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January 2017 — February 2017

Wearable AI System Can Detect a Conversation's Tone (Feb 10, 2017)
It's a fact of nature that a single conversation can be interpreted in very different ways. For people with anxiety or conditions such as Asperger's, this can make social situations extremely stressful. But what if there was a more objective way to measure and understand our interactions? Researchers from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and Institute of Medical Engineering and Science say that they've gotten closer to a potential solution: an artificially intelligen...
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Advanced Robotic Bat's Flight Characteristics Simulates the Real Thing (Feb 10, 2017)
Bats have long captured the imaginations of scientists and engineers with their unrivaled agility and maneuvering characteristics, achieved by functionally versatile dynamic wing conformations as well as more than forty active and passive joints on the wings. However, their wing flexibility and complex wing kinematics pose significant technological challenges for robot modelling, design, and control. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Caltech have developed a self-...
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San Francisco Doctor's Office is Powered by Sensors and AI (Feb 9, 2017)
It felt like a check-up from the future. Instead of a receptionist, the foyer at Forward's San Francisco doctor's office features a glass case full of Fitbits and connected blood pressure cuffs, iPads, and an inconspicuous body sensor. Sensors and technology are baked into care, and Forward, which opens Tuesday, has doctors and nurses who are on call 24/7. Founded by former Googler and AI pioneer Adrian Aoun, Forward is designed to be a primary care facility, including services for women's healt...
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Physicists Call for a Soccer-Field-Sized Quantum Computer (Feb 9, 2017)
Physicists have sketched a blueprint for building a quantum computer using existing technology that would be powerful enough to crack important and currently unsolvable problems, such as factoring enormous numbers. Such a machine would need to be larger than a football pitch and would cost at least £100 million (US$126 million) to make, its designers say. “Yes it will be big, yes it will be expensive — but it absolutely can be built right now,” says quantum physicist Winfried Hensinger of...
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Transparent Gel-based Robots Can Catch and Release Live Fish (Feb 8, 2017)
Engineers at MIT have fabricated transparent, gel-based robots that move when water is pumped in and out of them. The bots can perform a number of fast, forceful tasks, including kicking a ball underwater, and grabbing and releasing a live fish. The robots are made entirely of hydrogel -- a tough, rubbery, nearly transparent material that's composed mostly of water.

New Wave of Robots Set to Deliver the Goods (Feb 8, 2017)
The robots of the future will be coming soon, rolling along at a lumbering pace with those goods you just ordered. The six-wheeled, knee-high robots from startup Starship Technologies are part of a new wave of automated systems taking aim at the "last mile" delivery of goods to consumers. Starship is launching a pilot project of robotic deliveries of parcels, groceries and prepared foods in early February in the US capital Washington, with a similar test taking place in Redwood City, California....
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What Happened to Women in Computer Science? (Feb 7, 2017)
Hidden Figures, the just-released movie, highlights the roles of three black female mathematicians (human computers) working at NASA who helped win the Space Race. At one time, computer science was originally a female-dominated area, and computing was considered “women’s work.” Fast forward to 2017 and women in computer science aren’t common. The number of women receiving degrees in this now male-dominated area has declined. Granted, women total 48.5% of Carnegie Mellon’s computer scie...
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Google Shows Off 'Nightmare-Inducing' Robot (Feb 7, 2017)
The latest robot from Google can twirl with the grace of a figure skater and jump over tall obstacles. The company's Boston Dynamics unit recently showed off a new robot called Handle. Resembling a human with a torso, two arms and legs, Handle's feet have been replaced by wheels. At a recent event, Boston Dynamics teased the robot, which will be able to carry objects and perform other tasks.

Cheyenne Supercomputer Triples Scientific Capability at NCAR (Feb 6, 2017)
The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is launching operations this month of one of the world’s most powerful and energy-efficient supercomputers, providing the nation with a major new tool to advance understanding of the atmospheric and related Earth system sciences. Named “Cheyenne,” the 5.34-petaflop system is capable of more than triple the amount of scientific computing performed by the previous NCAR supercomputer, Yellowstone. It also is three times more energy efficient...
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Brain-computer Interface Allows Completely Locked-in People to Communicate (Feb 6, 2017)
A computer interface that can decipher the thoughts of people who are unable to communicate could revolutionize the lives of those living with completely locked-in syndrome, according to a new paper publishing in PLOS Biology. Counter to expectations, the participants in the study reported being "happy," despite their extreme condition. The research was conducted by a multinational team, led by Professor Niels Birbaumer, at the Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengineering in Geneva, Switzerland.

Preventing Blood Clots with a New Metric for Heart Function (Feb 5, 2017)
The heart is a wonder of design – a pump that can function for 80 years, and billions of heartbeats, without breaking down. But when it does malfunction, the results can be dire. In research reported in the International Journal of Cardiology, scientists from Johns Hopkins University and Ohio State University presented a new method for predicting those most at risk for thrombus, or blood clots, in the heart. The critical factor, the researchers found, is the degree to which the mitral jet pene...
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Computer Cluster Will Calculate Gravitational Waves Faster (Feb 5, 2017)
The new supercomputer "Minerva" has been put into operation at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute, AEI). With 9,504 compute cores, 38 TeraByte memory and a peak performance of 302.4 TeraFlop/s it is more than six times as powerful as its predecessor. The scientists of the department "Astrophysical and Cosmological Relativity" can now compute significantly more gravitational waveforms and also carry out more complex simulations.

