Saturday, February 10, 2007

Quantum Computer 'Orion'

I didn't realise that quantum computing was so close to being realised, but according to Dr Dobb's Journal it's going commercial now. If true, that's seriously amazing! Lots of applications in AI and reasoning are bounded by the intractability of the algorithms. D-Wave's Orion computer can solve NP-complete problems quickly (the article only says "in record time"). Clearly super-cooled quantum devices won't be fitted to desktop pc's any time soon, and anyway the current device takes time to be configured. Nevertheless, given the rate at which hardware progresses, software researchers need to start thinking now about what we're going to do as all that computational power - a paradigm changer for sure - comes on stream. Hmm.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

CSS - Conditional comments

Like anyone who looks after any web sites, CSS rendering engine bugs are a bane in my life. Tweaking the CSS code to look OK for all visitors' browsers is a right pain. The usual way to approach the problem is either to try to get a single stylesheet that looks adequate in all browsers, while possibly not optimal in any, or to use various CSS hacks such as partially formed comments. These exploit known bugs in, e.g. the IE 5.5 CSS parser, to present different styles to different browsers. Thanks to the nice people at Virgin Radio, today I came across a rather cleaner solution: CSS - conditional comments. Very useful. Thanks ant!