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Supercomputing Science Technology

A Single-Photon Server 75

Posted by Zonk
from the is-that-an-ai-in-your-eyelash dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes "A team of German physicists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics has built a single-photon server with just one atom. They've trapped ultra cold atoms of rubidium in a vacuum chamber and applied laser pulses from one side. The generated photons were of 'high quality,' meaning their energy was very similar from one test to another, and that their properties could be controlled. The researchers think this new way to generate single photons will help the field of quantum information processing. "
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A Single-Photon Server

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  • Headline? (Score:5, Funny)

    by MrNaz (730548) on Sunday March 18, 2007 @05:29AM (#18393057) Homepage

    Headline reading "Single photon server" + the supercomputing article logo = Confused readers

    Before I read the sumary I was thinking they'd managed to install Apache on a photon. So yea, with regards to photons, they're cool and all, but do they run Linux?

  • Binary (Score:5, Funny)

    by xarak (458209) on Sunday March 18, 2007 @06:13AM (#18393141)

    I can see the two states; photon=1, photoff=0.
  • Imagine... (Score:4, Funny)

    by yootje (770109) on Sunday March 18, 2007 @06:15AM (#18393149) Homepage
    A Beowulf cluster of THESE! That would be something.
  • by picob (1025968) on Sunday March 18, 2007 @06:18AM (#18393155)
    Very useful, especially in combination with the Single-Pixel Camera:
    http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/01/ 18/2117243 [slashdot.org]
  • But... (Score:2, Funny)

    Is the security good enough? How much space does it have? And, most importantly, how big are the cables that attach to this thing?
  • Roland_Piquepaille [masternewmedia.org], the submitter of this story, is apparently a publicist. Apparently he is paid to have stories [findory.com] placed in media like Slashdot.

    Mr. Piquepaille's affiliations and motivations should be disclosed. Does he pay someone at Slashdot to run his stories?

    Also, for me, computing is an important area of continuing interest. Most of Mr. Piquepaille's stories, like this one, have very little real connection to computing, so they waste my time. I'm not the only one annoyed by this, apparently: Here is a script to Hide stories submitted by Roland Piquepaille from Slashdot.org [userscripts.org].

    Digg.com or Reddit.com are more appropriate media for Mr. Piquepaille. However, I suspect that his stories would seldom be considered interesting enough to be placed on the Digg or Reddit front pages.

    --
    Most people in the U.S. have no idea how corrupt is the Bush administration. Here's my summary of U.S. gov. corruption [futurepower.org]. Where's yours?
    • Roland_Piquepaille, the submitter of this story, is apparently a publicist. Apparently he is paid to have stories placed in media like Slashdot.

      Remind me why this is bad, again? Given that his stories do tend to be fairly interesting, does it really matter if he's making money by submitting them here?

      • by Anonymous Coward
        Given that his stories do tend to be fairly interesting, does it really matter if he's making money by submitting them here?

        Of course! Making money off of someone else is evil! Just ask ultrasocialists like SBC/AT&T and Rogers cable, who think that people [techdirt.com] who make money from them [arstechnica.com] are evil!
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Lord_Dweomer (648696)
        The problem isn't that he is paid to have stories placed in media. That is called PR. The problem is that most of Slashdot suspects he is paying off the editors or has some sort of special relationship that allows him to get regularly posted and there is ZERO disclosure about it and none of the editors will say a word about it in response to all the hundreds of negative Roland posts that are made.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by arpy (587497)

          none of the editors will say a word about it in response to all the hundreds of negative Roland posts that are made

          That's not quite true [slashdot.org].

      • by tinkertim (918832) *

        Remind me why this is bad, again? Given that his stories do tend to be fairly interesting, does it really matter if he's making money by submitting them here?

        What would be more appropriate to ask is what were his intentions in submitting this particular article, which none of us know.

        History suggests that he was paid to do this. Science should be recognized on merit, not funding. Roland rubs salt in an open wound every time he helps something get publicity based on how much money he is paid. As such, most o

    • by DancesWithBlowTorch (809750) on Sunday March 18, 2007 @07:15AM (#18393273)
      While I've heard of Piquepaille before, I think this specific story is somewhat different.

      The Max Planck Society is a public foundation (a wierd legal construction in Germany. In a nutshell: it's a federal agency) and certainly does not have to care about outside sources of funding enough to try publicity stunts (disclaimer: I work at a Max Planck Institute, though a different one than the one linked here. Funding is generous compared to other scientific workplaces and constant over long periods of time. Partly as a consequence, the number of applicants for PhD and PostDoc positions is long enough. There's no need to advertise on /.).

      Further, this story has only one single link: To the institutes press release. From what I see, there are no redirects involved, especially not to Mr Piquepaille's blog, and the linked site contains no adverts (which, if otherwise, would be very strange indeed, coming from an MPI).

      Last but not least: The research in question was published in Nature (Physics online) last week. That's about as much publicity as you want as a scientist.

