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June 2017 — July 2017

Computer Science Is Future-Proof (Jul 10, 2017)
Here are some of the more outlandish predictions for the jobs people might hold in the future: mind-uploading specialist, personalized microbiome steward or de-extinction zoologist. I, for one, am looking forward to my second career in 2030 as a professional "triber" and crowdfunding specialist. No one can really say for certain what the jobs of the future will be. A former educator with whom I recently met argued that uncertainty about the future job market means that giving students opportunit...
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Less is More for Canadian Quantum Computing Researchers (Jul 10, 2017)
Researchers in Canada have found a way make a key building block for quantum computing from a custom photonics chip and off-the-shelf components intended for use in telecommunications equipment. They have built a chip that can create entangled pairs of multicolored photons. The result is that they can be manipulated as two "qudits," quantum computing digits, that can each hold 10 possible values. Where classical computers operate on values in sequence, quantum computers are able to express all p...
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First Battery-free Cellphone Makes Calls by Harvesting Ambient Power (Jul 9, 2017)
University of Washington researchers have invented a cellphone that requires no batteries—a major leap forward in moving beyond chargers, cords and dying phones. Instead, the phone harvests the few microwatts of power it requires from either ambient radio signals or light. The team also made Skype calls using its battery-free phone, demonstrating that the prototype made of commercial, off-the-shelf components can receive and transmit speech and communicate with a base station.



NCSA Scientist Using Big Data to Aid Emergency Responders (Jul 9, 2017)
We regularly hear the importance in packing water, blankets, and an FM/AM radio in response to a weather- or human-created disaster. Now researchers at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaignwant to make sure that leaders at the state, county and city levels leverage Big Data to help inform plans of action. Scott Poole, a senior research scientist at NCSA, is the principal investigator of a project to help organize and streamli...
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More Precise Diagnostics For Better Cancer Outcomes (Jul 8, 2017)
An important factor in fighting cancer is the speed at which the disease can be identified, diagnosed and treated. The current standard involves a patient feeling ill or a physician seeing signs of a tumor. These indicators lead to more precise diagnoses via blood tests, x-rays or MRI imaging. But once the disease is far enough along to be noticeable, the cancer has often spread. In the future, though, it may be possible to diagnose cancer much earlier using more sensitive body scans, new types ...
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Novel Molecular Dynamics Captures Atomic-Level Detail of CRISPR-Cas9 Activity (Jul 8, 2017)
Using a novel molecular dynamics method capable of capturing the motion of gyrating proteins at time intervals up to one thousand times greater than previous efforts, a team led by UC San Diego researchers has identified, for the first time, the myriad structural changes that activate and drive CRISPR-Cas9, the innovative gene-splicing technology that’s transforming the field of genetic engineering.



Argonne's Theta Supercomputer Goes Online (Jul 7, 2017)
Theta, a new production supercomputer located at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonnne National Laboratory is officially open to the research community. The new machine’s massively parallel, many-core architecture continues Argonne’s leadership computing program towards its future Aurora system. Theta was built onsite at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF), a DOE Office of Science User Facility, where it will operate alongside Mira, an IBM Blue Gene/Q supercomputer.



European Supercomputing Centers Adopt Joint Procurement Process (Jul 7, 2017)
Some of Europe’s leading supercomputing centers have joined forces to create a buyers group that will enable joint public procurement of new HPC systems. The new partnership of four public HPC centers (BSC, CINECA, JSC, and GENCI), located in four different countries (Spain, Italy, Germany, and France) means that new supercomputers can be procured through a market consultation for the purchase of HPC systems. This group will operate under as part of the Public Procurement of Innovative Solutio...
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Three-dimensional Chip Combines Computing and Data Storage (Jul 6, 2017)
As embedded intelligence is finding its way into ever more areas of our lives, fields ranging from autonomous driving to personalized medicine are generating huge amounts of data. But just as the flood of data is reaching massive proportions, the ability of computer chips to process it into useful information is stalling.Now, researchers at Stanford University and MIT have built a new chip to overcome this hurdle. The results are published today in the journal Nature, by lead author Max Shulaker...
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High School Computer Science Outreach Sells the Field Short (Jul 6, 2017)
According to a study conducted by Google and Gallup, black and Hispanic students are less likely than white students to have access to computer science classes in elementary and high school. Additionally, female students are less aware of opportunities to learn computer science within their schools, communities, and on the Internet. At UT, our computer science department is addressing these challenges by providing opportunities for underrepresented groups to get hands-on experiences within the f...
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AI is Changing How We Do Science. Get a Glimpse (Jul 5, 2017)
Particle physicists began fiddling with artificial intelligence (AI) in the late 1980s, just as the term “neural network” captured the public’s imagination. Their field lends itself to AI and machine-learning algorithms because nearly every experiment centers on finding subtle spatial patterns in the countless, similar readouts of complex particle detectors—just the sort of thing at which AI excels. “It took us several years to convince people that this is not just some magic, hocus-po...
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Flat Sheets Transform Themselves into Smooth-surfaced, Free-form Objects (Jul 5, 2017)
3D printers have been around since the 1980s, but we are still far from maximizing their potential. One active area of research and development is "self-actuating" objects: flat materials that transform themselves through material forces into the desired 3D object. Previously, however, the range of objects was limited to those with sharp edges and little, if any, curvature, and the transformation methods were based primarily on folding or processes that could not be controlled very precisely (e....
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Code.org Takes Computer Science into Middle Schools (Jul 2, 2017)
Seattle nonprofit Code.org is bringing computer science education to 800 more classrooms – and this time, it’s geared toward middle schoolers. The Seattle organization, founded in 2012 by entrepreneurs Ali and Hadi Partovi, trains teachers to teach computer science courses, and provides the lesson plans and software free of charge. Code.org is best known for its “Hour of Code” campaign, which encourages kids to spend one hour learning to code with online tutorials featuring popular chara...
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Is Water-Free Cooling the Real Future of HPC? (Jul 2, 2017)
In this video from ISC 2017, Olivier de Laet from Calyos describes the company’s innovative cooling technology for high performance computing. “The HPC industry is ever facing is facing the challenge of ever-increasing cooling requirements. While liquid cooling cooling looks to be the best solution, what if you could achieve the same efficiencies without out using water and pumps?” Enter Calytronics, cooling technology that is as simple as a heat pipe and as performant as liquid cooling.



