April 2016 — April 2016
Intel Scalable Systems Framework: Next Generation Processors Open the Door to Faster, More Efficient Deep Learning (Apr 28, 2016)
Deep learning has inspired a gold rush of technology innovation across a wide range of markets from Internet search, to social media, to real-time robotics, self-driving vehicles, drones and more. Spanning the gamut of machine performance, deep learning (and machine learning in general) encompasses floating-point-, network- and data-intensive ‘training’ plus real-time, low-power ‘prediction’ operations. Intel Scalable Systems Framework (Intel® SSF) is an approach that customers can use ...Read More
How Social Entrepreneurship is Making a Difference in the World (Apr 28, 2016)
We have grown accustomed to the Silicon Valley zeal driving startups to develop new technologies that will disrupt the market in yet another way. On-demand apps like Uber are aimed at making our lives easier by saving us time and money. In other parts of the world, people are faced with different kinds of “problems.” They aren’t so much worried about finding an app that will water their plants — their actual concern is finding water. An example, among many others, is India.
To Make Computers Better, Let Them Get Sloppy (Apr 27, 2016)
Krishna Palem's computers won’t win any awards for accuracy. Most of the time they can’t even add up correctly. For them, 2 + 2 might as well be 5. But don’t be fooled by the wobbly arithmetic. Palem is making machines that could represent a new dawn for computing. Inaccuracy is not something we typically associate with computers. Since Alan Turing laid down their ground rules in the 1930s, computers have been sticklers for precision, built on the principle of following step-by-step instru...Read More
XSEDE Bringing Students to New Course (Apr 27, 2016)
Blue Waters seeking partner institutions to offer course on designing and building applications for extreme scale systems. The Blue Waters project and the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana are offering an online course on Designing and Building Applications for Extreme Scale Systems for graduate students and are seeking other university partners that are interested in offering the course for credit to their students.
Seagate, USCAS Urge Congress to Fully Fund FY17 Supercomputing Budget (Apr 26, 2016)
Given divided government and the election year, the U.S. FY17 budget discussions are likely to be more contentious than usual. Seagate tweeted yesterday that it and fellow industry members of the U.S. Coalition for the Advancement of Supercomputing (USCAS) had submitted a statement to Congress “advocating for full funding of the Department of Energy’s fiscal year 2017 budget request for supercomputing.”
Seventh-Graders Learn Astrophysics through Mixed-Reality Computer Simulation (Apr 26, 2016)
MEteor, an interactive computer simulation, teaches middle school students about gravity and planetary motion in an immersive, whole-body environment. From left, doctoral student Shuai Wang and Robb Lindgren, a professor of curriculum and instruction and of educational psychology, found in a recent study that the astronomy game’s whole-body learning activities were linked with significant learning gains, greater student engagement and more positive attitudes toward science.
Violent Video Games Eventually Lose Their Ability to Produce Guilt in Gamers (Apr 25, 2016)
Rapidly advancing technology has created ever more realistic video games. Images are sharp, settings have depth and detail, and the audio is crisp and authentic. At a glance, it appears real. So real, that research has consistently found that gamers feel guilty committing unjustified acts of violence within the game. Now, a new University at Buffalo-led study suggests that the moral response produced by the initial exposure to a video game decreases as experience with the game develops. The find...Read More
'Brain-Inspired' Supercomputer Explores Deep Learning for U.S. Nuclear Program (Apr 25, 2016)
A new low-power, "brain-inspired" supercomputing platform based on IBM chip technology will soon start exploring deep learning for the U.S. nuclear program. Based on IBM’s TrueNorth chip, it will have the equivalent of 16 million neurons and 4 billion synapses but consume energy like a tablet PC. IBM says it wants to make intelligent computers that can make decisions like humans, and this new technology is an enormous step in that direction.
