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Can cloud computing boost GDP?

November 15, 2012

Cloud_Computing

Gross domestic product (GDP) can be boosted by cloud computing, the system in which remote computers on the Internet are used to store, manage and process data rather than the users’ local machines, according to a report to be published in the International Journal of Technology, Policy and Management. 

The report suggests that governments should collaborate to boost the adoptionread more

Three radical new energy technologies

November 21, 2012

florida_nasa

Three innovative new energy technologies are explored in the current issue of Technology and Innovation — Proceedings of the National Academy of Inventors:

  • Tidal currents and ocean waves that can be recovered using ocean thermal conversion technology.
  • Infrared thermal radiation (more than half of the power provided by the Sun).
  • A new nanophosphor-based electroluminesence lighting device that caters to the exact wavelengths of light required for photosynthesis

read more

NASA technologists test ‘game-changing’ data-processing technology

Back to the future?
November 29, 2012

nasa_pellish_analog_board

NASA technologist Jonathan Pellish believes the analog computing technology of yesteryear could potentially revolutionize everything from autonomous rendezvous and docking to remotely correcting wavefront errors on large, deployable space telescope mirrors like those to fly on the James Webb Space Telescope.

Pellish is meeting with scientists and engineers to explain the technology’s capabilities and is building printed circuit boards that researchers can use to test… read more

How to launch your own homemade satellite

September 6, 2012

0904_cubesat_630x420

Over the next year a dozen or so tiny, homemade satellites will be launched into low Earth orbit — 140 to 600 miles up, roughly as high as the International Space Station — conducting a variety of experiments, Bloomberg Businessweek reports.

Sandy Antunes, a former NASA employee-turned professor, has documented the rise of these “pico satellites” in a pair of books: DIY Satellite Platforms and Surviving Orbit theread more

Support cells found in human brain make mice smarter

March 8, 2013

brain_mice_human_astrocytes

Glial cells — a family of cells found in the human central nervous system and, until recently, considered mere “housekeepers” — now appear to be essential to the unique complexity of the human brain.

Scientists reached this conclusion after demonstrating that when transplanted into mice, these human cells could influence communication within the brain, allowing the animals to learn more rapidly.

The study suggests that the… read more

Dark matter’s tendrils revealed

Direct measurement of a dark-matter "filament" confirms its existence in a galaxy supercluster
July 5, 2012

Dark-matter filaments, such as the one bridging the galaxy clusters Abell 222 and Abell 223, are predicted to contain more than half of all matter in the Universe (credit: Jörg Dietrich, University of Michigan/University Observatory Munich)

A “finger” of the Universe’s dark-matter skeleton, which ultimately dictates where galaxies form, has been observed for the first time.

Researchers have directly detected a slim bridge of dark matter joining two clusters of galaxies, using a technique that could eventually help astrophysicists to understand the structure of the Universe and identify what makes up the mysterious invisible substance known as dark matter.

The presence of dark matter… read more

Proving quantum computers feasible

Researchers show that relatively simple physical systems could yield powerful quantum computers
November 27, 2012

The possible quantum states of a chain of particles can be represented as points in space, with lines connecting states that can be swapped with no change in the chain's total energy. MIT researchers and their colleagues showed that such networks are densely interconnected, with heavily trafficked pathways between points. (Credit: Christine Daniloff)

A group of researchers at MIT, IBM, Masaryk University in the Czech Republic, the Slovak Academy of Sciences and Northeastern University proved that even in simple spin chains, the degree of entanglement scales with the length of the chain.

The research thus offers strong evidence that relatively simple quantum systems could offer considerable computational resources.

Quantum computers are devices — still largely theoretical — that… read more

Google and NASA launch Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab

May 17, 2013

dwave.quantumx

Google, in partnership with NASA and the Universities Space Research Association (USRA), has launched an initiative to investigate how quantum computing might lead to breakthroughs in machine learning, a branch of AI that focuses on construction and study of systems that learn from data..

The new lab will use the D-Wave Two quantum computer.A recent study (see “Which is faster:read more

Cancer’s origins revealed

Researchers discover the genetic imprints and signatures left by DNA-damaging processes that lead to cancer
September 5, 2013

cancer_signature

Researchers at Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute have provided the first comprehensive compendium of mutational processes that drive tumor development. Together, these mutational processes explain most mutations found in 30 of the most common cancer types. This new understanding of cancer development could help to treat and prevent a wide-range of cancers.

Each mutational process leaves a particular pattern of mutations, an imprint or signature, in… read more

Robot hand beats you at rock, paper, scissors 100% of the time

June 27, 2012

scissors_hand

A robot hand will play a game of rock, paper, scissors with you and wins every single time, IEEE Spectrum Automaton reports.

Created by the Ishikawa Oku Lab at the University of Toyko, it’s one of those high speed hands that works with a high speed vision system.

It only takes a single millisecond for the robot to recognize what shape your hand is in, and… read more

Computer learning to read lips to detect emotions

September 12, 2012

Bright red female lips

Open the pod bay doorsHAL.

Scientists in Malaysia are teaching a computer to interpret human emotions based on lip patterns.

The system could improve the way we interact with computers and perhaps allow disabled people to use computer-based communications devices, such as voice synthesizers, more effectively and more efficiently, says Karthigayan Muthukaruppan of Manipal International University.

The system uses a genetic algorithm that gets better and better… read more

A rice genome to feed the world

Will it deal with the "9 billion-people question" for the year 2050?
July 31, 2014

Understanding the complete genome of African rice will enable researchers and agriculturalists to develop new varieties of rice with African rice's hardiness, making them better able to adapt to conditions of a changing climate. (Credit: International Rice Research Institute)

An international team of researchers led by the University of Arizona (UA) has sequenced the complete genome of African rice.

The genetic information will enhance scientists’ and agriculturalists’ understanding of the growing patterns of African rice, and help development of new rice varieties that are better able to cope with increasing environmental stressors to help solve global hunger challenges, the researchers say.

The research paper was… read more

Flying cars are here, almost

August 15, 2012

terrafugia

Cars will finally fly this year, BBC Future reports.

The Transition is $300,000 aircraft that can fold its wings, allowing it to also operate as a street-legal road vehicle, says Terrafugia.

The PAL-V (personal air and land vehicle), also $300,000, is an autogyro, with a propeller at the rear to provide forward thrust and a free-spinning rotor to give it lift. On the ground, it… read more

Brief interruptions spawn errors that could be disastrous for professionals

Why you should turn off notifications on your smartphone when you work
January 8, 2013

Avoiding interruptions (credit: iStockphoto)

Short interruptions — such as the few seconds it takes to silence that buzzing smartphone — have a surprisingly large effect on one’s ability to accurately complete a task, according to new research by Michigan State University psychologists.

The study found that interruptions averaging 2.8 seconds long doubled the error rate, while interruptions averaging 4.4 s long tripled the error rate.

Brief interruptions are ubiquitous… read more

New tools to manage information overload threatening neuroscience

August 13, 2013

The recent explosion of neuroscience research has resulted in the publication of nearly 2 million papers — more data than any researcher can read and absorb in a lifetime.
That’s why a UCLA team has invented research maps. Easily accessible through an online app, the maps help neuroscientists quickly scan what is already known and plan their next study.The Aug. 8 edition of the journal Neurondescribes these new… read more

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