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September 2016 — September 2016

Automated Screening for Childhood Communication Disorders (Sep 28, 2016)
For children with speech and language disorders, early-childhood intervention can make a great difference in their later academic and social success. But many such children—one study estimates 60 percent—go undiagnosed until kindergarten or even later. Researchers at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital's Institute of Health Professions hope to change that, with a computer system that can automatically screen young children for...
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New Genomics Pipeline Combines AWS, Local HPC, and Supercomputing (Sep 28, 2016)
Declining DNA sequencing costs and the rush to do whole genome sequencing (WGS) of large cohort populations – think 5000 subjects now, but many more thousands soon – presents a formidable computational challenge to researchers attempting to make sense of large cohort datasets. No single architecture is best. This month researchers report developing a hybrid approach that combines cloud (AWS), local high performance compute (LHPC) clusters, and supercomputers.

The 5 Technologies that Are Going to Define the Next Decade in Cities (Sep 24, 2016)
Cities have always been hubs of technological experimentation, shaped by the people who inhabit them and the tools they use. We can still see the marks, both charming and garish, from technologies of years past — from old aqueducts to telephone booths to the damage done by cars. The next wave of real-time technologies that will define the next decade are software (rather than hardware) upgrades to the city that will nonetheless transform the way we work, play and live in our physical environme...
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Wireless Signals Can Detect Your Feelings With New Device (Sep 24, 2016)
What if your computer or smartphone could tell if you're happy or sad? A new device developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology aims to detect emotions by sending wireless signals that measure heartbeats as the signals bounce off a person's body. Researchers from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory say their device is 87 percent accurate in using heartrate and what it's already learned about a person to recognize joy, pleasure, sadness or anger...
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Argonne to Develop Applications for ECP Exascale Computing Project (Sep 23, 2016)
Argonne announced that the Lab is leading a pair of newly funded applications projects for the Exascale Computing Project (ECP). The announcement comes on the heels of news that ECP has funded a total of 15 application development proposals for full funding and seven proposals for seed funding, representing teams from 45 research and academic organizations. The 15 awards being announced total $39.8 million, targeting advanced modeling and simulation solutions to specific challenges supporting ke...
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SDSC Supercomputer Modeling Reveals Acrobatics of CRISPR-Cas9 Technology (Sep 23, 2016)
A team led by researchers at the University of California San Diego has captured in step-by-step atomic detail the surgical editing of DNA strands by CRISPR-Cas9, the innovative gene-splicing technology that in recent years has transformed the field of genetic engineering. Simulations performed by the Comet supercomputer at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at UC San Diego describe the “striking plasticity” of CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats)-Cas9 an...
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Researchers Eye Gaming As Tool for Boosting Computer Science Skills, Diversity in Middle Schools (Sep 22, 2016)
An interdisciplinary team of researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of Florida is launching an initiative that will use a custom-designed video game to boost computational thinking in middle school science classrooms. The goal is not only to improve educational outcomes, but also to foster gender and racial diversity in computer science and other science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Development and testing of the game, as well as its relate...
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European SAVE Project Streamlines Data Intensive Computing (Sep 21, 2016)
A consortium of European researchers and technology companies recently completed the EU-funded SAVE project, aimed at simplifying the execution data-intensive applications on complex hardware architectures. Funded by the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), the project was launched in 2013, under the project name ‘Self-Adaptive Virtualization-Aware High-Performance/Low-Energy Heterogeneous System Architectures’ (SAVE). The project, which was completed at the start of th...
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Ex-Google Car Chief, Mercedes, Nvidia Partner To Train Self-Driving Car Engineers (Sep 21, 2016)
Sebastian Thrun, an architect of the push to create robotic cars capable of driving themselves, formed an educational alliance with companies including Mercedes-Benz and Nvidia focused on training engineers who want to develop technologies for self-driving vehicles. Udacity, the online education company started by Thrun in 2012 after he left Google's self-driving car program, is adding the initiative to its offerings in the form of a web-based “nanodegree” program to familiarize engineers wi...
