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Making cloud computing more efficient

For database-driven applications, new software could reduce hardware requirements by 95 percent while actually improving performance
March 12, 2013

Max throughput prediction for different resource models (credit: Barzan Mozafari et al.)

MIT researchers are developing a new system called DBSeer that should help solve problems with cloud-computing services, such as inefficient use of virtual machines,  pricing of cloud services, and  diagnosis of application slowdowns.

For many companies, moving their web-application servers to the cloud is an attractive option, since cloud-computing services can offer economies of scale, extensive technical support and easy accommodation of demand fluctuations.… read more

Engineers develop techniques to boost efficiency of cloud computing infrastructure

March 12, 2013

Percentage of Gmail backend server jobs within various locality score ranges (credit: Clarity)

Computer scientists at the University of California, San Diego and Google have developed a novel approach that allows the massive infrastructure powering cloud computing as much as 15 to 20 percent more efficiently.

This novel model has already been applied at Google.

Computer scientists looked at a range of Google web services, including Gmail and search. They used a unique approach to develop their… read more

Bioteeth generated from your own cells

March 12, 2013

Current design of a dental implant (credit: American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons)

Researchers are developing a method to replace missing teeth with new bioengineered teeth generated from a person’s own gum cells.

Current implant-based methods of whole tooth replacement fail to reproduce a natural root structure and as a consequence of the friction from eating and other jaw movement, loss of jaw bone can occur around the implant.

Research towards producing bioengineered teeth (bioteeth) has largely focused on generating… read more

Global Grand Challenges Summit March 12–13 to be webcast live

March 11, 2013

global_grand_challenges_summit

The inaugural Global Grand Challenges Summit, an unprecedented gathering of technological thought leaders, will be webcast live from London on March 12–13.

The Royal Academy of Engineering, the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, and the Chinese Academy of Engineering are hosting the event to foster global collaboration to tackle 14 “game-changing” engineering goals.

The summit will include presentations from Microsoft’s Bill Gates, genome pioneer J. Craig Venter, former DARPA… read more

Cloud-computing ‘Internet for robots’ launched

March 11, 2013

RoboEarth_Grafik

Researchers of five European universities have developed the RoboEarth Cloud Engine, a cloud-computing platform for robots.

The platform allows robots connected to the Internet to directly access the powerful computational, storage, and communications infrastructure of modern data centers — the giant server farms behind the likes of Google, Facebook, and Amazon — for robotics tasks and robot learning.

The new platform extends earlier work… read more

Solving the ‘cocktail party problem’: how we can focus on one speaker in noisy crowds

March 11, 2013

This is a cartoon illustrating the idea that at a cocktail party the brain activity synchronizes to that of an attended speaker, effectively putting them ‘on the same wavelength’ (credit: Zion-Golumbic et al./Neuron)

Researchers have demonstrated how the brain hones in on one speaker to solve the “cocktail party problem.”

Researchers discovered that the brain can selectively track the sound patterns from the speaker of interest and at the same time exclude competing sounds from other speakers.

The findings could have important implications for helping individuals with a range of deficits such as those associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,… read more

Plasmonic nanoparticles increase solar-cell output for near-infrared region

March 11, 2013

New solar cell plasmonic-excitonic design using gold nanoshells achieves a 35% enhancement in photocurrent in the performance-limiting near-infrared spectral region (credit: Daniel Paz-Soldan et al./NANO Letters)

A new technique developed by University of Toronto Engineering Professor Ted Sargent and his research group could lead to significantly more efficient solar cells by improving efficiency in colloidal quantum dot photovoltaics, a technology which already promises inexpensive, more efficient solar cell technology.

