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Nokia Receives $1.35B Grant To Develop Graphene Tech

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the future-is-now dept.

Handhelds 79

silverpig writes "It now appears that graphene has reached a point worthy of serious, direct industrial attention. The grant money itself comes from the European Union for the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET), but the work will be done by a large non-governmental company with eyes on developing useful real-world applications. Smartphones contain many components with high potential for making use of graphene. From the article: 'Nokia is leading the electronic firms within the Graphene Flagship Consortium, which includes 73 other companies and academic institutions from a number of mediums. The Finnish handset manufacturer has received a grant of $1.35 billion to research and develop graphene for practical applications, with the European Union for the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) providing the grant itself.'"

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79 comments

AC (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42758015)

AC is number 1!

Why Nokia ? (2)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year ago | (#42759409)

Why Nokia ?

First of all, there are a lot of reputable research labs in Europe.

Second of all, Graphene can be used in A WIDE RANGE OF DIFFERENT FIELDS, --- from medical research to electronics to military to environmental science --- smartphone is just _one_ of the many.

Personally I think many other research labs are more deserving of the research grant than Nokia.

Re:Why Nokia ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42760055)

It's not as if only Nokia gets money from this flagship project. There are 626 places (companies, universities and research centers) getting money from this flagship project. Nokia is just one of them.

Re:Why Nokia ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42760107)

North Korea is best Korea!

This Could Be Promising (3, Insightful)

ltrand (933535) | about a year ago | (#42758053)

Both the tech that comes from it, and the funding process model if it is successful. I wonder how much Nokia is going to try to solo this project vs. working with other science entities. This has the potential of showing the world either how to, or how not to, do research. It's too bad that the US and the EU can't work together in a more efficient way to develop material sciences. How much tech is being held up by the slow advances in materials development? Batteries, solar, next-gen computing, ect, ect, ect. At least someone is starting to push hard into this.

Re:This Could Be Promising (2)

davester666 (731373) | about a year ago | (#42758333)

So the EU is giving Nokia 1.3 billion dollars develop and patent things with Graphene for it's own use?

Yum. Tasty pork!

Re:This Could Be Promising (4, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#42758515)

Other articles I've read say that's half of it promised in matching funds, and even that isn't completely certain.

I didn't know it was all going to Nokia. That's surprising. I'm guessing they'll make an amazing phone out of graphene, foldable, a trillion core processor, flies, and has AI... and then they'll kill it off and only sell windows phones.

Re:This Could Be Promising (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42758553)

I didn't know it was all going to Nokia. That's surprising.

They're too old, big and too central to Finland's history and economy to be allowed to fail. It would be an embarrassment.

Also the EU will be happy to piss Microsoft off. Now they'll have to wait a bit longer to pillage the corpse of their victim.

Re: Only a small part goes to Nokia (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42759077)

The FET flagship projects, of which this is one, have a budget of up to 100 million euro per year. The amount contributed by the EU will be considerably lower, as this number includes costs borne by the project members that are not reimbursed by the EU.

According to the rules governing these kinds of EU projects, Nokia will be able to request reimbursment for up to 50% of their R&D costs in the project. The actual levels of reimbursment may be lower, depending on how the budget is allocated. The EU is actually pretty aggressive about ensuring that money is actually spent in accordance with the contract that the project members are required to sign.

But way, there's more!

The press release from the project itself states that the initial 30 months have a budget of only 54 million euro and involve 126 different research groups. We don't know yet what the project will look like after that initial phase since new participants and activities will be added through an open (i.e. competitive call). Based on my experience, the project will almost certainly use the full 1 billion euro, eventually, but there's know way to know how those funds will be allocated, yet.

Nokia's share of the budget by the end of the project? My guess would be at the very most 50 million euro over ten years (of which they about half from the EU and have to put up the rest themselves), but that is just a guess.

