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November 2017 — December 2017

Why Do Women Drop Computer Science? (Dec 11, 2017)
Ann Marie Fred was 10 years old when her father brought home a used Commodore 64 computer—a vestige of the 80s—from work. Fred, the girl who stayed after school to play Oregon Trail on the Apple computers, jumped at the chance to take advantage of her family’s new computer. In addition to the Commodore 64, Fred’s father brought home a monthly computer programming magazine with simple programs that played songs or changed the colors of pixels on the screen. Fred said her first experience ...
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Making Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Treatable Again (Dec 7, 2017)
Transport proteins called efflux pumps, and their role in creating drug-resistance in bacteria, could lead to improving effectiveness of drugs against life-threatening diseases and perhaps even bring defunct antibiotics back to prominence. Some life-threatening infections do not respond to antibiotics because efflux pumps inside a particular type of infectious microbe called Gram-negative bacteria flush out antibiotics before the drugs can work. One type of efflux pump, which until recently had ...
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Advances to Brain-Interface Technology Provide Clearer Insight into Visual System (Dec 6, 2017)
Carnegie Mellon University engineers and cognitive neuroscientists have demonstrated that a new high-density EEG can capture the brain's neural activity at a higher spatial resolution than ever before. This next generation brain-interface technology is the first non-invasive, high-resolution system of its kind, providing higher density and coverage than any existing system. It has the potential to revolutionize future clinical and neuroscience research as well as brain-computer interfaces.

Girl Scouts Hope to Change the Face of AI, Robotics, and Data Science (Dec 6, 2017)
The Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) announced today a new partnership with Raytheon, an innovator in the cybersecurity space, to further the organization’s objective to encourage young women to develop skills in science, technology, engineering, and math, aka STEM. The pair is teaming up to launch the GSUSA’s first national computer science program and coding challenge for girls in middle and high school. According to the official release, “the program aims to prepare girls in grades 6-12 t...
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3-D Printed Minifactories: Researchers Print ‘Living Bacteria Loaded Inks’ (Dec 5, 2017)
There will soon be nothing that cannot be produced with 3D printing. However, the materials used for this process are still "dead matter" such as plastics or metals. A group of ETH researchers led by Professor André Studart, Head of the Laboratory for Complex Materials, has now introduced a new 3D printing platform that works using living matter. The researchers developed a bacteria-containing ink that makes it possible to print mini biochemical factories with certain properties, depending on w...
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Big Step Forward for Quantum Computing (Dec 5, 2017)
Harvard researchers have developed a specialized quantum computer, known as a quantum simulator, which could be used to shed new light on a host of complex quantum processes, from the connection between quantum mechanics and material properties to investigating new phases of matter and solving complex real-world optimization problems.

Sheryl Sandberg Says We Need Equal Access to Computer Science Education (Dec 4, 2017)
At today’s Computer Science Education Week kickoff, the theme was women in coding. In the U.S., just 18 percent of computer science college graduates are women. Hence why tech leaders like Microsoft’s Peggy Johnson, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and YouTube’s Susan Wojcicki took to the stage at the College of San Mateo to discuss the importance of getting young girls involved in technology.

How Minecraft is Becoming the Foundation of a Generation's Computer Science Education (Dec 4, 2017)
Like many adults, Benjamin Kelly didn’t initially get the global Minecraft phenomenon, which has seen millions upon millions of kids investing endless hours exploring and creating within a blocky virtual world. Eventually he came around. “I consider myself a late adopter,” says Kelly, who teaches technology at Caledonia Regional High School in New Brunswick. “But the students’ passion for the game was unyielding. I adopted Minecraft mainly because of that.”

Getting Hyper and Converged About Storage (Dec 3, 2017)
Hyperconverged infrastructure is a relatively small but fast-growing part of the datacenter market, driving in large part by enterprises looking to simplify and streamline their environments as they tackle increasingly complex workloads. Like converged infrastructure, hyperconverged offerings are modular in nature, converging compute, storage, networking, virtualization and management software into a tightly integrated single solution that drives greater datacenter densities, smaller footprints,...
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NCSA Paves a New Way for Using Geopolymers (Dec 3, 2017)
"It was a perfect recipe," said Dr. Seid Koric, Technical Director for Economic and Societal Impact at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) and Research Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois. Koric, this year's winner of the Top Supercomputing Achievement award in the annual HPCwire Editors' Choice Awards, teamed up with NCSA Faculty Fellow and PI, Professor Ange-Therese Akono, geopolymers expert Professor ...
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Simulations Predict that Antarctic Volcanic Ash can Disrupt Air Traffic in Vast Areas of the South Hemisphere (Dec 2, 2017)
Simulations performed by Barcelona Supercomputing Center in collaboration with the Institut de Ciències de la Terra Jaume Almera – CSIC demonstrated that Antarctic volcanoes might pose a higher threat than previously considered. A research focused on the potential impacts of ash dispersal and fallout from Deception Island highlights how ash clouds entrapped in circumpolar upper-level winds have the potential to reach lower latitudes and disrupt Austral hemisphere air traffic. The study has be...
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Ireland Reaches #1 in TOP500 Supercomputers Per Capita (Dec 2, 2017)
The 9th Irish Supercomputer List was released today. For the first time, Ireland has four computers ranked on the Top500 and Ireland is now ranked number one globally in terms of number of TOP500 supercomputers per capita. The new list features two new world-class supercomputers that boost the Irish High Performance Computing capacity by nearly one third, up from 3.01 to 4.42 Pflop/s. The new entrants, from two undisclosed software and web services companies, feature at spots 423 and 454 on the ...
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Apollo 11 and the Smartphone: Hitting the New Sweet Spot with AI and High-Performance Computing (Nov 29, 2017)
It’s a well-worn industry talking point that today’s smartphones exponentially outperform the supercomputers that landed Apollo 11 on the moon. Today’s bleeding edges are tomorrow’s table stakes. Nowhere is this truth more evident than in high-performance computing (HPC). Similar advancements are taking place in the realm of artificial intelligence (AI). Data fuels AI, and HPC systems are increasingly the only architectures capable of harnessing the rush of ones and zeros that power thes...
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PNNL Protecting Electric Grid From Cyberattack (Nov 29, 2017)
We depend on electricity for nearly everything we do. Flip a switch, and the lights come on. Turn up the thermostat, and the room gets warm. Pre-heat the oven and start preparing the Thanksgiving turkey, or microwave the leftovers. Electricity is essential to our quality of life, our well-being and our energy-dependent economy. Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are working with industry, academia and municipalities to ensure that electrons continue...
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Enhancing the Quantum Sensing Capabilities of Diamond (Nov 28, 2017)
Researchers have discovered that dense ensembles of quantum spins can be created in diamond with high resolution using an electron microscopes, paving the way for enhanced sensors and resources for quantum technologies.

