The world of technology has got one step closer to creating quantum computers. Dutch scientists have recently created a 2-qubit (quantum bit) processor running on a silicon chip.
While standard computers work with bits of information that can have only two states, 0 or 1, quantum processors are based on the fact that bits can exist in both states at the same time. As a result, they have tremendous computing power and can do things that no classical computer can do. Quantum computers can be used for solving complex problems and can manage much larger number of calculations at once.
Scientists explain that they are still in the early stages of developing a real quantum processor. Hardware manufacturer IBM has already built a 50-qubit computer, but with superconductive materials that need extreme cooling. Putting a quantum processor on a silicon chip, which is already used in the computer industry, may be the first step toward mass production.
In such quantum processors, electrons can be in many states at once. This is called superposition. In the lab, scientists have managed to keep electrons between both positions at the same time, however, such electrons are not stable and quickly fall apart. By linking these electrons together on a silicon chip qubit hardware manufacturers could produce quantum processors for commercial use.
bit = the smallest unit of information that a computer uses
calculation = when you use numbers to find out something
classical = here: normal; the ones we have today
commercial use = here: something that is produced so that people buy it
complex = very complicated
electron = very small piece of matter with a negative electrical charge that moves around the central part of an atom
hardware manufacturer = company that producers computers
however = but
lab = laboratory
link = connect with each other
manage = work with; succeed in doing something
mass production = products that are produced in factories in large numbers so they can be sold cheaply
processor = central part of a computer that deals with commands and the information it is given
quantum = unit of energy in physics
qubit= quantum bit = piece of information that can exist in two states at the same time
scientist = person who is trained in science and works in a lab
silicon chip = small piece of silicon that has electrical connections and can store information
stable = steady; something that does not change
stage = phase, time during which something happens
superconductive = when electricity can flow through a material very easily, especially at low temperatures
The social media site Twitter has announced its first profit since the founding of the company in 2005. The last quarter of 2017 saw the company making $ 91 million in profits. After the announcement, Twitter sharesrose more than 20%.
Twitter made the profits from an increase in ad sales and from expansion outside the US. Overall revenue has been increasing constantly and is now at $ 731 million, due to a better targetting of ads. While revenue in the US fell, it increased strongly in Japan and other countries.
Currently, Twitter is reported to have over 330 million active users. It has been an important media outlet for celebrities and politicians, especially in the United States, for a long time. However, surprisingly, up to now, the company has failed to make any profits. Business experts have criticized Twitter for failing to grow over the longer term and step out of the shadows of its bigger brother, Facebook.
The company has announced its plans for 2018. It wants to improve the quality of information and tacklesecurity issues, for example, fake accounts and spam. As many as 15% of all accounts on Twitter are said to be controlled by bots.
account = agreement you have with an organisation so that you can use its services or website
ad = advertisement = pictures, text or a short film that persuades people to buy a product
announce = to say in public, officially
bot = computer programme that can control information on a website
celebrity = famous person
constantly = slowly, but all the time
currently = at the moment
due to = because of
especially = above all
expansion = when something increases in size
fail = here: not succeed in doing something
fake = not a real person
founding = when the company started
increase = grow, become larger
longer term = over a longer period of time
outlet = here: organization through which information is presented
overall = total; altogether
politician = person who works in the government, parliament or a political party
profit = the money you for selling things or doing business after your costs have been paid for
reported = it is said that …
revenue = money that a company gets in a certain time for selling products and services
rise – rose = to go up
security issues = problems in which the website is attacked by criminals and hackers
shares = part of a company that you can buy
spam = message that is sent to many different people by email or the Internet, usually as a way of advertising something
tackle = manage ; fight against
target = here: people who are chosen for getting ads
The World Health Organisation has added the term “gaming disorder” to its International Classification of Diseases. It refers to people who are addicted to video and other games and cannot stop. It is the first update in the WHO’s catalogue in almost three decades.
According to the WHO, gaming becomes a disorder if you are unable to control how long you play and when to stop. When that happens, it gets control of your life, influences everyday situations and affects your daily routine. WHO officials say that excessive gaming is a serious disorder that must be closely watched
In order for a person to be regarded as having a gaming disorder, the behaviour must be going on for at least one year, either constantly or in phases. Gamers put their addiction above their family life, meeting with friends and going to school.
On one side studies have shown that playing video games may help with problems likedepression anddementia.However, gaming is highlyaddictive and many people play for a longer time than is healthy. As a result, people get fired for not going to work or miss school classes for a longer period of time.
