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October 2017 — October 2017

Los Alamos Researchers and Supercomputers Help Interpret Latest LIGO Findings (Oct 18, 2017)
Astrophysicist Chris Fryer was enjoying an evening with friends on August 25, 2017, when he got the news of a gravitational-wave detection by LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory. The event appeared to be a merger of two neutron stars -- a specialty for the Los Alamos National Laboratory team of astrophysicists that Fryer leads.

Science's Newest Skin Job: A Robot that Can Change Its Texture on the Fly (Oct 18, 2017)
Most robots stick out in nature like a sore thumbdrive. Now, scientists have found a new way to help them blend in—by changing not only the color, but also the texture of their skin. Inspired by cephalopods—squid, octopus, and cuttlefish—which use ring-shaped muscles to squeeze small bumps on their skin into large bulges that mimic rocks and algae, researchers created similar reversible protrusions with sheets of stretchy silicone.

Bulgaria Signs European Declaration on High-Performance Computing (Oct 17, 2017)
The European declaration on high-performance computing (HPC) has been signed in Sofia by Bulgarian Minister of Education and Science, Krasimir Valchev, in the presence of Commissioner Gabriel. Bulgaria is the tenth Member State who is joining the European effort to build the next generation of computing and data infrastructures.

The Most Profound Technologies Are Those That Disappear (Oct 17, 2017)
JetBlue passengers flying from Boston to Aruba can now present a new kind of boarding pass, one impossible to misplace: their faces. In lieu of handing over a paper ticket or summoning up a smartphone version, beach-bound commuters simply walk up to the gate and pause in front of a camera. After snapping a head shot, the camera relays the image to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Girls 'Just as Good as Boys' at Computer Science Work (Oct 16, 2017)
A new Irish study exposes as a myth the long-held notion that boys are better at computer science than girls. They are just as good as the males, and can be even better, according to research from Maynooth University. And girls are also less likely than boys to drop out of their course although, at the early stages, they suffer from a lack of self-belief about their abilities. On the other hand, boys tend to be more confident from the beginning about their abilities and their future exam perform...
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Pro-grammar: A Copy Editor on Computer Science (Oct 16, 2017)
“The Infamous Paul Hilfinger” frequently receives UCBMFET recognition for the overwhelming difficulty of his computer science projects. This last week, as a CS 61B student at UC Berkeley, I have had the privilege of being “Hil-fingered” by a project requiring students to build their own SQL database.

Seeing the Next Dimension of Computer Chips (Oct 15, 2017)
A research collaboration between Osaka University and the Nara Institute of Science and Technology for the first time used scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) to create images of atomically flat side-surfaces of 3D silicon crystals. This work helps semiconductor manufacturers continue to innovate while producing smaller, faster, and more energy-efficient computer chips for computers and smartphones.

'Air-Breathing' Battery Could Cut Costs of Renewable Energy Storage (Oct 15, 2017)
Wind and solar power are increasingly popular sources for renewable energy. But intermittency issues keep them from connecting widely to the U.S. grid: They require energy-storage systems that, at the cheapest, run about $100 per kilowatt hour and function only in certain locations. Now MIT researchers have developed an "air-breathing" battery that could store electricity for very long durations for about one-fifth the cost of current technologies, with minimal location restraints and zero emiss...
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​The ISS Just Got Its Own Linux Supercomputer (Oct 14, 2017)
A year-long project to determine how high-performance computers can perform in space has just cleared a major hurdle -- successfully booting up on the International Space Station (ISS). This experiment conducted by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and NASA aims to run a commercial off-the-shelf high-performance computer in the harsh conditions of space for one year -- roughly the amount of time it will take to travel to Mars.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Have Taken Centre Stage - Here's Why (Oct 14, 2017)
We’ve reached a significant point in time where the interest in Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning and deep learning have gained huge amounts of traction - why? We are moving into an era where science fiction is now becoming fact and reality. AI and machine learning are not new concepts; Greek mythology is littered with references of giant automata such as Talos of Crete and the bronze robot of Hephaestus. However, the ‘modern AI’ idea of thinking machines that we all have come...
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Network Computing Moves Closer to the Edge (Oct 13, 2017)
In the two decades since Sun Microsystems declared “the network is the computer,” cloud computing has established itself as the de-facto model. The economic benefits of a near infinite, elastic infrastructure that customers don’t need to manage themselves have assured that. Storing information centrally has made it possible to deliver information wherever it’s needed, to any device, supporting the explosion in remote work, smartphone apps, social networks and more.

Ada Lovelace Day Honors "the First Computer Programmer" (Oct 12, 2017)
Someone encountering an “Analytical Engine” today would probably think it was part of a mechanical system for some bizarre car—or perhaps an obscure telegraph machine or some kind of eccentric musical instrument. We probably would not recognize this jumble of pins and cogwheels as the world’s first computer. Although a working model was never completed, English mathematician Charles Babbage’s design, first described in 1837, was extraordinary. And it had parallels with the modern compu...
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Regina Barzilay Wins MacArthur “Genius Grant” (Oct 12, 2017)
Regina Barzilay, a professor in MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) who does research in natural language processing and machine learning, is a recipient of a 2017 MacArthur Fellowship, sometimes referred to as a “genius grant.” The fellowships carry a five-year, $625,000 prize, which recipients are free to use as they see fit. Twenty-one current MIT faculty members and three staff members have won MacArthur Fellowships, which were established in 1981 and ...
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Researchers Eye Papermaking Improvements Through High-Performance Computing (Oct 11, 2017)
With the naked eye, a roll of paper towels doesn't seem too complicated. But look closely enough, and you'll see it's made up of layers of fibers with thousands of intricate structures and contact points. These fluffy fibers are squeezed together before they are printed in patterns, and this resulting texture is key to the paper's performance.

