Letters

After having read Milton Chang`s fine articles on starting a business, I found it rather ironic to read Vincent Kiernan`s Washington Report column, "Federal funding faces unfriendly fire" (see Laser Focus World June 1995, p. 52). Milton made it very clear that investors are very reluctant to part with their own money or the money that has been entrusted to them by other investors, and rightly so. Why should our elected representatives treat taxpayers` money any differently?

Letters

Justifying federal funding

After having read Milton Chang`s fine articles on starting a business, I found it rather ironic to read Vincent Kiernan`s Washington Report column, "Federal funding faces unfriendly fire" (see Laser Focus World June 1995, p. 52). Milton made it very clear that investors are very reluctant to part with their own money or the money that has been entrusted to them by other investors, and rightly so. Why should our elected representatives treat taxpayers` money any differently?

Perhaps if those individuals that have received funding at taxpayer`s expense were required to justify their programs to the degree that the startu¥companies have to justify theirs to investors, there would be fewer programs, but those that were funded would be worthwhile.

If the Republicans tighten the financial screws, projects that can demonstrate solid economic benefits will survive, and the others will die, and that`s how it should be. One can argue that some good programs may not get funding because the participants don`t have the ability to sell their ideas. But that`s also true in the private sector, as I`m sure Milton would agree.

LeRoy D. Dickson, President

Holoscan Inc.

San Jose, CA

Universal computers

I read with interest John Caulfield`s article on optical computing (see Letters, May 1995, p.181) and found particularly informative the description of the various optical logic arrays. As a general comment, it should be mentioned that, for certain specific computational tasks, physical computers as defined by D. Deutsch (Phys. World 5(6), 57 (1992) can provide faster and smaller alternatives to conventional computers. In the area of interferometry, for example, a conventional main frame computer can take well in excess of one hour to calculate the interference pattern resulting from the interaction of coherent light with a grating composed of some 1600 slits.

This is not surprising, given the complexity of the calculation. On the other hand, a compact interferometer incorporating a CCD detector can yield the desired result in some 30 milliseconds. In this alternative, however, we only have access to the input and the output. Attempts to access intermediate information alter the answer.

The main advantage of traditional digital computers, over the class of physical computers mentioned above, is their versatility and, hence, their status as universal computing machines.

F. J. Duarte

Eastman Kodak Co.

Rochester, NY

HeCd marketplace revisited

Re: Letters, July 1995, p. 59.

The facts regarding Kimmon HeCd sales speak for themselves. The correct information, which can be verified by public records, is as follows: Kimmon had sales of $18.3 million in FY1994, and sales outside of Japan have increased 20% per year. If you combine our documented sales number of $18.3 million with our competitors` estimated combined sales of $11 million, you get a worldwide market of $29.3 million. This gives Kimmon 62.5% and our competitors 37.5% market share.

It is Kimmon`s expectation that our market share will continue to increase as our competitors` OEM customers switch over to Kimmon lasers due to superior service, warranty, support, and quality of our products. It was incorrectly stated that more than 80% of our revenue comes from replacement tubes on two OEM accounts. The fact is our largest replacement-tube customer (Canon) accounts for only 14% of our revenue.

Masamori Nakahara

Kimmon Electric Co. Ltd.

Tokyo, Japan

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