Many continue with their addiction, even if they see and realize the negative consequences it leads to.
according to = as said by …
addicted to = not able to stop doing something that may be harmful
addiction = when you have to and want to do something regularly
behaviour = here: too much gaming
classification = when you put people into a group
consequence = result
constantly = all the time, without interruption
daily routine = what you normally do every day
decade = ten years
dementia = illness that affects the brain, in which you cannot think clearly and behave in a normal way; you also forget a lot of things
depression = situation in which you are unhappy, nervous and cannot live a normal life
disorder = mental or physical illness which stops your body from working the way it should
excessive = too much
get fired = lose your job
highly addictive = here: the will to play a game is so strong you cannot stop
however = but
influence = change
official = person who is in a high position in an organisation
realize = understand how bad the situation is
refer = to be about something
regard as = here: to put a person into this category
serious = very bad
studies = work that is done to find out more about a topic
update = change
World Health Organisation (WHO) = international organisation that is part of the United Nations, which helps countries improve the health of their population; it also offers information about diseases and provides medicine
NASA has discovered the eighth planet of a star system, similar to our solar system. The star, Kepler-90 is over 2,500 light years away and larger and hotter than our sun. It is the first star known to have as many planets as our solar system.
The Kepler-90 star system is much more compact than our solar system. The outermost planet orbits the star at about the same distance as the earth orbits the sun. its inner planets are small and rocky while the outer ones are larger and made up of gas
The newly discovered planet, Kepler -90i, is the third celestial object in the star system. It is probably rocky and similar to our earth, but because of its closeness to its home star has an averagesurface temperature of about 400° C. It moves around the star once every 14.4 days.
The discovery was made based ondataprovided by the Kepler space telescope. Launched in March 2009, the telescope has constantly been scanning certain sections of the universe in search of new stars and planetary systems. Up to now, over 2,000 new worlds have been discovered.
To help analyse the data NASA has been relying on artificial intelligence software supplied by Google. This software examines weak signals of light when objects pass in front of a star. The new way of examining data is expected to reveal even more new planets in the future.
artificial intelligence = when computers do intelligent things that only people can do, such as think and make their own decisions
average = normal, usual
based on = use
celestial = about the sky
closeness = being close to something
compact = here: the planets are closer together and near to the star
constantly = always
data = information
discover = to find something for the first time
distance = the amount of space between two objects
examine = look at something closely
launch = to send an object into space
light year = the distance light travels in one year = 9,460,000,000,000 km
orbit = to go around
outermost = the farthest away from something
planetary system = star with planets moving around it
provide = give
rely = depend on; need
reveal = to show something that was not known before
rocky = covered with or made of rocks; here: a hard surface
scan = when a machine looks at things carefully but quickly
similar = like
solar system = our sun and the eight planets that move around it
surface temperature = temperature you get when you stand on the planet
Short Message Service (SMS), also called texting, is celebrating its 25th birthday. The first text message was sent in Great Britain shortly before Christmas in 1992 in Great Britain. It was British engineer Neil Papworth who sent the first message from a computer to a mobile phone on the Vodaphone network. At that time mobile phones could only receive messages, not send them.
In 1994, Nokia presented its first mobile phone that could actually send and receive messages. It was the first phone that could produce more than an audio signal. Shortly afterwards the first commercial SMS service started in Finland. Text messages were limited to 160 characters.
25 years later text messaging is widelypopular. 97% of all smartphone users send some type of text message regularly. About 25 billion are sent every day. Today there are more complex messaging services like WhatsApp, Facebook Messanger and iMessage.
Media experts regard texting as the first step towards today’s smartphones, which are basically pocket computers with countless apps.
Texting has changed the way we communicate. For the first time, you could send the same text to different contacts at the same time andit didn’tmatter if the recipient was reachable or not. A new language has also emerged with abbreviations and short sentences.
abbreviation = short form of a word or phrase
actually = really, in fact
basically = practically
celebrate = to show that an event is important
commercial = here: something that you can make money with
communicate = exchange information or get into contact with each other
complex = advanced; with many different parts
countless = very many
emerge = develop, appear
engineer = person who designs and builds machines and other objects
limit = only allow
network = here: system of telephone lines that are connected to each other
For the first time in history, China has overtaken the United States in the number of supercomputers. Currently, China has a total of 202 of the world’s 500 fastest computers, up from 159 half a year ago. The number of US supercomputers has dropped to 144.
The world’s most powerful computer is located in China. The Sunway TaihuLight , at Wuxi can do 93 quadrillioncalculations per second. The fastest UScomputer,the Titan, is ranked fifth while Europe’s speediest computer is Switzerland’s Piz Daint, ranked third.