A Rising Peptide (Feb 4, 2017)
A team of researchers led by biophysicists at the University of Washington have come one step closer to designing tailor-made drug molecules that are more precise and carry fewer side effects than most existing therapeutic compounds. With the help of the Mira supercomputer, located at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, the scientists have successfully designed and verified stable versions of synthetic peptides, componen...
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Why Building a Diverse Workforce Requires Computer Science (Feb 4, 2017)
In the Silicon Valley, they call it the “3 percent problem.” African-Americans and Latino/Hispanics make up a tiny fraction of the overwhelmingly white, male-dominated workforce of major technology companies. No leader of the top 10 U.S.-based technology companies is African-American or Latino/Hispanic, and only one is a woman—Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM.

China to Develop Prototype Super, Super Computer in 2017 (Feb 3, 2017)
China plans to develop a prototype exascale computer by the end of the year, state media said Tuesday, as it seeks to win a global race to be the first to build a machine capable of a billion, billion calculations per second. If successful, the achievement would cement its place as a leading power in the world of supercomputing. The Asian giant built the world's fastest supercomputer, the Sunway TaihuLight machine, in June last year, which was twice as fast as the previous number one. It used on...
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Artificial Intelligence Is About to Conquer Poker, But Not Without Human Help (Feb 3, 2017)
AS FRIDAY NIGHT became Saturday morning, Dong Kim sounded defeated. Kim is a high-stakes poker player who specializes in no-limit Texas Hold ‘Em. The 28-year-old Korean-American typically matches wits with other top players on high-stakes internet sites or at the big Las Vegas casinos. But this month, he’s in Pittsburgh, playing poker against an artificially intelligent machine designed by two computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon.

OpenPOWER Academic Group Carries 2016 Momentum to New Year (Feb 2, 2017)
Academia has always been a leader in pushing the boundaries of science and technology, with some of the most brilliant minds in the world focused on how they can improve the tools at their disposal to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges. That’s why, as the Leader of the OpenPOWER Academic Discussion Group, I believe working with academics in university and research centers to develop and adopt OpenPOWER technology is key to growing the ecosystem. The Academia Group is enabling...
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MIT Lincoln Laboratory Takes the Mystery Out of Supercomputing (Feb 2, 2017)
The introduction of multicore and manycore processors capable of handling highly parallel workflows is changing the face of high performance computing (HPC). Many supercomputer users, like the big DOE labs, are implementing these next generation systems. They are now engaged in significant code modernization efforts to adapt their key present and future applications to the new processing paradigm, and to bring their internal and external users up to speed. For some in the HPC community, this cre...
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Teaching Computers to Recognize Unhealthy Guts (Feb 1, 2017)
A new proof-of-concept study by researchers from the University of California San Diego has succeeded in training computers to “learn” what a healthy versus an unhealthy gut microbiome looks like based on its genetic makeup. Since this can be done by genetically sequencing fecal samples, the research suggests there is great promise for new diagnostic tools that are, unlike blood draws, non-invasive.

Industry Program Study Labeled ‘Key Scientific Article' by Engineering Publication (Feb 1, 2017)
Advances in Engineering—which disseminates the most important developments in engineering fields for their highly technical/academic audience—has recently labeled a paper that came from the National Center for Supercomputing Application's (NCSA) Industry Program as a "key scientific article contributing to science and engineering research excellence."

Michela Taufer Named SC19 Chair (Jan 31, 2017)
The University of Delaware’s Michela Taufer has been elected general chair of the 2019 International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis (SC19). Sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery and IEEE, SC is the primary international high-performance computing (HPC) conference. “We are excited to have the benefit of Dr. Taufer’s leadership for SC19,” says John West, director of strategic initiatives at the Texas Advanced Computing Center and ...
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Off-Kilter Harmonies (Jan 31, 2017)
Asegun Henry wants to avert the worst effects of climate change by finding new forms of renewable energy and improving the materials that contribute to energy use. "The way we produce electricity today pollutes the environment," said Henry, a mechanical engineering professor at Georgia Tech. "My research is primarily centered on converting us from a fossil fuel-based infrastructure to a renewable- or solar–based infrastructure so we can rely on renewable forms of energy that don't pollute the ...
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HP Labs Builds Experimental Optical Processor (Jan 27, 2017)
According to a report in IEEE Spectrum, the chip design implements an Ising machine, which can take on the computational behavior of magnetic material. In a real magnet, atoms can “spin” up or down to represent different states. In the optical approach, magnetic spin is simulated using a combination of light beams, wave guides, interferometers, and heater wires – all integrated on-chip. The spins in HPE’s optical implementation are represented by “two phases of light that are 180 degre...
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Remote Visualization: An Integral Technology for Upstream Oil & Gas (Jan 27, 2017)
As the exploration and production (E&P) of natural resources evolves into an even more complex and vital task, visualization technology has become integral for the upstream oil and gas industry. To assess potential drilling sites, monitor wells, and track reservoir depletion, geoscientists, geophysicists, and engineers use large seismic datasets to build 3D models of the earth’s subsurface. Remote visualization has been used to access, interpret, and manipulate these models for over 30 years.

Making AI Systems that See the World as Humans Do (Jan 26, 2017)
A Northwestern University team developed a new computational model that performs at human levels on a standard intelligence test. This work is an important step toward making artificial intelligence systems that see and understand the world as humans do.

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