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October 2017 — October 2017

Scheme Would Make New High-Capacity Data Caches 33 to 50 Percent More Efficient (Oct 31, 2017)
As processors' transistor counts have gone up, the relatively slow connection between the processor and main memory has become the chief impediment to improving computers' performance. So, in the past few years, chip manufacturers have started putting dynamic random-access memory -- or DRAM, the type of memory traditionally used for main memory -- right on the chip package.

‘Mind-Reading’ Brain-Decoding Tech (Oct 30, 2017)
Researchers have demonstrated how to decode what the human brain is seeing by using artificial intelligence to interpret fMRI scans from people watching videos, representing a sort of mind-reading technology. The advance could aid efforts to improve artificial intelligence and lead to new insights into brain function. Critical to the research is a type of algorithm called a convolutional neural network, which has been instrumental in enabling computers and smartphones to recognize faces and obje...
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Scientists Write ‘Traps’ for Light with Tiny Ink Droplets (Oct 30, 2017)
A microscopic 'pen' that is able to write structures small enough to trap and harness light using a commercially available printing technique could be used for sensing, biotechnology, lasers, and studying the interaction between light and matter.

GPUs Power Near-Global Climate Simulation at 1 Km Resolution (Oct 29, 2017)
A new peer-reviewed paper is reportedly causing a stir in the climatology community. Entitled, “Near-global climate simulation at 1 km resolution: establishing a performance baseline on 4888 GPUs with COSMO 5.0” the Swiss paper was written by Oliver Fuhrer, Tarun Chadha, Torsten Hoefler, Grzegorz Kwasniewski, Xavier Lapillonne, David Leutwyler, Daniel Lüthi, Carlos Osuna, Christoph Schär, Thomas C. Schulthess, and Hannes Vogt.

Public Cloud Doesn’t Dominate It Quite Yet (Oct 29, 2017)
Everyone in the IT industry likes drama, and we here at The Next Platform are no different. But it is also important as the industry in undergoing gut-wrenching transformations, as it has been for five decades now and will probably do so for a decade or two more, to keep some perspective. While the public cloud is certainly an exciting part of the IT market, it hasn’t taken over the world even if it has become the dominant metaphor that all kinds of IT – public, private, and hybrid – aspir...
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Two ORNL-Led Research Teams Receive $10.5 Million to Advance Quantum Computing (Oct 28, 2017)
By harnessing the power of quantum mechanics, researchers hope to create quantum computers capable of simulating phenomenon at a scale and speed unthinkable on traditional architectures, an effort of great interest to agencies such as the Department of Energy tasked with tackling some of the world’s most complex science problems.

Single Node “Cyclops” Supercomputer Looks to Set Records (Oct 28, 2017)
The Radio Free HPC podcast team announced announced plans to build what they hope will be the “fastest single-node supercomputer in the world” for the High Performance Conjugate Gradients Benchmark (HPCG). Codenamed “Project Cyclops”, the single-node supercomputer demonstrates the computational power that individual scientists, engineers, artificial intelligence practitioners, and data scientists can deploy in their offices.

Exascale and the City (Oct 27, 2017)
Walk around any city neighborhood and chances are it looks nothing like it did 20 years ago. Thanks to growing urbanization, cities globally are rapidly expanding and accounting for more of our world’s population, gross domestic product and greenhouse gases. Adapting a city to keep up with evolving needs is one of the greatest daily challenges that city planners, designers and managers face. They must consider how proposed changes will affect systems and processes such as our power grid, green...
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China Builds Tianhe-3, The World's First Exascale Supercomputer, Says Scientist (Oct 27, 2017)
China is developing and building the Tianhe-3, the world's first exascale supercomputer, a leading scientist said. When completed it will be capable of a quintillion (a billion, billion; or 1 followed by 18 zeros) calculations per second. It will be 10 times faster the current world leader, China's Sunway TaihuLight, and will "become an important platform for national scientific development and industrial reforms", Mr Meng Xiangfei, head of the applications department of the National Supercomput...
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Machine Learning Used to Predict Earthquakes in a Lab Setting (Oct 26, 2017)
A group of researchers from the UK and the US have used machine learning techniques to successfully predict earthquakes. Although their work was performed in a laboratory setting, the experiment closely mimics real-life conditions, and the results could be used to predict the timing of a real earthquake.

Why U.S. Tech Needs to Fear China (Oct 26, 2017)
China’s push to take over global technology leadership is relentless. It wants to lead in computing, semiconductors, research and development, and clean energy. It is accelerating science investment as the U.S. retreats.

The Human Cell Atlas: From Vision to Reality (Oct 25, 2017)
Our knowledge of the cells that make up the human body, and how they vary from person to person, or throughout development and in health or disease, is still very limited. This week, a year after project planning began, more than 130 biologists, computational scientists, technologists and clinicians are reconvening in Rehovot, Israel, to kick the Human Cell Atlas initiative1 into full gear. This international collaboration between hundreds of scientists from dozens of universities and institutes...
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Physics Boosts Artificial Intelligence Methods (Oct 25, 2017)
Researchers from Caltech and the University of Southern California (USC) report the first application of quantum computing to a physics problem. By employing quantum-compatible machine learning techniques, they developed a method of extracting a rare Higgs boson signal from copious noise data. Higgs is the particle that was predicted to imbue elementary particles with mass and was discovered at the Large Hadron Collider in 2012. The new quantum machine learning method is found to perform well ev...
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Expanding Computer Science in Schools is a Bipartisan Opportunity (Oct 24, 2017)
A bipartisan idea is a rare creature in Washington these days, but there is one issue that brings the parties together: the need to expand computer science education in America’s schools. President Obama proposed spending an additional $4 billion, and President Trump released a more modest proposal. But despite these efforts, schools are still waiting for additional funding. That’s a shame because computer science skills hold the keys to economic opportunity for students.

