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IBM scientists say radical new ‘in-memory’ computing architecture will speed up computers by 200 times

New architecture to enable ultra-dense, low-power, massively-parallel computing systems optimized for AI
October 25, 2017

The researchers used PCM devices made from a germanium antimony telluride alloy, which is stacked and sandwiched between two electrodes. When the scientists apply a tiny electric current to the material, they heat it, which alters its state from amorphous (with a disordered atomic arrangement) to crystalline (with an ordered atomic configuration). The IBM researchers have used the crystallization dynamics to perform computation in place. (credit: IBM Research)

IBM Research announced Tuesday (Oct. 24, 2017) that its scientists have developed the first “in-memory computing” or “computational memory” computer system architecture, which is expected to yield 200x improvements in computer speed and energy efficiency — enabling ultra-dense, low-power, massively parallel computing systems.

Their concept is to use one device (such as phase change memory or PCM*) for both storing and processing information. That design would replace… read more

This voice-authentication wearable could block voice-assistant or bank spoofing

Would disable unauthorized voice commands like "OK Google" or "Alexa"
October 23, 2017

"Alexa, open my bank account" (credit: Amazon)

University of Michigan (U-M) scientists have developed a voice-authentication system for reducing the risk of being spoofed when you use a biometric system to log into secure services or a voice assistant (such as Amazon Echo and Google Home).

A hilarious example of spoofing a voice assistant happened during a Google commercial during the 2017 Super Bowl. When actors voiced “OK Google” commands… read more

A sneak peak at radical future user interfaces for phones, computers, and VR

October 20, 2017

Grabity: a wearable haptic interface for simulating weight and grasping in VR (credit: UIST 2017)

Drawing in air, touchless control of virtual objects, and a modular mobile phone with snap-in sections (for lending to friends, family members, or even strangers) are among the innovative user-interface concepts to be introduced at the 30th ACM User Interface Software and Technology Symposium (UIST 2017) on October 22–25 in Quebec City, Canada.

Here are three concepts to be presented, developed by researchers at Dartmouth College’s… read more

AlphaGo Zero trains itself to be most powerful Go player in the world

Self-taught "superhuman" AI already smarter than its makers
October 18, 2017

(credit: DeepMind)

Deep Mind has just announced AlphaGo Zero, an evolution of AlphaGo, the first computer program to defeat a world champion at the ancient Chinese game of Go. Zero is even more powerful and is now arguably the strongest Go player in history, according to the company.

While previous versions of AlphaGo initially trained on thousands of human amateur and professional games to learn how to play Go,… read more

Leading brain-training game improves memory and attention better than competing method

October 18, 2017

brain-training graphic ft

A leading brain-training game called “dual n-back” was significantly better in improving memory and attention than a competing “complex span” game, Johns Hopkins University researchers found in a recent experiment.*

These results, published Monday Oct. 16, 2017 in an open-access paper in the Journal of Cognitive Enhancement, suggest it’s possible to train the brain like other body parts — with targeted workouts to improve the… read more

Scientists report first detection of gravitational waves produced by colliding neutron stars

A cosmic sound-and-light show
October 16, 2017

Astronomers detect gravitational waves and a gamma-ray burst from two colliding neutron stars. (credit: National Science Foundation/LIGO/Sonoma State University/A. Simonnet)

Scientists reported today (Oct. 16, 2017) the first simultaneous detection of both gravitational waves and light — an astounding collision of two neutron stars.

The discovery was made nearly simultaneously by three gravitational-wave detectors, followed by observations by some 70 ground- and space-based light observatories.

Neutron stars are the smallest, densest stars known to exist and are formed when massive stars explode in supernovas.

MIT |read more

Using ‘cooperative perception’ between intelligent vehicles to reduce risks

October 13, 2017

Networked intelligent vehicles (credit: EPFL)

Researchers at École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) have combined data from two autonomous cars to create a wider field of view, extended situational awareness, and greater safety.

Autonomous vehicles get their intelligence from cameras, radar, light detection and ranging (LIDAR) sensors, and navigation and mapping systems. But there are ways to make them even smarter. Researchers at EPFL are working to improve the reliability and fault tolerance of… read more

Ray Kurzweil + Peter Diamandis: Disruptive Technologies, Mind-Boggling Predictions, and ‘Dangerous Ideas’

October 13, 2017

Kurzweil-Diamandis ft

Ray Kurzweil and Peter Diamandis presented an Abundance 360 webinar on Friday, October 13 on mind-boggling predictions and transformative (even “dangerous”) ideas.

