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May 2018 — July 2018

NSF’s IceCube Observatory Finds First Evidence of Cosmic Neutrino Source (Jul 21, 2018)
In 1911 and 1912, Austrian physicist Victor Franz Hess made a series of ascents in a hydrogen balloon in a quest to find the source of ionizing radiation that registered on an electroscope. The prevailing theory was that the radiation came from the rocks of the Earth. During the last of his seven flights, Hess ascended to more than 5,300 meters – almost 17,400 feet – to find that the rate of ionization was three times of that at sea level.

Education Technology’s Machine Learning Problem and Responsibility (Jul 21, 2018)
From Formula 1 to Yelp, industries across the board are seeking ways to apply machine learning to their work. Even academics and Goldman Sachs analysts tried using it to predict World Cup winners. (Those predictions proved very, very wrong.) But how is machine learning playing out in education—and how does it impact not just students, educators and parents, but also the businesses building technology tools to support teaching and learning?

Net Neutrality and Impact on Cloud Computing (Jul 20, 2018)
The FCC’s repeal of net neutrality rules, which went live June 11, effectively turns Internet Service Providers (ISPs) into an oligarchy beyond what they already were, now capable of charging both customers and service providers for access. Conceptually, Internet in the US may look very different than the rest of the world in the coming years.

A Sea Change Coming for Water Cooling in Datacenters (Jul 20, 2018)
Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, big iron in datacenters had to have water cooling, which was a pain in the neck in terms of the system and facilities engineering. And it was a big deal – and a big competitive threat – when former IBM System/360 architect Gene Amdahl – you know, the guy with the law named after him – left to start his own mainframe company and created a line of compatible mainframes that were strictly air cooled.

‘Big Data Challenges and Advanced Computing Solutions’ Focus of House Committee Meeting (Jul 19, 2018)
On Thursday, July 12, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology heard from four academic and industry leaders – representatives from Berkeley Lab, Argonne Lab, GE Global Research and Carnegie Mellon University – on the opportunities springing from the intersection of machine learning and advanced-scale computing.

How to Become a Dynamic Technology Leader (Jul 19, 2018)
The core of Information Technology within businesses has always been the implementation and facilitation of technology to meet the needs of the company. The explosion of the digital realm has seen a rapid expansion in the scope and demands upon the sector. Eighty-four percent of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) report that their role now includes responsibilities that fall outside the traditional IT sphere.

Robots Can’t Hold Stuff Very Well, But You Can Help (Jul 18, 2018)
Imagine, for a moment, the simple act of picking up a playing card from a table. You have a couple of options: Maybe you jam your fingernail under it for leverage or drag it over the edge of a table. Now imagine a robot trying to the do the same thing. Tricky: Most robots don’t have fingernails, or friction-facilitating fingerpads that perfectly mimic ours. So many of these delicate manipulations continue to escape robotic control. But engineers are making steady progress in getting the machin...
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Study Shows Virtual Reality Could Hold the Key to GPs Spotting Child Abuse (Jul 18, 2018)
A three-year research project led by a University of Birmingham academic, working with colleagues from Goldsmiths and University College London, has indicated that virtual reality (VR) could become a vital tool for training General Practitioners (GPs) to look out for hard-to-detect signs of child abuse.

Building the Next Generation of Computational Thinkers (Jul 17, 2018)
Historically, advances in science have taken years to make a real-world impact. One example, lithium-ion batteries, which fueled pocket computing on mobile devices, got their start in 1980 but were not commercialized until more than a decade later. At Argonne National Laboratory, we work hard to accelerate the journey from scientific discovery to impact. Faster, more powerful computers and high-throughput methods for analysis, which allow researchers to execute experiments and simulations more q...
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Learning Hard Quantum Distributions with Variational Autoencoders (Jul 17, 2018)
The exact description of many-body quantum systems represents one of the major challenges in modern physics, because it requires an amount of computational resources that scales exponentially with the size of the system. Simulating the evolution of a state, or even storing its description, rapidly becomes intractable for exact classical algorithms. Recently, machine learning techniques, in the form of restricted Boltzmann machines, have been proposed as a way to efficiently represent certain qua...
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Breakthrough in Construction of Computers for Mimicking Human Brain (Jul 16, 2018)
A computer built to mimic the brain's neural networks produces similar results to that of the best brain-simulation supercomputer software currently used for neural-signaling research, finds a new study published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Neuroscience. Tested for accuracy, speed and energy efficiency, this custom-built computer named SpiNNaker, has the potential to overcome the speed and power consumption problems of conventional supercomputers. The aim is to advance our knowledge ...
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First Machine Learning Method Capable of Accurate Extrapolation (Jul 16, 2018)
Understanding how a robot will react under different conditions is essential to guaranteeing its safe operation. But how do you know what will break a robot without actually damaging it? A new method developed by scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) and the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI for Intelligent Systems) is the first machine learning method that can use observations made under safe conditions to make accurate predictions for all p...
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Turn on the Switch (Jul 15, 2018)
Supercomputers are the sports cars of the technology world: fast, glamorous and expensive. This might be why Dag Spicer, senior curator at the Computer History Museum, finds them fascinating. Recently, Spicer and his team in Mountain View, CA, unanimously accepted a piece of TACC's history into their permanent historical collection — sealing its place as a milestone in computing.