Researchers Developing Autonomous Snake-Like Robots to Support Search-and-Rescue Teams (Oct 24, 2017)
A team of researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has received a three-year, $400,000 award from the National Science Foundation to create autonomous snake-like robots that can navigate more naturally and easily through the rubble, confined spaces, and rough terrain left in the aftermath of a disaster and send images and information to search-and-rescue teams.

Survey: Tech Workers Are Terrified They Will Be Sacked For Being Too Old (Oct 23, 2017)
Almost half of tech workers in the US, like Hollywood stars, live in constant fear that age will end their careers, according to a new poll. Job website surveyed more than 1,000 employed tech workers and found that 43 per cent of respondents expressed concern about losing their job due to age. And 18 per cent said they worried about this "all the time." The survey falls short of a revelation. Rather, it's a reaffirmation of an issue that has troubled tech employees for years and has p...
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CSforAll Announces Computer Science Pledges from Over 170 Organizations (Oct 23, 2017)
The CSforAll Consortium announced commitments from over 170 organizations this week to develop and support computer science programming and train teachers, the latest in a series of recent efforts to promote STEM education and computing.

Scientists Use CSCS Supercomputer to Search for “Memory Molecules” (Oct 22, 2017)
Until now, searching for genes related to memory capacity has been comparable to seeking out the proverbial “needle in a haystack”. Scientists at the University of Basel made use of the CSCS supercomputer “Piz Daint” to discover interrelationships in the human genome that might simplify the search for “memory molecules” and eventually lead to more effective medical treatment for people with diseases that are accompanied by memory disturbance.

HPC Connects: Mapping Global Ocean Currents (Oct 22, 2017)
In this video from the SC17 HPC Connects series, Dimitris Menemenlis from NASA JPL/Caltech describes how scientists are working hand in hand with visualization experts to bring exquisitely detailed views of Earth’s oceans into sharper focus than ever before.

Dubai Police Will Soon Zoom Around the Sky on Hoverbikes (Oct 21, 2017)
Dubai is aggressively turning itself into a "Future City," putting self-flying taxis in the skies and a facial recognition system in its airport. The Dubai police department's latest ride is now adding another sci-fi transportation staple: the hoverbike. The Dubai police, which already has luxury patrol cars, self-driving pursuit drones, and a robot officer, just announced it will soon have officers buzzing around on hoverbikes, which look like an early version of the speeder bikes used by the s...
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DISTRO: Researchers Create Digital Objects from Incomplete 3D Data (Oct 21, 2017)
"Although the 3D scanning technology has made significant progress in recent years, it is still a challenge to capture the geometry and shape of a real object digitally and automatically," explains Mario Fritz, who leads the group "Scalable Learning and Perception" at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics. According to Fritz, depth sensors, such as those of the Microsoft Kinect, are very powerful, but unfortunately they do not work equally well on all materials, which leads to noisy data or e...
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Technology Training for Rural Entrepreneurs (Oct 20, 2017)
Tag International Development partners with Microsoft Philanthropies in trainings aimed at unlocking employability prospects for underserved youthsan State, Myanmar. Twenty-Two youths selected to become Microsoft Ambassadors participated in two computer literacy and skills training sessions hosted by Tag International Development in partnership with Microsoft Philanthropies as part of Project E3: Education, Employment, and Entrepreneurship. The project is aimed at unlocking employability prospec...
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Self-Taught, 'Superhuman' AI Now Even Smarter: Makers (Oct 20, 2017)
The computer that stunned humanity by beating the best mortal players at a strategy board game requiring "intuition" has become even smarter, its makers said Wednesday. Even more startling, the updated version of AlphaGo is entirely self-taught—a major step towards the rise of machines that achieve superhuman abilities "with no human input", they reported in the science journal Nature. Dubbed AlphaGo Zero, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) system learnt by itself, within days, to master the anc...
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The Top 12 Schools For Computer Science In 2017 (Oct 19, 2017)
Ever wonder which of the world's colleges are best at teaching computer science? Thanks to a recent report from Times Higher Education (THE)—a UK-based publication focused on universities the world over—we may have an answer to that question, in an analysis based on performance in the categories of Citations (research influence), Industry Income (knowledge transfer), International Outlook (staff, students and research), Research (volume, income and reputation), and Teaching (the learning env...
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World First for Reading Digitally Encoded Synthetic Molecules (Oct 19, 2017)
For the first time ever, using mass spectrometry, researchers have successfully read several bytes of data recorded on a molecular scale using synthetic polymers. Their work sets a new benchmark for the amount of data -- stored as a sequence of molecular units (monomers) -- that may be read using this routine method. It also sets the stage for data storage on a scale 100 times smaller than that of current hard drives.

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