The open-access video is here.

Controlled by a synthetic gene circuit, self-assembling bacteria build working electronic sensors

October 11, 2017

bacterial create a pressure sensor ft

Using a synthetic gene circuit, Duke University researchers have programmed self-assembling bacteria to build useful electronic devices — a first.

Other experiments have successfully grown materials using bacterial processes (for example, MIT engineers have coaxed bacterial cells to produce biofilms that can incorporate nonliving materials, such as gold nanoparticles and quantum dots). However, they have relied entirely on external control over where the bacteria grow and… read more

3D ‘body-on-a-chip’ project aims to accelerate drug testing, reduce costs

Initial system uses micro-sized 3D liver, heart, and lung "organoids"
October 9, 2017

Scientists created miniature models of hearts, lungs, and livers and combined them into an integrated "body-on-a-chip" system, fed with nutrient-rich fluid to mimic blood (credit: Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center)

A team of scientists at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and nine other institutions has engineered miniature 3D human hearts, lungs, and livers to achieve more realistic testing of how the human body responds to new drugs.

The “body-on-a-chip” project, funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, aims to help reduce the estimated $2 billion cost and 90 percent failure rate that pharmaceutical companies face… read more

Teleoperating robots with virtual reality: getting inside a robot’s head

Jobless video-gamer alert
October 6, 2017

VR system from Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory could make it easier for factory workers to telecommute. (credit: Jason Dorfman, MIT CSAIL)

Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have developed a virtual-reality (VR) system that lets you teleoperate a robot using an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive VR headset.

CSAIL’s “Homunculus Model” system (the classic notion of a small human sitting inside the brain and controlling the actions of the body) embeds you in a VR control room with multiple sensor displays, making it feel… read more

Fast-moving spinning magnetized nanoparticles could lead to ultra-high-speed, high-density data storage

May help solve data-storage problems in the zettabyte era
October 4, 2017

Artist's impression of skyrmions (credit: Moritz Eisebitt)

An international team led by MIT associate professor of materials science and engineering Geoffrey Beach has demonstrated a practical way to use “skyrmions” to create a radical new high-speed, high-density data-storage method that could one day replace disk drives — and even replace high-speed RAM memory.

Rather than reading and writing data one bit at a time by changing the orientation of magnetized… read more

New transistor design enables flexible, high-performance wearable/mobile electronics

"Can scale to industry-level production right away"
October 2, 2017

Advanced flexible transistor developed at UW-Madison (photo credit: Jung-Hun Seo, University at Buffalo, State University of New York)

A team of University of Wisconsin–Madison (UW–Madison) engineers has created “the most functional flexible transistor in the world,” along with a fast, simple, inexpensive fabrication process that’s easily scalable to the commercial level.

The development promises to allow manufacturers to add advanced, smart-wireless capabilities to wearable and mobile devices that curve, bend, stretch and move.*

The UW–Madison group’s advance is based on a BiCMOS (bipolar complementary… read more

Ray Kurzweil on The Age of Spiritual Machines: A 1999 TV interview

October 2, 2017

Ray Kurzweil on Harold Hudson Channer

Dear readers,

For your interest, this 1999 interview with me, which I recently re-watched, describes some interesting predictions that are still coming true today. It’s intriguing to look back at the last 18 years to see what actually unfolded. This video is a compelling glimpse into the future, as we’re living it today.

Enjoy!

— Ray

Dear readers,

This interview by Harold Hudson… read more

Intel’s new ‘Loihi’ chip mimics neurons and synapses in the human brain

Automatically gets smarter over time
September 29, 2017

Loihi chip (credit: Intel Corporation)

Intel announced this week a self-learning, energy-efficient neuromorphic (brain-like) research chip codenamed “Loihi”* that mimics how the human brain functions. Under development for six years, the chip uses 130,000 “neurons” and 130 million “synapses” and learns in real time, based on feedback from the environment.**

Neuromorphic chip models are inspired by how neurons communicate and learn, using spikes (brain pulses) and synapses capable of learning.

The idea is… read more

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