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April 2017 — June 2017

LIGO Detects Gravitational Waves for Third Time (Jun 8, 2017)
A new window in astronomy has been firmly opened with a third detection of gravitational waves. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory(LIGO) has made yet another detection of ripples in space and time, demonstrating that the detection of gravitational waves may soon become commonplace. As was the case with the first two detections, the waves were generated when two black holes collided to form a larger black hole. The newfound black hole, formed by the merger, has a mass about 4...
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Why Fewer Kids from Poor Families Become Engineers (Jun 8, 2017)
A month into the academic year, Ashok Kumar Tyagi, principal of the evening shift at Sangam Vihar’s C Block Government Boys Senior Secondary School, had a problem. His physics teacher for Class 12 had retired and he didn’t have the money to pay his chemistry teacher. “Our chemistry teacher is teaching without a salary,” said Tyagi, one afternoon in his office this May. “But he knows the system — stoicism in adversity.”

How to Prepare the Next Generation for Jobs in the AI Economy (Jun 7, 2017)
Most of us regard self-driving cars, voice assistants, and other artificially intelligent technologies as revolutionary. For the next generation, however, these wonders will have always existed. AI for them will be more than a tool; in many cases, AI will be their co-worker and a ubiquitous part of their lives. If the next generation is to use AI and big data effectively – if they’re to understand their inherent limitations, and build even better platforms and intelligent systems — we need...
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Technology in Education: Is It Worth the Investment? (Jun 7, 2017)
Our world has been dramatically changed with the advances and investments in technology through various tools, applications and systems developed over the past several decades. This holds true in our personal lives as well as our working environments. For example, our nation annually spends billions on technology for education with many questioning the return on investment. Some would say the current K-12 education system is woefully deficient when it comes to preparing graduates with the necess...
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Advancing Cancer Immunotherapy with Computer Simulations and Data Analysis (Jun 6, 2017)
The body has a natural way of fighting cancer – it's called the immune system, and it is tuned to defend our cells against outside infections and internal disorder. But occasionally, it needs a helping hand. Immunotherapy fights cancer by supercharging the immune system's natural defenses or contributing additional immune elements that can help the body kill cancer cells.

Losing Sleep Over Climate Change (Jun 6, 2017)
Climate change may keep you awake – and not just metaphorically. Nights that are warmer than normal can harm human sleep, researchers show in a new paper, with the poor and elderly most affected. According to their findings, if climate change is not addressed, temperatures in 2050 could cost people in the United States millions of additional nights of insufficient sleep per year. By 2099, the figure could rise by several hundred million more nights of lost sleep annually.

Mind-controlled Device Helps Stroke Patients Retrain Brains to Move Paralyzed Hands (Jun 5, 2017)
Stroke patients who learned to use their minds to open and close a device fitted over their paralyzed hands gained some control over their hands, according to a new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. By mentally controlling the device with the help of a brain-computer interface, participants trained the uninjured parts of their brains to take over functions previously performed by injured areas of the brain, the researchers said.

The 15-year-old Developer Making a Difference One App at a Time (Jun 5, 2017)
Like many developers about to attend their first major developer conference, Amanda Southworth is looking forward to the week-long event. Besides Monday's keynote, when Apple will unveil the next version of iOS, MacOS and maybe even some new hardware, there will be deep dives into new developer tools and countless networking opportunities. That's enough for any developer to get excited about, but Southworth is not like most other developers.

Thomas Zacharia Named Director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Jun 4, 2017)
Thomas Zacharia, who built Oak Ridge National Laboratory into a global supercomputing power, has been selected as the laboratory’s next director by UT-Battelle, the partnership that operates ORNL for the U.S. Department of Energy. “Thomas has a compelling vision for the future of ORNL that is directly aligned with the U.S. Department of Energy’s strategic priorities,” said Joe DiPietro, chair of the UT-Battelle Board of Governors and president of the University of Tennessee.

Scientists Slash Computations for Deep Learning (Jun 4, 2017)
Rice University computer scientists have adapted a widely used technique for rapid data lookup to slash the amount of computation—and thus energy and time—required for deep learning, a computationally intense form of machine learning. "This applies to any deep-learning architecture, and the technique scales sublinearly, which means that the larger the deep neural network to which this is applied, the more the savings in computations there will be," said lead researcher Anshumali Shrivastava,...
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Exascale Escapes 2018 Budget Axe; Rest of Science Suffers (May 25, 2017)
President Trump’s proposed $4.1 trillion FY 2018 budget is good for U.S. exascale computing development, but grim for the rest of science and technology spending. As a total crosscut of the DOE Office of Science and the National Nuclear Security Administration, exascale-focused activities receive $508 million, a full 77 percent boost over FY17 enacted levels. The hike puts the U.S. on track to stand up an exascale capable machine by 2021.

The Rise of AI Marks an End to CPU Dominated Computing (May 25, 2017)
Just as Intel, the king of CPUs and the very bloodstream of computing announced that it is ending its Intel Development Forum (IDF) annual event, this week in San Jose, NVIDIA, the king of GPUs and the fuel of Artificial Intelligence is holding its biggest GPU Technology Conference (GTC) annual event yet. Coincidence? Nope. With something north of 95 per cent market share in laptops, desktops, and servers, Intel-the-company is far from even looking weak.

