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February 2018 — March 2018

Sewing Atomic Lattices Seamlessly Together (Mar 9, 2018)
Joining different kinds of materials can lead to all kinds of breakthroughs. It's an essential skill that allowed humans to make everything from skyscrapers (by reinforcing concrete with steel) to solar cells (by layering materials to herd along electrons).

Scientists Develop New Tool for Imprinting Biochips (Mar 9, 2018)
3-D printing has gained popularity in recent years as a means for creating a variety of functional products, from tools to clothing and medical devices. Now, the concept of multi-dimensional printing has helped a team of researchers at the Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC) at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York develop a new, potentially more efficient and cost-effective method for preparing biochips (also known as microarrays), which are used to screen for and analyze b...
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Fewer International Grad Students are Seeking Computer Science Degrees in the U.S. for the First Time in Years (Mar 8, 2018)
The number of international students enrolling in American universities is declining for the first time in years, amid volatile shifts in U.S. immigration policy. That’s according to the latest data from the federal government’s National Science Board. The number of international graduate students enrolled in U.S. science and engineering programs dropped 6 percent between 2016 and 2017 and 5 percent in non-science and engineering fields.

25 Years of Change in Computer Science (Mar 8, 2018)
The study of computer science has undergone sweeping change in the past couple of decades, right along with the technology itself. And Marty Guenther, who recently retired as undergraduate coordinator in the computer science department, has been both witness to that and a key participant during her 25 years at the University.

Google Moves Toward Quantum Supremacy with 72-Qubit Computer (Mar 6, 2018)
Researchers from Google are testing a quantum computer with 72 quantum bits, or qubits, scientists reported March 5 at a meeting of the American Physical Society — a big step up from the company’s previous nine-qubit chip.

Teaching Computers to Guide Science: Machine Learning Method Sees Forests and Trees (Mar 6, 2018)
While it may be the era of supercomputers and "big data," without smart methods to mine all that data, it's only so much digital detritus. Now researchers at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and UC Berkeley have come up with a novel machine learning method that enables scientists to derive insights from systems of previously intractable complexity in record time.

Striking Practical Computational Balance (Mar 5, 2018)
The phenomenal complexity of computing is not decreasing. Charts of growth, investment and scale continue to follow a logarithmic curve. But how is computational balance to be maintained with any level of objectivity under such extreme circumstances? How do we plan for this known, and yet highly unknown challenge of building balanced systems to operate at scale? The ever more bewildering set of options (e.g. price lists now have APIs) may, if not managed with utmost care, result in chaos and con...
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Part One: Deep Dive into 2018 Trends in Life Sciences HPC (Mar 5, 2018)
Life sciences is an interesting lens through which to see HPC. It is perhaps not an obvious choice, given life sciences’ relative newness as a heavy user of HPC. Even today, after a decade of steady adoption of advanced computing technologies including a growing portion of traditional HPC simulation and modeling, life sciences is dominated by data analytics – big data sets, petabyte storage requirements, and recently fast networking to handle the near real-time flood of data from experimenta...
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NREL Report Evaluates LiquidCool Solutions for the Datacenter (Mar 4, 2018)
NREL researchers are testing immersive liquid cooling technologies that could potentially bring huge energy savings to HPC datacenters. With worldwide datacenters consuming an estimated 70 billion kWh per year, a disruptive energy-saving solution is needed, and a liquid-submerged server (LSS) technology from LiquidCool Solutions might be the answer.

Importance of Using Data and Analysis in Higher Education (Mar 4, 2018)
For today’s education leaders, one ongoing challenge is to provide a quality learning experience for students while keeping the price of tuition affordable. As institutional expenditures continue to rise, University and College leadership continue to look for ways to be fiscally efficient, while also providing a positive experience for the student, from enrollment through graduation and beyond. Using the right data, in the right way, can help institutions and leaders keep up with this ongoing ...
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Smart Heat Control of Microchips (Mar 1, 2018)
Technological progress in the electronics sector, such as higher speeds, reduced costs, and smaller sizes, result in entirely new possibilities of automation and industrial production, without which "Industry 4.0" would not be feasible. In particular, miniaturization advanced considerably in the last years. Meanwhile, physical flow of a few electrons is sufficient to execute a software. But this progress also has its dark side.

Custom Carpentry with Help from Robots (Mar 1, 2018)
Every year thousands of carpenters injure their hands and fingers doing dangerous tasks such as sawing. In an effort to minimize injury and let carpenters focus on design and other bigger-picture tasks, a team from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has created AutoSaw, a system that lets nonexperts customize different items that can then be constructed with the help of robots.

