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September 2016 — October 2016

Women Considered to Write Better Code, Study Suggests (Oct 19, 2016)
American researchers have found that computer code written by women tends to be rated more highly than that written by men. However, women's work is only more highly-approved if their gender is not mentioned, the study suggested. The paper, authored by a group of six students from California Polytechnic State University and North Carolina State University, has been published online, but is not yet peer-reviewed. During their resarch, the team analysed of the behaviour of over a million users of ...
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A New Spin on Superconductivity (Oct 19, 2016)
Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have made a discovery that could lay the foundation for quantum superconducting devices. Their breakthrough solves one the main challenges to quantum computing: how to transmit spin information through superconducting materials.

In a First, Brain Computer Interface Helps Paralyzed Man Feel Again (Oct 18, 2016)
Imagine being in an accident that leaves you unable to feel any sensation in your arms and fingers. Now imagine regaining that sensation, a decade later, through a mind-controlled robotic arm that is directly connected to your brain. That is what 28-year-old Nathan Copeland experienced after he came out of brain surgery and was connected to the Brain Computer Interface, developed by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC. A team of experts led by Robert Gaunt, assistant professor o...
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Google Adds Polling Place, Ballot Information to Search Results (Oct 18, 2016)
Google is making it easier for you to find information about the upcoming election. The company is updating its search so that information about polling places and who is on your ballot will appear directly within search results. Now, when you enter queries like "where is my polling place" or "who's on my ballot," Google will surface relevant results within the search in both Spanish and English. In both cases, you'll need to enter your home address where you're registered to vote in order for t...
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New Supercomputer Could Dramatically Cut the Time Taken to Bring Products and Services to Market (Oct 17, 2016)
Businesses could dramatically cut the time taken to bring products and services to market with a new supercomputer. Its applications could include helping to create efficient engineering devices, solving complex genetic calculations, or optimizing the design of buildings. The high performance computing (HPC) facility could also help businesses from a range of science and engineering sectors cut the cost of product and service development. Access to the supercomputer, called Cirrus, is provided b...
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IBM Advances Neuromorphic Computing for Deep Learning (Oct 17, 2016)
Deep learning efforts today are run on standard computer hardware using convolutional neural networks. Indeed, the approach has proven powerful by pioneers such as Google and Microsoft. In contrast neuromorphic computing, whose spiking neuron architecture more closely mimics human brain function, has generated less enthusiasm in the deep learning community. Now, work by IBM using its TrueNorth chip as a test case may bring deep learning to neuromorphic architectures.

Gen-Z Consortium to Promote New High-Performance Interconnect (Oct 16, 2016)
A group of leading technology companies formed the Gen-Z Consortium, an industry alliance working to create and commercialize a new scalable computing interconnect and protocol. This flexible, high-performance memory semantic fabric provides a peer-to-peer interconnect that easily accesses large volumes of data while lowering costs and avoiding today’s bottlenecks. The alliance members include AMD, ARM, Cavium, Cray, Dell EMC, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Huawei, IBM, IDT, Lenovo, Mellanox Tech...
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SUG Meeting Illustrates Wealth of OSC-Supported Research (Oct 16, 2016)
More than ever, academic and manufacturing researchers from across Ohio are turning to the high performance computing power offered by the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC). An abundance of that research was on display at OSC’s semi-annual Statewide Users Group (SUG) meeting. Attendees shared and gained insight into topics ranging from auto safety and dark matter to gene flow and a myriad of chemistry-related topics. They also heard two keynote addresses, and the competition portion of the meeti...
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New Hikari Supercomputer Starts Solar HVDC (Oct 1, 2016)
The roar can be deafening. Cooling fans and power supplies whoosh and whine from rows and rows of supercomputers at the main data center of the Texas Advanced Computing Center in Austin. The power bill at TACC can reach over a million dollars a year to keep the machines humming. But there's a stranger in town that might change how data centers power their systems. A new kind of advanced computing system called Hikari (Japanese for the word "light") came online at TACC late August 2016. What's ne...
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Materials Programmed to Shape Shift (Sep 30, 2016)
Previous shape-shifting materials have needed some external trigger to tell them to transform, like light or heat. Now, a US-based team has encoded a sequence of shape transformations into the very substance of a polymer, with each change occurring at a pre-determined time.The principles could be applied in implants that deliver medicine from within the human body and the technology could also see use in heavy industry. Professor Sergei Sheiko from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill...
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Bringing IoT Data into Public Clouds is Getting Easier (Sep 30, 2016)
The formidable processing power and analytical tools available in public clouds could make industrial IoT more effective and less expensive. But bringing IoT data into the cloud takes more than a network connection. Two companies have moved to help enterprises adapt their IoT data for popular cloud services. OSIsoft introduced its PI Integrator for Microsoft Azure, and Particle announced a custom integration with Google Cloud Platform. While some large enterprises with sensitive IoT data do all ...
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Los Angeles Fire Dept. and UC San Diego WIFIRE Team Join Forces to Fight Wildfires (Sep 29, 2016)
The Los Angeles Fire Department, recently challenged by yet another series of late summer wildfires, has successfully tested a new web-based tool developed by University of California San Diego researchers to perform data-driven predictive modeling and analysis of fires that have a high potential for rapid spread. Called Firemap, and developed by the University’s ‘WIFIRE’ collaboration, the new tool enables a ‘what-if’ analysis of fire scenarios ahead of the time as well as real-time f...
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Earlham Institute Tests Green HPC from Verne Global in Iceland (Sep 29, 2016)
Verne Global announced that the Earlham Institute (EI) in the UK has selected Verne Global’s data center campus in Iceland to investigate the efficiencies of distributing large-scale genomics and computational biology data analysis. The research institute is renowned for its contribution to the analysis and data-sharing of the highly complex wheat genome that is critical to securing future global food supplies.