Switchable DNA Mini-machines Store Information (Jun 30, 2017)
Biomedical engineers have built simple machines out of DNA, consisting of arrays whose units switch reversibly between two different shapes. The arrays' inventors say they could be harnessed to make nanotech sensors or amplifiers. Potentially, they could be combined to form logic gates, the parts of a molecular computer. The arrays' properties are scheduled for publication online by Science. The DNA machines can relay discrete bits of information through space or amplify a signal, says senior au...
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Generic, Situation-aware Guidelines to Help Robots Co-exist Successfully Alongside Humans (Jun 30, 2017)
Artificial intelligence experts from the University of Hertfordshire, Dr Christoph Salge and Professor Daniel Polani, have designed a concept which could lead to a new set of generic, situation-aware guidelines to help robots work and co-exist successfully alongside humans. Empowerment, which has been developed over the course of twelve years, is discussed in the latest edition of the journal Frontiers in Robotics and AI today, as a potential replacement for Asimov's celebrated Three Laws of Rob...
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How Pythons Regenerate Their Organs and Other Secrets of the Snake Genome (Jun 29, 2017)
Evolution takes eons, but it leaves marks on the genomes of organisms that can be detected with DNA sequencing and analysis. As methods for studying and comparing genetic data improve, scientists are beginning to decode these marks to reconstruct the evolutionary history of species, as well as how variants of genes give rise to unique traits. A research team at the University of Texas at Arlington led by assistant professor of biology Todd Castoe has been exploring the genomes of snakes and liza...
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The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread? (Jun 29, 2017)
Every thought, every feeling, every sensation—and every behavioral illness—ultimately depends on how our brains work. Despite decades of stunning advances in imaging the brain and measuring its activity, though, we still don’t understand how even a simple vertebrate brain works. Enter the zebrafish larva. Small and transparent—yet able to swim freely and even hunt small prey—these baby fish have long been studied by researchers to understand how their tiny brains generate behaviors.



Bill Gropp Named NCSA Director (Jun 28, 2017)
Dr. William “Bill” Gropp, Interim Director and Chief Scientist of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will become the center's fifth Director on July 16, 2017, pending Board of Trustees approval. Gropp was appointed to the roles of acting and then interim director of NCSA by Vice Chancellor for Research Peter Schiffer when former NCSA director Dr. Ed Seidel stepped up to serve as Vice President for Economic Development...
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SDSC’s Comet is a Key Resource in New Global Dark Matter Experiment (Jun 28, 2017)
The petascale Comet supercomputer at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) on the UC San Diego campus has emerged as a key resource in what is considered to be the most advanced dark matter research quest to-date, with a group of international researchers recently announcing promising results after only one month of operation with a new detector.



NASA’s Develops SAFEGUARD Safety Net Technology for Drones (Jun 27, 2017)
Flying drone aircraft are no longer rare sightings these day. In fact, their may be one above you somewhere taking pictures at this very moment. This begs the question: how do we keep our skies safe? Scientists at NASA Langley Research Center have developed a breakthrough technology called Safeguard that can alleviate hazards with unmanned aircrafts (UA) flying beyond their authorized perimeters and into no-fly zones. Safeguard works by continuously detecting a UAs proximity to virtual perimeter...
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How to Build Software for a Computer 50 Times Faster Than Anything in the World (Jun 27, 2017)
Imagine you were able to solve a problem 50 times faster than you can now. With this ability, you have the potential to come up with answers to even the most complex problems faster than ever before. Researchers behind the U.S. Department of Energy's Exascale Computing Project want to make this capability a reality, and are doing so by creating tools and technologies for exascale supercomputers -- computing systems at least 50 times faster than those used today. These tools will advance research...
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Where Are The Women In Computer Science? (Jun 25, 2017)
Usually I scroll over the mass of school club advertisements on Facebook because none of them really interested me. However, when I saw that WiCS, the Women in Computer Science Club at school was organizing a tour at the Tumblr office in NYC, I was hooked. Attending school at Barnard College, I knew I was going to be trapped in the Morningside Heights bubble, which meant that I was going to be lazy and not take advantage of the amazing city that I was in, yet alone take the subway anywhere out o...
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Stop Shaming Computer Science Majors (Jun 25, 2017)
To many at Stanford, declaring a major in computer science represents caving in. Friends let out knowing, if judgmental, chuckles when a once-undeclared friend’s picture inevitably appears on the CS Course Advisor page. Humanities majors studying comparative literature or religion often criticize their Huang-dwelling acquaintances for being career-minded sellouts, choosing their major just for the sake of a job. Critics worry that Stanford students’ tendency to value writing proxies in C++ o...
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Shape and Size of DNA Lesions Caused by Toxic Agents Affects Repair of DNA (Jun 24, 2017)
Every day our bodies come under a barrage of toxic agents – cigarette smoke, the sun, free radicals and other carcinogenic substances – that create damaging lesions in our DNA that can initiate cancer and other human diseases. Fortunately, nature has provided living organisms with repair processes to seek out and remove such dangerous lesions; repair allows the DNA to be restored to its original base sequence so it can carry out its fundamental jobs: to be replicated and to be copied into a ...
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