New Software Speeds Origami Structure Designs (Oct 11, 2017)
Researchers have developed a new computer-aided approach that streamlines the design process for origami-based structures, making it easier for engineers and scientists to conceptualize new ideas graphically while simultaneously generating the underlying mathematical data needed to build the structure in the real world.

Berkeley Lab Researchers Lead Development of Workflow to Predict Ground Movement (Oct 10, 2017)
With emerging exascale supercomputers, researchers will soon be able to accurately simulate the ground motions of regional earthquakes quickly and in unprecedented detail, as well as predict how these movements will impact energy infrastructure—from the electric grid to local power plants—and scientific research facilities.

Future HPC Leaders Gather at Argonne Training Program on Extreme-Scale Computing (Oct 10, 2017)
What would you do with a supercomputer that is at least 50 times faster than today’s fastest machines? For scientists and engineers, the emerging age of exascale computing opens a universe of possibilities to simulate experiments and analyze reams of data — potentially enabling, for example, models of atomic structures that lead to cures for disease.

More Teachers, Fewer 3D Printers: How to Improve K-12 Computer Science Education (Oct 9, 2017)
The need for basic computer science education has never been greater. Software and computers drive the economy, aiding mines and farms, as well as retail stores, banks, and healthcare. There are 500,000 computer science job openings in the U.S., spanning every industry and state. That’s more than 10 times the number of students who graduated with computer science degrees last year, according to the nonprofit, which has been working tirelessly to establish and expand CS access in schoo...
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Future of News: Bracing for Next Wave of Technology (Oct 9, 2017)
If you think technology has shaken up the news media—just wait, you haven't seen anything yet. The next wave of disruption is likely to be even more profound, according to a study presented Saturday to the Online News Association annual meeting in Washington. News organizations which have struggled in the past two decades as readers moved online and to mobile devices will soon need to adapt to artificial intelligence, augmented reality and automated journalism and find ways to connect beyond t...
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Scientists Enlist Supercomputers, Machine Learning to Automatically Identify Brain Tumors (Oct 8, 2017)
Primary brain tumors encompass a wide range of tumors depending on the cell type, the aggressiveness, and stage of tumor. Quickly and accurately characterizing the tumor is a critical aspect of treatment planning. It is a task currently reserved for trained radiologists, but in the future, computing, and in particular high-performance computing, will play a supportive role.

Plans for First Exascale Supercomputer in U.S. Released (Oct 8, 2017)
The Aurora machine, which had an uncertain future this year when its budgetary and other details were thrown into question. We understood the deal was being restructured and indeed it has been. The system was originally slated to appear in 2018 with 180 petaflops of peak performance at double precision floating point. Now it is 1,000 petaflops, an exascale capable machine, and will be delivered in 2021—right on target with the projected revised plans for exascale released earlier this year.

New ‘Upcycled’ HPC Machine at Durham University Helps Space Science (Oct 7, 2017)
Researchers specialising in astrophysics and cosmology, particle physics and nuclear physics at Durham University and from across the UK can now take advantage of an extended HPC service. The DiRAC Data Centric HPC system installed at Durham University has been enhanced by the deployment of COSMA6, a machine with 8,000 Intel Sandy Bridge cores and 4.3 petabytes of storage ‘upcycled’ from another system previously located at the Hartree Centre in Daresbury. This additional resource was need...
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Parallel Applications Speed Up Manufacturing Product Development (Oct 7, 2017)
The product design process has undergone a significant transformation with the availability of supercomputing power at traditional workstation prices. With over 100 threads available to an application in compact 2 socket servers, scalability of applications that are used as part of the product design and development process are just a keyboard away for a wide range of engineers.

Are We Living in a Computer Simulation? (Oct 5, 2017)
Theoretical physicists have dispelled the idea we are living in a Matrix-style computer simulation, calculating that not all aspects of our reality can be simulated efficiently using computers. The simulation theory has been a staple of science fiction for decades and was detailed in a 2003 paper by the philosopher Nick Bostrom. On the basis of this paper, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has stated there is a 99.99 percent chance that the universe we inhabit is a computer simulation, while physic...
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Teleoperating Robots with Virtual Reality (Oct 5, 2017)
Many manufacturing jobs require a physical presence to operate machinery. But what if such jobs could be done remotely? This week researchers from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) presented a virtual-reality (VR) system that lets you teleoperate a robot using an Oculus Rift headset. The system embeds the user in a VR control room with multiple sensor displays, making it feel like they are inside the robot's head. By using gestures, users can match their movem...
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