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World champion to battle chess supercomputer

August 2, 2001

World chess champion Vladimir Kramnik will play the “Deep Fritz 7″ chess supercomputer in an eight-game match in Bahrain in October.
This will be the first man vs. machine chess showdown since IBM Corp.’s “Deep Blue” RS/6000-based parallel computer defeated former world chess champion Garry Kasparov 3.5 points to 2.5 points in 1997.

Deep Fritz has been built from scratch by an independent group of computer and chess specialists,… read more

US warned of cloning ‘brain drain’

August 2, 2001

The American biotechnology industry is warning of an exodus of scientists because of moves to make human cloning for medical research illegal.
Creating human embryos in a cloning process to extract cells that can be turned into tissues to replace diseased parts of the body is legal in the UK, Israel, and Australia.

But the US House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to ban any form of human cloning… read more

RoboCup competition opens in Seattle

August 2, 2001

Robotics teams from universities in 23 countries will compete at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center in Seattle from Aug. 2 to 10. It runs concurrent with the American Association for Artificial Intelligence’s annual conference.
The ultimate goal for the competition: “By the year 2050, develop a team of fully autonomous humanoid robots that can beat the human World Cup soccer champions.”

Buckyballs Make Fantastic Voyage

August 2, 2001

Fullerenes (a.k.a. Buckyballs — molecules containing 60 carbon atoms arranged in a sphere with a hollow center) are becoming an ideal platform for delivering drugs for diseases such as HIV, Lou Gehrig’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
C Sixty, which is developing products using fullerenes, also sees them being used for delivering bone-building drugs for osteoporosis and eventually for carrying cancer-killing drugs to tumor cells.

“Buckyballs will undoubtedly… read more

At nanoscale, current laws may not apply

August 1, 2001

As nanotechnology moves from the realm of science fiction to the real world of commercial application, legislation and regulation are going to have to play catch-up.
International trade law, treaties banning chemical and biological weapons, regulations governing medicine and the environment, and copyright and patent law will be affected.

Some of the other big legal headaches are likely to emerge when scientists perfect replicating, or self-replicating, nanotechnology.

Population predicted to peak in 2070

August 1, 2001

The world’s population will peak at 9 billion over the next 70 years before beginning a decline into the 22nd century, researchers predict in a new study.

Population currently stands at 6.1 billion, and the study projects that most of the new growth will continue to occur in developing countries. It also predicts some demographic changes. For example, the authors say, the number of people aged 60 or older… read more

Computers of the future: Made of glass?

July 31, 2001

Your handheld computer could look like a small glass panel, possibly as early as 2003.
Fujitsu engineers have developed a new manufacturing process for thin-film transistors that creates crystals with faster mobility while keeping the temperature below 450 degrees to avoid glass substrate melting or distortion.

Total protein scan approaches reality

July 30, 2001

For the first time, nearly all the proteins from a single organism have been produced, purified and biochemically tested in an area the size of a postage stamp. Experts say such “proteome chips” will revolutionize medicine and biology.
The US researchers who created the chip have already used it to study the biochemistry of 93 per cent of the proteins of brewer’s yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a total of 5800 molecules.… read more

Nurses get bionic ‘power suit’

July 30, 2001

A robotic exoskeleton has been created by Japanese researchers to allow nurses to lift patients effortlessly and without damaging their backs.
How it works:

Sensor pads taped to the major muscle groups calculate how much force you need to pick up a patient. As you lift, the sensors send data to a microcomputer that triggers a bunch of concertina-like limb and body actuators powered by compressed air.

These… read more

Stem cells develop into kidney cells

July 25, 2001

Adult stem cells taken from bone marrow can develop into kidney cells, British scientists have discovered.
Bone marrow stem cells, which are immature blood cells, have already been shown to transform into liver, nerve and muscle cells.

Both adult and embryonic stem cells have enormous medical potential due to their ability to mature into a wide range of different tissues, which could then be transplanted. However, ethical considerations have… read more MindX forum redesigned

July 25, 2001

The MindX discussion forum interface has been redesigned for easier access.
The new design displays topics on a single page for easier access and in threaded (replies grouped under the parent post) or flat (chronological) order. A search feature has also been added, along with other user-interface enhancements.

MindX is a discussion forum for visitors to It is accessible from the Web site’s… read more

XML-based ‘Flare’ programming language project launched

July 24, 2001

The Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence has launched the Flare programming language project, headed by programmer Dmitriy Myshkin.

Flare is proposed as a fundamentally new programming language expected to be useful for AI research (among other uses). “Program objects and program code can be represented as well-formed XML, enabling a wide variety of new design patterns and language idioms,” says the announcement.

“Current programming… read more

Scientists rewriting the genetic code

July 24, 2001

Scientists are taking the first steps toward creating alternative life forms — organisms that use a genetic code different from the one used by all other creatures on earth.
Scientists hope that such organisms can be used to study biochemical processes in new ways and to produce new medical or electronic materials that cannot now be made by living things.

The research goes well beyond current genetic engineering, which… read more

A better insulator for miniaturized integrated circuits

July 24, 2001

Highly insulating new honeycomb material may allow microelectronic integrated circuits to be made even smaller, increasing the power of microchip and computer technology.
When electronic devices get very small, insulating silica films must be shrunk to the same proportions. Too thin, they become leaky and electrical currents seep out, creating problems such as crosstalk between different parts of the circuit.

Leakage could become a problem once the dimensions of… read more

Crystals could make super semiconductors

July 21, 2001

Crystalline materials to replace the amorphous insulators inside semiconductors will allow semiconductors to be more efficent and also modified on the atomic scale.
Imperfections are common in amorphous insulators, such as silicon dioxide, used in most semiconductor devices. This leads to an uneven distribution of charge at the interface and reduces efficiency. To overcome this problem, researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory developed crystalline materials made from various combinations of… read more

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