Automated Screening for Childhood Communication Disorders (Sep 28, 2016)
For children with speech and language disorders, early-childhood intervention can make a great difference in their later academic and social success. But many such children—one study estimates 60 percent—go undiagnosed until kindergarten or even later. Researchers at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital's Institute of Health Professions hope to change that, with a computer system that can automatically screen young children for...
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New Genomics Pipeline Combines AWS, Local HPC, and Supercomputing (Sep 28, 2016)
Declining DNA sequencing costs and the rush to do whole genome sequencing (WGS) of large cohort populations – think 5000 subjects now, but many more thousands soon – presents a formidable computational challenge to researchers attempting to make sense of large cohort datasets. No single architecture is best. This month researchers report developing a hybrid approach that combines cloud (AWS), local high performance compute (LHPC) clusters, and supercomputers.

The 5 Technologies that Are Going to Define the Next Decade in Cities (Sep 24, 2016)
Cities have always been hubs of technological experimentation, shaped by the people who inhabit them and the tools they use. We can still see the marks, both charming and garish, from technologies of years past — from old aqueducts to telephone booths to the damage done by cars. The next wave of real-time technologies that will define the next decade are software (rather than hardware) upgrades to the city that will nonetheless transform the way we work, play and live in our physical environme...
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Wireless Signals Can Detect Your Feelings With New Device (Sep 24, 2016)
What if your computer or smartphone could tell if you're happy or sad? A new device developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology aims to detect emotions by sending wireless signals that measure heartbeats as the signals bounce off a person's body. Researchers from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory say their device is 87 percent accurate in using heartrate and what it's already learned about a person to recognize joy, pleasure, sadness or anger...
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Argonne to Develop Applications for ECP Exascale Computing Project (Sep 23, 2016)
Argonne announced that the Lab is leading a pair of newly funded applications projects for the Exascale Computing Project (ECP). The announcement comes on the heels of news that ECP has funded a total of 15 application development proposals for full funding and seven proposals for seed funding, representing teams from 45 research and academic organizations. The 15 awards being announced total $39.8 million, targeting advanced modeling and simulation solutions to specific challenges supporting ke...
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SDSC Supercomputer Modeling Reveals Acrobatics of CRISPR-Cas9 Technology (Sep 23, 2016)
A team led by researchers at the University of California San Diego has captured in step-by-step atomic detail the surgical editing of DNA strands by CRISPR-Cas9, the innovative gene-splicing technology that in recent years has transformed the field of genetic engineering. Simulations performed by the Comet supercomputer at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at UC San Diego describe the “striking plasticity” of CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats)-Cas9 an...
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Researchers Eye Gaming As Tool for Boosting Computer Science Skills, Diversity in Middle Schools (Sep 22, 2016)
An interdisciplinary team of researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of Florida is launching an initiative that will use a custom-designed video game to boost computational thinking in middle school science classrooms. The goal is not only to improve educational outcomes, but also to foster gender and racial diversity in computer science and other science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Development and testing of the game, as well as its relate...
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European SAVE Project Streamlines Data Intensive Computing (Sep 21, 2016)
A consortium of European researchers and technology companies recently completed the EU-funded SAVE project, aimed at simplifying the execution data-intensive applications on complex hardware architectures. Funded by the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), the project was launched in 2013, under the project name ‘Self-Adaptive Virtualization-Aware High-Performance/Low-Energy Heterogeneous System Architectures’ (SAVE). The project, which was completed at the start of th...
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Ex-Google Car Chief, Mercedes, Nvidia Partner To Train Self-Driving Car Engineers (Sep 21, 2016)
Sebastian Thrun, an architect of the push to create robotic cars capable of driving themselves, formed an educational alliance with companies including Mercedes-Benz and Nvidia focused on training engineers who want to develop technologies for self-driving vehicles. Udacity, the online education company started by Thrun in 2012 after he left Google's self-driving car program, is adding the initiative to its offerings in the form of a web-based “nanodegree” program to familiarize engineers wi...
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Australia to Embrace the New Era of Gravitational Wave Astronomy (Sep 20, 2016)
Four hundred years ago Galileo pointed a telescope at Jupiter and saw electromagnetic waves (light) being reflected off its moons. This profound observation displaced Earth from its position at the center of the universe to just one planet among many. It also sparked a new golden era of optical astronomy, which continues to this day. In September 2015 the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (aLIGO) detected the gravitational waves emitted by two coalescing black holes. T...
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Women Break Barriers in Engineering and Computer Science at Some Top Colleges (Sep 20, 2016)
Women are making major gains in enrollment in engineering and computer science at some of the nation’s most prominent colleges and universities, a breakthrough that shows that gender parity is possible in technology fields long dominated by men. More than half of engineering bachelor’s degrees at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology went to women in 2015, federal data shows. The same was true at Dartmouth College this year. The majority of computer science majors at California’s Harve...
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Security News This Week: Google Ups the Ante on Web Encryption (Sep 19, 2016)
Not too long ago, the standard for a secure website was to not offer gaping holes for hackers to exploit or infect visitors with malware. Now even plain-old HTTP itself, that venerable web protocol, is about to be considered insecure. Google has announced that its web browser Chrome will soon take a more aggressive stance on web encryption, marking any site as insecure if it doesn’t use HTTPS, a protocol that encrypts web pages with the encryption schemes SSL or TLS, and putting a red “X” ...
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