Re:This Could Be Promising (4, Interesting)

Zorpheus (857617) | about a year ago | (#42758889)

Even the summary says that Nokia is just one of 74 participants. No idea why they write that Nokia gets everything.

Re:This Could Be Promising (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year ago | (#42761795)

Even the summary says that Nokia is just one of 74 participants. No idea why they write that Nokia gets everything.

It sounds more annoying to non-Europeans, so you'll probably get a bunch of Americans moaning about evil European socialists ruining their economy, or something, and a bunch of us Europeans telling them to stop whining like little babies.

It's a way of generating argument.

Re:This Could Be Promising (2)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year ago | (#42761771)

Why shouldn't the EU help along what was one of Europe's premier tech companies and help give them an edge over the Chinese, Koreans and Americans?

Re:This Could Be Promising (1)

Tagged_84 (1144281) | about a year ago | (#42758341)

FYI This is the second portion of the European funding with the first being reported on slashdot a few days ago, the Human Brain Project.

Re:This Could Be Promising (1)

clarkn0va (807617) | about a year ago | (#42758765)

It's too bad that the US and the EU can't work together in a more efficient way to develop material sciences.

Considering that MS and this grant from the EU are about the only two sources of revenue at Nokia right now, we can't really say that the collaboration isn't happening. Whether it could be more efficient, well--

developing useful real-world applications. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42758101)

If they wanted to develop "useful real-world applications" they wouldn't have switched everything to the doomed windows phone.

Re:developing useful real-world applications. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42758169)

Ain't that the friggin' truth.

Re:developing useful real-world applications. (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | about a year ago | (#42758313)

If they wanted to develop "useful real-world applications" they wouldn't have switched everything to the doomed windows phone.

Ahhh, but what if it has NEW "MS-Graphene" technology?

Re:developing useful real-world applications. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42758423)

It'll still be a turd.

Re:developing useful real-world applications. (3, Funny)

rusty0101 (565565) | about a year ago | (#42758543)

Probably, but you just know that PC World will be flooded with articles about how the new Graphene interface based phones will take over the business cell phone market, and Endgadget will have a dozen articles by 2 authors about how Apple had developed it first and how the Apple products being released into the market have a much slicker implementation.

People of course will be dropping both editions into the toilet.

Wrong, wrong and wrong. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42758103)

Nokia is involved in a graphene research program along with 73 other companies. The research program gets 1 billion euros over 10 years. Nokia will probably only get a fraction of that money.

Re:Wrong, wrong and wrong. (5, Informative)

EzInKy (115248) | about a year ago | (#42758229)

The article says differently, but I suspect you may be right. Like many I don't regularly read articles. For the most part I find the comments much more informative, but with Nokia stories I can't help it. I just can't get rid of the hope that the maker of the best phone I've ever owned (N900) will come to its senses and market another and perhaps even freer one despite its deal with the devil.

Anyway, a little searching turned up this Bloomberg article [bloomberg.com] that seems to back your assertion.

"University-led research projects to investigate graphene and the functioning of the human brain each won 1 billion euros ($1.35 billion) in European Union funding, the European Commission said.

Researchers at Sweden’s Chalmers University will lead a project to investigate graphene, the thinnest and toughest material ever produced which conducts electricity 30 times faster than silicon. Royal Philips Electronics NV, Alcatel- Lucent SA, Thales SA (HO) and Nokia Oyj (NOK1V) are among companies involved in the program. Another project simulating the way the human brain works is led by researchers at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale of Lausanne, Switzerland, and includes SAP AG (SAP), Cray Inc. (CRAY) and International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) "

Re:Wrong, wrong and wrong. (1)

ltrand (933535) | about a year ago | (#42758375)

Yeah, while they say that they are incorperating unversities as well, the list of corps and their prior uses of patents is what makes me cautious about cheering this on. CERN may be the last organization alive that just invents things and gives it away. I really would like to see the US dangle large money like this for R&D, but with the string that it must be released public domain for all to use and enjoy. THAT would be a good use of tax dollars that is fair to everyone.

