Most of us have computers on our desk that would have been considered supercomputers not long ago. We always wonder how many of them get any actual workout other than decoding video. If you want to simulate circuits you may very well start chewing up significant CPU time, so you might consider Xyce, an open source high-performance analog circuit simulator from Sandia National Labs. As you’d expect from a giant government lab it is able to support large scale parallel computing, but will also work on common desktop systems. On Linux, it will do what they call “small-scale parallelism.” In addition, it can deal with simulations of things as diverse as neural networks and power grids.
The code is open source, but oddly you do have to register to download it. Xyce has been around for a bit, but version 7.0 just arrived in April. Many of the changes are to improve compatibility with other Spice programs, notably HSpice.
Continue reading “What Rhymes With Spice And Simulates Huge Circuits?”
Made by Boston Dynamics under contract from Sandia Labs, this “hopper” is quite incredible as you can see in the video after the break. Boston Dynamics is no stranger to great robotics designs, including the well known “Big Dog” four-legged robot. This robot, although possibly less advanced, has a very unique trick up it’s sleve.
This robot’s distinguishing feature is that it can navigate autonomously not only with wheels, but also with a powerful single leg that allows it to jump over obstacles of up to 25 feet. Although envisioned to “deliver a payload” in an urban environment, one could imagine a terrifying horde of these ‘bots jumping into action armed with bombs or other weapons.
According to Sandia’s website is that this form of locomotion has been “shown to be five times more efficient than hovering” when trying to get around obstacles under 10 meters. Technical challenges that have been overcome include managing the shock of landing and producing a leg powerful enough to jump to this height. Continue reading “Sandia Labs “Hopper” Robot”