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Dudley Buck's Forgotten Cryotron Computer (ieee.org)
111 points by spectruman 379 days ago | 10 comments



This is absolutely fascinating. I didn't realize that today's nanofab labs used technology that was available in the 1950's (e-beam lithography is pretty common, with a second contender for nano-scale structures being FIB[1] milling).

The article's amazing for being a look into a future that could've been. A number of physics tools that are around now depend on microscale cryogenics, but they're still fairly rare (like SQUIDs[2]).

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Focused_ion_beam [2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SQUID

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There's quite a large effort in superconducting qubits, superconducting quantum limited amplifiers, at least one company doing rapid single flux quantum circuitry. Superconducting circuits are reasonably popular.

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Wow, that's neat! Has any of this technology made it out of the lab?

It feels like the main limit to mass production of this technology (if people wanted it) is the cryogenics system involved. What other barriers (other than lack of demand) are there to, say, placing a superconducting device in a mass-market product?

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I'd like to see some of the labs providing APIs to some prototypes, sorta like this random number generator: http://qrng.anu.edu.au/index.php

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And a little more detail: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dudley_Allen_Buck

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Died at 32. What a tragedy.

Googling around indicates he died suddenly of pneumonia-like symptoms. He was working with chemicals whose fumes could have caused that (HCL, e.g.).

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There is speculation on this at the end of the IEEE article.

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It's fascinating to realise the amount of herd-like behaviour there is in all walks. Crypto switching clearly had some promise but was essentially abandoned when semiconductors reached a form of escape velocity. The same can be seen in Russian work on phages instead of anti-bacteria - strange that we do not parallelise our r&d

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It's hard to imagine a more perfect HN post than this one.

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Agreed. One of the best links I've ever followed from HN.

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