System Predicts 85 Percent of Cyber-Attacks Using Input From Human Experts (Apr 19, 2016)
Today's security systems usually fall into one of two categories: human or machine. So-called "analyst-driven solutions" rely on rules created by living experts and therefore miss any attacks that don't match the rules. Meanwhile, today's machine-learning approaches rely on "anomaly detection," which tends to trigger false positives that both create distrust of the system and end up having to be investigated by humans, anyway. But what if there were a solution that could merge those two worlds? ...Read More
Robots Could Get 'Touchy' with Self-Powered Smart Skin (Apr 19, 2016)
Smart synthetic skins have the potential to allow robots to touch and sense what's around them, but keeping them powered up and highly sensitive at low cost has been a challenge. Now scientists report in the journal ACS Nano a self-powered, transparent smart skin that is simpler and less costly than many other versions that have been developed. Endowing robots and prosthetics with a human-like sense of touch could dramatically advance these technologies. Toward this goal, scientists have come up...Read More
Obama Announces Computer-Science-For-All Initiative (Apr 18, 2016)
Computer science is a fundamental skill in the modern economy, President Obama declared as the White House announced a series of initiatives aimed at advancing education in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. That includes a $200 million investment from Oracle to extend computer science education to 125,000 U.S. students, along with a host of commitments from federal agencies, schools and other groups to promote STEM training. In remarks at the sixth annual White...Read More
Top U.S. Computer Science Undergrad Programs Flunk Cybersecurity (Apr 18, 2016)
A new study out from CloudPassage — a cloud security firm based in San Francisco — concludes that the American higher-education system is failing at preparing students for careers in cybersecurity. CloudPassage hired a third party consultant to analyze computer science programs at 121 universities listed on three rankings which included U.S. News and World Report’s Best Global Universities for Computer Science, Business Insider’s Top 50 best computer-science and engineering schools in A...Read More
Computers in Your Clothes? A Milestone for Wearable Electronics (Apr 17, 2016)
Researchers who are working to develop wearable electronics have reached a milestone: They are able to embroider circuits into fabric with 0.1 mm precision -- the perfect size to integrate electronic components such as sensors and computer memory devices into clothing. With this advance, the Ohio State University researchers have taken the next step toward the design of functional textiles -- clothes that gather, store, or transmit digital information.
What is a Chatbot? (Apr 17, 2016)
Chatbots are on the rise, but what are they and why is everyone talking about (and to) them? Facebook has just rolled out support for bots on its Messenger platform. Meanwhile, Microsoft has described chatbots as the "new apps" with chief executive Satya Nadella saying that they "unlock conversation as a platform". What is a chatbot? A chatbot is a computer software program that is able to communicate with humans, using artificial intelligence.
High School Student Invents a Cheaper Hearing Aid (Apr 16, 2016)
A summer with his grandfather was all it took for him to be inspired. When Mukund Venkatakrishnan was 14, he visited India and was tasked with helping his grandfather get tested and fitted for a hearing aid. He saw what a costly and difficult process it was and resolved to find an alternative. "Since audiologists are specialists, even finding and getting an appointment with one in India was really hard," said Venkatakrishnan, who is now 16. "And then we got ripped off." Venkatakrishnan said they...Read More
Artificial Intelligence and Racism (Apr 16, 2016)
Replicants. Cylons. Skynet. Hal 9000. These are the classic pop-culture references the average person might conjure when they hear the term “artificial intelligence.” Yet, while some see AI as a novelty still guised in the trappings of the far-flung future, others realize the dawn of AI is much closer than previously thought. CNBC’s piece on Hanson Robotics shows just how far we’ve come. Indeed, AI is here — although Microsoft’s blunder with Tay, the “teenaged girl AI” embodied b...Read More
3D-printed Rembrandt Painting Looks Almost as Good as the Real Thing (Apr 15, 2016)