New Math Techniques to Improve Computational Efficiency (May 5, 2017)
Mathematical and algorithmic developments along these lines are necessary for enabling the detailed study of complex hydrocarbon molecules that are relevant in engine combustion. Existing methods to approximate potential energy functions at the quantum scale need too much computer power and are thus limited to small molecules. Sandia researchers say their technique will speed up quantum mechanical computations and improve predictions made by theoretical chemistry models. Given the computational ...
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Closing The Gender Gap In Computer Science (May 5, 2017)
It’s no secret that women are underrepresented in the tech industry, making up about one-quarter of the workforce. And women are less likely to pursue advanced high school coursework or college majors that lead to careers in the high-paying, high-demand tech sector. As a result, policymakers and pundits often focus their attention on the most obvious pain points; developing high school programs and pathway programs designed to drum up interest in STEM subjects that graduates can pursue in coll...
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Hey, Computer Scientists Stop Hating Humanities (May 1, 2017)
As a computer science PhD student, I am a disciple of big data. I see no ground too sacred for statistics: I have used it to study everything from sex to Shakespeare, and earned angry retorts for these attempts to render the ineffable mathematical. At Stanford I was given, as a teenager, weapons both elegant and lethal—algorithms that could pick out the terrorists most worth targeting in a network, detect someone’s dissatisfaction with the government from their online writing.

Number of Students Who Quit Computer Science Falls (May 1, 2017)
The number of computer science students dropping out of their course after first year is showing a welcome improvement. However, computing and other courses with a high maths content, such as engineering and construction, are still losing proportionately more first-year students than other disciplines. Overall, there has been a small decrease in college drop-out rates, although more than 6,200 'freshers' in 2013/14 did not continue into second year. Students from farming backgrounds, and female ...
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2-D Materials Can Conduct Electricity at Almost the Speed of Light (Apr 30, 2017)
In three separate studies appearing this month in Nature, Science Advances and Nature Materials, UCI researchers and colleagues from UC Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Princeton University, Fudan University and the University of Maryland explored the physics behind the 2-D states of novel materials and determined they could push computers to new heights of speed and power. The common threads running through the papers are that the research is conducted at extremely cold temperat...
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Artificial Intelligence Can Accurately Predict Future Heart Disease and Strokes, Study Finds (Apr 30, 2017)
Computers that can teach themselves from routine clinical data are potentially better at predicting cardiovascular risk than current standard medical risk models, according to new research at the University of Nottingham. The team of primary care researchers and computer scientists compared a set of standard guidelines from the American College of Cardiology (ACC) with four 'machine-learning' algorithms – these analyse large amounts of data and self-learn patterns within the data to make predi...
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ACM SIGHPC/Intel Computational & Data Science Fellowships (Apr 29, 2017)
ACM SIGHPC and Intel have partnered to create Computational and Data Science Fellowships, a 5-year program to increase the diversity of students pursuing graduate degrees in data science and computational science. Specifically targeted at women or students from racial/ethnic backgrounds that have not traditionally participated in the computing field, the program is open to students pursuing degrees at institutions anywhere in the world.

How Technology Can Help Solve Societal Problems (Apr 29, 2017)
As Charles Dickens so astutely observed about life during the French Revolution in “A Tale of Two Cities,” it was the best and worst of times. One could say the same thing today. The Fourth Industrial Revolution of technology networks and platforms could usher in an era of mass societal disruption — as well as unprecedented social cooperation. Whether the latter would prevail depends on the ability of nonprofit entities and the broader social sector to boost their collective impact by adop...
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Sensor-filled Glove Could Help Doctors Take Guesswork out of Physical Exams (Apr 28, 2017)
Everyone experiences stiff muscles from time to time, whether after a rigorous workout, in cold weather, or after falling asleep in an unusual position. People with cerebral palsy, stroke and multiple sclerosis, however, live with stiff muscles every single day, making everyday tasks such as extending an arm extremely difficult and painful for them. And since there isn't a foolproof way to objectively rate muscle stiffness, these patients often receive doses of medication that are too low or too...
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Why It's Really Hard to Pitch a Green Energy Startup (Apr 28, 2017)
Three Stanford graduates figured out a way to turn carbon dioxide into fuel. A few years have passed, and their idea has since become a company -- Opus 12 -- complete with a prototype, funding and a plan for a first commercial unit. Opus 12 is one of the lucky ones. Clean energy startups face challenges that software startups don't. Most entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley need minimal supplies -- often they can build their products on their computers. But those who try to bring a science-based conc...
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ACM SIGHPC/Intel Computational & Data Science Fellowships (Apr 27, 2017)
ACM SIGHPC and Intel have partnered to create Computational and Data Science Fellowships, a 5-year program to increase the diversity of students pursuing graduate degrees in data science and computational science. Specifically targeted at women or students from racial/ethnic backgrounds that have not traditionally participated in the computing field, the program is open to students pursuing degrees at institutions anywhere in the world.

Quality over Quantity: The New Challenge Facing Computer Science Education (Apr 27, 2017)
“In the new economy, computer science isn’t an optional skill – it’s a basic skill, right along with the three “Rs.” President Obama made this bold declaration in January 2016, when he announced his Computer Science for All initiative, designed to expand computer science classes in public schools. While this presidential push marked the first concerted federal effort on the topic, the movement for expanded computer science education started long before. As early as 2009, the organiza...
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Learning To Code Requires You To Take Initiative (Apr 26, 2017)
Computer Science is not teaching me programming, it is teaching me maths. What can I do to use my coding knowledge to program apps, etc.? Well, what's stopping you? Go program. Stop waiting for someone else to hold your hand and physically press your fingers to the keys. You are learning programming. You're learning the fundamentals. You're learning different ways of storing data. You might end up using those ways directly, or it might just stretch your mind and you'll create your own way of sto...
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