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Re: starship-design: Photonic Computers....

At 16:46 06/02/99 -0600, you wrote:
>wavelength of 1.5 microns, the all-important preferred wavelength
>for light traveling down optical fibers, has been devised by
>scientists at Sandia (Shawn Lin, slin@sandia.gov).  Basically, a
>photonic crystal is to light what a semiconductor is to electrons:
>some photon energies are permitted while others are excluded. 
>The exclusion comes about by a careful interleaving of materials
>with very different indices of refraction.  The Sandia crystal is
>actually a tiny pile of criss-crossed polysilicon rods with air in
>between.  Photonic crystals will be ingredients in future optical
>transistors---by deflecting light they will be able to act as optical
>switches at THz speeds; by trapping light they will be able to
>produce optical amplification within cavities.  The crystals will
>also be part of other optical integrated circuit components such as
>low-power nanolasers and as waveguides. (Optics Letters, 1 Jan
>1999; see also Physics Today, Jan 1999.)

Talking of superfast transistors/computers, how much would you need a
computer to automate a long journey?  I wonder just how much it'd have to
do, and whether it'd even be more than what current rocket flights have to
do - afterall, they have to monitor more things, as they are travelling in
the atmosphere some of the time, so there are more unpredicatable occurances..

Would you need a fast computer to deal with an intersterral flight?