Deleting Disparity in Computer Science (Nov 28, 2017)
During a collegiate coding competition in her native India, computer science student Mehul Smriti Raje noticed something striking—she was the only woman in the room. She knew men far outnumbered women in computer science at universities around the world; her program at the Manipal Institute of Technology had only one female student for every five male students. But that experience threw the disparity into even sharper relief. Raje, who recently received the Student of Vision ABIE Award from th...
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New Human Mobility Prediction Model Offers Scalability, Requires Less Data (Nov 27, 2017)
A new method to predict human mobility—which can be used to chart the potential spread of disease or determine rush hour bottlenecks—has been developed by a team of researchers, including one from Arizona State University.

Quantum Computing with Molecules for a Quicker Search of Unsorted Databases (Nov 27, 2017)
A universal quantum computer still is a vision. Special quantum systems that promise to solve certain tasks more quickly than a classical computer, however, are already playing an important role in science. To reliably find a certain element in unsorted data, a conventional computer has to run through all search elements successively in the most unfavorable case. A quantum system with an implemented Grover's search algorithm quadratically accelerates search.

For HPC and Deep Learning, GPUs Are Here to Stay (Nov 26, 2017)
There was an interesting story published earlier this week in which NVIDIA’s founder and CEO, Jensen Huang, said: ‘As advanced parallel-instruction architectures for CPU can be barely worked out by designers, GPUs will soon replace CPUs’. There are only so many processing cores you can fit on a single CPU chip. There are optimized applications that take advantage of a number of cores, but typically they are used for sequential serial processing (although Intel is doing an excellent job of ...
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The Symmetry of Putting Fluid Dynamics in the Cloud (Nov 26, 2017)
There has been a lot of talk about taking HPC technologies mainstream, taking them out of realm of research, education and government institutions and making them available to enterprises that are being challenged by the need to manage and process the huge amounts of data being generated through the use of such compute- and storage-intensive workloads such as analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

First-Ever High School Team Squares Off Against Top Universities in Annual Supercomputing Challenge (Nov 25, 2017)
Most underdogs don’t take home the trophy. But that didn’t stop the Sudo Wrestlers from competing as the first all-high school team in the 11th annual Student Cluster Competition, held last week at the SC17 supercomputing show, in Denver. Dozens of undergraduate students in 16 teams from some the world’s most lauded universities joined the high schoolers, all armed with the latest NVIDIA Tesla V100 GPU accelerators. Their aim: to create small computing clusters for a non-stop, 48-hour chal...
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Japan Unveils Quantum Neural Network (Nov 25, 2017)
The U.S. and China are leading the race toward productive quantum computing, but it’s early enough that ultimate leadership is still something of an open question. The latest geo-region to throw its hat in the quantum computing ring is Japan. The nation will begin offering public access to a prototype quantum device over the internet for free starting Nov. 27 at

Why Computer Science Belongs in Every Science Teacher’s Classroom (Nov 22, 2017)
During the summer, I taught a computer science course for educators at the Krause Center for Innovation at Foothill College. Funded by Google’s CS4HS grant, this was a four-day intensive “crash course” for 60 teachers in the San Francisco Bay Area. Within that group were science teachers who decided to spend their summer break learning how to incorporate computer science into their classes. This would not only engage their students in science topics, but more importantly, it would bring ma...
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Virginia Becomes First to Mandate Computer Science Education (Nov 22, 2017)
Virginia has become the first state to adopt mandatory standards for computer-science education. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the state Board of Education unanimously approved the new standards this week. Board member Anne Holton supported the standards but voiced concerns that the standards might be too ambitious, given that they must now be implemented across the board. While other states have advisory standards, Virginia is the first with mandatory standards. The board's vote foll...
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Government Urged to Act of Computer Science GCSEs (Nov 21, 2017)
More than half of England's secondary schools, 54%, did not offer GCSE computer science in 2015-16, a report from the Royal Society has found. It urged the government to increase spending on computer education tenfold over the next five years to ensure youngsters can "unlock the full potential of new technologies". The biggest issue was the lack of skilled teachers, the report found.

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