Quantum-dot photovoltaics offers the potential for low-cost, large-area solar power. However, these devices are not yet highly efficient in the infrared portion… read more

Nanoparticles loaded with bee venom kill HIV

March 11, 2013

Nanoparticles (purple) carrying melittin (green) fuse with HIV (small circles with spiked outer ring), destroying the virus’s protective envelope. Molecular bumpers (small red ovals) prevent the nanoparticles from harming the body’s normal cells, which are much larger in size. (Credit:

Nanoparticles carrying a toxin found in bee venom can destroy human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) while leaving surrounding cells unharmed, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown.

The finding is an important step toward developing a vaginal gel that may prevent the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.“Our hope is that in places where HIV is running rampant, people… read more

At an annual tech show, it’s hardware’s turn in the spotlight

March 11, 2013

leap_motion

At this year’s South by Southwest, the most talked-about start-ups this year include the maker of a camera that automatically takes a photo every 30 seconds, a new game console, and a gadget that lets people control their computers and devices by waving their hands, The New York Times reports.

At least two dozen panels, talks and presentations involve some… read more

White House petition proposes space solar power as national energy and space goal

Would task the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
March 10, 2013

spsalpha

A petition to the White House to task the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to examine space solar power (SSP) as a new energy and space goal for the U.S. has been posted on the White House WE the PEOPLE website, with a goal of 100,000 signatures by April 3, 2013.

The petition, initiated by SSP pioneer John C. Mankins,… read more

MIT ‘cheetah’ robot rivals running animals in efficiency

March 9, 2013

cheetah-robot-mit

A 70-pound “cheetah” robot designed by MIT researchers may soon outpace its animal counterparts in running efficiency.

In treadmill tests, the researchers have found that the robot — about the size and weight of an actual cheetah — wastes very little energy as it trots continuously for up to an hour and a half at 5 mph.

The key to the robot’s streamlined stride:… read more

Green tea extract blocks formation of amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s disease

March 8, 2013

green_tea_alzheimer

Researchers at the University of Michigan have found a new potential benefit of a molecule in green tea: preventing the misfolding of specific proteins in the brain.

U-M Life Sciences Institute faculty member Mi Hee Lim and an interdisciplinary team of researchers used green tea extract to control the generation of metal-associated amyloid-β aggregates associated with Alzheimer’s disease in the lab.

The specific molecule… read more

Flip of a single molecular switch makes an old brain young

March 8, 2013

A cultured neuron with projecting dendrites studded with sites of communication between neurons, known as dendritic spines (Yale University)

The flip of a single molecular switch helps create the mature neuronal connections that allow the brain to bridge the gap between adolescent impressionability and adult stability.

Now Yale School of Medicine researchers have reversed the process, recreating a youthful brain that facilitated both learning and healing in the adult mouse.

Scientists have long known that the young and old brains are very different. Adolescent brains… read more

Human brain treats prosthetic devices as part of the body

People with spinal cord injuries treat wheelchairs as part of their body, not as an extension of immobile limbs
March 8, 2013

wheelchair

The human brain can learn to treat relevant prosthetics as a substitute for a non-working body part, according to research published March 6 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Mariella Pazzaglia and colleagues from Sapienza University and IRCCS Fondazione Santa Lucia of Rome in Italy, supported by the International Foundation for Research in Paraplegie.

The researchers found that wheelchair-bound study participants with spinal cord injuries perceived their… read more

Human Connectome Project releases major data set on brain connectivity

March 8, 2013

Areas of interest for the Human Connectome Project’s brain-mapping efforts include functional connectivity, which is a system of networks that become active in the brain when a subject is at rest. Regions in yellow and red are functionally connected to the “seed” location (black circle, arrow), while regions in green and blue are weakly connected or not connected at all. (Credit: M.F. Glasser and S.M. Smith)

The Human Connectome Project, a five-year endeavor to link brain connectivity to human behavior, has released a set of high-quality imaging and behavioral data to the scientific community.

The project has two major goals: to collect vast amounts of data using advanced brain imaging methods on a large population of healthy adults, and to make the data freely available so that scientists worldwide can make… read more

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