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Poor-man’s Supercomputing Goes Commercial

December 22, 2008

The European SIMDAT project has created a portfolio of tools and services that can bring the power of grid computing to commercial applications.

Grids for business have huge applications in data crunching and collaboration in automotive, pharmaceutical, aerospace, weather, and shipping sectors, and in media production.

When a Camcorder Becomes a Life Partner

November 8, 2010

Looxcie wearable camcorder (Looxcie)

Small, lightweight, hands-free cameras — worn on a headband, for example, or tucked over an ear — will record life’s memorable moments as they unfold.

The Looxcie ($199), a small wearable camcorder introduced recently, loops over the ear. The camera is built into a Bluetooth headset that streams 480 x 320 pixel digital images at 15 frames per second wirelessly to Android phones that use a free Looxcie app.… read more

Big Bang Chronology Bolstered by Beryllium

August 23, 2004

Astronomers have proof that the very first stars were formed when the universe was less than 200 million years old. Their evidence? Minuscule amounts of beryllium atoms in the outer layers of two faint stars 7200 light-years from Earth.

Humanity gobbles a quarter of nature’s resources

July 5, 2007

People appropriate 24 percent of the Earth’s production capacity that would otherwise have gone to nature, according to figures for the year 2000, including 15.6 trillion kilograms of carbon annually.

If we expand production of biofuels, it would mean clearing what remains of the world’s rainforests in countries such as Brazil and Argentina.

As well as wiping out thousands of species, this would have devastating effects on the… read more

Chassis chief predicts ‘plug ‘n go’ trucks in near future

June 4, 2007

Medium-duty work trucks powered mainly by electricity may be only five to 10 years away, with the development of more efficient and cost-effective battery storage.

Scientists isolate genes that made 1918 flu lethal

December 30, 2008

By mixing and matching a contemporary flu virus with the “Spanish flu” — a virus that killed between 20 and 50 million people 90 years ago in history’s most devastating outbreak of infectious disease — researchers have identified a set of three genes that helped underpin the extraordinary virulence of the 1918 virus.

Nanowire ‘racetrack’ memory could be 100,000 times faster

November 16, 2010

Racetrack memory (EPFL)

Imagine a computer equipped with shock-proof memory that’s 100,000 times faster and consumes less power than current hard disks. EPFL Professor Mathias Kläui has invented a new kind of “Racetrack” memory, a high-volume, ultra-rapid read-write magnetic memory that may soon make such a device possible.

Hard disks are cheap and can store enormous quantities of data, but they are slow; every time a computer boots up, 2-3… read more

Let a Thousand Reactors Bloom

September 3, 2004

China plans to build 30 nuclear reactors by 2020, but a team of Chinese scientists says it needs a lot more: 300 gigawatts of nuclear output, not much less than the 350 gigawatts produced worldwide today.

For safety, China’s new meltdown-proof HTR-10 reactor design would use inert helium instead of superhot water.

A Deeper Look at Disease

July 12, 2007

VisEn Medical has developed an molecular imaging system that allows researchers to see deeper into the body and look at a wider range of chemical activity than is possible with existing imaging techniques.

It uses fluorescent-protein probes that interact with disease-related proteins in the body and allow researchers to see where they are and in what concentrations.

A Stimulus Plan to Create Jobs, Boost Productivity and Revitalize America

January 8, 2009

In a report just published, “The Digital Road to Recovery: A Stimulus Plan to Create Jobs, Boost Productivity and Revitalize America,” the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) finds that a $30 billion investment in America’s digital infrastructure — broadband networks, health IT, and a smart power grid — will spur significant job creation in the short run, creating
approximately 949,000 U.S. jobs while leading to higher productivity,… read more

In Cybertherapy, Avatars Assist With Healing

November 24, 2010

Advances in artificial intelligence and computer modeling are allowing therapists to practice “cybertherapy” more effectively, using virtual environments to help people work through phobias, like a fear of heights or of public spaces.

Researchers are populating digital worlds with autonomous, virtual humans that can evoke the same tensions as in real-life encounters. People with social anxiety are struck dumb when asked questions by a virtual stranger. Heavy drinkers feel strong… read more

Game sequel takes leaps in AI technology

September 15, 2004

Electronic Arts has published The Sims 2, which it believes is a leap forward in artificial intelligence for games.

What’s remarkable about this computer game, released worldwide Tuesday, is that the domestic drama is not scripted. The characters act the way they do because that is what naturally unfolds. It’s a quality dubbed “emergence,” based on the history of the characters’ relationships and their own artificial, or preprogrammed, intelligence.

Fake documents can buy dirty bomb material

July 23, 2007

Posing as staff from a construction firm, members of the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a licence to purchase small amounts of substances such as caesium-137, which is found in moisture meters used on building sites.

Four weeks later, without running detailed checks on the company or requesting a visit, the NRC issued the license. The GAO staff then altered the license… read more

Dolphin genome yields evolutionary insights

June 27, 2012


The recently sequenced genome of the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) reveals commonalities with other large-brained mammalsNature News Blog reports.

Last fall, researchers at Baylor College of Medicine found 228 gene sequences that had changed significantly relative to other mammals. About 10% of those relate to the nervous system.

One group of genes appears to be important for forming synapses in the brain, while another relates to the… read more

More chip cores can mean slower supercomputing, simulation shows

January 15, 2009

Sandia simulations show an insignificant increase increase in supercomputer clock speed going from four to eight multicores for many complex applications, and exceeding eight multicores causes a decrease in speed.

The problem is the lack of memory bandwidth as well as contention between processors over the memory bus available to each processor.

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