Bringing us one step closer to the day when computers compete directly with humans in the arts, a new painting has been created using software to mimic the style of a master. The painting, titled "The Next Rembrandt" (below), is the result of a team of developers who, with the technical support of Microsoft and backing from Dutch bank ING, sought to create an original new work "by Rembrandt" using data from his existing paintings. "When you want to make a new painting you have some idea of how i...Read More
New State of Matter Detected in a Two-dimensional Material (Apr 15, 2016)
An international team of researchers have found evidence of a mysterious new state of matter, first predicted 40 years ago, in a real material. This state, known as a quantum spin liquid, causes electrons - thought to be indivisible building blocks of nature - to break into pieces. The researchers, including physicists from the University of Cambridge, measured the first signatures of these fractional particles, known as Majorana fermions, in a two-dimensional material with a structure similar t...Read More
Titan Helps Shed Light on Membrane Lipids’ Multiple Roles (Apr 14, 2016)
Lipid molecules are schizophrenic. One end likes to hang out with a charged crowd (think water); the other prefers neutral neighbors (think fats). Most of us remember those funky illustrations of the bilayer lipid membrane structure that encloses animal cells from high school biology. Recently, Titan supercomputer was used to show cell membranes may be much more than simple scaffolds for proteins and protective enclosures for cells. Rather, researchers are starting to see that lipids and protein...Read More
Gestures Improve Communication, Even with Robots (Apr 14, 2016)
In the world of robot communication, it seems actions speak louder than words. Scientists in the UK have discovered that by getting robot avatars to "talk with their hands," we understand them as well as we do our fellow human beings. Avatars have been in existence since the 1980s and today are used by millions of people across the globe. They are big business too: from artificial intelligence to social media and psychotherapy to high-end video games, they are used to sell things, to solve probl...Read More
First-ever 3-D Printed Robots Made of Both Solids and Liquids (Apr 13, 2016)
One reason we don’t yet have robot personal assistants buzzing around doing our chores is because making them is hard. Assembling robots by hand is time-consuming, while automation — robots building other robots — is not yet fine-tuned enough to make robots that can do complex tasks. But if humans and robots can’t do the trick, what about 3-D printers? In a new paper, researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) present the first-ever technique f...Read More
The Funny Things Happening on the Way to Singularity (Apr 13, 2016)
People often ask me about the impact of 3D printing on jobs. Will the technology be a job creator or destroyer? The short answer is, it will take more jobs than it makes — and 3D printing is not alone. Technology will eventually make work obsolete. Our big problems are going to be figuring out how to survive the transition, then figuring out what to do with all that free time.
The Future of the Car is Not About Propulsion (Apr 12, 2016)
I’m impatient to see breakthroughs in cars. I have high expectations for what Apple will do and respect for what Tesla has already done. I agree with Peter Thiel on the we-were-promised-jet-cars-but-got-140-characters thing, and with Larry Page, who worries that Silicon Valley doesn’t throw the ball down the field enough. So, with all the talk of the Chevy Bolt Tesla-killer, the will-they-or-won’t-they joint venture of Google and Ford, the Tesla Model 3 March unveil, the intrigue around Ap...Read More
Top 15 Places to Live for Highest-Paying Computer Science Jobs (Apr 12, 2016)
Computer science jobs are some of the most sought-after positions in the world. And with employers looking for new ways to get involved with the digital revolution every day, hard-working and qualified individuals are more valuable than ever. And if you are looking to cash in on the increasing demand for this exciting field, you’ll need to take into consideration quite a bit of information. Luckily, someone has already done it for you.
Using Data from Social Networks to Understand and Improve Systems (Apr 11, 2016)
In the course of our day-to-day lives, we produce vast amounts of data. Whether gathered through online communications platforms, tracking devices, or other sources, these data reveal information about our behavior, decisions, and preferences. Researchers can ultimately use the data to improve systems across a variety of domains. In the process, there are great challenges and opportunities in the work of understanding the flow of ideas through groups, determining which incentives are effective, ...Read More