science + technology news

IQ test for AI devices gets experts thinking

August 15, 2005

Traditional measures of human intelligence would often be inappropriate for systems that have senses, environments, and cognitive capacities very different from our own.

So Shane Legg and Marcus Hutter at the Swiss Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Manno-Lugano, have drafted an idea for an alternative test which will allow the intelligence of vision systems, robots, natural-language processing programs or trading agents to be compared and contrasted despite their broad… read more

Researchers Take ‘Fantastic Voyage’ Through the Human Body

August 12, 2005

A team of Rochester Institute of Technology students has created never-before-seen virtual images of the pancreas, detailed pictures of the human skull and DNA-level images of protein molecules.

The imaging process created by the team will eventually be used by RIT researchers and teachers to provide better insight into how to image and understand disease states at the microscopic level, shed new light on bone development and help better… read more

U.S. IT infrastructure highly vulnerable to attack

August 12, 2005

Our nation’s information technology infrastructure, which includes air traffic control systems, power grids, financial systems, and military and intelligence cyber networks, is highly vulnerable to terrorist and criminal attacks, according to an article in the August issue of IEEE-USA Today’s Engineer.

Author Barton Reppert, who interviewed two members of the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC), notes that 100,000 known viruses and worms exist, and that some major end-users… read more

Pig cell implants in Huntington’s trial

August 12, 2005

Pig brain cells could be implanted into human brains by the start of next year if trials of a pioneering treatment for Huntington’s disease are approved in the US.

The injection of live animal cells into human brains is likely to raise ethical concerns and fears of pig viruses being transmitted to humans.

Nasal spray clears Alzheimer’s brain plaques

August 12, 2005

A new nasal vaccine for Alzheimer’s disease has cleared plaques from the brains of affected mice and will be tested in humans in 2006.

The drug activates cells in the brain known as microglia, whose job it is to ingest unwanted material. In this case, the microglia are ingesting beta amyloid.

The drug is a combination of glatiramer acetate (Copaxone), an approved MS drug that acts as a… read more

Global scientific research project launched to improve understanding of the human brain

August 12, 2005

Seven member countries of the OECD’s Global Science Forum have launched the have set up the International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility to promote international collaboration among scientists and create new ways of sharing and analyzing data in the new neuroinformatics research field.

The project will promote international collaboration in the management of neuroscience data and associated knowledge databases, create new internationally agreed analytical and modeling tools, develop mathematical/computational models of… read more

Researchers discover new tumor defense system

August 10, 2005

Researchers have discovered that tumors release fatty acids that inhibit cytotoxic T lymphocytes’ ability to kill tumor cells by by blocking a number of the lymphocytes’ signaling events.

So strategies that reduce the amount of fatty acids surrounding the tumors may give a boost to anti-cancer therapeutics.

These results from the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies raise the possibilities of new therapeutic targets for cancer, such as… read more

Longer quantum memory demonstrated

August 10, 2005

National Institute of Standards and Technology scientists have succeeded in storing information in in single beryllium ions for 10 seconds –more than 100,000 times longer than in previous experiments on the same ions.

They achieved this by using a different pair of the ions’ internal energy levels to represent 1 and 0 than was used in the group’s previous quantum computing experiments.

This new set of quantum states… read more

Medics braced for fresh superbug

August 10, 2005

Nature reports that medical experts are concerned that if antibiotic overuse in hospitals is not curbed, drug-resistant strains of the Acinetobacter baumannii bacterium could become a serious killer in intensive-care wards worldwide.

“We have calculated that 40% of our patients who become infected with A. baumannii die because of it,” says Yehuda Carmeli, an infectious-disease physician at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center in Israel.

Pocket-sized computer ‘soul’ developed

August 10, 2005

IBM has developed a way to carry a powerful, personalized virtual computer from one PC to the next, without losing the user’s work, by using a USB key or other portable device.

The virtual computer’s “soul” – as the researchers dub it – can then be uploaded to a new PC simply by plugging the portable device in.

Long Live AI

August 10, 2005

We can meet the hardware requirements for “strong” AI — machine intelligence with the full range of human intelligence — by 2020, says Ray Kurzweil.

“I figure we need about 10 quadrillion calculations a second to provide a functional equivalent to all the regions of the brain. IBM’s Blue Gene/L computer is already at 100 trillion. If we plug in the semiconductor industry’s projections, we can see that 10… read more

Guessing game gives machines clearer vision

August 10, 2005

An online game called Peekaboom, devised by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, harnesses the brain power of players to train a set of powerful vision recognition algorithms.

In The Datasphere, No Word Goes Unheard

August 9, 2005

Techniques such as advanced data mining are some of the more powerful tools available right now for preventing future attacks.

The State Of Surveillance

August 9, 2005

Research laboratories envision tools that could identify and track just about every person, anywhere — and sound alarms when the systems encounter hazardous objects or chemical compounds.

Many such ideas seem to leap from the pages of science fiction: An artificial nose in doorways and corridors sniffs out faint traces of explosives on someone’s hair. Tiny sensors floating in reservoirs detect a deadly microbe and radio a warning. Smart… read more

Nanotechnology could lead to radical improvements for space exploration

August 9, 2005

Constantinos Mavroidis, director of the Computational Bionanorobotics Laboratory at Northeastern University in Boston, visualizes a kind of “spider’s web” of hair-thin tubes packed with bio-nanotech sensors across dozens of miles of terrain as a way to map the environment of some alien planet in great detail.

Another concept he proposes is a “second skin” for astronauts to wear under their spacesuits that would use bio-nanotech to sense and respond… read more

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