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February 2018 — March 2018

Smart Heat Control of Microchips (Mar 1, 2018)
Technological progress in the electronics sector, such as higher speeds, reduced costs, and smaller sizes, result in entirely new possibilities of automation and industrial production, without which "Industry 4.0" would not be feasible. In particular, miniaturization advanced considerably in the last years. Meanwhile, physical flow of a few electrons is sufficient to execute a software. But this progress also has its dark side.

Custom Carpentry with Help from Robots (Mar 1, 2018)
Every year thousands of carpenters injure their hands and fingers doing dangerous tasks such as sawing. In an effort to minimize injury and let carpenters focus on design and other bigger-picture tasks, a team from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has created AutoSaw, a system that lets nonexperts customize different items that can then be constructed with the help of robots.

Stretchable Health Sensor Could Improve Monitoring of Chronic Conditions (Mar 1, 2018)
A new type of flexible, wearable sensor could help people with chronic conditions like diabetes avoid the discomfort of regular pin-prick blood tests by monitoring the chemical composition of their sweat instead. In a new paper published in the journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics, a team of scientists from the University of Glasgow's School of Engineering outline how they have built a stretchable, wireless system which is capable of measuring the pH level of users' sweat.

And So It Begins…Again – The FY19 Exascale Budget Rollout (and things look good) (Feb 28, 2018)
On February 12, 2018, the Trump administration submitted its Fiscal Year 2019 (FY-19) budget to Congress. The good news for the U.S. exascale program is that the numbers look very good and the support appears to be strong. There is also the interesting addition of a funding request to support research in quantum computing. One of the challenges with the FY-19 budget request is that it is being made before the FY-18 budget has been fully resolved. The good news is that it looks like all the piece...
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UChicago Scientists to Lead $10 Million NSF 'Expedition' for Practical Quantum Computing (Feb 27, 2018)
University of Chicago computer scientists will lead a $10 million “expedition” into the burgeoning field of quantum computing, bringing applications of the nascent technology for computer science, physics, chemistry and other fields at least a decade closer to practical use.

Competitive Environment Drives Culture of Cheating in Computer Science Classes (Feb 27, 2018)
The number of Columbia students caught cheating in computer science classes has raised serious concerns among professors, a trend that brings to light the decreasing value of academic integrity among students and that could threaten the reputation of the department and the University. Professors point to specialized software that has made it increasingly easy to detect cheating in programming assignments to account for the rise in the number of students caught. Meanwhile, plagiarism itself may n...
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Computer Science for All: Can Schools Pull It Off? (Feb 26, 2018)
Alante Klyce wants to be a dancer. Yet here she is, inside a sun-filled classroom at Lindblom Math & Science Academy on the city’s South Side, throwing around tech-industry terms like "ideation" and working with friends to design her first mobile app. It’s all part of the introductory computer-science course that every student in Chicago must now take in order to graduate.

Making Quantum Computers Reliable (Feb 26, 2018)
Calculating machines that run on quantum bits (known as qubits, for short) are, by some accounts, the future of computation. Quantum computers have the theoretical advantage that they can solve with ease certain mathematical problems, such as the factorisation of large numbers, which are hard or impossible for classical machines.

'Memtransistor' Brings World Closer to Brain-Like Computing (Feb 25, 2018)
"Computers have separate processing and memory storage units, whereas the brain uses neurons to perform both functions," said Northwestern University's Mark C. Hersam. "Neural networks can achieve complicated computation with significantly lower energy consumption compared to a digital computer."

Real-time Captcha Technique Improves Biometric Authentication (Feb 25, 2018)
A new login authentication approach could improve the security of current biometric techniques that rely on video or images of users' faces. Known as Real-Time Captcha, the technique uses a unique "challenge" that's easy for humans -- but difficult for attackers who may be using machine learning and image generation software to spoof legitimate users.

The Ongoing Battle Between Quantum and Classical Computers (Feb 24, 2018)
A popular misconception is that the potential—and the limits—of quantum computing must come from hardware. In the digital age, we’ve gotten used to marking advances in clock speed and memory. Likewise, the 50-qubit quantum machines now coming online from the likes of Intel and IBM have inspired predictions that we are nearing “quantum supremacy”—a nebulous frontier where quantum computers begin to do things beyond the ability of classical machines.

AP Computer Science Sees Big Spike in Participation (Feb 24, 2018)
High school students — particularly girls and underrepresented minorities — had for years been slow to participate in AP computer science courses, but in the last year, the number of students taking the AP Computer Science exam has skyrocketed.

New Algorithm Can Pinpoint Mutations in Large Sections of the Human Genome (Feb 23, 2018)
A team of scientists has developed an algorithm that can accurately pinpoint, in large regions of the human genome, mutations favored by natural selection. The finding provides deeper insight into how evolution works, and ultimately could lead to better treatments for genetic disorders. For example, adaptation to chronic hypoxia at high altitude can suggest targets for cardiovascular and other ischemic diseases.

