Authors: George Rajna
In the quest to make computers faster and more efficient, researchers have been exploring the field of spintronics—shorthand for spin electronics—in hopes of controlling the natural spin of the electron to the benefit of electronic devices.  When two researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) announced in April that they had successfully simulated a 45-qubit quantum circuit, the science community took notice: it was the largest ever simulation of a quantum computer, and another step closer to simulating "quantum supremacy"—the point at which quantum computers become more powerful than ordinary computers.  Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University and Goucher College, have discovered a new topological material which may enable fault-tolerant quantum computing.  The central idea of TQC is to encode qubits into states of topological phases of matter (see Collection on Topological Phases).  One promising approach to building them involves harnessing nanometer-scale atomic defects in diamond materials.  Based on early research involving the storage of movies and documents in DNA, Microsoft is developing an apparatus that uses biology to replace tape drives, researchers at the company say.  Our brains are often compared to computers, but in truth, the billions of cells in our bodies may be a better analogy. The squishy sacks of goop may seem a far cry from rigid chips and bundled wires, but cells are experts at taking inputs, running them through a complicated series of logic gates and producing the desired programmed output.  At Caltech, a group of researchers led by Assistant Professor of Bioengineering Lulu Qian is working to create circuits using not the usual silicon transistors but strands of DNA.  Researchers have introduced a new type of "super-resolution" microscopy and used it to discover the precise walking mechanism behind tiny structures made of DNA that could find biomedical and industrial applications.  Genes tell cells what to do—for example, when to repair DNA mistakes or when to die—and can be turned on or off like a light switch. Knowing which genes are switched on, or expressed, is important for the treatment and monitoring of disease. Now, for the first time, Caltech scientists have developed a simple way to visualize gene expression in cells deep inside the body using a common imaging technology.  Researchers at The University of Manchester have discovered that a potential new drug reduces the number of brain cells destroyed by stroke and then helps to repair the damage.  Researchers at the University of Connecticut have uncovered new information about how particles behave in our bloodstream, an important advancement that could help pharmaceutical scientists develop more effective cancer drugs.  For the past 15 years, the big data techniques pioneered by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, have been revolutionizing biomedical research. On Sept. 6, 2016, JPL and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, renewed a research partnership through 2021, extending the development of data science that originated in space exploration and is now supporting new cancer discoveries.  IBM scientists have developed a new lab-on-a-chip technology that can, for the first time, separate biological particles at the nanoscale and could enable physicians to detect diseases such as cancer before symptoms appear. 
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[v1] 2017-07-04 13:10:40
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