Stretchable Health Sensor Could Improve Monitoring of Chronic Conditions (Mar 1, 2018)
A new type of flexible, wearable sensor could help people with chronic conditions like diabetes avoid the discomfort of regular pin-prick blood tests by monitoring the chemical composition of their sweat instead. In a new paper published in the journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics, a team of scientists from the University of Glasgow's School of Engineering outline how they have built a stretchable, wireless system which is capable of measuring the pH level of users' sweat.

And So It Begins…Again – The FY19 Exascale Budget Rollout (and things look good) (Feb 28, 2018)
On February 12, 2018, the Trump administration submitted its Fiscal Year 2019 (FY-19) budget to Congress. The good news for the U.S. exascale program is that the numbers look very good and the support appears to be strong. There is also the interesting addition of a funding request to support research in quantum computing. One of the challenges with the FY-19 budget request is that it is being made before the FY-18 budget has been fully resolved. The good news is that it looks like all the piece...
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UChicago Scientists to Lead $10 Million NSF 'Expedition' for Practical Quantum Computing (Feb 27, 2018)
University of Chicago computer scientists will lead a $10 million “expedition” into the burgeoning field of quantum computing, bringing applications of the nascent technology for computer science, physics, chemistry and other fields at least a decade closer to practical use.

Competitive Environment Drives Culture of Cheating in Computer Science Classes (Feb 27, 2018)
The number of Columbia students caught cheating in computer science classes has raised serious concerns among professors, a trend that brings to light the decreasing value of academic integrity among students and that could threaten the reputation of the department and the University. Professors point to specialized software that has made it increasingly easy to detect cheating in programming assignments to account for the rise in the number of students caught. Meanwhile, plagiarism itself may n...
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Computer Science for All: Can Schools Pull It Off? (Feb 26, 2018)
Alante Klyce wants to be a dancer. Yet here she is, inside a sun-filled classroom at Lindblom Math & Science Academy on the city’s South Side, throwing around tech-industry terms like "ideation" and working with friends to design her first mobile app. It’s all part of the introductory computer-science course that every student in Chicago must now take in order to graduate.

Making Quantum Computers Reliable (Feb 26, 2018)
Calculating machines that run on quantum bits (known as qubits, for short) are, by some accounts, the future of computation. Quantum computers have the theoretical advantage that they can solve with ease certain mathematical problems, such as the factorisation of large numbers, which are hard or impossible for classical machines.

'Memtransistor' Brings World Closer to Brain-Like Computing (Feb 25, 2018)
"Computers have separate processing and memory storage units, whereas the brain uses neurons to perform both functions," said Northwestern University's Mark C. Hersam. "Neural networks can achieve complicated computation with significantly lower energy consumption compared to a digital computer."

Real-time Captcha Technique Improves Biometric Authentication (Feb 25, 2018)
A new login authentication approach could improve the security of current biometric techniques that rely on video or images of users' faces. Known as Real-Time Captcha, the technique uses a unique "challenge" that's easy for humans -- but difficult for attackers who may be using machine learning and image generation software to spoof legitimate users.

The Ongoing Battle Between Quantum and Classical Computers (Feb 24, 2018)
A popular misconception is that the potential—and the limits—of quantum computing must come from hardware. In the digital age, we’ve gotten used to marking advances in clock speed and memory. Likewise, the 50-qubit quantum machines now coming online from the likes of Intel and IBM have inspired predictions that we are nearing “quantum supremacy”—a nebulous frontier where quantum computers begin to do things beyond the ability of classical machines.

AP Computer Science Sees Big Spike in Participation (Feb 24, 2018)
High school students — particularly girls and underrepresented minorities — had for years been slow to participate in AP computer science courses, but in the last year, the number of students taking the AP Computer Science exam has skyrocketed.

New Algorithm Can Pinpoint Mutations in Large Sections of the Human Genome (Feb 23, 2018)
A team of scientists has developed an algorithm that can accurately pinpoint, in large regions of the human genome, mutations favored by natural selection. The finding provides deeper insight into how evolution works, and ultimately could lead to better treatments for genetic disorders. For example, adaptation to chronic hypoxia at high altitude can suggest targets for cardiovascular and other ischemic diseases.

AI is Helping Seismologists Detect Earthquakes They’d Otherwise Miss (Feb 23, 2018)
Oklahoma never used to be known for its earthquakes. Before 2009, the state had roughly two quakes of magnitude three and above each year. (Magnitude three is when things shake on the shelf, but before houses start getting damaged.) In 2015, this tally rocketed to more than 900, though it’s calmed since, falling to 304 last year.

Inner Space (Feb 22, 2018)
Experiments can detect chemical changes on a scale as short as about a thousandth of a second. Most supercomputers can only simulate complex biomolecules for as long as a few millionths of a second. Scientists at the University of California, San Diego used the D.E. Shaw Research Anton supercomputer at PSC to understand what happens in that thousand-fold gap, between the snippets we understand from computer simulations to the longer responses we see when a protein, say, encounters a drug.

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