      So, I see where you're coming from, but I don't think this is an attempt to generate traffic. You also say you don't think stories like this should be published on /. as they be not connected to computing. Well, it's certainly news for nerds. (second disclaimer: I'm a physicist.)
      • by remmelt (837671)
        There's been a lot of discussion on this topic before. The link is under his name, the name is posted on the slashdot front page which has a high google page rank, the page rank of whatever the link is to goes up. There have been loads of "stories" like this (although this one isn't half bad) which are just press releases and other non-news, which always gets posted on here. The greasemonkey script seems like a good idea ;)
        • by funfail (970288)

          The link is under his name, the name is posted on the slashdot front page which has a high google page rank, the page rank of whatever the link is to goes up.
          It is a "nofollow" link, Google won't take it into account when calculating PageRank.
      • by siglercm (6059) on Sunday March 18, 2007 @11:58AM (#18394483) Journal

        Further, this story has only one single link: To the institutes press release.
        I was very interested to see only one link in this story when posted. I saw the story last night in Firehose as submitted by Roland. It included two links, the second of which pointed back to his own blog. Because of that, I voted it down.

        Comments on the last Roland story commended him for not including a link back to his blog, which includes ads. As posted, this story doesn't have such a link either, but not because Roland didn't try his hardest.... I'm glad that Slashdot editors redacted his link-whoring.

        If you're as tired of these (indirectly) revenue generating pieces as I am, please join me and tag them as "ohnoitsroland" -- I'm doing that to all of his submissions now.
        • I just don't get it at all. Is it entirely about the fact that he might make money through some tortured twists of logic? Is that what gets everyone so riled up? Seems like a serious waste of energy to hate the guy for that.

          • by siglercm (6059)
            I can only speak for myself, of course. That being said....

            I think what people have objected to is that his posts amount to an ad for his blog sites, from which he earns revenue through clicks/views. If his stories were identical but weren't implicit advertisements, I doubt there would be any gripes.

            What if someone working for IBM or Penguin Computing or NewEgg submitted stories (accepted by /.) which were clearly advertising their products or services? They'd be getting free advertising from the /. edit
            • So it is entirely about the fact that he may possibly make money from getting stories posted.

              Nope, still don't get the hostility, but I'm not one of the Slashdotters who hates people making money. I'll chalk it up to being something I'll never get.
              • by siglercm (6059)
                I'm not a free-love/free-gumbo/free-everything person. I'm pro-capitalism (sure to get modded down ;) and lean fairly well to the right (now I *am* a dead man ;D). But I would mind if someone working for IBM regularly submitted articles that advertised their products or services. Would you, or not? My understading is that /. was started as a community site, not an advertising site.

                If I understand your point (please correct me if I'm wrong), it's, "If Roland submits interesting articles, who cares if he
        • If you're as tired of these (indirectly) revenue generating pieces as I am, please join me and tag them as "ohnoitsroland" -- I'm doing that to all of his submissions now.

          Actually, I've been tagging them as "pigpile" (piquepaille, pig pile, get it?) for quite a while. Easier to remember and humorous without being whiney.
      • Last but not least: The research in question was published in Nature (Physics online) last week. That's about as much publicity as you want as a scientist.
        That just about says it all, doesn't it?
    • Your comment about this story not interesting you is a fair comment in and of itself - but just ignore the story!

      I have no interest in stories on Linux or BSD... so I don't read them. In fact, on the days when /. has nothing but linux stories, I go procrastinate elsewhere *gasp*.

      On the other hand, the reason I read slashdot is exactly for stories like this - interesting, if somewhat unfeasible (any time soon) technological advances. I don't care if they're a few months old, but I find them a hell of a
    • That's interesting. Also, on the first page of search results for Roland's name here on Slashdot, which includes stories going back to November, ScuttleMonkey, Zonk, and kdawson posted all but 2 of the Roland stories. Of the two that weren't one of these three posters one was Rob Malda's annual "Physics of Santa Clause" post.

      Maybe the conspiracy isn't as deeply rooted as being all of Slashdot, but then again maybe these three posters just like Roland's style. Although some of these stories looked like pr
    • Also, for me, computing is an important area of continuing interest. Most of Mr. Piquepaille's stories, like this one, have very little real connection to computing, so they waste my time. I'm not the only one annoyed by this, apparently: Here is a script to Hide stories submitted by Roland Piquepaille from Slashdot.org [userscripts.org].

      If you notice the title of the website, it says News for Nerds, not just News for CS/IT Nerds.

      Some of us are physics geeks and stories like this are interesting to us.

      Now,

      • Now, Roland Pipquepaille used to link to his own blog which was sucky, but these days he does not. He links to an external website, so what's your problem?
        Whether it's his site or his customer's, it's still link whoring. Plus most of his 'stories' are ripped off from other sources.
    • A deterministic single-photon source is very important in some quantum information experiments. For example, in quantum cryptography, you want a SINLGE photon, so that an eavesdropper cannot pick up any spare photons and measure them. You also want to know when the photons are coming, so you can know when to encode whatever information on them (ie polarization) and when to measure the photon.
    • Well, if you're going to complain about annoying self-promotion, what about you? You've got a political sig manually attached to your post. Sigs should be set in your user preferences, so they can be filtered out by users who find them annoying.
  • Wow! (Score:5, Funny)

    by edwardpickman (965122) on Sunday March 18, 2007 @07:14AM (#18393267)
    Just imagine what they could do with two photons!
  • The scientists added that the server is a work in progress as it, for unknown reasons the trapped atom, keeps sending the same web page.

    "Help, help, I am being oppressed"
  • ... rubidium on rails.
  • Try again when you can manage quad-core on a single photon -- we're only interested in serious computing power here..
  • To the resident quantum physicists at /. :

    Was there no other way to determine that a single photon was released? They used a beam splitter, and the method makes sense, but is there no other way using the "discreteness" of energy levels?

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