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July 2016 — August 2016

The AI Bots Are About to Get Emotional (Aug 10, 2016)
We already interact with artificial intelligence in our daily lives. Furby and Clippy were early forms; driverless cars and Facebook's chatbots pick up the mantle today. But if AI is to continue its evolution, it'll have to get more convincingly human. Right now, its capacity for emotional depth is seriously lacking. At a cognitive architectures conference in New York, Alexei Samsonovich, a professor in the Cybernetics Department at the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute, proposed a multi-part...
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Probing DNA for Cancer Therapies (Aug 9, 2016)
DNA contains all of the genetic information for a living organization and is involved in many fundamental biological processes. Information in DNA is stored in chemical bases that pair up. The order of these base pairs contain essential information for an organism. Physical properties of DNA, such as elasticity, strength, and elongation, also play an important role in cell interactions. The smallest error, such as a molecule inserted between two neighboring base pairs — called an intercalator ...
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IBM’s Machines to Fight Against Zika Virus (Aug 9, 2016)
IBM has provided its technology and expertise to help better monitor spread of the Zika virus disease in South America. The technology firm has partnered with Brazil’s Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, a research institution affiliated with the Brazilian Ministry of Health, which will use IBM’s technology to analyse clues such as mentions on social media and official data about human travel patterns. The researchers will use IBM’s software STEM, which models and visualises the spread of infectious ...
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Hasta La Vista Lustre, So Long Spectrum Scale: Everyday HPC is here (Aug 8, 2016)
Parallel file systems were developed to overcome delays servers experienced when accessing files on disk storage systems. Flash arrays get rid of disk access latencies and so weaken the need for parallel file systems. Spectrum Scale, the renamed GPFS (General Parallel File System) and Lustre are two such parallel file systems. Instead of waiting for one IO stream to fill a server with data from a file system, they use multiple simultaneous IO streams which fill the server much more quickly. Such...
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NSF Awards $15 Million to Create Science Gateways Community Institute (Aug 8, 2016)
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a five-year $15 million grant to a collaborative team led by the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at UC San Diego to establish a Science Gateways Community Institute to accelerate the development and application of highly functional, sustainable science gateways that address the needs of researchers across the full spectrum of NSF directorates. The Institute’s goal is to increase the number, ease of use, and effective application of gatewa...
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Lengau: Global Grand Challenges Through an African Lens (Aug 7, 2016)
South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Program Director Kagiso Chikane recently welcomed 100 guests to the Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC) in Cape Town for the dedication of the fastest computer on the African continent. “Lengau,” which means “Cheetah” in the African Setswana language, ranked 121 on the June TOP500 list of the world’s fastest supercomputers. However, none hold a candle to Lengau’s potential when it comes to solving the world�...
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How Not to Get Hacked by Russians (or Anyone Else) (Aug 7, 2016)
There's been a lot of talk about Russian hackers infiltrating the Democratic National Committee's servers and then leaking sensitive emails via WikiLeaks. The breach, which happened in June but was revealed this week, may sound like a high-level hacking plot by international spies that doesn't have anything to do with your personal cybersecurity. We are here to tell you, that is incorrect. In times like this, it is good to remember Russia, or any government for that matter, could turn its attent...
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The Human Role in a Bot-dominated Future (Aug 6, 2016)
Imagine a world where bots are ubiquitous… a world where nearly every online interaction takes place with a Siri, Alexa, Cortana or some soon-to-be-named artificial being. Here, banking is a breeze, as a customer service bot can quickly extrapolate your banking preferences from your online search history. In this world, your cupboards and refrigerator are always full, because your groceries are reordered every week automatically, based on consumption data. But in such a world, where bots provi...
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How Computer Science Finally Lit a Fire in this Civis Analytics Leader (Aug 6, 2016)
Civics tries to help companies be more data driven in their decision-making. This is the magic of data science. You can take a person, and you can have thousands of attributes, pieces of information about that person, and throw that against a modeling algorithm, and get back which of those attributes matter and which of them don’t for whatever outcome you’re trying to measure. I didn’t personally work on the campaign, but during Obama 2012, our CEO, Dan Wagner, was chief data scientist of ...
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Teachers Want Computer Science for All Kids (Aug 5, 2016)
Melinda Miller is one of 300 teachers from around the nation learning to deliver what they believe every child should have in the classroom -- equality. "Computer science was something that my principal wanted to offer," Miller said. "I serve predominantly African-American and Hispanic students and it's a great need. Our students don't have a lot of options." Miller teaches in Dallas. But, she was given a free trip to the Colorado School of Mines to attend CSPd week. Miller can receive professio...
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Researchers Open Hairy New Chapter in 3-D Printing (Aug 5, 2016)
These days, it may seem as if 3-D printers can spit out just about anything, from a full-sized sports car, to edible food, to human skin. But some things have defied the technology, including hair, fur, and other dense arrays of extremely fine features, which require a huge amount of computational time and power to first design, then print. Now researchers in MIT's Media Lab have found a way to bypass a major design step in 3-D printing, to quickly and efficiently model and print thousands of ha...
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MIPT in Moscow Develops New Method of Calculating Protein Interaction (Aug 4, 2016)
Biologists and mathematicians from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) have accelerated the rate at which a computer can predict the structure of protein complexes in a cell. The research was carried out by MIPT in collaboration with Stony Brook University and other scientific research centers. The study has been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. The research will help scientists to better understand the function of cells leading to more e...