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Australia to Embrace the New Era of Gravitational Wave Astronomy (Sep 20, 2016)
Four hundred years ago Galileo pointed a telescope at Jupiter and saw electromagnetic waves (light) being reflected off its moons. This profound observation displaced Earth from its position at the center of the universe to just one planet among many. It also sparked a new golden era of optical astronomy, which continues to this day. In September 2015 the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (aLIGO) detected the gravitational waves emitted by two coalescing black holes. T...
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Women Break Barriers in Engineering and Computer Science at Some Top Colleges (Sep 20, 2016)
Women are making major gains in enrollment in engineering and computer science at some of the nation’s most prominent colleges and universities, a breakthrough that shows that gender parity is possible in technology fields long dominated by men. More than half of engineering bachelor’s degrees at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology went to women in 2015, federal data shows. The same was true at Dartmouth College this year. The majority of computer science majors at California’s Harve...
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Security News This Week: Google Ups the Ante on Web Encryption (Sep 19, 2016)
Not too long ago, the standard for a secure website was to not offer gaping holes for hackers to exploit or infect visitors with malware. Now even plain-old HTTP itself, that venerable web protocol, is about to be considered insecure. Google has announced that its web browser Chrome will soon take a more aggressive stance on web encryption, marking any site as insecure if it doesn’t use HTTPS, a protocol that encrypts web pages with the encryption schemes SSL or TLS, and putting a red “X” ...
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Nvidia Launches Pascal GPUs for Deep Learning Inferencing (Sep 19, 2016)
Already entrenched in the deep learning community for neural net training, Nvidia wants to secure its place as the go-to chipmaker for datacenter inferencing. At the GPU Technology Conference (GTC) in Beijing today (Tuesday), Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang unveiled the latest additions to the Tesla line, Pascal-based P4 and P40 GPU accelerators, as well as new software all aimed at improving performance for inferencing workloads that undergird applications like voice-activated assistants, spam filter...
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Japan's Post-K Computer Hits 1-2 Year Speed Bump (Sep 18, 2016)
Dr. Yutaka Ishikawa, project lead for RIKEN AICS, confirms that Japan’s next-generation supercomputer, the Post-K computer, has been delayed by one-to-two years, slipping from its original 2020 target to either 2021 or 2022. The additional time is needed to ensure sufficient processor volume, sources report. With the adjusted schedule, Japan’s exascale horizon has shifted closer to the US goal to stand up a productive exascale computer by no later than 2023.

DOE Funds Asynchronous Supercomputing Research at Georgia Tech (Sep 18, 2016)
The DOE is funding a $2.4 million project at Georgia Tech to develop new computer algorithms for solving linear and nonlinear equations that will ultimately help pave the way for the next generation of supercomputers. The research targets a critical need for more advanced algorithms in the transition from petascale to exascale computing, which could unlock a thousand-fold increase in computer performance. Exascale computing refers to computing systems capable of at least a billion billion (quint...
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Green-Powered Boat Readies for Round-The-World Voyage (Sep 13, 2016)
Dubbed the "Solar Impulse of the Seas," the first boat to be powered solely by renewable energies and hydrogen hopes to make its own historic trip around the world. A water-borne answer to the Solar Impulse—the plane that completed its round-the-globe trip using only solar energy in July—the Energy Observer will be powered by the Sun, the wind and self-generated hydrogen when it sets sail in February as scheduled. The multi-hulled catamaran is in a shipyard at Saint-Malo on France's west coa...
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Keeping Track of Warehouse Inventories with an Army of Fully Autonomous Drones (Sep 13, 2016)
When they wanted to stash the Ark of the Covenant away at the end of the first Indiana Jones film, the government did what any self-respecting bureaucratic institution would, filing it away in a giant warehouse. Navigating even the most well-appointed warehouse spaces can get tricky, and keeping tabs on missing inventory a downright nightmare, requiring full staffs over several day-long periods to count and re-count pallets, in hopes of determining whether anything has gone missing. And let’s ...
