Newborn gas planets may be surprisingly flat, says new research

A new planet starts its life in a rotating circle of gas and dust, a cradle known as a protostellar disk. My colleagues and I have used computer simulations to show that newborn gas planets in these disks are likely to have ...

Unlocking the full potential of Auger electron spectroscopy

Auger electron spectroscopy (AES) is an incredibly useful technique for probing material samples—but current assumptions about the process ignore some of the key time-dependent effects it involves. So far, this has resulted ...

Atmospheres in the TRAPPIST-1 system should be long gone

Trappist-1 is a fascinating exoplanetary system. Seven worlds orbiting a red dwarf star just 40 light-years away. All of the worlds are similar to Earth in mass and size, and three or four of them are potentially habitable. ...


A computer is a machine that manipulates data according to a set of instructions.

Although mechanical examples of computers have existed through much of recorded human history, the first electronic computers were developed in the mid-20th century (1940–1945). These were the size of a large room, consuming as much power as several hundred modern personal computers (PCs). Modern computers based on integrated circuits are millions to billions of times more capable than the early machines, and occupy a fraction of the space. Simple computers are small enough to fit into a wristwatch, and can be powered by a watch battery. Personal computers in their various forms are icons of the Information Age and are what most people think of as "computers". The embedded computers found in many devices from MP3 players to fighter aircraft and from toys to industrial robots are however the most numerous.

The ability to store and execute lists of instructions called programs makes computers extremely versatile, distinguishing them from calculators. The Church–Turing thesis is a mathematical statement of this versatility: any computer with a certain minimum capability is, in principle, capable of performing the same tasks that any other computer can perform. Therefore computers ranging from a mobile phone to a supercomputer are all able to perform the same computational tasks, given enough time and storage capacity.

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