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Clean tech

Canada's Entrepreneurship Dilemma: Decades Of Anemic Research Investment

This issue has driven me absolutely nuts since I first arrived in Canada from Silicon Valley. It did not take me long to figure out that things did not work they way they did in California, and that there wasn’t much of a true entrepreneurial economy here. Since then, I have also been appointed to the Canada Foundation for Innovation grant process, providing me with insight into how R&D funding works in Canada. I have seen many issues in Canada that have impaired the nation’s ability to develop an entrepreneurial culture, among them is the inherent Canadian conservatism and short term horizon of investors unfamiliar with technology venture investment. But none has been worse than Canada’s decades-long neglect of adequate funding for research and development nationwide.

Industry Analysis

Moore's Law at 50: At Least A Decade More To Go And Why That's Important

Gordon Moore, now 86, is still spry and still given to the dry sense of humor for which he has always been known. In an Intel interview this year he said that he had Googled “Moore’s Law” and “Murphy’s Law,” and Moore’s beat Murphy’s by two to one,” demonstrating how ubiquitous is the usage of Dr. Moore’s observation. This week we are commemorating the 50th anniversary of the April 19, 1965 issue of Electronics magazine, in which Dr. Moore first described his vision of doubling the number of transistors on a chip every year or so.

Quantum computing

Quantum Computing Takes Center Stage In Wake of NSA Encryption Cracking

In the late 1990’s, I participated in the creation of the “point-to-point tunneling protocol” (PPTP) with engineers at Microsoft and Cisco Systems, now an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) industry standard. PPTP is the technical means for creating the “virtual private networks” we use at UBC, by encrypting “open” Internet packets with IPSEC 128 bit code, buried in public packets. It was an ingenious solution enabling private Internet traffic that we assumed would last for a very long time. It was not to be, as we now know. Most disturbing, in the 1990’s the US Congress debated giving the government the key to all encryption, which was resoundingly defeated. Now, the NSA appears to have illegally circumvented this prohibition and cracked encryption anyway. But this discussion is not about the political, legal and moral issues, which are significant. In this post I am more interested in “so now what do we do?” There may be an answer on the horizon, and Canada is already a significant participant in the potential solution.

Near field communication

Integrated Big Data, Cloud, and Smart Mobile: One Big Deal or Not?

This IEEE Talk discusses the three biggest trends in online technology and proposes that in fact, they represent one huge integrated trend that is already having a major impact on the way we live, work and think. The 2012 Obama Campaign’s Dashboard mobile application, integrating Big Data, The Cloud, and Smart Mobile is perhaps the most significant example of this trend, combining all three technologies into one big thing. A major shakeout and industry consolidation seems inevitable. Additional developments as diverse as the Internet of Things, Smart Grid, near field communication, mobile payment processing, and location based services are also considered as linked to this overall trend.

Supercomputers

Google Buys a D-Wave Quantum Computer

Earlier this week, I was advised by a VC friend in Vancouver to expect another blockbuster announcement from D-Wave. And so it has happened. As if to stem any further skepticism and debate about D-Wave’s quantum computing technology, Google today announced that it has bought a D-Wave quantum computing system, in a partnership with NASA and Lockheed Martin Aerospace. This is the second major sale of a D-Wave system, and further evidence that this is not simple tire kicking by a group of ivory tower scientists.

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