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Promising Drug Leads Identified to Combat Heart Disease (Sep 12, 2016)
Using a unique computational approach to rapidly sample, in millisecond time intervals, proteins in their natural state of gyrating, bobbing, and weaving, a research team from UC San Diego and Monash University in Australia has identified promising drug leads that may selectively combat heart disease, from arrhythmias to cardiac failure. Reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition, the researchers used the computing power of Gordon and Comet, based at the San Di...
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Using the Outside World to Save on Brainpower (Sep 12, 2016)
Every day, we rely on our physical surroundings--friends, gadgets, and even hand gestures--to manage incoming information and retain it. In a Review published in Trends in Cognitive Sciences, two researchers explain the myriad ways in which forms of assistance from gestures to GPS affect both what we know and what we think we know. Evan F. Risko, a Canada Research chair in Cognitive Psychology at the University of Waterloo, and co-author Sam Gilbert, a Royal Society research fellow at University...
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Blue Waters Supercomputer Used in White House Arctic Initiative (Sep 11, 2016)
The Blue Waters supercomputer is playing an instrumental role in a White House project aimed at mapping out the Arctic. High-resolution topographic maps of Alaska that were released last week were created by Blue Waters. They are the first high-resolution, high-quality images of the region. Collaborators from Ohio State and Cornell universities are working with Paul Morin, head of the University of Minnesota’s Polar Geospatial Center, on his ArcticDEM project, using Blue Waters to create digit...
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Saving Water with Sandia’s New Datacenter Cooling Technology (Sep 11, 2016)
Engineers at Sandia are developing new datacenter cooling technologies that could save millions of gallons of water nationwide. In different parts of the country, people discuss gray-water recycling and rainwater capture to minimize the millions of gallons of groundwater required to cool large data centers. But the simple answer in many climates, said Sandia National Laboratories researcher David J. Martinez, is to use liquid refrigerant. Based on that principle, Martinez — engineering project...
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Computers Are for Girls, Too (Sep 10, 2016)
I remember three things about my first computer science class in college. First, improbably, the professor was named Ramm, as in “random access memory.” Second, the class was about processors, and I only had a vague idea what a processor was. Third, it was the last computer science class for most of my female classmates, who quickly decided they’d rather major in something else. I never would have guessed that my time as a computer science student would turn out to be pretty much the high ...
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Argonne Launches ‘Array of Things’ Urban Sensing Project (Sep 10, 2016)
Argonne National Laboratory is partnering with the University of Chicago and the City of Chicago to launch an open access urban sensing project - the Array of Things - to better understand and improve the cities. The Array of Things (AoT) will collect streams of data on Chicago's environment, infrastructure, and activity. This local, open data collection can then be used by researchers, city officials and software developers to study challenges such as air pollution, flooding, traffic safety and...
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We're at Peak Complexity and It Sucks (Sep 9, 2016)
Virtually all companies are doing digital transformation wrong. We’re placing it around the edge, keeping it at arm’s length, like it’s a problem and not an opportunity. If companies are to succeed, we need to rebuild around what’s possible, with the greatest toolkit we’ve ever seen. We celebrate what we’ve done and what’s changed, not what was actually possible or what changes have yet to happen. I believe we should be collectively disappointed at our inaction — it’s time we t...
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Vulnerabilities Found in Cars Connected to Smartphones (Sep 9, 2016)
Many of today's automobiles leave the factory with secret passengers: prototype software features that are disabled but that can be unlocked by clever drivers. In what is believed to be the first comprehensive security analysis of its kind, Damon McCoy, an assistant professor of computer science and engineering at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, and a group of students at George Mason University found vulnerabilities in MirrorLink, a system of rules that allow vehicles to communicate with ...
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