More Precise National Clock Can Improve Applications
An experimental clock based on a mercury ion won't gain or lose a second in 400 years, researchers say.
It's the physics equivalent of the trickle-down theory, of sorts. Improvements in measuring time should result in improvements in applications that rely on precise time computations, such as those used in global positioning satellite systems, telecom, and wireless networks.
A wristwatch isn't good enough for Bergquist
The National Institute of Standards and Technology this month published an article in the journal Physical Review Letter saying it had created an experimental atomic clock using a mercury ion that's nearly five times more precise than NIST-F1, the standard national clock that the institute operates. The current national clock already is pretty good; if operated continuously, it would neither gain nor lose a full second in about 70 million years. The mercury clock takes that to 400 million years, and NIST researchers say they've made even more improvements since submitting their article.
The experimental clock measures the uninterrupted rhythms of an electrically charged mercury atom held in an ultra-cold electromagnetic trap. It ticks at frequencies much higher than the microwave frequencies measured in the national clock. That could enhance GPS systems, which rely on radio signals traveling at the speed of light from satellites that use atomic clocks.
"The accuracy of the mercury-ion system is superior to that of the best cesium clocks," NIST physicist and principal investigator Jim Bergquist says. Still, it will be at least five to 10 years before a clock using mercury will replace cesium clocks.
IT's Reputation: What the Data SaysInformationWeek's IT Perception Survey seeks to quantify how IT thinks it's doing versus how the business really views IT's performance in delivering services - and, more important, powering innovation. Our results suggest IT leaders should worry less about whether they're getting enough resources and more about the relationships they have with business unit peers.
What The Business Really Thinks Of IT: 3 Hard TruthsThey say perception is reality. If so, many in-house IT departments have reason to worry. InformationWeek's IT Perception Survey seeks to quantify how IT thinks it's doing versus how the business views IT's performance in delivering services - and, more important, powering innovation. The news isn't great.
InformationWeek Must Reads Oct. 21, 2014InformationWeek's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of digital strategy. Learn why you should learn to embrace DevOps, how to avoid roadblocks for digital projects, what the five steps to API management are, and more.