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September 2017 — October 2017

Researchers Eye Papermaking Improvements Through High-Performance Computing (Oct 11, 2017)
With the naked eye, a roll of paper towels doesn't seem too complicated. But look closely enough, and you'll see it's made up of layers of fibers with thousands of intricate structures and contact points. These fluffy fibers are squeezed together before they are printed in patterns, and this resulting texture is key to the paper's performance.

New Software Speeds Origami Structure Designs (Oct 11, 2017)
Researchers have developed a new computer-aided approach that streamlines the design process for origami-based structures, making it easier for engineers and scientists to conceptualize new ideas graphically while simultaneously generating the underlying mathematical data needed to build the structure in the real world.

Berkeley Lab Researchers Lead Development of Workflow to Predict Ground Movement (Oct 10, 2017)
With emerging exascale supercomputers, researchers will soon be able to accurately simulate the ground motions of regional earthquakes quickly and in unprecedented detail, as well as predict how these movements will impact energy infrastructure—from the electric grid to local power plants—and scientific research facilities.

Future HPC Leaders Gather at Argonne Training Program on Extreme-Scale Computing (Oct 10, 2017)
What would you do with a supercomputer that is at least 50 times faster than today’s fastest machines? For scientists and engineers, the emerging age of exascale computing opens a universe of possibilities to simulate experiments and analyze reams of data — potentially enabling, for example, models of atomic structures that lead to cures for disease.

More Teachers, Fewer 3D Printers: How to Improve K-12 Computer Science Education (Oct 9, 2017)
The need for basic computer science education has never been greater. Software and computers drive the economy, aiding mines and farms, as well as retail stores, banks, and healthcare. There are 500,000 computer science job openings in the U.S., spanning every industry and state. That’s more than 10 times the number of students who graduated with computer science degrees last year, according to the nonprofit, which has been working tirelessly to establish and expand CS access in schoo...
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Future of News: Bracing for Next Wave of Technology (Oct 9, 2017)
If you think technology has shaken up the news media—just wait, you haven't seen anything yet. The next wave of disruption is likely to be even more profound, according to a study presented Saturday to the Online News Association annual meeting in Washington. News organizations which have struggled in the past two decades as readers moved online and to mobile devices will soon need to adapt to artificial intelligence, augmented reality and automated journalism and find ways to connect beyond t...
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Scientists Enlist Supercomputers, Machine Learning to Automatically Identify Brain Tumors (Oct 8, 2017)
Primary brain tumors encompass a wide range of tumors depending on the cell type, the aggressiveness, and stage of tumor. Quickly and accurately characterizing the tumor is a critical aspect of treatment planning. It is a task currently reserved for trained radiologists, but in the future, computing, and in particular high-performance computing, will play a supportive role.

Plans for First Exascale Supercomputer in U.S. Released (Oct 8, 2017)
The Aurora machine, which had an uncertain future this year when its budgetary and other details were thrown into question. We understood the deal was being restructured and indeed it has been. The system was originally slated to appear in 2018 with 180 petaflops of peak performance at double precision floating point. Now it is 1,000 petaflops, an exascale capable machine, and will be delivered in 2021—right on target with the projected revised plans for exascale released earlier this year.

New ‘Upcycled’ HPC Machine at Durham University Helps Space Science (Oct 7, 2017)
Researchers specialising in astrophysics and cosmology, particle physics and nuclear physics at Durham University and from across the UK can now take advantage of an extended HPC service. The DiRAC Data Centric HPC system installed at Durham University has been enhanced by the deployment of COSMA6, a machine with 8,000 Intel Sandy Bridge cores and 4.3 petabytes of storage ‘upcycled’ from another system previously located at the Hartree Centre in Daresbury. This additional resource was need...
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Parallel Applications Speed Up Manufacturing Product Development (Oct 7, 2017)
The product design process has undergone a significant transformation with the availability of supercomputing power at traditional workstation prices. With over 100 threads available to an application in compact 2 socket servers, scalability of applications that are used as part of the product design and development process are just a keyboard away for a wide range of engineers.

Are We Living in a Computer Simulation? (Oct 5, 2017)
Theoretical physicists have dispelled the idea we are living in a Matrix-style computer simulation, calculating that not all aspects of our reality can be simulated efficiently using computers. The simulation theory has been a staple of science fiction for decades and was detailed in a 2003 paper by the philosopher Nick Bostrom. On the basis of this paper, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has stated there is a 99.99 percent chance that the universe we inhabit is a computer simulation, while physic...
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Teleoperating Robots with Virtual Reality (Oct 5, 2017)
Many manufacturing jobs require a physical presence to operate machinery. But what if such jobs could be done remotely? This week researchers from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) presented a virtual-reality (VR) system that lets you teleoperate a robot using an Oculus Rift headset. The system embeds the user in a VR control room with multiple sensor displays, making it feel like they are inside the robot's head. By using gestures, users can match their movem...
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These Companies Pledged $300 Million to Boost Computer Science in Schools (Oct 4, 2017)
A group of major companies led by the technology industry announced plans Tuesday to commit more than $300 million over five years to boost computer science programs among younger students., Facebook, Alphabet, Microsoft, and announced in Detroit they are committing $50 million for kindergarten through 12th grade educational efforts, the Internet Association, a trade group representing tech companies that helped organize the effort said. Lockheed Martin agreed to commit...
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How Relevant is a Computer Science Degree to a Career in ICT? (Oct 4, 2017)
Last year, Amina (not real name), a prospective computer programmer who participated in the Andela boot camp decided that her four-year-old son will not attend a Nigerian tertiary institution. She is grooming him to become a software developer and believes he will be better off spending four years as an Andela fellow rather than schooling in a regular university. Clara (not real name) on the other hand, recently registered her 16-year-old son to study computer science at one of the private unive...
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Filling the Pipeline for Computer Science Teachers (Oct 2, 2017)
It’s not easy to teach a subject in which you have no training. But Kristen Haubold, a computer science teacher at James Whitcomb Riley High School in South Bend, Indiana, was up for the challenge. Haubold arrived at Riley 5 years ago as a math teacher after graduating from Indiana University in Bloomington. A year later, Indiana began developing a new computer science requirement for elementary and high school students, and Haubold signed up for the course that the state was offering.

