efficiency. But the key disadvantage: the processing overhead associated with synchronizing all the sites. This processing overhead is analogous to your team project: more contributors mean more work is done in parallel, at the expense of coordination by the lead. Better synchronization maintains the correct order of the events and improves distributed database efficiency. As NVIDIA and Facebook noted in a blog post, better timing gives outsize performance improvement: “making the timekeeping 80x more precise (making any time discrepancies 80x smaller) made a distributed database run 3x faster — an incredible performance boost on the same server hardware, just from keeping more accurate and more reliable time.”
If you drive a Honda, you may have noticed that your clock is stuck in the past. Honda's navigation system did not rollover in 2022, and instead are showing a date and time in 2002.
There are rumors that Google is looking to spin out its quantum division Sandbox.
And 2021 was also "a record year of private capital invested in space, with a 60% increase to US$12.4nm", according to Seraphim.
One of Cisco’s predictions for the top technology trends for 2022 is that “Quantum networking could enable a new type of secure connection between digital devices, making them impenetrable to hacks,” which would “lead to better fraud protection for transactions” and “re-shape the internet we know and use today.”
Speaking of Quantum Leaps, the cult TV series from the 90’s is coming back.
The DHS has designated 16 critical and business infrastructures. But surprisingly, space systems aren’t on the list, even though it impacts almost all of these critical infrastructures and the White House acknowledges that "Space activities are essential to our way of life" as part of the “United States Space Priorities Framework” (USSPF). Now there is legislation to designate space systems, services, and technology as the 17th sector of U.S. critical infrastructure.
Researchers use quantum physics to explain how the brain works and consciousness itself, and now a recent paper titled “If time had no beginning” works uses quantum gravity to ask the question “Did time ever begin?”.
The More You Know...
The Chinese government published their 14th five year plan to address 11 strategic areas, including quantum information. According to a recent Deloitte report, this includes "satellite quantum networks as a key national research topic" and "aims to create a global QKD network by 2030." In response, the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act is moving through Congress to counter this. The concern is that China has figured out how to work with small, innovative startups, while the US government has not. As such, they are more rapidly bringing in commercial advancements. But the US is working to overcome this. The most recent defense authorization bill included new provisions and funding to more effectively work with innovative startups. This includes:
$117 billion in funding for new science and technology
Several studies on how to better leverage the commercial sector through changes in the DoD acquisition process
Expand and streamline the use of Other Transaction Authority (OTAs) to streamline procurement from innovative startups
Formalize the Commercial Solutions Openings (CSO) program, which was launched as a pilot program in 2017 to acquire “innovative technologies” through prize competitions and peer review of proposals
Establish a pilot program to develop and implement novel acquisition mechanisms related to emerging technologies.