Supercomputers are machines that occupyentire buildings and use the combined power of thousands of processors. They are used to carry out special tasks that involve a huge number of calculations. Among them are weather forecasts and climate studies, as well as strategic tasks like nuclear weapons simulations.
Chinese supremacy in the world of supercomputing reflects the country’s investment in research and development. One-fifth of the money used on research and development around the world is spent in China.
On the other side, many Chinese systems have been created to earn money. Processing power is rented to other national and international companies.
For years the speed of supercomputers has steadily increased although since 2012 this increase has slowed down.
although = while
calculation = here: a single task
combined = everything put together
create = make
currently = at the moment, now
drop = go down
entire = whole
huge = very big; very many
investment = to use money for special things
involve = need
located = can be found
nuclear weapons simulation = here: software that tries to find out how nuclear bombs will affect the world and its population if they are used
occupy = use up; need
overtake = to be better than
processor = central part fo a computer that deals with commands and the information you give it
quadrillion= the number one followed by 24 zeros
ranked = position in a list
reflect = show, demonstrate
rent = let someone use something for money
research and development = to study special fields and use new ideas to create new things
speediest = fastest
steadily = slowly
strategic = here: about the military
supremacy = being number one or the best in the world
task = piece of work
weather forecast = a description of what the weather will be like in the next few days
The social networking service Twitter has increased the number of characters that can be used for a single tweet to 280. The new limit will apply to English and other languages that use a Roman alphabet. Languages, such as Chinese, Japanese or Korean, are not affected by the change because users can say more with fewer characters.
Twitter says that the change has been made to give people more opportunity to say what they think and express their opinions without making texts shorter or using bad grammar. More space makes it easier to put your thoughts in writing.
Twitter decided to implement the change after a month of intensive testing .Those who tested the new character limit said it was good because they were able to express themselves in a better way.
In the first few days after the new rule took effect, many people used up the full 280 character limit. A spokesperson said that, after a few days, everything had become normal again. Only five percent of all tweets exceeded the old 140 character limit, probably because most users were used to it.
Twitter’s 140-character limit goes back to the days when the company was founded in 2006. Back then, the limit for sending SMS text messages was 140 characters and Twitter based the new service on that limit. Texting today is considered out of date and not used that much anymore.
affect = here: to do something that produces a change
apply = affect; to be used for
character = letter, number or sign used in an alphabet
considered = thought to be …
exceed = to be more than …
express = tell or show what you think or feel
found – founded = here: to start a new company
implement = here: to make changes
increase = to go up
intensive = here: a lot of
limit = here: the number of characters you are allowed to use
opinion = what you think about something
opportunity = chance
out of date = not useful, because something more modern has taken its place
Roman alphabet = alphabet used in English and other European languages
spokesperson = someone who speaks for a company and makes announcements in public
take effect = to start to produce results after something has changed
The American video streaming service Netflix has 100 million subscribers around the world. This year alone the company has gained almost 5 million new viewers. Its content can now be seen used in 190 countries. Almost half of Netflix’s subscribers live in the United States.
The company expects to expand even more quickly as services in Asia, Africa and Latin America have just been started. Almost 75% of the world’s population live here.
A major part of Netflix’s success comes from producing its own shows. “House of Cards” or “Stranger Things” have won many awards become worldwide hits.
The success of the video streaming giant is also reflected at the stock markets. At the moment, Netflix has a market value of $63 billion and its stock price continues to rise.
In the past decade, Netflix has changed the way we watch television. More and more people are turning away from traditional TV, where you have to watch a film when it is aired or wait a week to watch the next episode of your favourite show. With video on demand viewers tend to watch whatever they want when they want to.
Competitors of Netflix have started to gain ground and are trying to make life tough for the streaming giant. Amazon Prime has launched its own streaming service and the big US networks are streaming their own shows as well.
air = broadcast on television
award = prize
content = here: films and movies it offers
continue = to go on
decade = ten years
expand = to make bigger
gain = to become more ; get
gain ground = catch up with; to become better
launch = start
reflect = show
rise = go up
stock market = place where parts of companies and businesses are bought and sold
streaming service = when you can watch a video while it is being broadcast over the Internet
subscriber = person who pays money every month to use something
success = to achieve what you wanted; to become very good at what you do
tend = have a habit of doing something; to do something regularly
tough = hard
value = what something is worth
video on demand = you can watch something whenever you want to
viewer = a person who watches something on TV or the Internet