David Mitlyng for Xairos
Space + Time
All networks rely on a time signal from GPS, yet GPS is more well-known for providing position.
Because of the way GPS works, a time reference is necessary to know your position.
But a future system can de-couple position and time.
Position can be inferred from a lot of sources besides satellites: terrestrial beacons, celestial references, accelerometers, gravitational fields, and even local waypoints and skylines.
A position reference needs a fixed point.
But time is more challenging.
It is always changing. Even a “fixed” time reference is somewhat arbitrary.
A network of very stable clock helps - as long as they don’t move and are at the same altitude.
Moving a clock to a higher position in a server rack will add nanoseconds of drift a year.
A system dedicated to time synchronization is needed.
Last Week's Theme: The Dawn of Time (Synchronization)
- Excellent progress on the the quantum clock synchronization (QCS) demonstration system. Key components under test and integration with software development proceeding.
- Developing a research partnership with a university quantum research lab. Announcement coming soon.
- On the heels of the Workshop on Synchronization and Timing Systems, IQT San Diego, and Commercialising Quantum, prepping for the ISC High Perfomance Computing conference in Hamburg, Germany and virtual NASA Aeronautics Research Institute (NARI) PNT Workshop.
- In discussion with prominent industry experts to expand the team and add Quantum and Timing Advisors to our Board. Announcements coming soon.
- The Ukraine conflict has been a wake-up call on the value of commercial innovation. Consider:
- “We’re seeing more innovation coming out of industry than we have seen since the push to the moon, an enormous amount,” according to Space Force Lt. Gen. Michael Guetlein, who stated a goal of simplifying the procurement process for small companies.
- The Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Heidi Shyu announced a new “strategic capital” VC-type fund to “help startups do business with the Defense Department.”
- Acquisition experts testifying to the Senate Homeland Security Committee urged streamlining requirements for small business programs, citing a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that shows a major drop in small business contracts with a 17% decline between 2016 and 2019.
- Are we in “A Quantum Sputnik Moment”? Maybe, but the advice from the Inside Quantum Technology (IQT) Quantum Enterprise conference: Stay humble, avoid the quantum hype.
- It was in the news that downed Russian jets were found with commercial-grade GPS devices, but it should be noted that American pilots sometimes use GLONASS and BeiDou signals.
- Check out the “GPS for Humanity - What’s Next?” podcast with the “Father of GPS” Stanford Professor Bradford Parkinson.
- NASA Aeronautics Research Institute (NARI) Position, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Workshop, May 24- 25, Virtual
- ISC High Perfomance Computing, May 29 - June 2, Hamburg, Germany
- Quantum.Tech Boston, June 14-15, Boston, MA
- Quantum 2.0 Conference and Exhibition, June 13 - 16, Boston, MA
- Connectivity Business Summit, June 14-15, New York, NY
- Quantum Information Science International Workshop, July 12-14, Rome, NY
- Small Satellite Conference, August 6 - 11, Logan, Utah
- Optics + Photonics, August 21 - 25, San Diego, CA
- ION GNSS+ 2022, September 19 - 23, Denver, CO
- IEEE Quantum Week 2022, September 18 - 23, Broomfield, CO
- Tough Tech Summit, October 27 - 28, Boston, MA
- International Timing and Sync Forum, November 7 - 10, Dusseldorf, UK
Space + Time - Part 2
In some sense, time is more fundamental than position in that spacetime is fundamentally defined by the evolution of clocks relative to each other.
For example, the amount of time that an ideal clock reads over the course of a path of motion (called the proper time) is directly related to curvature of spacetime in the vicinity of the clock. In fact, a network of ideal clocks connected via optical signals is actually an instrument that directly measures the shape of spacetime. Relative positions can then be calculated from knowledge of the spacetime structure.
Note that this network of ideal clocks actually defines what we mean by synchronizing clocks in the general relativistic sense. Synchronization between two real-world clocks is defined relative to the that of ideal clocks connected by optical links through the specified spacetime structure. In other words, in general relativity there is no single time reference to which all clocks can be synchronized, but with information about the gravitational field we can calculate the behavior of this ideal network of clocks and use that as a time reference for any real-world clocks.
To learn more, please email us or schedule a meeting here.