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In this post: the large version of the Technology channel photo, comments from readers, and the best posts of the week!


Edison mimeograph and electric pen. From the Edison National Historic Site, courtesy of the U.S. Department of the Interior

Reader comment of the week:

In Supercomputer breaks performancing record running model of the human visual system, the Neurophilosopher (of Neurophilosophy) introduces the new IBM supercomputer Roadrunner, which takes up 6,000 square feet of room at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The computer recently broke a performance record when it performed a quadrillion calculations per second while modeling the human visual system.

Reader Josh points out that the machine is still not as impressive as the human brain:

Hmm, 6000 square feet. Slightly less efficient than the few cubic centimetres of visual cortex that normally does this work. Usually takes 30 years to get a microprocessor that does what a floor-sized computer used to do, right?

And, I’ll bet they’ll be using more than the few watts of glucose that the brain uses to power itself.

But reader Ian takes up its defense:

Given that the underlying systems that eventually produced the visual cortex had some 4 billion years of development, I’d say IBM is doing rather well so far….

Yeah, not too shabby…

Some other Technology posts we thought were cool this week were:

A little wine with your Linux?

Legislative reform needed to protect oceans from seafloor mining

Student database to attract hackers

Who gets the push to become an engineer?

Female Coders Do It With Consideration

Look for highlights from other channels coming up!