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July 2018 — August 2018

Computer Science Faculty Hiring Shouldn’t be a Black Box (Aug 12, 2018)
Only 21.9 percent of the students in UT’s Department of Computer Science are female, according to the CS department. The gender gap in computer science is also apparent in its staff — only 4 percent of faculty in the department are women. The CS department desperately needs more gender diversity, but hiring new faculty members is a complex process that requires more than just a symbolic push for equality.



Senate Honors Trailblazing Women in Computer Science (Aug 11, 2018)
Tucked away amid the back and forth of appropriations debate last week, the Senate honored two female trailblazers in math and computer science, adopting resolutions recognizing Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper. Sponsored by Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden and Nebraska Republican Deb Fischer, the measures would designate Oct. 9, 2018, as “National Ada Lovelace Day” and honor the life and legacy of Hopper. “Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper were pioneers in STEM,” Fischer said in a statement introduci...
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Universities Work to Optimize High-Performance Computing Resources (Aug 10, 2018)
For higher education institutions, high-performance computing is essential to enabling academic and scientific research arms to support and improve pathways for their researchers. To help uncover issues in their networks and maintain optimal performance, universities are starting to ask the right questions: Who is using the network? For what? How much bandwidth are projects consuming?



Rescale Reels in $32 Million Series B to Bring High Performance Computing to Cloud (Aug 10, 2018)
Rescale, the startup that wants to bring high performance computing to the cloud, announced a $32 million Series B investment today led by Initialized Capital, Keen Venture Partners and SineWave Ventures. They join a list of well-known early investors that included Sam Altman, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, Paul Graham, Ron Conway, Chris Dixon, Peter Thiel and others. Today’s investment brings the total amount raised to $52 million, according to the company.



Popular Encryption Software: Researchers Help Close Security Hole (Aug 9, 2018)
Cybersecurity researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have helped close a security vulnerability that could have allowed hackers to steal encryption keys from a popular security package by briefly listening in on unintended "side channel" signals from smartphones. The attack, which was reported to software developers before it was publicized, took advantage of programming that was, ironically, designed to provide better security. The attack used intercepted electromagnetic signals fro...
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Machine Learning Technique Reconstructs Images Passing Through a Multimode Fiber (Aug 9, 2018)
Through innovative use of a neural network that mimics image processing by the human brain, a research team reports accurate reconstruction of images transmitted over optical fibers for distances of up to a kilometer. In The Optical Society's journal for high-impact research, Optica, the researchers report teaching a type of machine learning algorithm known as a deep neural network to recognize images of numbers from the pattern of speckles they create when transmitted to the far end of a fiber.



How a Computer Learns to Dribble: Practice, Practice, Practice (Aug 8, 2018)
Basketball players need lots of practice before they master the dribble, and it turns out that's true for computer-animated players as well. By using deep reinforcement learning, players in video basketball games can glean insights from motion capture data to sharpen their dribbling skills. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and DeepMotion Inc., a California company that develops smart avatars, have for the first time developed a physics-based, real-time method for controlling animated ch...
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Can a Computer Write a Sonnet as Well as Shakespeare? (Aug 8, 2018)
AI or not AI: that is the question. Computer scientists in Australia teamed up with an expert in the University of Toronto's department of English to design an algorithm that writes poetry following the rules of rhyme and metre. To test their results, the researchers asked people online to distinguish between human- and bot-written verses. The best version of the algorithm fooled people nearly 50 per cent of the time.



Supercomputing the ‘How’ of Chemical Reactions (Aug 6, 2018)
Sometimes, when experimental scientists get their hands on a supercomputer, it can change the course of their careers and open up new questions for exploration.This was the case with Abdurrahman and Tülay Ateşin, husband and wife chemists, collaborators and professors at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Experimentalists by training, when they moved to Texas in 2013, a colleague told them that through the University of Texas Research Cyberinfrastructure initiative they had free access...
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DARPA Selects Research Projects for Next-Gen Processing Technology (Aug 6, 2018)
DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) has announced the academic and industry research groups selected to develop new computing technologies to drive computing performance post Moore’s Law. At the Electronics Resurgence Initiative (ERI) Summit, held last week in San Francisco, DARPA announced research teams that will work on multiple projects under three main themes: reconfigurable hardware; modern System-on-Chip (SoC) designs; and novel materials and approaches to circuit integrat...
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The Ethics of Computer Science: This Researcher Has a Controversial Proposal (Aug 5, 2018)
In the midst of growing public concern over artificial intelligence (AI), privacy and the use of data, Brent Hecht has a controversial proposal: the computer-science community should change its peer-review process to ensure that researchers disclose any possible negative societal consequences of their work in papers, or risk rejection.



Artificial Intelligence has Learned to Probe the Minds of Other Computers (Aug 5, 2018)
Anyone who’s had a frustrating interaction with Siri or Alexa knows that digital assistants just don’t get humans. What they need is what psychologists call theory of mind, an awareness of others’ beliefs and desires. Now, computer scientists have created an artificial intelligence (AI) that can probe the “minds” of other computers and predict their actions, the first step to fluid collaboration among machines—and between machines and people.



