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Supercomputing’s New Idea Is Old One

August 4, 2003

Scientists in government, industry and academia involved in the race to build the world’s fastest computing machines are now turning their attention once again to Seymour Cray’s elegant approach to building ultra-fast computers. The designs use special hardware that to handle the long strings of numbers in complex scientific computing problems.

Cray’s revival was helped by funding from the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop prototypes of… read more

VR accommodates reality

August 4, 2003

Researchers have advanced the representatiom of real objects in virtual environments by allowing real and virtual objects to coexist in a shared virtual space.

The system uses four cameras and object recognition software to determine the shapes and positions of real objects in the environment. The camera data is used to generate virtual three-dimensional shells in the shapes of the real objects, and the shells are forbidden zones for… read more

New Neurons on Demand?

August 4, 2003
The growth of new neurons in the adult brain (green) can be stopped by nitric oxide.<br />

A ubiquitous signaling molecule, nitric oxide (NO), turns off the production of new neurons in the adult brain, researchers have discovered. By shutting down this off switch, doctors may one day be able to generate new neurons in the brains of patients suffering from neurological diseases or traumatic injury.

Circuit design evolving in distributed digital world

August 4, 2003

A digital simulation of natural selection, using distributed computing in home PCs, is evolving superior electronic circuit designs.

U.S. says Windows vulnerable to attack

August 4, 2003

The Department of Homeland Security has issued an updated advisory about possible hacker attacks on computers running Microsoft operating systems.

PluggedIn: Cutting-Edge Science Creates Stain-Free Pants

August 1, 2003

Nanotechnology – the science of manipulating materials billionths of a meter wide – has emerged as a promising new field that could lead to stunning advances like molecule-sized computers, tiny cancer-fighting robots that travel the bloodstream and stain-resistant trousers in years to come.

Most Notebooks Go Wireless by 2008

August 1, 2003

By 2008, mobile workers will be largely unhooked when they’re on the road, according to a new study. Only 24 percent of notebooks PCs sold worldwide this year have embedded wireless connectivity, but that number is expected to jump to 90 percent by 2008.

General Relativity Sinks Submarine

August 1, 2003

A Brazilian physicist has resolved a paradox highlighted by Einstein’s theory of relativity, which explains how movement at close to light speed can distort space. Apparently, underwater there is some inconsistency in that theory, as the Brazilian physicist has discovered with the help of a submarine vessel. Since the density increase would sink the vessel, the submarine crew would see the opposite: water rushing past them would contract and get… read more

Unlocking the Brain’s Secrets

August 1, 2003

An international team of six scientists has been involved in scanning thousands of images of the brains of people of all ages with a range of conditions, in the hopes of creating a “map” that would reveal the mysteries of how the brain controls everything from language to movement.

Student challenges basic ideas of time

August 1, 2003

A bold paper that been published in the August issue of Foundations of Physics Letters seems set to change the way we think about the nature of time and its relationship to motion and classical and quantum mechanics. The work also appears to provide solutions to Zeno’s paradoxes.

In the paper, “Time and Classical and Quantum Mechanics: Indeterminacy vs. Discontinuity”, Peter Lynds argues that “There’s no such thing as… read more

Nanofab Partnerships Lead To Real-World Solutions

August 1, 2003

Intel expects to perfect 100-nanometer chip features this year, two years ahead of schedule. At its current pace, that number should drop to 22 nanometers by 2015.

To get there, Intel and other chip companies count on collaboration with universities with cutting-edge facilities such as the Stanford Nanofabrication Facility and the NSF-funded National Nanofabrication Users Network.

Book Questions The Necessity Of Some Technological Marvels

August 1, 2003

Bill McKibben questions the necessity of many technological marvels and believes robotics, genetic engineering and nanotechnology present the risk of humans losing their humanity.

Virtual reality conquers sense of taste

August 1, 2003

The “last frontier of virtual reality,” taste, has been crossed.

To record taste experience, a thin-film force sensor is placed in a subject’s mouth to record chewing forces, biological sensors made of lipid and polymer membranes record the major chemical constituents of the food’s taste, and a microphone records audible vibrations produced in the jawbone while chewing.

These parameters serve as inputs to the food simulator, which simulates… read more

Magic Touch for Electronic Music?

August 1, 2003

The Audiopad is a colorful, dynamic, luminescent interface projected onto a table top (as in the movie Minority Report) that allows for improvised composition of live electronic music.

The table top is equipped with radio sensors that track the position and movement of half a dozen plastic discs that control a series of preprogrammed tracks: rhythm, bass line, melody, etc.

A veritable cognitive mind

July 31, 2003

Marvin Minsky, MIT professor and AI’s founding father, says today’s artificial-intelligence methods are fine for gluing together two or a few knowledge domains but still miss the “big” AI problem. He says the missing element is something so big that we can’t see it: common sense.

In his forthcoming book, The Emotion Machine, Minsky shares his accumulated knowledge on how people make use of common sense in the context… read more

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