Home > Nanotechnology Columns > Brian Wang > Reviewing predictions article published at nanotech-now
I had made about 156 prediction back in March 2006 in a nanotech-now article. 15 of the predictions appear either to have come true, are partially true or are coming true. Most of the other predictions are for events likely to be many years away. I will review several predictions which appear to be substantially accurate.
September 18th, 2007
Reviewing predictions article published at nanotech-now
I had made about 156 prediction back in March 2006 in the nanotech-now article at the above link. 15 of the predictions appear either to have come true, are partially true or are coming true.
Three appear to be correct but one requires confirmation
Thousand CPU, FPGA simulator 2007-2008
Advanced microscopes with 0.5 angstrom accuracy and repeatability 2006-2008
Cellular life found on Mars 2010+ (being confirmed)
Three appear to be partially correct:
Carbon nanotube fiber inexpensive and with over 50GPa tensile strength 2014-2018
Gecko mimicing wallcrawling suits for military and enthusiasts 2008-2012
Jet airtaxi's (5000 existing regional airports in USA, 450-550mph, park and fly) 2006-2008
Seven are on track to come true:
100 qubits 2010-2014 [expect 2008]
Customized [biological] cells 2010-2014 (close)
80-200mpg cars - mainstream, batteries, ultracapacitors 5-10 times better 2008-2012 (close)
10 petaflop computer by 2012-2013
Clean fission (possible, projects underway)
Nuclear Fusion (several promising projects)
Thousand+ CPU workstations- mainstream chip vendors 2009-2012 (Nvidia has 128 core GPGPU. Systems with 8-24 of the 128 cores expected soon)
Two are in the neighborhood of being correct and are coming closer to being correct
US War with Iran 2007 (saber rattling, Hostage incident with British soldiers, various talk of bombing)
US war with Syria 2008 (A US ally, Isreal, used 8 planes to bomb Syria on Sept 6, 2007.)
Prediction: Thousand CPU, FPGA simulator 2007-2008
|ramp blue 1008 CPU FPGA machine|
The RAMP Blue v3.0 rack, with 21 BEE2s, each with 48 cores, for a total of 1008 MicroBlaze cores
Prediction: Advanced microscopes with 0.5 angstrom accuracy and repeatability 2006-2008http://advancednano.blogspot.com/2007/09/team-project-achieves-005-nanometer.html
|New 0.5 angstrom microscope, latest in the FEI titan series|
When the new TEAM microscope is delivered to Berkeley in 2008 then I would consider it a fulfillment of my prediction.
Prediction:Cellular life found on Mars 2010+ http://advancednano.blogspot.com/2007/08/mars-soil-could-be-01-extremophile.html
Recently a scientist indicated that his review of the Viking Mars probe data shows that the martian soil could turn out to be made of 0.1% extremophile single cell life. If this is confirmed to be accurate then that would definitely be a hit for my prediction that there is a discovery of cellular life on Mars.
Prediction: Carbon nanotube fiber inexpensive and with over 50GPa tensile strength 2014-2018
The second portion of this prediction may have been fulfilled:http://advancednano.blogspot.com/2006/10/superthread-100-times-stronger-than.html
|Carbon nanotube Superthread made at Los Alamos National Lab|
Superthread made by Los Alamos may have over 50Gpa of strength.
In terms of the first half of the prediction of inexpensive carbon nanotube fiber, this could be resolved by 2010. http://advancednano.blogspot.com/2007/07/carbon-nanotubes-production-in-2007-and.html
Production of carbon nanotubes could ramp up from the current 60 tons per year. Bayer has scaled up its production pilot plant from 30 to 60 tons/yr. The next step reportedly will be to boost capacity to 200 tons/yr in the next two years, with an industrial-scale 3000-ton (6.6-million lb) plant envisioned for 2011-12. This could reduce prices from $250-1000/kg now down to $10-50/kg in 2012.
In the wildcard predictions was:
US War with Iran 2007
US War with Syria 2008 http://advancednano.blogspot.com/2007/09/interesting-middle-east-news.html
There was recent news that Israel bombed Syria on Sept 6, 2007. This is a fairly close hit for one of my predictions from Mar, 2006
I would view a US proxy war where Israel (as a US ally and in some view proxy for the USA) has a war with Syria as counting as a reasonably successful prediction for "US war with Syria". I would count this bombing run with eight planes as a partially successful prediction already. My predictions are way more specific, clear and accurate than any by Nostradamus.
The USA appears to be on the brink of war with Iran. A portion of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard was placed on a United States list of terrorist organizations.
While this is not a US war with Syria, it was a close US ally, Israel, bombing Syria with a bombing run of 8 planes. A lot more than nothing in terms of military conflict. So it is some small portion of a hit in the prediction of US war with Syria.
The prediction with Iran is not fulfilled, but there was the Iran taking British soldiers hostage incident and now a lot of talk about bombing Iran. If the US or any of its allies bombs Iran then I would consider this a fulfilled prediction. I don't think that a US or US ally bombing of Iran would be the end of the matter, so marginal hair splitting may not be necessary in judging whether I was correct.
Note: I would be very happy to be wrong about these two predictions about war.http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSN1228085820070912
Prediction: Gecko mimicing wallcrawling suits for military and enthusiasts 2008-2012 http://advancednano.blogspot.com/2006/05/human-wall-crawling-product.html
|gekkomat in use|
What we have now is the gekkomat.
If they get this improved with smaller canisters and better adhesion, so that it has some adoption by some military and enthusiast users then I would count this as a successful prediction.
