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Designing the exascale computers of the future

July 24, 2014

Tianhe-2-supercomputer

Several groups in Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), are contributing to the basic science and engineering that will be needed to create the hardware and software for the next generation of supercomputers.

The goal: an exascale machine, performing at least 1018 (sextillian) operations per second — 30 times faster than the current fastest machine in the world, China’s Tianhe-2, capable of an Rmax* of 33.86… read more

A robot vacuum cleaner with 360° vision

September 5, 2014

Dyson 360 Eye

James Dyson, Founder and Chief Engineer of Dyson, introduced Thursday the Dyson 360 Eye robot vacuum cleaner, with a 360° vision system.

The robot builds a detailed floor plan to navigate around a room and track its position.

Infrared sensors work in conjunction with a lens on the top of the machine that houses a 360° panoramic camera.

Infrared sensors work in conjunction… read more

Scientists create single-atom bit, smallest memory in the world

November 17, 2013

The scanning tunneling microscope makes single holmium atoms on a platinum surface visible. (Photo: KIT/T. Miyamachi)

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) researchers have taken a big step towards miniaturizing magnetic data memory down to a single-atom bit: they fixed a single atom on a surface so the magnetic spin remained stable for ten minutes.

“A single atom fixed to a substrate is [typically] so sensitive that its magnetic orientation is stable only for less than a microsecond,” said Wulf Wulfhekel of KIT.

A… read more

House to examine plan for United Nations to regulate the Internet

May 28, 2012

ITU_tower_geneva

House lawmakers will consider an international proposal next week to give the United Nations more control over the Internet, Hillicon Valley reports.

The proposal is backed by China, Russia, Brazil, India and other UN members, and would give the UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) more control over the governance of the Internet.

It’s an unpopular idea with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in Congress,… read more

The social origins of intelligence in the brain

A study of brain injuries in vets showed that brain regions that contribute to optimal social functioning are also vital to general intelligence and emotional intelligence
August 1, 2014

(credit: iStock)

By studying the injuries and aptitudes of Vietnam War veterans who suffered penetrating head wounds during the war, researchers have found that brain regions that contribute to optimal social functioning are also vital to general intelligence and emotional intelligence.

This finding, reported in the journal Brain, bolsters the view that general intelligence emerges from the emotional and social context of one’s life.

“We are trying to understand the nature… read more

Gene-modified cow makes milk rich in protein, study finds

October 2, 2012

cows

Scientists have altered the genes of a dairy cow to produce milk that’s rich in a protein used in numerous food products and lacking in a component that causes allergies in humans.

Using a process called RNA-interference that turns certain genes on or off, scientists from New Zealand produced a cow whose milk had increased casein, a protein used to make cheese and other foods, and almost no… read more

Record 100,000 entangled photons detected

October 31, 2012

quantum_correlations_singlet_bell_state

A whopping 100,000 entangled photons have been detected for the first time, beating the previous record of just 12, New Scientist reports.

The technique could be useful for safely sharing keys used in encrypted communications.

Entangled photons have linked quantum states, such that measuring the state of one photon determines the state of the others, no matter how far apart they are.

Detecting entanglement usually… read more

UCSD introduces Diego-san, a baby robot with ‘tude

Move over, Roboy, there's a new kidbot in town....
January 10, 2013

diego_san_1

UCSD has introduced Diego-san, a new humanoid robot who mimicks the expressions of a one-year-old child

Demonstrated at CES and in a video, the robot will be used in studies on sensory-motor and social development — how babies “learn” to control their bodies and to interact with other people.

Diego-san’s hardware was developed by two leading robot manufacturers: the head by Hansonread more

High-capacity 3D transparent memory a step closer to reality

October 4, 2012

Transparent Memory

Rice University researchers led by chemist James Tour have just written a paper in the journal Nature Communications that describes transparent, non-volatile, heat- and radiation-resistant memory chips created in Tour’s lab from silicon oxide sandwiched between electrodes of graphene, the single-atom-thick form of carbon.

More than four years ago, they discovered it was possible to make bits of computer memory from silicon and carbon, but make them much smaller and perhaps better than anything… read more

Neuroscape Lab visualizes live brain functions using dramatic images

Repurposing fitness and game technologies into targeted brain therapies
March 17, 2014

GlassBrain (credit: UCSF)

UC San Francisco neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley, MD, PhD, is hoping to paint a fuller picture of what is happening in the minds and bodies of those suffering from brain disease with his new lab, Neuroscape, which bridges the worlds of neuroscience and high-tech.

Gazzaley aims to eliminate the need to immobilize subjects inside big, noisy machines or tether them to computers — making… read more

Crowdsourcing expertise

August 16, 2012

Can a crowd be an expert? Two UVM scientists think the answer is yes. (photo: James Cridland)

Crowdsourcing — posing a question or asking for help from a large group of people — has allowed many problems to be solved, like scan for new galaxies and climate modeling, that would be impossible for experts alone..

But what if the crowd was asked to decide what questions to ask in the first place?

University of Vermont researchers Josh Bongard and Paul Hines decided to explore  that question… read more

What if quantum entanglement worked on the macroscopic level?

July 26, 2013

entangled photons

Quantum entanglement works for photons, and even molecuiles, but what about larger objects?

University of Geneva (UNIGE) researchers managed to entangle crystals in 2011, but now they have entangled two optic fibers, populated by 500 photons.

To do this, the team first created an entanglement between two fiber optics on a microscopic level before moving it to the macroscopic level. The entangled state survived… read more

The computing trend that will change everything

April 10, 2012

computer_trend_600

The electrical efficiency of computing (the number of computations that can be completed per kilowatt-hour of electricity used) has doubled every year and a half since the dawn of the computer age.

The power needed to perform a task requiring a fixed number of computations will continue to fall by half every 1.5 years (or a factor of 100 every decade). As a result, even smaller and less power-intensive computing devices… read more

‘Hippie chimp’ genome sequenced

June 15, 2012

Pan_paniscus06

Unlike their chimpanzee relatives, bonobos shun violent male dominance and instead forge bonds through food-sharing, play, and casual sex.

An 18-year-old female named Ulindi has now become the first bonobo (Pan paniscus) to have its genome sequenced. Scientists hope that the information gleaned will explain the stark behavioural differences between bonobos and common chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and help to identify the genetic changes that set humans apart from… read more

Obama or Romney? Face-reading software monitors viewers’ responses to debate

November 5, 2012

third_debate

New Scientist asked readers to take part in an online project designed to give a more fine-grained view of the public’s reactions to politics.

About 80 readers watched clips from the third and final presidential debate while face-reading software recorded subtle emotional cues via webcams. Developed by Affectiva of Waltham, Massachusetts, the software tracked six categories of expression: smiles, surprise,… read more

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