On the Edge: News briefs

Optoelectronics

Essex Corp., Columbia, Md., won a $25 million contract from the Naval Air Warfare Center to transition its prototype optoelectronic signal processing technologies to Defense Department radar programs. The company has developed optoelectronic processors that promise to increase radar resolution by eliminating the bottleneck that analog-to-digital converters impose on today's digital processors. The company also plans to explore use of its ultra-dense, channel count multiplexors and specialized image processing algorithms to refine radar use as well.

Grid computing

The National Science Foundation has released version 1.0 of its grid computing middleware, which links two or more applications across the Internet. In September 2001, the NSF committed $12 million to create and deploy these advanced network services. This release bundles the Globus Toolkit, which includes tools and libraries for supporting security, information services, data and resource management. It also includes multidomain resource locator CondorG, a network performance forecaster called Network Weather Service and tools for implementing EduPerson and Shibboleth, two academic institutional resource sharing directories.

Cryptography
Id Quantique SA in Geneva is set to release a generator that exploits quantum processes for generating random numbers. While computers are not capable of producing truly random numbers, this device exploits streams of photons beamed to a semi-transparent mirror that randomly reflects some photons and doesn't reflect others, the results of which can be translated into random numbers. The company will market the device, which will sell for around $88,000, for use in quantum key distribution, where a source of true randomness would be instrumental in producing uncrackable data encryption keys. Quantique said the device could be used in point-to-point key exchanges over optical networks of distances of more than 60 kilometers.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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