Re:Wrong, wrong and wrong. (2)

cheater512 (783349) | about a year ago | (#42758401)

I would have given a arm and a leg for a N950 (N9 crossed with the N900).
The bastards never sold it. Even eBay turned up blank.

Re:Wrong, wrong and wrong. (1)

EzInKy (115248) | about a year ago | (#42758551)

If the device you are referring had a hardware keyboard like the N900, arguably its most important feature, I'd agree with you. The N950 was only issued to developers from what I understand, a truly Microsoftian move if ever there was one.

Re:Wrong, wrong and wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42760839)

The N950 are not on ebay because they are loan devices, property of Nokia.

Re:Wrong, wrong and wrong. (1)

JustLikeToSay (651328) | about a year ago | (#42760407)

The FET Flagships will be 1B€ over 10 yr projects / programmes. Some of that money will come from the EU budget, some will be co-funding from EU Member States's national research programmes and some will be provided by the partners. For the purposes of discussion 1B€ / 10yrs = 100M€ pa could be ... 20M€ pa own resources 30M€ pa from EU 50M€ pa from Member States Large Member States may be in for about 10M€ pa per flagship.

Re:Wrong, wrong and wrong. (2)

silverpig (814884) | about a year ago | (#42762755)

Yep it seems you are correct. I came across the post via my twitter feed, which led me to the THG article as the source. It seems THG got their info from Nokia, and while Nokia mentioned they were part of a consortium that won the grant, THG wrote it up as Nokia being the winner. I'll see if I can get /. to update the article.

Hopefully, no more than $50 million or so (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42758107)

of the graphene money will be spent on No. 2 pencils with the "Windows Phone" logo.

"... institutions from a number of mediums." (1)

msauve (701917) | about a year ago | (#42758117)

No, it's "media," unless your talking about clairvoyants.

Re:"... institutions from a number of mediums." (1)

msauve (701917) | about a year ago | (#42758125)

Go ahead, mod me down for "your" instead of "you're." :-)

Re:"... institutions from a number of mediums." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42758199)

The downmoderation is going to be because your pedantic post was wrong, in a way similar to what it was criticizing. It's called hypocrisy.

Re:"... institutions from a number of mediums." (1)

webmistressrachel (903577) | about a year ago | (#42758221)

Coming from AC? I've seen you express so many conflicting opinions and directions, you make both copies of GW Bush look tame and when compared to your outpourings over the years, the Bible seems perfectly logical and sensible! ;-)

Re:"... institutions from a number of mediums." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42758813)

Hypocrisy is intentional, so no, it's not called hypocrisy. It's called being a dumb ass.

Patents (1)

high_rolla (1068540) | about a year ago | (#42758121)

I assume that anything they learn from this research will be openly available to anyone and not encumbered with patents?

Re:Patents (1)

Elixon (832904) | about a year ago | (#42758211)

You wish. If you are an employee of Nokia part time assigned to this job how will you know who paid for your idea? Today you work on EU project, tomorrow you work for Nokia on related project... and boom you got an idea. Who paid for it?

And after all Nokia is just a commercial company currently struggling for money so I have no doubt what will be the management decision.

I rather wander if it is not just a case of disguised subvention by EU.

Re:Patents (1)

EzInKy (115248) | about a year ago | (#42758275)

Nokia dug its own grave. Why they didn't concentrate on continuing to be the best phone hardware manufacturer instead of locking themselves in to a deal with Microsoft is a question for the ages.

Re:Patents (1)

freeze128 (544774) | about a year ago | (#42758417)

Sure. Apple patents cellphones with a metal case, Nokia patents phones with a graphene case.... What does that leave for anyone else? Bamboo?

Re:Patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42758687)

The smart option? Plastic?

Nokia could remain relevant. (1, Interesting)

marnues (906739) | about a year ago | (#42758183)

Seems as though this could keep Nokia relevant. I'll be curious if Nokia becomes a hardware vendor for the other cell makers though.

