By Donald Schroeder, Chief Information Officer, Sandia National Laboratories
The emerging technology that will have the greatest impact on Sandia National Laboratories, a National Nuclear Security Administration lab, reflects the shift toward an increased reliance on supercomputers and their validated numerical simulations to model the nuclear stockpile. Computer simulations will revolutionize the laboratories' microelectronic and nanoscale contributions to engineering and national security. Simulations help researchers work faster and more accurately.
A high-resolution global elevation map soon will allow warfighters to develop and use a variety of navigation, communications and engineering applications. Twice as accurate as previous geographic data systems, it can generate detailed topographies of 80 percent of the planet's surface, government scientists say.
If his eyesight had not failed him, Scott Dixon Smith might never have embarked on a career in technology, let alone one supplying visualization software to corporations and federal agencies. In fact, even before he entered college on a tennis scholarship, Smith already had charted a completely different course.
The combatant command in charge of U.S. homeland defense is in the midst of creating a one-stop cyber shop for information. The initiative supports a trusted information exchange by laying the foundation of an emergency event management framework. Developers contend that the tool will proffer the data and knowledge that commanders, agency leaders and law enforcement personnel need to make appropriate decisions during a crisis, and it ultimately will capture the decision-making process so it can be reviewed after the event has ended.
The People's Liberation Army Navy recently introduced two domestically designed and built guided missile destroyers that include Aegis-type radars and related technologies. Known as Project 052C guided missile destroyers (DDGs), the ships feature Aegis-type phased array panels, vertical launch systems, long-range missiles and considerable command and control. These capabilities were not found on any previous Chinese-built DDGs.
Researchers have discovered a class of nanoscale devices that can self-assemble when exposed to light. These sub-microscopic structures may provide new methods for manufacturing electronic components such as photonic devices and memory storage systems for computers. Another potential application for the technology is in splitting water molecules to generate hydrogen for use as fuel.
The science of the very small has big military, economic and security implications for the future. From molecular manufacturing to incredibly smart chemical weapons, the raw materials and ultimate paraphernalia that nanotechnology will enable boggle the imagination of even science fiction aficionados. However, experts who scrutinize the science and significance of nanoscale devices differ on how this kind technology will affect future generations as well as on what should be done today to keep the United States out front in this field.
The Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite is designed for point-on-demand instant communications, providing protected worldwide command and control access within fractions of a second to U.S. and allied warfighters. This spacecraft is taking shape with substantial technical improvements-new phased array antennas, advanced integrated circuits, more efficient waveforms and novel space-based thrusters.
The North American wireless market is poised for the introduction of next-generation applications that deliver sophisticated multimedia and data products to handheld devices. Within the next 24 months, a variety of third-generation technologies services will become available, allowing consumers and enterprises to conduct business and to access data more efficiently.