Category Archives: Computers

Analysis: Facebook & The Race For The Metaverse

A tech industry battle is taking shape over the “metaverse.” WSJ tech reporter Meghan Bobrowsky explains the concept and why tech companies like Facebook, Roblox and Epic Games are investing billions to develop this digital space. Photo: Storyblocks

Tech View: Microsoft CEO Nadella On Windows 11

Windows 11, due out later this year, is full of new features, including a new Start menu that’s been moved to the center and a Microsoft Store with Android apps. In an exclusive interview, WSJ’s Joanna Stern spoke with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella about the software, the influence of the pandemic and his strategy of competing with Google and Apple. Photo illustration: Alex Kuzoian/The Wall Street Journal

Ransomware: Its Rise And How The U.S. Is Fighting It

Ransomware attacks are increasing in frequency, victim losses are skyrocketing, and hackers are shifting their targets. WSJ’s Dustin Volz explains why these attacks are on the rise and what the U.S. can do to fight them. Photo illustration: Laura Kammermann

Technology: Quantum Computers, Explained

Quantum computers aren’t the next generation of supercomputers—they’re something else entirely. Before we can even begin to talk about their potential applications, we need to understand the fundamental physics that drives the theory of quantum computing. (Featuring Scott Aaronson, John Preskill, and Dorit Aharonov.) For more, read “Why Quantum Computers Are So Hard to Explain”:…

Science: Rise Of ‘Exascale Supercomputers’ (Video)

The next generation of computing is on the horizon, and several new machines may just smash all the records…with two nations neck and neck in a race to get there first.

The ENIAC was capable of about 400 FLOPS. FLOPS stands for floating-point operations per second, which basically tells us how many calculations the computer can do per second. This makes measuring FLOPS a way of calculating computing power. So, the ENIAC was sitting at 400 FLOPS in 1945, and in the ten years it was operational, it may have performed more calculations than all of humanity had up until that point in time—that was the kind of leap digital computing gave us. From that 400 FLOPS we upgraded to 10,000 FLOPS, and then a million, a billion, a trillion, a quadrillion FLOPS. That’s petascale computing, and that’s the level of today’s most powerful supercomputers. But what’s coming next is exascale computing. That’s zeroes. 1 quintillion operations per second. Exascale computers will be a thousand times better performing than the petascale machines we have now. Or, to put it another way, if you wanted to do the same number of calculations that an exascale computer can do in ONE second…you’d be doing math for over 31 billion years.

Analysis: How Do Video Games, Smartphones & Computers Affect Brains

Smartphones, computers, gaming consoles or digital tablets are now givens in our daily lives. The electronic intrusion is causing controversy and collective hysteria. This documentary asks: Are we damaging our brains with all these screens? How will unprecedented exposure to screens impact humanity?

To find out, the filmmakers examine how science has been applied to distinguish between truth and falsehoods, and explore the suspected side-effects of screen exposure. The documentary travels through the US and Europe to meet and speak to researchers who are leaders in this field.

Reviews: Apple’s New iPad Pro, M1 Mac, AirTags & Apple TV 4K (WSJ Video)

Airtags: The size of Mentos or a Lifesaver? A redesigned super-slim iMac? Lost-item trackers called AirTags? An Apple TV remote that doesn’t suck? New iPad Pros with M1 chips? Apple announced a hodgepodge of updates at a spring event. WSJ’s Joanna Stern has the rundown. Photo Illustration: Adele Morgan

Technology: Opening Day ‘CES 2021’ – Online Demos Of Consumer Electronics

It’s the first day of CES 2021 and CNET is the place to kick off the tech decade with wall-to-wall coverage from inside the Consumer Electronics Show.

Check out more from CES 2021

Consumers: ‘CES 2021’ – World’s Biggest Tech Show, Jan 10-14 (Video)

As CES goes online for the first time, we preview the most-anticipated products and trends (and what’s missing) at the world’s biggest tech show.


For mathematicians and computer scientists, 2020 was full of discipline-spanning discoveries and celebrations of creativity. We’d like to take a moment to recognize some of these achievements.

  • 1. A landmark proof simply titled “MIP* = RE” establishes that quantum computers calculating with entangled qubits can theoretically verify the answers to an enormous set of problems. Along the way, the five computer scientists who authored the proof also answered two other major questions: Tsirelson’s problem in physics, about models of particle entanglement, and a problem in pure mathematics called the Connes embedding conjecture.
  • 2. In February, graduate student Lisa Piccirillo dusted off some long-known but little-utilized mathematical tools to answer a decades-old question about knots. A particular knot named after the legendary mathematician John Conway had long evaded mathematical classification in terms of a higher-dimensional property known as “sliceness.” But by developing a version of the knot that yielded to traditional knot analysis, Piccirillo finally determined that the Conway knot is not “slice.”
  • 3. For decades, mathematicians have used computer programs known as proof assistants to help them write proofs — but the humans have always guided the process, choosing the proof’s overall strategy and approach. That may soon change. Many mathematicians are excited about a proof assistant called Lean, an efficient and addictive proof assistant that could one day help tackle major problems. First, though, mathematicians must digitize thousands of years of mathematical knowledge, much of it unwritten, into a form Lean can process. Researchers have already encoded some of the most complicated mathematical ideas, proving in theory that the software can handle the hard stuff. Now it’s just a question of filling in the rest.