Re:Nokia could remain relevant. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42758305)

The EU will bail out failing companies too. Except they don't have to worry about what voters think.

Grossly wrong (5, Informative)

ndverdo (799508) | about a year ago | (#42758209)

this is a unusually grossly wrong submission having gotten to the /. frontpage. The gross project funding amounts to EUR 1 billion (approx. USD 1.35 billion) which is allocated to all the over 100 participant institutions, companies and groups - of which Nokia is only one. The effort is led by Chalmers University of Sweden.

Re:Grossly wrong (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42758243)

Even worse, they didn't think to blame Obama for picking winners and losers again!

That Communist Marxist Muslim Kenyan Anti-Colonialist should know better! He lost the election for a reason! If only that voter fraud hadn't happened in France!

Re:Grossly wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42758469)

this is a unusually grossly wrong submission having gotten to the /. frontpage.

You must be new here.

Re:Grossly wrong (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42758917)

Thanks, I reacted strongly to this myself. This is a very big deal for Chalmers University of Technology [chalmers.se] who are the ones who actually "won" anything here, and it would be nice to at least mention them in an article summary since they are the driving force behind the project. Nokia is one partner out of many.

Chalmers have been at the forefront of experimental nano science in Europe since their big investment in the MC2 building [chalmers.se] with a state-of-the-art clean room, with a particular focus on materials science and microwave electronics. They have a theoretical department to go with this, and the head of the theoretical division, Jari Kinaret [chalmers.se] , is the one who will commandeer this project.

This months-old article [goteborgdaily.se] lays out the thoughts before the big project landed, where they originally budgeted for a ~€80M project. Now they actually got an order of magnitude more funds which will expand the project greatly, but it's still the same focus.

A more recent article [goteborgdaily.se] that even more clearly lays out the circumstances.

(CAPTCHA: "electron" - how fitting)

Nokia BAILOUT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42758293)

EU bailing out bankrupt Nokia

Boron (2)

olsmeister (1488789) | about a year ago | (#42758309)

Just read an interesting article [phys.org] today about using boron as a possible graphene alternative.

Re:Boron (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42758415)

That was the most boring article I've ever read.

Re:Boron (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42759209)

Not everything is Fox News nowadays. Some people don’t feel the need to sensationalize everything. Go back to your yellow press!

Still indestructable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42758317)

Nokia phones will remain the weapon of choice.

Waste of money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42758397)

Why would they give that to a phone manufacturer that is about to go out of business and take all their R&D with them???

Condoms -> Phones -> Research (0)

LongearedBat (1665481) | about a year ago | (#42758451)

Nokia does seem like a very adapatable company, starting out with rubber gloves and condoms, then diversifying into mobile phones (a totally different field), then into materials reaseach (which is a natural progression, according the the article).

That level of flexibility doesn't strike me as particularly common.

Re:Condoms - Phones - Research (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42759203)

They started out as a tire manufacturer. Fisting gloves and condoms came later, when the Russians weren’t satisfied with drawing happy faces on tires with lipstick, and calling it their wife. ;)

Carbon future (4, Interesting)

LongearedBat (1665481) | about a year ago | (#42758455)

"When we talk about graphene, we’ve reached a tipping point. We’re now looking at the beginning of a graphene revolution. Before this point in time, we figured out a way to manufacture cheap iron that led to the Industrial Revolution. Then there was silicon. Now, it’s time for graphene."

This is something that I've been looking forward to for various reasons: plenty of cheap carbon available, perhaps carbon circuitry will integrate better with biology, and I believe that electric conductivity between covalently joined atoms (as in graphene and nanotubes) is the way towards viable superconductors.

Re:Carbon future (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#42762113)

I'm by no means an expert, but I understand that the physics of superconductors is barely understood even by the most knowledgeable - covalent bonds certainly can't explain it, as high-temperature superconductors tend to have highly complex structures. The highest temperature room-pressure superconductor known to date is a compound of copper, oxygen, mercury, calcium and barium - and not a simple compound at that, but a precision-grown crystal.