The State of Women in Computer Science: An Investigative Report (Oct 2, 2017)
In the classrooms at Georgia Tech, among the laptops and notebooks and lines of code, senior computer science major Marguerite Murrell likes to play a game she's dubbed "Count the Girls." "If I can keep it under two hands, then I win," Murrell said. "There are certainly some girls, probably more than some other computer science programs in the nation. But it's a lot of guys." Women earn only 18% of computer science bachelor's degrees in the United States. And leaders such as Apple CEO Tim Cook h...
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Video Gamers Have an Advantage in Learning (Oct 1, 2017)
Neuropsychologists of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum let video gamers compete against non-gamers in a learning competition. During the test, the video gamers performed significantly better and showed an increased brain activity in the brain areas that are relevant for learning. Prof Dr Boris Suchan, Sabrina Schenk and Robert Lech report their findings in the journal Behavioural Brain Research.

Team Builds Flexible New Platform for High-performance Electronics (Oct 1, 2017)
A team of University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers has created the most functional flexible transistor in the world—and with it, a fast, simple and inexpensive fabrication process that's easily scalable to the commercial level. It's an advance that could open the door to an increasingly interconnected world, enabling manufacturers to add "smart," wireless capabilities to any number of large or small products or objects—like wearable sensors and computers for people and animals—that curve,...
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Trump Wants to Commit $200 Million Per Year to Computer Science Education (Sep 26, 2017)
President Donald Trump will soon direct the Department of Education to commit $200 million every year to K-12 computer science education, which is marking as a victory for its nonprofit organization. As Recode reported earlier today, Trump’s memorandum calls on the Department of Education to commit at least $200 million of its grant funds to STEM education. “Today’s $200M per year commitment to computer science education marks a victory for, and for the movement we starte...
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The Gender Gap in Tech Isn't Set in Stone (Sep 26, 2017)
It is often said that women are absent from the sciences. But this is not true. Not anymore. Although a gender gap remains in the sciences overall, the gap is closing. Women are now more likely than men to earn undergraduate degrees in biology, and they are almost as likely as men to earn undergraduate degrees in chemistry and math. There are, however, several scientific disciplines that women are still much less likely than men to choose to study: computer science, engineering and physics.

Twitter Bots for Good: Study Reveals How Information Spreads on Social Media (Sep 25, 2017)
After an election year marked by heated exchanges and the distribution of fake news, Twitter bots earned a bad reputation -- but not all bots are bad, suggests a new study co-authored by Emilio Ferrara, a USC Information Sciences Institute computer scientist and a research assistant professor at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering's Department of Computer Science. In a large-scale experiment designed to analyze the spread of information on social networks, Ferrara and a team from the Technical...
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Soft Robotics: Self-Contained Soft Actuator Stronger than Natural Muscle (Sep 25, 2017)
Researchers at Columbia Engineering have solved a long-standing issue in the creation of untethered soft robots whose actions and movements can help mimic natural biological systems. A group in the Creative Machines lab led by Hod Lipson, professor of mechanical engineering, has developed a 3D-printable synthetic soft muscle, a one-of-a-kind artificial active tissue with intrinsic expansion ability that does not require an external compressor or high voltage equipment as previous muscles require...
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Computer Science Researcher Teams with Industry to Provide Facial Recognition Technology (Sep 24, 2017)
From security to self-driving cars, computer vision is becoming an important part of society, and the information technology industry is ramping up efforts in the area to capitalize on emerging opportunities. Vassilis Athitsos, an associate professor in the Computer Science and Engineering Department at The University of Texas at Arlington, is working with a $59,463 grant from Macnica Americas to evaluate existing deep learning methods for face detection and facial recognition to determine how t...
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The Race to Build a Computer Powerful Enough to Predict the Future (Sep 24, 2017)
In June, for the first time in two decades, the United States did not operate one of the top three most powerful computers in the world. Instead, China took the highest two slots, and Switzerland came in third, according to the Top500 list, a global ranking of the most powerful supercomputers on the planet. The two fastest supercomputers from China clock in at 93 and 33 petaflops. A petaflop is a unit of measuring computer performance that translates to 1,000,000,000,000,000 calculations per sec...
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ALCF Simulations Aim to Reduce Jet Engine Noise (Sep 23, 2017)
Humans make a lot of noise. The riffs of heavy metal bands like Metallica and Kiss have soared to levels in the 130-decibel range, levels sure to lead to auditory damage. But try as they might, bands just can’t compete with the decibel ranges produced by jet engines. They are, said Joe Nichols, among the loudest sources of human-made noise that exist. An assistant professor of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics at the University of Minnesota, Nichols is fascinated by sound and its ability to ...
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