Following my retirement, we have closed our company for new business.

Please do not hesitate to contact me directly, our email portal remains open and I would be delighted to hear from you and provide ongoing support or advice.

Richard Thomson

Companies represented up to the end of December 2023. Please now contact them directly.

k-Space Associates, Inc.
Phone: +1 (734) 426-7977

Phone: +49 8761 76 24 0

Friday 21 December 2012

The World's fastest (yet)

The Titan supercomputer, a Cray XK7 system, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory is the world's fastest with 17.59 Petaflop/s (quadrillions of calculations per second).

Thursday 13 December 2012

Olfactory retailing

Smells such as that of baking bread are very appealing but scientists at the Washington State University and University of St Gallen, Switzerland have been investigating what makes the most commercially inspiring odour. Writing in the Journal of Retailing, the researchers describe exposing Swiss shoppers to a simple (orange) scent and a more complex (orange-basil blended with green tea) scent. They observed a significant jump in sales when the simpler scent was in the air. Apparently the simple scent is more easily processed but at an unconscious level, freeing the customer’s mind to focus on shopping and spending more money. 

Tuesday 11 December 2012

Memory Lane (256 bytes)

It is easy to forget how large and limited computers used to be. My first home computer was a Commodore 64 and it, along with other classics such as the PDP11, are all included in the recently opened Living Computer Museum. A couple of points for the nostalgic historical record: The maximum score possible on the 255 levels of Pac-Man is 3,333,360 and in June 1980 the VIC-20 became the first computer to sell over a million units - it had 3.5 KB of usable memory.

Thursday 6 December 2012

Strawberry Fields Forever?

The Rolling Stones may have kept going for fifty years but real flower power may now be making a comeback. A research group led by the University of Warwick are to embark on a programme using flowers, such as Alyssum, that can soak up particular elements and chemicals to restore poisoned soils. In addition to removing elements such as arsenic and platinum from contaminated land the team hope to develop suitable biorefining processes to recover high value materials.

Tuesday 4 December 2012

Are humans becoming less intelligent?

In a world containing the Large Hadron Collider and NMR body scanners it may seem strange that a Stanford University geneticist would pose the question are humans becoming less intelligent? Central to the query is the notion that ancient hunter-gatherers underwent a process of extreme selection. The inability to conceive clever solutions to the lack of food and shelter was rewarded with a rapid death and this was the powerful driver behind the optimisation of the intelligence genes thousands of years ago. Since then with the decline in this extreme selection and natural genetic mutations it has, allegedly, all been downhill. 

I leave it to the reader to reflect on what we mean by intelligence as opposed to having intelligence genes. However I note that several forums have extended the discussion into the impact of technology on our intelligence, behaviours and even our very existence. With the likes of GPS, curve fitting software and the internet are we becoming lazy and less intelligent, or, are we subcontracting out the mundane and enabling us to focus on what matters and thus be more innovative? Perhaps at the end of the day, as any hunter-gatherer knows, a tool is a tool; it is what you do with it that counts.