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March 2017 — April 2017

Modeling Protein Interactions Simplified with Computer Server (Apr 16, 2017)
Proteins are the most abundant substance in living cells aside from water, and their interactions with cellular functions are crucial to healthy life. When proteins fall short of their intended function or interact in an unusual way, these disruptions often lead to disease development. By modeling the structure of protein interactions – a process that has been complicated for researchers for years – scientists gain important insight to many diseases. Stony Brook University-led research team ...
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Scientists Use IBM Power Systems to Assemble Genome of West Nile Mosquito (Apr 4, 2017)
A team led by researchers from The Center for Genome Architecture at Baylor College of Medicine have used technologies from IBM, Mellanox and NVIDIA to assemble the 1.2 billion letter genome of the Culex quinquefasciatus mosquito, which carries West Nile virus. The new genome can help enable scientists to better combat West Nile virus by identifying vulnerabilities in the mosquito that the virus uses to spread.

Berkeley Lab Researchers Target Chem Code for Knights Landing (Apr 3, 2017)
A team of researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Intel are working hard to make sure that computational chemists are prepared to compute efficiently on next-generation exascale machines. Recently, they achieved a milestone, successfully adding thread-level parallelism on top of MPI-level parallelism in the planewave density functional theory method within the popular software suite NWChem.

Neuralink, A Venture to Merge the Human Brain with AI (Apr 3, 2017)
SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk is backing a brain-computer interface venture called Neuralink. The company, which is still in the earliest stages of existence and has no public presence whatsoever, is centered on creating devices that can be implanted in the human brain, with the eventual purpose of helping human beings merge with software and keep pace with advancements in artificial intelligence. These enhancements could improve memory or allow for more direct interfacing with computing device...
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UK to Launce Six HPC Centers (Apr 2, 2017)
The UK is launching six HPC centers. Funded by £20 million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) the centers are located around the UK, at the universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh, Exeter, and Oxford, Loughborough University and UCL. “These centers will enable new discoveries, drive innovation and allow new insights into today’s scientific challenges. They are important because they address an existing gulf in capability between local university systems and the...
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Psychologists Enlist Machine Learning to Help Diagnose Depression (Apr 2, 2017)
Depression affects more than 15 million American adults or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population, each year. Is it possible to detect who might be vulnerable to the illness before its onset using brain imaging? David Schnyer, a cognitive neuroscientist and professor of psychology at The University of Texas at Austin, believes it may be. But identifying its tell-tale signs is no simpler matter. He is using the Stampede supercomputer at the Texas Advanced Computing Center to train a machine lea...
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Liquid Batteries Could One Day Cool Your Processor While Powering It (Mar 28, 2017)
Managing heat is one of the biggest enemies of processor speed. It’s why overclocking your processor can literally result in burning out your computer, and why serious gaming PC rigs can have hundreds of dollars in liquid cooling to try and siphon away the extra heat. Researchers at ETH Zurich and IBM Research Zurich have developed a tiny liquid flow battery that could solve that problem, by both generating electricity to power the chip as well as siphoning off the excess heat through the liqu...
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DOE Office of Science Would Have to Grapple with $900 Million Cut Under Trump Budget (Mar 28, 2017)
The Trump administration outlined dramatic cuts for nearly every federal agency in order to pay for a $54 billion increase in Department of Defense spending. Those rollbacks would include a 20 percent annual reduction at the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science, which would almost certainly put the agency’s pre-exascale and exascale programs in jeopardy. The $900 million Office of Science cut is apt to throw the US HPC research community into disarray, given that this agency is tasked ...
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Coding a Starkiller (Mar 27, 2017)
The spectacular Supernova 1987A, whose light reached Earth on Feb. 23 of the year it’s named for, captured the public’s fancy. It’s located at the edge of the Milky Way, in a dwarf galaxy called the Large Magellanic Cloud. It had been four centuries since earthlings had witnessed light from a star exploding in our galaxy. A supernova’s awesome light show heralds a giant star’s death, and the next supernova’s post-mortem will generate reams of data, compared to the paltry dozen or so ...
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Using Big Data to Analyze Images and Video (Mar 27, 2017)
Improving traffic safety, better health services and environmental benefits - Big Data experts see a wide range of possibilities for advanced image analysis and recognition technology. "Advanced image recognition by computers is the result of a great deal of very demanding work. You have to mimic the way the human brain distinguishes significant from unimportant information," says Eirik Thorsnes at Uni Research in Bergen, Norway. Thorsnes heads a group in the company's Centre for Big Data Analys...
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Fighting Fake News: Societies Using Technology to Search for Truth (Mar 25, 2017)
Fake news has been accused of influencing election results and giving rise to populist movements. Is there anything governments - and citizens - can do to fight back? Some interesting responses to the fake news phenomenon are now in place around the world. The Czech government’s interior ministry, for instance, has opened a Centre Against Terrorism and Hybrid Threats in a bid to fight fake news.

Ultrashort Light Pulses for Fast 'Lightwave' Computers (Mar 25, 2017)
Extremely short, configurable "femtosecond" pulses of light demonstrated by an international team could lead to future computers that run up to 100,000 times faster than today's electronics. The researchers, including engineers at the University of Michigan, showed that they could control the peaks within the laser pulses and also twist the light.