Researchers Use Machine Learning to Analyze Movie Preferences (Jul 15, 2018)
Could behavioural economics and machine learning help to better understand consumers' movie preferences? A team of researchers from the University of Cambridge, the University of West England, and the Alan Turing Institute dove deeper into this question, in a fascinating study that combines behavioral economics, business and AI.

HPC Serves as a ‘Rosetta Stone’ for the Information Age (Jul 14, 2018)
In an age defined and transformed by its data, several large-scale scientific instruments around the globe might be viewed as a mother lode of precious data. With names seemingly created for a techno-speak glossary, these interferometers, cyclotrons, sequencers, solenoids, satellite altimeters, and cryo-electron microscopes are churning out data in previously unthinkable and seemingly incomprehensible quantities — billions, trillions and quadrillions of bits and bytes of electro-magnetic code.

D-Wave Demonstrates Large-Scale Programmable Quantum Simulation (Jul 14, 2018)
D-Wave Systems announced the publication of a significant scientific result in the peer-reviewed journal Science. The article, titled “Phase transitions in a programmable spin glass simulator,” details how a D-Wave 2000Q quantum computer was used to predict phase transitions within a particular quantum mechanical system known as the transverse field Ising model.

New Study Finds Taking Breaks Boots Team Performance (Jul 2, 2018)
Want to be a good team player? Take a break. It may improve not only your own performance but the chances of your team winning overall, says a new study by a team of USC computer scientists. Researchers from USC Viterbi’s Information Sciences Institute (ISI) crunched data from thousands of players in a popular online video game to analyze individual performance in teams over time. They also examined the impact of expertise on performance and other factors influencing player behavior, such as c...
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AI for Pharma R&D: Creating Anti-cancer Drugs Faster (Jul 1, 2018)
The costs and process of developing anti-cancer drugs has been an extreme challenge for decades. Today one company, AccutarBio, is harnessing the power of AI to accelerate drug discovery and reform the current “hit-to-lead” drug discovery scheme. The company recently received $15 million in funding (including money from Chinese AI/facial recognition company YITU) and is now partnering with Amgen.

The Supercomputing of 2025 Looks Much Like AI Today (Jul 1, 2018)
It has been difficult for the supercomputing community to watch the tools they have honed over many years get snatched up by a more commercially-oriented community like AI and popularized. Without tireless work at supercomputing sites around the world much of what AI hinges upon simply wouldn’t work.

Supercomputers Help Design Mutant Enzyme That Eats Plastic Bottles (Jun 30, 2018)
A dump truck’s worth of plastic empties into the ocean every minute. Worldwide, humankind produces over 300 million tons of plastic each year, much of which is predicted to last centuries to millennia and pollutes both aquatic and terrestrial environments. PET plastic, short for polyethylene terephthalate, is the fourth most-produced plastic and is used to make things like beverage bottles and carpets, most of which are not being recycled. Some scientists are hoping to change that, using super...
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Aurora Early Science Program Selects Scientific Computing Projects for Exascale (Jun 30, 2018)
Argonne has selected 10 data science and machine learning projects for its Aurora Early Science Program (ESP). Set to be the nation’s first exascale system upon its expected 2021 arrival, Aurora will be capable of performing a quintillion calculations per second. The Aurora ESP, which commenced with 10 simulation-based projects in 2017, is designed to prepare key applications, libraries, and infrastructure for the architecture and scale of the exascale supercomputer.

Susan Eggers Becomes First Woman to Receive Eckert-Mauchly Award (Jun 5, 2018)
ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, and IEEE Computer Society have announced that Susan Eggers, a professor at the University of Washington’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, is the recipient of the 2018 Eckert-Mauchly Award. Eggers was cited for outstanding contributions to simultaneous multithreaded processor architectures and multiprocessor sharing and coherency. The Eckert-Mauchly Award is known as the computer architecture community’s most prestigious aw...
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Opportunities Abound: HPC and Machine Learning for Energy Exploration (Jun 5, 2018)
The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the way industrial machinery and related processes work together and report back with information such as position, temperature, pressure, humidity and so on. The worldwide market for the number of these types of sensors that will be deployed is estimated to be in the billions. With so much information being generated many times per second, in some instances, filtering and analytics must be performed where the sensors are located (or close by), rather tha...
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Virtual GPUs In OpenStack: Filling A Hole In The Cloud Machine Learning World (May 28, 2018)
I’m at the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver, BC, Canada. There are a lot of interesting things going on. However, most are very, very, technical. My interest is in what the OpenStack Foundation (OSF), its members, and the users are doing to provide solutions for applications. As one of my focuses is in machine learning (ML), a presentation Monday afternoon was of particular interest.

Simplifying the Hectic World of HPC (May 28, 2018)
In the early days of computing, the goal was to automate and speedup the job being done by human calculators. Early computers were large and complex devices, for the period, and programmers and operators required an intimate knowledge of the workings of these machines to achieve the desired results. Indeed, in works that describe the early days of computing such as Turing’s Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe by George Dyson, we get an intimate look at and appreciation for the com...
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