science + technology news

D-Wave Systems breaks the 1000 qubit quantum computing barrier

June 26, 2015

(credit: D-Wave Systems)

D-Wave Systems has broken the quantum computing 1000 qubit barrier, developing a processor about double the size of D-Wave’s previous generation, and far exceeding the number of qubits ever developed by D-Wave or any other quantum effort, the announcement said.

It will allow “significantly more complex computational problems to be solved than was possible on any previous quantum computer.”

At 1000 qubits, the new processor considers 21000 possibilities… read more

Chinese project probes the genetics of genius

May 15, 2013

(Credit: iStock)

Researchers at BGI (formerly the Beijing Genomics Institute) in Shenzhen, China, the largest gene-sequencing facility in the world, are searching for the quirks of DNA that may contribute to genius in an ethically controversial study.

They are scouring the genomes of 1,600 U.S. adolescents who signed up for the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) in the 1970s, Nature News reports.

Some geneticists say that the… read more

Tablets + cloud vs. desktop PCs

March 5, 2012

Windows on an iPad? Believe it. (Credit: Onlive)

As the action moves to tablets, mobile devices, and the cloud, what’s the future for the desktop PC?

Dim, according to OnLive, Inc., which has just introduced Onlive Desktop Plus, which displays a Windows 7 desktop on an iPad, with the full, latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Internet Explorer, Adobe Reader, and Flash videos, plus 5 GB of cloud storage.

The trick:a high-speed server farm in the cloud… read more

Real or computer-generated: can you tell the difference?

Training helps humans tell them apart ... but soon, only computers will know what's real or not
February 22, 2016

A Dartmouth College study shows that people find it increasingly difficult to distinguish between computer-generated images and real photos, but that a small amount of training greatly improves their accuracy. (credit: Dartmouth College)

As computer-generated characters become increasingly photorealistic, people are finding it harder to distinguish between real and computer-generated, a Dartmouth College-led study has found.

This has introduced complex forensic and legal issues*, such as how to distinguish between computer-generated and photographic images of child pornography, says Hany Farid, a professor of computer science, pioneering researcher in digital forensics at Dartmouth, and senior author of a paper… read more

Ultrasound-released nanoparticles may help diabetics avoid the needle

November 25, 2013

New technique allows diabetics to control insulin release with an injectable nano-network and portable ultrasound device.

A new nanotechnology-based technique for regulating blood sugar in diabetics could give patients the ability to release insulin painlessly using a small ultrasound device, allowing them to go days between injections — rather than using needles to give themselves multiple insulin injections each day.

A patient who has type 1 or advanced type 2 diabetes needs additional insulin, a hormone that transports glucose — or blood sugar — from… read more

Wind could meet many times the world’s total power demand by 2030, Stanford researchers say

September 11, 2012

wind farms

Researchers at Stanford University’s School of Engineering and the University of Delaware have used what they call the “most sophisticated weather model available” to  meet many times the world’s total power demand by 2030 — in fact, enough to exceed the total demand by several times, even after accounting for reductions in wind speed caused by turbines.

In related news today, Lawrence Livermore and Carnegie Institute researchers have found… read more

Is your smartphone making you stupid?

March 6, 2015

(credit: Universal Studios)

A study by University of Waterloo researchers suggests that smartphone users who are intuitive thinkers — more prone to relying on gut feelings and instincts when making decisions — frequently use search engines rather than their own brainpower.

“They may look up information that they actually know or could easily learn, but are unwilling to make the effort to actually think about it,” said Gordon Pennycook, co-lead author of… read more

Single-atom transistor is ‘end of Moore’s Law’ and ‘beginning of quantum computing’

February 20, 2012

A controllable transistor engineered from a single phosphorus atom has been developed by researchers at the University of New South Wales, Purdue University and the University of Melbourne. The atom, shown here in the center of an image from a computer model, sits in a channel in a silicon crystal. The atomic-sized transistor and wires might allow researchers to control gated qubits of information in future quantum computers. (Credit: Purdue University)

The smallest transistor ever built has been created using a single phosphorous atom by an international team of researchers at the University of New South Wales, Purdue University and the University of Melbourne.

The latest Intel chip, the “Sandy Bridge,” uses a manufacturing process to place 2.3 billion transistors 32 nanometers apart.

