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The Translation Challenge

June 11, 2003

Researchers are making progress in software translation today using three basic approaches drawn from natural-language processing: lists of rules, example-based systems, and mathematical models. But accuracy rates are stilll only 70 and 80 percent.

Enough Already: Curbing Info Glut

June 11, 2003

New software developed by a team of university researchers may help soldiers and emergency workers avoid information overload and handle threats more efficiently.

CAST (Collaborative Agents for Simulating Teamwork) uses software agents to predict what kind of data people will need to handle a specific situation, then deliver that information on a need-to-know basis.

IBM, Infineon Make Memory Advances

June 11, 2003

IBM and Infineon Technologies have made a big leap forward in the development of a magnetic random access memory (MRAM) chip that could lead to “instant-on” computers that are smaller and more powerful.

MRAM uses magnetic memory to store bits of data, done by controlling the spin of electrons. It could lead to portable devices that store more data, access it faster, use less battery power, and consolidate the… read more

Intel ships billionth chip

June 10, 2003

Intel has shipped its 1 billionth computer chip since its first microprocessor for personal computers in 1978. Mercury Research calculates that the next billion X86 CPUs could come as early as 2007.

The original 16-bit 8086 chip contained only 29,000 transistors and ran at 5 megahertz. Today’s Pentium 4 processor contains 55 million transistors and runs more than 600 times as fast at 3.06 gigahertz.

A Passion to Build a Better Robot, One With Social Skills and a Smile

June 10, 2003

The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York is exhibiting a “cyberfloral installation” by Dr. Cynthia L. Breazeal of MIT, which features robotic flowers that sway when a human hand is near and glow in beautiful bright colors.

“The installation,” said Dr. Breazeal, “communicates my future vision of robot design that is intellectually intriguing and remains true to its technological heritage, but is able to touch us emotionally in… read more

Studio evolves from ‘Ice Age’ to ‘Robots’

June 10, 2003

20th Century Fox is planning to release the animated film Robots, due out in March 2005. It features a universe completely inhabited by mechanical people.

A Shortcut Through Time: The Path to the Quantum Computer

June 9, 2003

A Shortcut Through Time: The Path to the Quantum Computer by George Johnson (Knopf, 2003) aims to explain how a quantum computer would work to nonspecialists.

The book uses “clocks, tops, and waves to explain a Tinkertoy version of quantum computing that quickly gets the reader involved and hungry to learn more,” according to a review in the June 6 Science.

“The science in the book is fairly… read more

Human arteries grown from scratch

June 9, 2003

Human arteries have been grown from scratch in the lab. The technique could produce spare blood vessels for bypass surgery, researchers at Duke University School of Medicine hope.

The researchers first encourage ordinary human muscle cells to multiply. Then they add a gene called hTERT to make them live longer. Next they seed the cells on a hose-shaped scaffold of biodegradable polymer. After two months, the support dissolves leaving… read more

New class of human stem cells discovered

June 9, 2003

Scientists have discovered a new class of human stem cells that grow rapidly when implanted in the bone marrow of mice, with possible implications for designing more effective cancer therapies.

“This is an exciting discovery because for the first time we have found human stem cells that rapidly rebuild a blood system,” said Dr. John Dick, lead author of the study, senior scientist with University Health Network, and a… read more

Pick a Language, Any Language

June 6, 2003

A group of computer scientists and natural language experts were given a “mission” earlier this week to build a program that translates between English and a randomly chosen language. The exercise is designed to imitate the need for translation during a national security threat, like a terrorist act, war or humanitarian crisis. The information system will churn through the data and build statistical models that turn words and phrases into… read more

New I.B.M. Supercomputer to Begin Its Weather Work

June 6, 2003

The nation’s most powerful supercomputer for weather forecasting is scheduled to go online today, I.B.M. said yesterday, a machine that may eventually rival the Japanese Earth Simulator as the world’s fastest supercomputer.

Shocking Cells Into Submission

June 6, 2003

A new treatment called electroporation uses pulses of electric current to force cells to accept DNA, which is designed to fight HIV, cardiovascular disease and other maladies.

Deadly spread of cancer halted

June 6, 2003

Metastasis of cancers through the body could be halted by targeting a protein named galectin-3 that helps cells latch on to each other, reveals a new study in Clinical Cancer Research June issue.

Quantum cryptography stretches 100 kilometers

June 6, 2003

A team from Toshiba Research Europe has developed a quantum photon detector capable of significantly reducing the amount of random noise picked up as cryptographic keys are generated. This boosts the fiber optic distance over which quantum cryptography is feasible to 100 kilometers.

Smartcams Take Aim at Terrorists

June 5, 2003

Distributed digital video arrays, or DIVAs — collections of smart cameras able to detect and identify an individual in a crowded train station and track him wherever he goes — are being developed by researchers at the University of California at San Diego under a Department of Defense contract.

The systems also notify authorities when they “think” an individual engages in suspicious activity or meets with questionable cohorts.

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