Re:Carbon future (1)

LongearedBat (1665481) | about a year ago | (#42768679)

True, and I'm also no expert, but we haven't (to my knowledge) had really long, unbroken series of covalent bonds with which to test superconduction in covalent bonds. With graphene and nanotubes we ought to get that opportunity. I suspect that in the case of superconducting ceramics/crystals, the smaller atoms bridge the gaps/holes between the larger atoms within the electron sea that makes up metallic bonding.

When I said "believe" I meant it akin to a hypothesis rather than a theory. So I'm still looking forward to seeing what will come out of this research. =)

Re:Carbon future (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#42769879)

Long, unbroken series of covalent bonds... sounds a lot like diamond to me. Superconductors are complicated - there's something only vaguely understood going on inside them, and it depends upon quantum effects.

Pardon my ignorance... (3)

tomzyk (158497) | about a year ago | (#42758475)

... but I can't seem to find the answer to my question in the article.

What exactly are they going to be using the graphene [wikipedia.org] for?
Is it going to be used for the actual conductive material on circuit boards?
Is it going to be used to improve cellphone antennas?
Is it going to be used to greatly increase the structural integrity of the phone casing and/or screen?
Is it going to be used for some new smell-o-vision [wikipedia.org] capabilities in future phones?!
Heat-sink? Transistors? ... Your own personal space elevator [wikipedia.org] ?!?

Re:Pardon my ignorance... (2)

game kid (805301) | about a year ago | (#42758627)

What exactly are they going to be using the graphene for?

Hmm...let's start our fact-find quest by reading the summary...

...something something Nokia mumble mumble Graphene Flagship Consortium, grumble blahblah...

...ah, "Consortium"! Something that involves patent pooling and money exchanges and no-poach agreements (that never happened of course but we'll just agree to the settlement because no wrongdoing) and lots of nicely- (or less-so) worded requests for even more money from governments and end users. Also something about Nokia, so it'll probably ultimately be nothing of value or absurdly durable [knowyourmeme.com] or, somehow, both. Now to the article...

Nokia is proud to be involved with this project, and we have deep roots in the field – we first started working with graphene already in 2006," said Henry Tirri, EVP, CTO of Nokia. "Since then, we have come to identify multiple areas where this material can be applied in modern computing environments. We’ve done some very promising work so far, but I believe the greatest innovations have yet to be discovered blahbitty blahblahblaaah... industrial value chains and other such megacrap."

...which I gather means that even Nokia's xVPs and CxOs have no idea what graphene stuff will appear in the public marketplace but it'll involve tech and research and stuff and maybe also phones because they're involved with that sort of thing but [yet another rant about the whole Windows Phone thing, with my opinions].

(I obviously hope for better on all those points but through Slashdot I've learned to feel depressed about the current state of tech-business affairs, even and especially wrt Slashdot. Yay! *buries head in hands*)

Re:Pardon my ignorance... (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year ago | (#42760307)

What exactly are they going to be using the graphene for?

- then you didn't understand what was written. It is a very innovative process of acquiring $1.35B by using this new silver (sorry, Graphene) bullet to solve all our future problems.

Don't you know that the government is great at figuring out the way of the future and that it is so good at investing in all the visionary ideas that the free market is clearly incapable of developing usage of on its own? What does free market really want? How is it really free? Clearly it's not free in that it doesn't give anybody any free money, so clearly the free market is actually impeding on your rights to have government invest into your carbon and Graphene laden future.

Re:Pardon my ignorance... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42760831)

Don't you know that the government is great at figuring out the way of the future and that it is so good at investing in all the visionary ideas that the free market is clearly incapable of developing usage of on its own?