A single phosphorus atom, by comparison, is just 0.1 nanometers across, which would significantly reduce… read more

How to become the engineers of our own evolution

March 20, 2012

singularityfringe

Adherents of “transhumanism” — a movement that seeks to transform Homo sapiens through tools like gene manipulation, “smart drugs” and nanomedicine — hail developments such as prototype bionic eyes and printed tracheas as evidence that we are becoming the engineers of our own evolution.

Transhumanists say we are morally obligated to help the human race transcend its biological limits; those who disagree are sometimes called Bio-Luddites. “The human quest… read more

Printable houses are coming

April 11, 2012

Italian inventor Enrico Dini, chairman of Monolite UK Ltd, has developed a huge three-dimensional printer called D-Shape that can print entire buildings out of sand and an inorganic binder. The printer works by spraying a thin layer of sand followed by a layer of magnesium-based binder from hundreds of nozzles on its underside. The glue turns the sand to solid stone, which is built up layer-by-layer from the bottom up to form anything from a sculpture to a sandstone building. (Credit: Monolite)

The first “printed homes” will be coming soon, says World Future Society blogger Thomas Frey.

One construction technology that has great potential for low-cost, customized buildings is “contour crafting — a form of 3D printing that uses robotic arms and nozzles to squeeze out layers of concrete or other materials, moving back and forth over a set path to fabricate a large component.

Structures would be quicker to make,… read more

Cray unveils Cray XC30 supercomputer, capable of scaling to 100 petaflops

November 12, 2012

Cray XC30 supercomputer (credit:

Cray Inc. has launched the Cray XC30 supercomputer, previously code-named “Cascade,” designed to scale high performance computing (HPC) workloads of more than 100 petaflops, with more than one million cores.

Cray did not specify whether the 100 petaflops was Rpeak or Rmax, or when a 100 petaflops installation might be planned.

China’s Guangzhou Supercomputing Center also recently announced the development of a supercomputer… read more

Near-Earth asteroid 2012 DA14 to miss Earth on Feb. 15

January 30, 2013

The path of near-Earth asteroid 2012 DA14 is seen passing close to Earth on Feb. 15, 2013 (credit: NASA JPL)

A small asteroid named 2012 DA14 will pass inside the geosynchronous satellite ring on February 15, but the orbit will be no closer to the Earth’s surface than 3.2 Earth radii , according to NASA JPL..

Although its size is not well determined, this near-Earth asteroid is thought to be about 45 meters in diameter.

IBM announces AI-powered decision-making

September 28, 2016

Project DataWorks ft

IBM today announced today Watson-based “Project DataWorks,” the first cloud-based data and analytics platform to integrate all types of data and enable AI-powered decision-making.

Project DataWorks is designed to make it simple for business leaders and data professionals to collect, organize, govern, and secure data, and become a “cognitive business.”

Achieving data insights is increasingly complex, and most of this work is done by highly skilled… read more

Method discovered to remove damaging amyloid plaques found in Alzheimer’s disease

December 23, 2016

Illustration of formation of beta-amyloid plaques. Enzymes act on the APP (amyloid precursor protein) and cut it into fragments. The beta-amyloid fragment is crucial in the formation of senile plaques in Alzheimer’s disease. (credit: National Institute on Aging/NIH)

German scientists have discovered a strategy for removing amyloid plaques — newly forming clumps in a brain with Alzheimer’s disease that are created by misfolded proteins that clump together and damage nerve cells.

The scientists from the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) in Munich and the Ludwig Maximilians University (LMU) Munich took aged microglia cells (the  scavenger cells of the brain’s… read more

Commercial asteroid hunters announce plans for new robotic exploration fleet

World’s first fleet of asteroid-hunting spacecraft announced by Deep Space Industries
January 22, 2013

deep_space_indistries_logo

Deep Space Industries (DSI) announced Monday night that it will send a fleet of asteroid-prospecting spacecraft out into the solar system to hunt for resources to accelerate space development to benefit Earth.

These “FireFly” spacecraft utilize low-cost cubesat components and get discounted delivery to space by ride-sharing on the launch of larger communications satellites.

“This is the first commercial campaign to explore the small… read more

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