* 2002: The year in technology*
09:00 25 December 02
The entertainment industry upped its attack on the internet file-sharing in 2002 by introducing new and controversial “copy protection” technologies to prevent computer copying of music and movies.
The year began on a sour note when the company behind the Compact Disc standard, Philips, publicly condemned <“>http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99992271> in certain Macintosh computers, causing them to crash and refused to reboot. A piece of sticky tape or a marker pen was then shown to be enough to defeat another protection system <“>http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99992464> file sharing networks and connected computers to disrupt infringement. The plans have caused outrage and prompted some researchers to develop pre-emptive countermeasures <saw technological developments that promise to keep computer systems more secure. In May, the first ever commercial quantum encryption device was unveiled by Swiss company id Quantique. By exploiting the quantum properties of photons to transmit information, quantum cryptography can deliver unbreakable encryption keys.
In October, researchers at the UK’s defence research agency QinetiQ demonstrated the same trick through thin air, firing a stream of quantum bits <.”>http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99993114>. In the same month Austrian researchers demonstrated the first quantum calculation <,”>http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99991893>, made from a single carbon nanotube, was revealed. With a diameter of only 75 nanometres, the instrument can measure the temperature change that occurs when a few molecules react with one another.
The endlessly versatile carbon nanotube was then shown also to have an explosive side <“>http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99992389> of computer storage beyond current limitations.
At the other end of the computing scale, meanwhile, the race to build the world’s most powerful scientific supercomputer gained momentum. In April, Japan’s Earth Simulator at the Marine Science and Technology Center in Kanagawa was crowned as the new supercomputing world champion <“>http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99993080> over the next three years.
2002 also saw the first match between a world chess champion and the world’s leading computer player since another IBM computer, Deep Blue, defeated Gary Kasparov in a controversial match held in 1997.
In October, the current world champion Vladimir Kramnik took on <.”>http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99992947>.
One of the more bizarre and controversial technological breakthroughs of the last year involved harnessing a different kind of non-human intelligence. In May a team at the State University of New York implanted radio-controlled electrodes in rat’s brains to create the world’s first radio controlled automaton <“>http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99992200> to 56.6 million, placing the country behind only the US in terms of internet use. And with a total population of over one billion, China could have an online population of around 257 million by 2005.
The Chinese government also increased efforts to control use of the internet in 2002. In September, the government prevented surfers behind the country’s “Great Firewall” from accessing the search engine Google, which caches many restricted sites. But a reversed version of Google called elgooG <.”>http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99992449>.