That's not what I've been told. I've been told it take many tries and many failures before finding out what works (worth investing in). I've been told that private businessmen are the hardest workers ever, harder working than any of their employees, as that's basically their job - figuring out what is profitable and worth investing in.

There's this guy who told me it took him years of hard work to finally start his own business. See, he grew up in communist USSR, which was of course crappy. Took him many years to get an education (in some government subsidized university in Toronto, but hey he paid his own tuition), work for some people, became a contractor, and after many years of work and experience finally manage to start his own business (something about writing software that other businesses use)

That same guy told me he knows people who might take years before their own business becomes profitable (and only profitable by tenths of a percent).

Trying to find something worth investing in is HARD. That's why there are so few Steve Jobs out there.

Government doesn't do any better than private business, nor does it do worse. The only thing it can do is try (sorry Yoda, you really can only try, there's no magical energy field that surrounds and binds us and magically tell us what will make us money)

Re:Pardon my ignorance... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42760711)

I think the answer is broader than that:

Conductive material and circuit boards? Improve antennas? Increase structural integrity? Probably!

But also
Next generation unscratchable bendable touch screens. Maybe an unscratchable layer around the whole of the phone
Next generation super lightweight aircrafts, windshields, etc
Next generation of electronics and interconnectors
Application in almost any industry (cars, space travel, any mobile appliance)
Maybe even the next generation of battery could make use of this material.

My only question: could it be made super conductive? Considering it's from pure carbon it seems logical...

What's the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42758817)

The papers ojn the research will be made public to all.
It will just be outsourced to Asia, where they will make their own version free of patent obligation.
Asians will undercut the Western competitors and sell it back to them, making a tidy profit from free R&D!!

When has this not happened??

It's going to take a massive reversal of current trends to change that, and I can guarantee that if and when the boot is on the other foot, Western companies will have to pay royalties in the unlikely event they're allowed (Asian countries are suckers enough) to use the technology and will not be able allowed to benefit their own people from it..

Always the same story ..everytime

Patents? Who will own them? (2)

advocate_one (662832) | about a year ago | (#42758943)

It had better NOT be the beneficiaries of this largesse... the corporations can have licenses as a reward for doing the donkey work, but the patents should belong to the people whose money is being used...

Basic Research Funding (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42761315)

I suspect you are not European, your worry is unfounded :) The university and companies involved are in this together. It's about fueling research, education and products in Europe. That's the goal, not just patents.

Something smells not nice here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42759489)

I thing we have a big kiss from EU to Nokia, god knows for what reason...
I hope not just to keep the company alive..
This is where the money from EU VAT taxation goes actually?

can someone please answer this? (2)

dave69 (2786111) | about a year ago | (#42759741)

Would using graphene as a kind of laser printer toner, allow us to print out circuit boards on paper? or does it need to be in a structure, that would prevent the electrical properties of the fused dust being useful?

Hidden EU subsidy to keep Nokia afloat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42759775)

Sorry, 1.5 B ????, that's not a research grant, that's a payoff.

Buzzword fever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42760115)

After skimming through previous comments, I feel that a number of otherwise alert and intelligent people are focusing upon the buzzwords and missing the beef in this particular burger.

Graphene has some amazing properties; it's light, thin, strong and conductive. Yay!

But what's the point of it if you have it wrapped around one of the modern batteries?

Time for a lighter, thinner, tougher battery maybe.

Hence 1b euro and 10 years R&D :)

Quite a way to save Nokia from bankruptcy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42760341)

Nokia is _the_ EU mobile device company in competition with Apple, Google, and BlackBerry.

So... (1)

longbot (789962) | about a year ago | (#42762655)

Who will get Nokia's share of this grant when they go under in a few years? I highly doubt they're going to be still solvent in five years, let alone 10.

Bring on the Awesome new Lumias! (1)

elabs (2539572) | about a year ago | (#42765757)

I can't wait to see what Nokia does with graphene. They have proven that they are willing to use new materials and manufacturing techniques in their hardware to date.
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