Has Andela Disrupted Nigeria’s Computer Science Curriculum? (Aug 4, 2018)
Run by Methodist missionaries at the time, Nigeria’s first primary school opened in Badagry, Lagos in 1843, marking the beginning of formal education in Nigeria. Then came the CMS grammar school (also in Lagos) in 1859 and by 1914 there were 91 mission schools run by missionaries and 59 run by the government of the day.



Studying This is ‘The Most Valuable Thing You Can Do For Your Career’ (Aug 4, 2018)
If Reddit and Initialized Capital co-founder Alexis Ohanian could give his 20-year-old self one piece of advice, it would be to stick with computer science. He took the one CS class offered at his high school in Columbia, Maryland, and even thought he might become a programmer, he said during a Facebook Live Q&A hosted by 1850 Brand Coffee. But when he got to the University of Virginia and met a few computer science majors, he lost confidence.



Looking for a Computer Science Internship? Try These Strategies (Aug 3, 2018)
I think that a lot of companies are looking for interns who they know are capable of building things and getting things done in practice. This should (hopefully) align with your interests as members of the CS world, so the answer becomes simple — start building things! Of course, this shouldn’t be something you force yourself to do. If you don’t like web development, don’t lock yourself in a room memorizing Javascript. The great part about CS is that so many skills transfer from place to...
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Educators Explore How to Bring Computer Science Learning to All Students (Aug 3, 2018)
Some teachers have incorporated computer science into their lessons, but what about the students who don’t have those teachers? Many schools offer coding classes, but what about the students who don’t sign up for them? How helpful is an after-school robotics club if students without transportation can’t participate?



NIST Chip Lights Up Optical Neural Network Demo (Aug 2, 2018)
Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have made a silicon chip that distributes optical signals precisely across a miniature brain-like grid, showcasing a potential new design for neural networks.



Penn Teams Up with Coursera to Offer Fully Online Computer Science Degree (Aug 2, 2018)
The University of Pennsylvania will offer a completely online master’s degree in computer science, in a bid to make the field more accessible to non-traditional learners. Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science will begin offering an online Master of Computer and Information Technology (MCIT) degree beginning in January 2019, the Ivy League university.



A Neural Network that Operates at the Speed of Light (Aug 1, 2018)
A team of researchers at the University of California has developed a novel kind of neural network—one that uses light instead of electricity to arrive at results. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes their ideas, their working device, its performance, and the types of applications they believe could be well served by such a network.



World-First Quantum Computer Simulation of Chemical Bonds Using Trapped Ions (Aug 1, 2018)
An international group of researchers has achieved the world's first multi-qubit demonstration of a quantum chemistry calculation performed on a system of trapped ions, one of the leading hardware platforms in the race to develop a universal quantum computer. The research, led by University of Sydney physicist Dr Cornelius Hempel, explores a promising pathway for developing effective ways to model chemical bonds and reactions using quantum computers.



AI and the Emerging Crisis of Trust (Jul 31, 2018)
Earlier this month, a newspaper in Ohio invited its Facebook followers to read the Declaration of Independence, which it posted in 12 bite-sized chunks in the days leading up to July 4. The first nine snippets posted fine, but the 10th was held up after Facebook flagged the post as “hate speech.” Apparently, the company’s algorithms didn’t appreciate Thomas Jefferson’s use of the term “Indian Savages.”



Bringing Machine Learning Within Reach of Enterprises (Jul 31, 2018)
Enterprises that want to leverage the huge amounts of data they are generating to gain useful insights and make faster and better business decisions are going to have to use machine learning at scale for modeling and training. It’s commonplace among hyperscalers like Google, Amazon and Microsoft, and larger corporations are rapidly embracing the technologies.



AI vs. Humans: Upending the Division of Labor (Jul 30, 2018)
Despite transitional growing pains, the promise of artificial intelligence (AI) in innovation and decision-making offers a future with better decisions made at the command of but not by humans. That’s what Pradeep Dubey, director of the Parallel Computing Laboratory at Intel, told attendees of a plenary talk at the PEARC18 conference in Pittsburgh, Pa. “Humans and machines have had this very nice separation of labor,” Dubey said. “Humans make decisions; machines crunch numbers … but hu...
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Next Generation Data Management Requirements (Jul 30, 2018)
Next generation workloads in high performance computing (HPC) involve more unstructured data than ever before. Single files can be in the multi-petabyte range, with millions of files in a directory, possibly billions of files within a file system, and requiring hundreds of petabytes of capacity for a file system. The sheer volume of data places ever greater demands for data management capabilities to streamline data workflows, minimize Total Cost of Ownership and maintain data integrity. Simpl...
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Killer Robots: The Question of How to Control Lethal Autonomous Weapons (Jul 29, 2018)
The computer scientist who has become a leading voice on the threat posed by killer robots describes himself as an “accidental activist.” But Professor Toby Walsh, a leading artificial intelligence researcher who first started sounding the warning over use of AI to develop lethal autonomous weapons in 2015, has helped create a global movement among his peers.

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