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Allen donates $100 million to help decipher the brain

September 16, 2003

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has donated $100 million to launch a private research organization in Seattle devoted to deciphering the links between our genes and our brain.

Allen is expected to formally announce the creation of the Allen Institute for Brain Science and its inaugural project, the “Allen Brain Atlas,” on Tuesday. The atlas aims to identify 10,000 genes per year; it will actually model the mouse brain, which… read more

Supercomputer-based neural net to mimic the brain planned

September 16, 2003

Plans to build the “world’s biggest spiking neural network” to mimic the brain were announced by Mountain View, Calif.-based Artificial Development at the Accelerating Change Conference on Sunday.

The CCortex system will be a “massive spiking neuron network emulation and will mimic the human cortex, with 20 billion layered neurons and 2 trillion 8-bit connections,” according to AD’s President and CEO Marcos Guillen, listed in the… read more

Bat echoes used as virtual reality guide

September 15, 2003

A bat echolocation system, adapted for human ears, has been used allow people to locate objects in a virtual reality environment. The system sends out bat echolocation sounds and returns echoes that are slowed into the human range of hearing.

Nano China

September 11, 2003

China is now one of the world leaders in newly registered nanotechnology firms, with more than 600 over the past three years, according to Helmut Kaiser Consultancy, which is conducting a study, “Nanotechnology in China State 2003 and Development 2006-2010-2015.”

China has the advantage of high flexibility, low labor costs, no barriers for new technologies, young and vibrant society, venture capital, underestimated currency (today about 40 percent… read more

Voice control is finally taking over

September 11, 2003

Using phone numbers, remote controls and computer keyboards will likely seem quaint within a decade as new capability to turn human speech into accurate, efficient computer code radically changes the ways we live and work.

That’s the outlook of Lawrence R. Rabiner, associate director of the Center for Advanced Information Processing (CAIP) at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, in an overview of speech processing, “The Power of… read more

Getting More From a PC’s Spare Time

September 11, 2003

A new program, Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (Boinc), will eventually allow the SETI@home project to join forces with other distributed computing initiatives so volunteers can take part in multiple projects instead of just one.

David P. Anderson, a scientist at the University of California’s Space Sciences Laboratory who directs SETI@home, said the program would increase efficiency.

Beyond Voice Recognition, to a Computer That Reads Lips

September 11, 2003

Scientists at IBM, Intel, and in many other labs are developing digital lip-reading systems to augment the accuracy of speech recognition.

CDs and DVDs for long-term achival storage

September 11, 2003

Computer scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are launching an effort to develop specifications for “archival quality” CD and DVD media that agencies could use to ensure the procurement of sufficiently robust media for their long-term archiving needs (i.e., 50 years and longer).

NIST press release: From Movies to Minutia: DVDs Eyed for Archival Uses

An Untouchable Video Screen

September 11, 2003

In Finland, a fog machine conjures up the Mona Lisa on an invisible sheet of water particles. Thousands of miles away, an American graduate student passes his hand through an image of a DNA strand produced — apparently out of thin air — by a modified video projector.

The two inventions represent the latest front in advanced computer displays — eliminating the screen altogether.

Black Hole Sound Waves

September 10, 2003

Sound waves 57 octaves lower than middle-C are rumbling away from a supermassive black hole in the Perseus cluster. The “note” is the deepest ever detected from any object in our Universe. The tremendous amounts of energy carried by these sound waves may solve a longstanding problem in astrophysics: how galaxy clusters, the largest structures in the Universe, grow.

No Joy for Sun Microsystems

September 10, 2003

Sun Microsystems said Tuesday that Bill Joy, its chief scientist and a software pioneer who became an outspoken critic of an over-automated society, is leaving the embattled computer maker he helped found.

No More Human Guinea Pigs

September 9, 2003

DARPA’s “Virtual Soldier” program plans to create an army of digital test subjects that can be subjected to new drugs, new medical procedures—even new weapons—without using soldiers as human guinea pigs. The “Virtual Soldier” will be an exact, computerized copy of every part of a person’s body.

Researcher Finds Method to Define Genetic ‘Words’

September 9, 2003

Stuart Kim, PhD, associate professor at the Stanford School of Medicine, has created a genome dictionary that could help researchers understand the role of newly identified genes. It also provides a glimpse into how a gene’s function has evolved over time.

Soundless Music Shown to Produce Weird Sensations

September 9, 2003

British scientists have shown in a controlled experiment at a concert that the extreme bass sound known as infrasound produces a range of bizarre effects in people including anxiety, extreme sorrow and chill.

Bacterial Battery Converts Sugar into Electricity

September 9, 2003

Researchers have developed a primitive microbial fuel cell that can convert simple sugars into electricity with 81 percent efficiency.

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