Smart Machines v. Hackers: How Cyber Warfare is Escalating (Mar 24, 2017)
There is a gaping hole in the digital defences that companies use to keep out cyber thieves. The hole is the global shortage of skilled staff that keeps security hardware running, analyses threats and kicks out intruders. Currently, the global security industry is lacking about one million trained workers, suggests research by ISC2 - the industry body for security professionals. The deficit looks set to grow to 1.8 million within five years, it believes.

New Tech 'Promising' for Longer Battery Life (Mar 24, 2017)
New battery technology that could lead to faster-charging, longer-lasting and safer batteries received a big shoutout this week from Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google parent company Alphabet. Schmidt tweeted about the "promising" work of John Goodenough, an engineering professor at the University of Texas, Austin, and Maria Helena Braga, a senior research fellow there. Goodenough co-invented the lithium-ion battery.

These Future Applications Of High-Performance Computing Will Make Your Head Spin (Mar 23, 2017)
Richard Watson's latest infographic is a more refined aesthetic compared to the futurist and scenario thinkers previous work. Focused on the less buzzy (but ultimately dizzying) subject of High-Performing Computing (or 'supercomputing'), Watson has cut through the complexity of this subject to find some interesting patterns.

Your Brain is Unique – Here's How It Could be Used as the Ultimate Security Password (Mar 23, 2017)
Biometrics – technology that can recognise individuals based on physical and behavioural traits such as their faces, voices or fingerprints – are becoming increasingly important to combat financial fraud and security threats. This is because traditional approaches, such as those based on PIN numbers or passwords, are proving too easily compromised. For example, Barclays has introduced TouchID, whereby customers can log onto internet banking using fingerprint scanners on mobile phones.

Shape-Shifting Molecular Robots Respond to DNA Signals (Mar 22, 2017)
A research group at Tohoku University and Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology has developed a molecular robot consisting of biomolecules, such as DNA and protein. The molecular robot was developed by integrating molecular machines into an artificial cell membrane. It can start and stop its shape-changing function in response to a specific DNA signal.

The Long Rise of HPC in the Cloud (Mar 22, 2017)
The cloud computing market has seen considerable development in the last few years, as users begin to adopt cloud technologies across many business segments. However, the success of general purpose, enterprise cloud technology has hampered the uptake of cloud in HPC because it requires substantially more expensive hardware. As cloud providers could capitalize on this ‘low-hanging fruit’ in the enterprise, there was little to no reason for them to try and cater for more intensive computing de...
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Man, Computer Science Needs More Women (Mar 21, 2017)
“I remember walking into one of the classes at Stanford and just deciding not to take the class because I was one of only three women there, and I just felt so intimidated,” recalled Catherina Xu, one of the co-presidents for Women in Computer Science at Stanford University. Incidents like this are happening all across the country, and partly due to the lack of women in the field, there is now a shortage of computer science majors — and it’s going to get even worse. By 2024, the National...
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Passwords Suck, but Lip-reading Computers Won't Save Us (Mar 21, 2017)
Read my lips: passwords stink, and you already know all the reasons why. And as part of the quest to replace (or at least strengthen) the act of typing in a traditional password, a computer scientist at Hong Kong Baptist University has proposed using lip movement. The system works by analyzing the lip movement—and even lip shape and texture—of a person speaking a password to make sure he or she is authorized, according to the university. That way, even if the wrong person speaks the right pa...
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You Probably Should Have Majored in Computer Science (Mar 20, 2017)
If you’re looking for a college major that gives you an incredible job outlook, we have two words for you: computer science. There are almost 10 times more US computing jobs open right now than there were students who graduated with computer science degrees in 2015. That year, the most recent for which the National Center for Education Statistics has collected data, about 60,000 students graduated from US institutions with bachelor degrees in computer and information services. There are about ...
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Liquid Fuel for Future Computers (Mar 20, 2017)
Researchers at ETH Zurich and IBM Research Zurich have built a tiny redox flow battery. This means that future computer chip stacks—in which individual chips are stacked like pancakes to save space and energy—could be supplied with electrical power and cooled at the same time by such integrated flow batteries. In a flow battery, an electrochemical reaction is used to produce electricity out of two liquid electrolytes, which are pumped to the battery cell from outside via a closed electrolyte...
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Computer Operating System and Short Movie Stored on DNA (Mar 19, 2017)
A pair of researchers at Columbia University and the New York Genome Center (NYGC) show that an algorithm designed for streaming video on a cellphone can unlock DNA's nearly full storage potential by squeezing more information into its four base nucleotides. They demonstrate that this technology is also extremely reliable. DNA is an ideal storage medium because it's ultra-compact and can last hundreds of thousands of years if kept in a cool, dry place, as demonstrated by the recent recovery of D...
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Should Computer Science Count as Math Credit? Gov. Says No (Mar 19, 2017)
Gov. Susana Martinez has vetoed a bill that would allow a computer science class to count as one of a high school student's math or science requirements to earn a diploma. Proponents of the measure argued it would help New Mexico students prep themselves for a computer science career, a field predicted to have a major shortage of graduates in the coming years. The proposed law change, Senate Bill 134, cleared both the House and the Senate with little opposition, but hit a roadblock at Martinez's...
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NASA Saves Energy and Water with New Modular Supercomputing Facility (Mar 18, 2017)
Though there's been some recent relief in California's long-standing drought, water conservation techniques continue to be a hot topic for facilities that require significant amounts of water for day-to-day operations. The task of powering up and cooling down a high-end computing facility consumes large amounts of electricity and water. NASA is adopting new conservation practices with a prototype modular supercomputing facility at the agency's Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley. The system, ...
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