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Light Cycles | by Jason A. Samfield
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Light Cycles

The "light cycle" is the name of the futuristic, but really now just retro-futuristic, vehicles featured in the pop culture film Tron.

 

However, if you think about the potential double entendre, a cycle is essentially a loop in graph theory whereby a path of edges connected to vertices eventually leads back to the originating vertex.

 

So there might be a triple entendre in my title as well! A computer's clock cycle is based upon the speed of electricity, which is based upon the speed of light. However, because there is delay within the resistors, transistors, and other capacitive components, which make up a printed circuit board (also called a PCB for short) and coupled with memory, motherboard chipsets, and the integrated circuit itself, the clock cycles themselves are not quite light speed per se.

 

A couple of entendres later, and you have light speed computing whereby light, in the form of lasers, is used to create a computing environment with even higher clock speeds. This idea unlocked the possibility of using quantum physics for computing eventually leading to the device called a quantum computer whereby states of quanta (discrete units of energy, most often associated with the subatomic particles that light consists of called photons) are used to represent the bits in computing systems that go way beyond the binary systems currently in use today.

 

So the sunlight bounces off of the entendres in such a way that it was irresistible not to name this photo "light cycles" or some derivative thereof. And in the end, I found a deep correlation between the subject of my photo, a PCB, with a gleaming and shining star's reflection intriguingly similar to the world of Disney's Tron while also shedding some light on the complexity of the cyber world and the intricacies contained in our marvelous and ubiquitous computing machines.

 

Best when viewed in LIGHTBOX.

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Taken on September 12, 2010