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Autism link to ‘geek genes’

August 16, 2002

An upsurge in autism cases diagnosed in the Silicon Valley area of California may be due to genes more common in its high-tech workers, researchers believe. They speculate that “computer geeks” may, while not fully autistic themselves, may be carrying genes that contribute to it and are more likely to meet partners who also carry autistic genes, raising the chances of children with the full-blown condition.

The Age of Assisted Cognition

August 16, 2002

Researchers are developing AI and pervasive-systems technology that can adapt to elder patients’ changing needs and respond quickly in moments of agitation and distress, based on patient data gathered by sensors placed throughout an eldercare facility.

Examples include a “gesture pendant” that can detect Parkinson’s Disease or side effects from medication; tracking elderly guests’ movements in a pervasive environment that includes electronic badges, infrared detectors and load-sensing beds; a… read more

Speech Recognition Follies

August 16, 2002

Speech recognition software is stymied by word combinations that sound alike (homophones), says columnist David Pogue.

Genome Pioneer Will Start Center of His Own

August 15, 2002

J. Craig Venter plans to build what he believes will be the nation’s largest genome sequencing center to introduce new technology that vastly decreases the time and cost required to determine the DNA code of people, animals and microbes.

One goal, he said, is to get the cost down to $2,000 to $3,000 to analyze a person’s entire genome, compared with the hundreds of millions of dollars it took… read more

Symantec Unveils Automated Norton AntiVirus

August 14, 2002

Symantec announced Norton AntiVirus 2003, due September 1, which it says will automatically protect a PC from evolving threats such as advanced e-mail worms and infected instant messaging attachments. Using advanced heuristics–a type of artificial intelligence–the Worm Blocking technology actually watches for programs that act like a worm.

Students tackle rescue robot ‘war game’

August 14, 2002

Students gathered Monday around a cardboard mockup of Washington’s train station to try their hand at using robots to search for and assist terrorism victims in the aftermath of an explosion.

Net Visionaries Seek New Vistas

August 13, 2002

Vinton Cerf (co-designer of the TCP/IP protocol upon which the Internet is built) is currently mapping out plans for an Interplanetary Internet.

“Some of the ideas we’re pursuing will have utility on Earth in the mobile environment, where connectivity is often episodic and the data rates are often low and sometimes asymmetric,” Cerf said at this year’s Telluride Tech Festival in Colorado.
Tim Berners-Lee (inventor of the Worldwide Web),… read more

Bridging the Language Gap

August 12, 2002

The Tongues research project at Carnegie Mellon Language Technologies Institute allows a computer to listen to speech in one language, translate it, and speak in another.

The system includes a speech recognizer, which turns spoken words into text; a machine translator, which converts the text from one language to another; and a speech synthesizer, which turns the text back into audible words.

Only the Strong Survive

August 12, 2002

Santa Fe Institute research computer scientist Melanie Mitchell is studying how natural systems perform computation and says we can solve some complex problems by letting systems evolve solutions through a process of natural selection.

Coherent Computing: Making qubit superpositions in superconductors last longer

August 9, 2002

Research teams have made critical breakthroughs in developing quantum computers. The Quantronics group at the Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) in Saclay, France, and Siyuan Han’s laboratory at the University of Kansas reported qubit chip designs with coherence times at least 100 times as great as those achieved before. Investigators at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Boulder, Colo., have come up with a design that they think… read more

Scientists unravel secrets of long life

August 9, 2002

Longevity is related to body temperature, and to levels of insulin and DHEAS (dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate) circulating in the blood, according to researchers at the National Institute of Ageing in Baltimore.

Men with lower temperature and insulin and those maintaining higher DHEAS levels have greater survival than respective counterparts.

Black hole theory suggests light is slowing

August 9, 2002

Observations of the light from distant, superbright galaxies suggest that the “fine structure constant” was slightly smaller 10 billion years ago, which implies that the speed of light has decreased over time, according to Paul Davies of Macquarie University in Sydney.

If proved right, this would challenge the theory of relativity and the theory of inflation, which says space expanded extremely rapidly in the first split second after the… read more

Charmed by Six Feet of Circuitry

August 8, 2002

Grace, a six-foot autonomous robot, was the star of the recent annual meeting of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence in Canada.Grace performed successfully in the “Robot Challenge” event: start at the entrance to the conference center, take the elevator to the registration desk, register for the conference and then deliver a speech in the auditorium.

Grace was co-developed by Carnegie Mellon University (overall hardware and software architecture), the… read more

Playstation 3 chip nears completion

August 8, 2002

IBM, Sony and Toshiba have designed a new multimedia chip called “Cell,” touted as a “supercomputer on a chip.” It is expected to be used in Playstation 3 and as future IBM server chips.

Featuring a multiple-core-processor, the new multipurpose chip will be capable of running graphics, high-bandwidth communication, and multiple devices, and operating at one teraflop.

Another Dimension

August 8, 2002

Two chipmakers are developing 3-D chips to increase semiconductor power and speed by a factor of 10–at no additional cost.
Tohoku University professor Fujio Masuoka, who invented flash memory, and a small team of researchers plan to have a 3-D chip ready in five years.

Matrix Semiconductor, with has raised $80 million, says it has already created a 3-D chip that it will start selling by year-end, mainly to… read more

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