Some could feel that the extra suction is a cheat and I can see that is valid in terms of human gecko wall crawling but not for a practical form of human wall crawling in general.
Here is some information on how a gecko walks on walls. (13 page pdf)http://musr.phas.ubc.ca/p438/phys438/Reports/Gecko_Report.PDF
There is other work on pure reusable adhesive by BAE Systems Advanced Technology Center and others.http://www.ingenia.org.uk/ingenia/issues/issue30/Acker.pdf
Hybrid glue work from Northwestern University in Illinois. They built an array of nano-sized pillars from a soft flexible polymer. They then dip-coated these arrays in solutions containing different polymers designed to mimic the mussel proteins.http://technology.newscientist.com/article/dn12291-hybrid-glue-borrows-tricks-from-geckos-and-mussels.html
Professor Nicola Pugno, engineer and physicist at Polytechnic of Turin, Italy, has formulated a hierarchy of adhesive forces that will be strong enough to suspend a person's full body weight against a wall or on a ceiling, while also being easy to detach.
Carbon nanotube-based technology could be used to develop nano-molecular hooks and loops that would function like microscopic Velcro. This detachable, adhesive force could be used in conjunction with van der Waals forces and capillary adhesionhttp://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070829090146.htm
From bionano predictions:
Customized [biological] cells 2010-2014 http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2007/sep/06/2
I would count the successful creation of synthetic life as fulfilling this prediction. We are pretty close to achieving this.
Prediction: Almost all fish (for food) comes from massive ocean ranches (over 100 ranches, each larger than a cubic mile in area) 2015-2025 http://advancednano.blogspot.com/2007/07/aquaculture-meat-factories-and-vertical.html
Almost all the fish that we eat in the world comes from fish farming. So fulfilling this prediction would be if we shift the bulk of fish farming from fresh water farms to the ocean.
Prediction: 100 qubits 2010-2014http://advancednano.blogspot.com/2007/06/dwave-systems-quantum-computer-update.html
|Dwave System 16 qubit quantum computer, 1024 qubits expected in 2008|
The current 16 qubit demo system
Dwave Systems of Vancouver could fulfill my prediction of 100+ qubit Quantum computing system sometime in 2008.
Prediction: 10 petaflop computer by 2012-2013
There are several competitors who could achieve my prediction.http://advancednano.blogspot.com/2007/06/sun-and-ibm-supercomputer-pricing.html
Sun Microsystems and IBM have announced multi-petaflop computershttp://advancednano.blogspot.com/2007/06/japans-10-petaflop-supercomputer.html
Japan has funded a ten petaflop supercomputer project with an expected delivery of 2010 or 2011.
Prediction:Jet airtaxi's (5000 existing regional airports in USA, 450-550mph, park and fly) 2006-2008
This seems likely to become a partial hit very soon:http://www.dayjet.com/News/Default.aspx
Dayjet is starting service in Florida in about Sept, 2007 to Oct 2007.
Prediction: Thousand+ CPU workstations- mainstream chip vendors 2009-2012http://www.nvidia.com/object/tesla_computing_solutions.html
Nvidia's Tesla GPU has 128 cores and has been made into a supercomputer workstation
The Tesla D870 deskside supercomputer is a PCI Express workstation powered by two 128-processor computing core GPUs. The Tesla S870 GPU computing server is a 1U form factor server with four 128-processor computing core GPU. (512 processors).
If the 3U rack mount with eight Tesla GPUs is built that would be 1024 processor cores. http://advancednano.blogspot.com/2007/06/nvidia-tesla-supercomputer-for-1500-to.html
A 12 Teraflop system (24 GPUs) that will cost $60,000-70,000 will be selling soon from Evolved Machines would have 3072 processor cores.
Prediction: 80-200mpg cars - mainstream, batteries, ultracapacitors 5-10 times better 2008-2012
When Toyota releases its next Prius or the one after with 80+ mpg or one of the competing car companies then this prediction would get fulfilled. There is already 80mpg cars in Europe. http://advancednano.blogspot.com/2007/08/cars-that-are-more-fuel-efficient-than.html
There are other diesel and electric cars that could fulfill this prediction if they achieve enough commercial success to be considered mainstream options with widespread availability.
Prediction: a breakthrough in handling or reducing long term waste from nuclear fission - makes nuclear fission "clean" 2010+.http://advancednano.blogspot.com/2006/10/norway-considering-thorium-reactors.html
|Molten salt nuclear fission reactor|
I would consider the development of thorium nuclear reactors or any of the Fourth generation nuclear reactors as completing my prediction of clean nuclear fission
Advanced nuclear reactors could handle most of the long term radioactive materials (Uranium and Plutonium) and leave only materials with 30 years or less halflife and making up only 3% of the material by weight.
There are Fourth Generation nuclear reactor projects underway now and research on Thorium reactors in France and India.http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/01/th_better_than_1.php
Prediction: Develop useful power generation from forms of nuclear fusion 2020+ http://advancednano.blogspot.com/2007/08/bussard-fusion-may-be-funded.html
|Bussard Fusion prototype|
This is a prototype of the Bussard fusion system
If Robert Bussard's Inertial Electrostatic fusion system is made to work that would definitely fulfill my prediction.
As would http://advancednano.blogspot.com/2007/06/tri-alpha-energy-raises-40-million-in.html
|Trialpha Energy has been funded for over $50 million and is working on colliding beam fusion|
This a diagram of a colliding beam fusion system
Trialpha Energy's colliding beam fusion system
a rapid fire Z-machine fusion system
or the European laser fusion project or the ITER fusion project if they reach net positive energy generation capability.