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Computer scientists identify future IT challenges

January 26, 2005

A group of British computer scientists have proposed a number of “grand challenges” for IT that they hope will drive forward research, similar to the way the human genome project drove life sciences research through the 1990s.

Ambitious goals include harnessing the power of quantum physics, building systems that can’t go wrong, and simulating living creatures in every detail.

Computer scientists build computer using swarms of crabs

April 17, 2012


Logic gates that exploit the swarming behavior of soldier crabs have been built and tested in Japan, Technology Review Physics arXiv Blog reports.

The experiment is based on the ideas of two computer scientists — Ed Fredkin and Tommaso Toffoli — who studied how it might be possible to build a computer out of billiard balls.

The idea is that a channel would carry information encoded… read more

Computer scientist turns his face into a remote control

June 25, 2008

A UC San Diego computer science Ph.D. student can turn his face into a remote control that speeds and slows video playback.

The proof-of-concept demonstration is part of a larger project to use automated facial expression recognition to make robots more effective teachers.

Computer Robots Gather Intelligence

October 3, 2001

The U.S. military is testing software robots that can identify targets and present them to commanders much more quickly than a human could.

The software, known as the Control of Agent-Based Systems or CoABS, uses AI agents to sift through troves of images and intelligence data to find viable targets.
“It takes us too long to get the intelligence to a weapons system,” said James Hendler, the U.S. Defense… read more

Computer researchers on the prowl for human ‘common sense’

October 15, 2003

Two Carnegie Mellon University researchers using the ESP Game Web site are among a growing number nationwide tapping into human brains for common-sense knowledge to improve AI algorithms.

The game pairs a player with an anonymous Internet partner who are both asked to type in words that describe a series of images. The players win points when they match words and this creates another label researchers can… read more

Computer R&D rocks on

November 22, 2005

Experts see important computer breakthroughs and whole new fields of investigation just opening up. Advances will come in natural-language searches, machine learning, computer vision and speech-to-text, as well as new computing architectures to handle those hefty tasks.

Beyond the decade mark, Edward D. Lazowska, a professor of computer science at the University of Washington, expects computers based on quantum physics.

Computer programs that ace IQ tests

February 16, 2012

(Credit: iStockphoto)

Researchers at the Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have created a computer program that scored up to 150 on specific portions of an IQ test: identifying patterns in pictures and number sequences.

IQ tests include progressive matrices, which test the ability to see patterns in pictures, and number sequences, which test the ability to see patterns… read more

Computer programs can help make sense of life

November 20, 2007

Researchers from Microsoft Research Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne, Switzerland suggest using models of complex living systems structured like computer programs, where many “subroutines” run in parallel and produce outputs that depend on each other.

By representing proteins, say, as subroutines, it is possible to work out how the overall system works without knowing some details.

Computer Program to Take On ‘Jeopardy!’

April 27, 2009

IBM plans to announce Monday that it is in the final stages of completing a computer program named Watson to compete against human “Jeopardy!” contestants, using a Blue Gene supercomputer and a database with a significant fraction of the Web now indexed by Google.

If the program — a new class of software that can “understand” human questions and respond to them correctly — beats the humans, the field… read more

Computer program ‘evolves’ music from noise

Not exactly top 40, but not bad for an algorithm
June 19, 2012


Bioinformaticist Robert MacCallum of Imperial College London and colleagues have adapted DarwinTunes — a program that produces 8-second sequences of randomly generated sounds, or loops, from a database of digital “genes” — to be accessed online.

Almost 7000 participants rated each sound loop, played in a random order, on a 5-point scale from “can’t stand it” to “love it.”

In a musical take on survival of the fittest,… read more

Computer program detects author gender

July 21, 2003

A new computer program can tell whether a book was written by a man or a woman, based on a simple scan of key words and syntax.

Female writers use more pronouns. Males prefer words that identify or determine nouns (a, the, that) and words that quantify them (one, two, more).

Computer predicts anti-cancer molecules

June 17, 2008

Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have developed a fully automated computational metabolomics method (a computer-based method of analyzing metabolites, or small molecules made by cellular activity) to predict the anti-tumor activity of these molecules.

Metabolites can affect the expression of genes. The researchers’ method compares the gene expression levels of cancer cells and normal cells and predicts which metabolites would have lower concentrations in cancer cells relative to normal… read more

Computer networking event doesn’t compute as planned

April 5, 2004

FlashMob I, the world’s first attempt to create a supercomputer ranking among the top 500 by hooking together computers from volunteers, failed on Saturday at the University of San Francisco.

But the crew managed to get 256 (target was 1,200) computers working together at almost half the speed required for the top 500 status.

Computer modelling future of medicine

September 4, 2003

By finding new ways to harness huge amounts of computing power, the costs and time of drug testing can be reduced.

Mapping the human genome has given researchers a massive amount of data which can be used to study reactions to disease and therapeutic interventions at a molecular level.

The DNA of the animals commonly used for testing had also been mapped, meaning it should be possible to… read more

Computer modeling: brain in a box

February 23, 2012

Neocortical column (credit: EPFL)

Henry Markram’s controversial proposal for the Human Brain Project (HBP) — an effort to build a supercomputer simulation that integrates everything known about the human brain, from the structures of ion channels in neural cell membranes up to mechanisms behind conscious decision-making — may soon fulfill his ambition.

The project is one of six finalists vying to win €1 billion (US$1.3 billion) as one of the European Union’s two new… read more

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