AI is Helping Seismologists Detect Earthquakes They’d Otherwise Miss (Feb 23, 2018)
Oklahoma never used to be known for its earthquakes. Before 2009, the state had roughly two quakes of magnitude three and above each year. (Magnitude three is when things shake on the shelf, but before houses start getting damaged.) In 2015, this tally rocketed to more than 900, though it’s calmed since, falling to 304 last year.

Inner Space (Feb 22, 2018)
Experiments can detect chemical changes on a scale as short as about a thousandth of a second. Most supercomputers can only simulate complex biomolecules for as long as a few millionths of a second. Scientists at the University of California, San Diego used the D.E. Shaw Research Anton supercomputer at PSC to understand what happens in that thousand-fold gap, between the snippets we understand from computer simulations to the longer responses we see when a protein, say, encounters a drug.

Web-Based, Interactive Learning Helps Middle Schoolers Excel in Science (Feb 22, 2018)
Middle schoolers did better with science lessons when they could learn online, watching videos, playing educational games, running virtual experiments and collaborating with classmates. Under-achievers did especially well, with access to pop-up vocabulary definitions, interactive diagrams, digital note-taking, watching videos with captions and access to text-to-speech that allowed them to hear information read aloud to them.

How Data Scientists Are Wasting Their Time (Feb 21, 2018)
Today’s definition of what most companies want in a data scientist seems to be something akin to a superhero. Companies are looking for a regular Mister Fantastic (the Marvel Comics’ superhero who was “one of the bravest adventurers and most brilliant scientific minds of his generation”). Chief A.I. Officer at ZIFF, Ben Taylor, has coined the ideal caliber of data scientist as a ‘Type-E’ – a kind of over-achieving, unapologetically ambitious, narcissistic, nerd-on-A.C.I.D, who eats...
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Supercomputing at the Crossroads (Feb 21, 2018)
The supercomputing business, the upper stratosphere of the much broader high performance computing segment of the IT industry, is without question one of the most exciting areas in data processing and visualization. It is also one of the most frustrating sectors in which to try to make a profitable living. The customers are the most demanding, the applications are the most complex, the budget pressures are intense, the technical challenges are daunting, the governments behind major efforts can b...
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Physic Data Processing at NERSC Dramatically Cuts Reconstruction Time (Feb 20, 2018)
In a recent demonstration project, physicists from Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) used the Cori supercomputer at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) to reconstruct data collected from a nuclear physics experiment, an advance that could dramatically reduce the time it takes to make detailed data available for scientific discoveries.

Supercomputing Graphene Applications in Nanoscale Electronics (Feb 20, 2018)
Researchers at North Carolina State University are using the Blue Waters Supercomputer to explore graphene’s applications, including its use in nanoscale electronics and electrical DNA sequencing. “We’re looking at what’s beyond Moore’s law, whether one can devise very small transistors based on only one atomic layer, using new methods of making materials,” said Professor Jerry Bernholc.

Fake News 'Vaccine': Online Game May 'Inoculate' by Simulating Propaganda Tactics (Feb 19, 2018)
A new online game puts players in the shoes of an aspiring propagandist to give the public a taste of the techniques and motivations behind the spread of disinformation—potentially "inoculating" them against the influence of so-called fake news in the process. Researchers at the University of Cambridge have already shown that briefly exposing people to tactics used by fake news producers can act as a "psychological vaccine" against bogus anti-science campaigns.

Unconventional Superconductor May Be Used to Create Quantum Computers of the Future (Feb 19, 2018)
With their insensitivity to decoherence what are known as Majorana particles could become stable building blocks of a quantum computer. The problem is that they only occur under very special circumstances. Now researchers at Chalmers University of Technology have succeeded in manufacturing a component that is able to host the sought-after particles.

Universities Rush to Develop Computer Science Ethics Courses (Feb 17, 2018)
The medical profession has an ethic: First, do no harm. Silicon Valley has an ethos: Build it first and ask for forgiveness later. Now, in the wake of fake news and other troubles at tech companies, universities that helped produce some of Silicon Valley’s top technologists are hustling to bring a more medicine-like morality to computer science. This semester, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are jointly offering a new course on the ethics and regulation of arti...
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Wyoming's Solution For Brain Drain? Computer Science (Feb 17, 2018)
Coal country and computer science country used to be different places. But Wyoming, much like Liz Lemon, is trying to show us that we really can have it all. In the next few weeks, the Wyoming State Legislature will vote on Senate File 29, which would add computer science (CS) to the state’s “common core of knowledge”, making it a requirement for K-12 public schools to offer CS education. If it passes, Wyoming would become only the second state in the country to mandate CS education, ahead...
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Computer Science vs. Software Engineering – How Are They Different? (Feb 8, 2018)
It’s interesting to note that two career options that are perceived to be the same, are actually very different. Yes, there are overlapping areas in their functioning and training. But their study courses are definitely unique. These roles are: computer science and software engineering. Currently, in 2018, students may fulfill similar roles after studies are completed, but with changes in the industry, their roles may become more defined.

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