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Supercomputers Fire Lasers to Shoot Gamma Ray Beam (Aug 4, 2016)
Comic book readers might know about gamma rays. The Incredible Hulk was transformed from mild scientist into wild superhero by gamma rays from a nuclear explosion. The real gamma rays form in nature from radioactive decay of the atomic nucleus. Besides hazardous materials, you'd have to look in exotic places like near a black hole or closer to home at lightning in the upper atmosphere to find natural forces capable of making gamma rays. Scientists have found that gamma rays, like the Hulk, can d...
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Most Americans Aren't Ready to Evolve into 'Transhumans,' Study Says (Aug 3, 2016)
Despite the mainstreaming of science and technology-powered fitness and health initiatives in recent years, a new survey indicates there's a limit to what we'll accept in the race to become "superhuman." Specifically, the survey, conducted by the Pew Research Center, refers to the emerging area of methods (often referred to as transhumanism) designed to enhance our minds and bodies using everything from chip implants, to synthetic blood and even to genetic engineering. According to the survey, a...
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The 50 Best Computer Science Schools in the World (Aug 3, 2016)
A computer science degree from a top university can help graduates land their dream job at companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook. But which computer science courses are the best ones to try and to get onto if you want to impress employers? Using the QS World University Rankings, we took a look at the universities with the top computer science and information systems courses.



Scientists Program Cells to Remember and Respond to Series of Stimuli (Aug 2, 2016)
Synthetic biology allows researchers to program cells to perform novel functions such as fluorescing in response to a particular chemical or producing drugs in response to disease markers. In a step toward devising much more complex cellular circuits, MIT engineers have now programmed cells to remember and respond to a series of events. These cells can remember, in the correct order, up to three different inputs, but this approach should be scalable to incorporate many more stimuli, the research...
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Tech Trends that Will Impact Your Home (Aug 2, 2016)
Imagine walking through the bathroom door at 7am and the shower starts itself at optimal water heat and pressure. The thermostat adjusts when you enter the room. Want a new bathroom tub? What if you could 3D print it? High-tech homes are about to revolutionize the way we live. While interior design once relied on color schemes and playful accents, new tech trends are completely revamping how we design, build and live in our spaces. Even more, they’re having a social impact, enabling users to r...
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An Accelerated Pipeline to Open Materials Research (Aug 1, 2016)
Using today's advanced microscopes, scientists are able to capture exponentially more information about the materials they study compared to a decade ago—in greater detail and in less time. While these new capabilities are a boon for researchers, helping to answer key questions that could lead to next-generation technologies, they also present a new problem: How to make effective use of all this data? At the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, researchers are engineering a so...
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SDSC/UCSD Team Uncovers Signaling Links to Glioblastoma Factor (Aug 1, 2016)
Glioblastoma is a highly aggressive form of brain cancer with a survival rate generally less than 16 months. With no effective treatments available, a team including researchers from the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at UC San Diego and John Wayne Cancer Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center sought to uncover several underlying molecular networks that may yield attractive therapeutic targets for this deadly disease. The results, published in the July 16 online issue of Onc...
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Robots Shoot, Score, Advance AI then Fall Over at the Robot World Cup 2016 (Jul 31, 2016)
This is RoboCup! This annual gathering sees robotics experts from all over the planet fielding teams of battling soccerbots in a bid for robot football supremacy. This year's tournament took place in Leipzig, Germany, where robots across both humanoid and non-humanoid leagues went head-to-head. Meet the Australian team out to defend their title, see why a change to the regulation ball has scores of robots baffled, and enjoy the sight of extremely adorable robots falling over -- then hopping righ...
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Superior Performance Commits Kyoto University to CPUs Over GPUs (Jul 31, 2016)
The Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine determined that a dual-socket Intel Xeon E5-2699v3 (Haswell architecture) chipset delivers better performance than an NVIDIA K40 GPU using 16-bit arithmetic (which doubles GPU performance) when training deep learning neural networks for computational drug discovery using the Theano framework. Theano is a Python library that lets researchers transparently run deep learning models on CPUs and GPUs. It does so by generating C++ code from the Python s...
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Can a 3D Fingerprint unlock a smartphone? (Jul 30, 2016)
A computer science and engineering professor at Michigan State University is trying to help police unlock the cellphone of a murdered man in hopes it can provide clues about the perpetrator. Police in Michigan are asking the professor, Anil Jain, to unlock the iPhone with a 3D replica of the victim’s fingerprints, report Fusion, the Guardian and the Chicago Tribune. Jain is using a scan of the fingerprints taken from a previous arrest. Jain and his assistant, PhD student Sunpreet Arora, are st...
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One in Ten UK Computer Science Graduates Don't Have a Job (Jul 30, 2016)
According to the latest figures compiled by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), computer science graduates are still at the top of the UK’s higher education unemployment rankings. During the academic year of 2014/2015, 10 percent of computer science graduates were unable to find a job six months after graduation. This figure is even higher than the 7.7 percent for students, who studied Mass Communications and documentation, Physical sciences, or Engineering and technology, that had ...
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How Art and Dance Are Making Computer Science Culturally Relevant (Jul 29, 2016)
This fall, my computer science class will follow the new AP Computer Science curriculum framework while also including culturally responsive instruction that makes use of students’ interests, community settings, and cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Some of the students enjoy freestyle rap and dance, so they will learn how to simulate or enhance their performances using code. Other students study drawing and painting, so they will learn how to use code to create their artwork. This approach is ...
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How To Launch Your Career In Computer Science While You're Still In High School (Jul 29, 2016)
When in high school and preparing for a career in computer science, a few things come to mind that might be helpful. First, you need to make sure that you can get into the major. That is an increasingly nontrivial challenge. If you get into elite schools like the Ivies or Stanford/Duke/MIT, you shouldn’t have a problem choosing your own major. But at many public universities, it is increasingly hard to get into CS because of the sheer demand by incoming undergrads. You need to make sure that y...
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