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Computing needs a Grand Challenge

June 15, 2004

Sir Tony Hoare, British computing pioneer and senior scientist at Microsoft Research, believes the computer industry needs a “grand challenge” to inspire it.

By 2020, Hoare predicts, the world will contain 100 times as many computers as it does now, each with 100 times as much power and memory, all interconnected. And to best understand this world, he says, we should not think of it as containing many discrete… read more

Computing Gets Physical

June 29, 2004

Gadgets that let you control computers with a wave or a nod could offer an escape from keyboards and mice.

Gesture recognition technology aims to become this millennium’s remote control — a fluid, freeing means of interacting with all the digital stuff around us. Think Minority Report.

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Computing advances vital to sustainability efforts: National Research Council

July 2, 2012

Computing Research for Sustainability

Innovation in computing will be essential to finding real-world solutions to sustainability challenges in such areas as electricity production and delivery, global food production, and climate change, says a new report from the National Research Council

The immense scale, numerous interconnected effects of actions over time, and diverse scope of these challenges require the ability to collect, structure, and analyze vast amounts of data.

“These problems… read more

Computers write news at Thomson

August 23, 2006

Thomson Financial has found a way to replace human beings in the newsroom and is instead using computers to write some of its stories.

The computers work so fast that an earnings story can be released within 0.3 seconds of the company making results public.

Computers with multiple personalities

August 16, 2004

“Virtualization software” allows computers to run multiple operating systems and save money by using one computer to do the work of several.

Computers to grade tests and essays at college level: EdX

April 5, 2013



Imagine taking a college exam and receiving a grade back instantly, your essay scored by a software program. Then immediately redoing the test to try to improve your grade.

EdX, the nonprofit enterprise founded by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to offer courses on the Internet, has just introduced such software. It can grade student essays and short written answers, freeing… read more

Computers that watch while you work

April 10, 2003

Canadian researchers have designed a computer that pays attention to the person using it. An eye-contact sensor allows the computer to determine whether the user is present and whether he or she is looking at the screen so the computer can determine when and whether to contact them.

Computers that understand emotions

December 27, 2010

(University of Cambridge)

University of Cambridge researchers are exploring the role of emotions in human-computer interaction.

“We’re building emotionally intelligent computers, ones that can read my mind and know how I feel,” Professor Peter Robinson says. “Computers are really good at understanding what someone is typing or even saying. But they need to understand not just what I’m saying, but how I’m saying it.”

The research team is collaborating closely with… read more

Computers That Trade on the News

December 23, 2010

Traders are using powerful computers to speed-read news reports, editorials, company Web sites, blog posts and even Twitter messages — and then letting the machines decide what it all means for the markets.

Many of the linguistics-based robo-readers look beyond the numbers and try to analyze market sentiment, that intuitive feeling investors have about the markets.

The experts are already talking about the next thing — programs to automatically… read more

Computers That Speak Your Language

May 16, 2003

Voice recognition that finally holds up its end of a conversation is revolutionizing customer service. Now the goal is to make natural language the way to find any type of information, anywhere.

Computers That See You and Keep Watch Over You

January 3, 2011


High-resolution, low-cost cameras are proliferating, found in products like smartphones and laptop computers. The cost of storing images is dropping, and new software algorithms for mining, matching and scrutinizing the flood of visual data are progressing swiftly.

People will increasingly be surrounded by machines that can not only see but also reason about what they are seeing, in their own limited way.

The challenge arises from the prospect… read more

Computers that read minds are being developed by Intel

August 25, 2010


Intel’s scientists are creating detailed maps of the activity in the brain for individual words that can then be matched against the brain activity of someone using the computer, allowing the machine to determine the word they are thinking.

The technology currently uses fMRI, but work is under way to produce smaller devices that can be worn as headsets.

Justin Ratner, theread more

Computers that react to emotions

April 17, 2008

A computer system that can carry on a discussion with a human being by reacting to signals such as tone of voice and facial expression is being developed by an international team led by German AI research center DFKI.

Known as SEMAINE, the project will build a Sensitive Artificial Listener (SAL) system, which will perceive a human user’s facial expression, gaze, and voice, adapt its performance, and pursue different… read more

Computers of the future: Made of glass?

July 31, 2001

Your handheld computer could look like a small glass panel, possibly as early as 2003.
Fujitsu engineers have developed a new manufacturing process for thin-film transistors that creates crystals with faster mobility while keeping the temperature below 450 degrees to avoid glass substrate melting or distortion.

Computers Make Strides in Recognizing Speech

June 25, 2010

A host of companies — AT&T, Microsoft, Google and startups — are investing in services that hint at the concept of machines that can act on spoken commands. They go well beyond voice-enabled Internet search.

Later this summer, a new model of the Ford Edge will recognize complete addresses, including city and state spoken in a single phrase, and respond by offering turn-by-turn directions.

Certain emotions are now… read more

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