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July 2019 — November 2019

Institutions Must Better Support Students’ Definition of Their Success (Nov 26, 2019)
Students have always arrived at institutions of higher education filled with hopes and expectations. For today’s students, however, attaining a traditional degree is only one possible goal among many, and what constitutes success for them is equally varied.

Creating a Balanced Meal of Data (Nov 25, 2019)
Finding the ‘sweet spot’ of data needs and consumption is critical to a business. Without enough, the business model under performs. Too much and you run the risk of compromised security and protection. Measuring what data intake is needed – like a balanced diet – is key to optimum performance and output. A healthy diet of data will set a company on the road to maximum results without drifting into red areas either side.

Doing the Math on Future Exascale Supercomputers (Nov 25, 2019)
We are not shy of playing guessing games here at The Next Platform, as you all well know. And Intel and Cray have left us with a few big ones with regard to its future “Aurora A21” exascale system that Intel is the prime contractor for and Cray is the manufacturing subcontractor for at Argonne National Laboratory. But some of the pieces of the puzzle are falling into place at the SC19 supercomputer conference in Denver.

Katherine Yelick Recognized for Outstanding Leadership in HPC (Nov 24, 2019)
Katherine Yelick, the associate laboratory director for Computing Sciences at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at UC Berkeley, has been honored by HPCwire as their Editor’s Choice for Outstanding Leadership in HPC.

How Deep Learning is Driving New Science (Nov 24, 2019)
Deep learning has seen a huge rise in popularity over the last five years in both enterprise and scientific applications. While the first algorithms were created almost 20 years ago with the development of artificial neural networks in 2000, the technology has come of age due to the massive increases in compute power, development of GPU technologies, and the availability of data to train these systems.

High Performance Computing: Do You Need It? (Oct 4, 2019)
In today's data-driven world, high performance computing (HPC) is emerging as the go-to platform for enterprises looking to gain deep insights into areas as diverse as genomics, computational chemistry, financial risk modeling and seismic imaging. Initially embraced by research scientists who needed to perform complex mathematical calculations, HPC is now gaining the attention of a wider number of enterprises spanning an array of fields.

Advice for Future Computer Science Majors (Oct 4, 2019)
Computer sciences ranks third on the list of “Hardest College Majors for the Brave,” according to This can be intimidating for students looking into this major, but some current students have advice to prospectives. Robby James Breidenbaugh, a junior studying computer science, provided some advice and insight to students considering the major. “I was originally an accounting major,” Breidenbaugh said. “I took CS101 because my dad is an IT guy, so I thought I might b...
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Putting Computer Science to Work Curbing Poverty (Oct 3, 2019)
Like many ambitious young adults, Fernanda Sesto ’23 arrived at college with her LinkedIn page already well established. On it, she wrote, “I understand the power of technology, so I’m using it to pursue social equality.” Sesto, a native of Uruguay and a first-year computer science major at the University of Rochester, volunteered in a Latin American non-profit organization called TECHO, helping residents of poor neighborhoods carry out infrastructure projects involving streets, parks, h...
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States Boost Computer Science Education Efforts (Oct 3, 2019)
ONLY 45% OF HIGH schools in the U.S. teach computer science, and females and minority students are still underrepresented in these classes, according to a report released Wednesday by Advocacy Coalition, the Computer Science Teachers Association and the Expanding Computing Education Pathways Alliance.

Using Math to Blend Musical Notes Seamlessly (Oct 2, 2019)
In music, "portamento" is a term that's been used for hundreds of years, referring to the effect of gliding a note at one pitch into a note of a lower or higher pitch. But only instruments that can continuously vary in pitch—such as the human voice, string instruments, and trombones—can pull off the effect.

New Method Improves Measurement of Animal Behaviour Using Deep Learning (Oct 2, 2019)
A new toolkit goes beyond existing machine learning methods by measuring body posture in animals with high speed and accuracy. Developed by researchers from the Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour at the University of Konstanz and the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, this deep learning toolkit, called DeepPoseKit, combines previous methods for pose estimation with state-of-the-art developments in computer science.

Teaching Ethics in Computer Science the Right Way (Oct 2, 2019)
The new fall semester is upon us, and at elite private colleges and universities, it’s hard to find a trendier major than Computer Science. It’s also becoming more common for such institutions to prioritize integrating ethics into their CS studies, so students don’t just learn about how to build software, but whether or not they should build it in the first place. Of course, this begs questions about how much the ethics lessons such prestigious schools are teaching are actually making a po...
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Researchers Build Microscopic Biohybrid Robots Propelled by Muscles, Nerves (Oct 1, 2019)
Researchers have developed soft robotic devices driven by neuromuscular tissue that triggers when stimulated by light -- bringing mechanical engineering one step closer to developing autonomous biobots.

Wearable Sensors Detect What's In Your Sweat (Sep 1, 2019)
Needle pricks not your thing? A team of scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, is developing wearable skin sensors that can detect what's in your sweat. They hope that one day, monitoring perspiration could bypass the need for more invasive procedures like blood draws, and provide real-time updates on health problems such as dehydration or fatigue.

Cryptology from the Crypt (Sep 1, 2019)
In recent weeks I managed to decrypt a difficult cipher that, despite expert codebreakers' best efforts, had remained unsolved for 70 years. The code was created by the late Cambridge professor and scientist Robert Henry Thouless, who passed away in 1984. He created it as a "test of survival" to see if he could communicate with the living after his death. Thouless thought if he successfully transmitted cipher keywords to the living through spiritual mediums and the message was received, this wou...
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Free Data Set Archive Helps Researchers Quickly Find a Needle in a Haystack (Aug 4, 2019)
Let’s say you’re doing research that requires millions of geotagged tweets. Or perhaps you’re a journalist who wants to map murders in Chicago from 2001 to the present. You need to find large spatio-temporal data sets — but where?

Titan: How AI, Simulation, Modeling Cemented Legacy of Former Top US Supercomputer (Aug 3, 2019)
After seven years of groundbreaking service at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, the former fastest supercomputer in the U.S. was decommissioned on August 1. First coming online in 2012, Titan achieved peak performance of 27 petaflops, made possible by its 18,000+ NVIDIA GPUs and NVIDIA’s CUDA software platform. It was supplanted last year by the Summit supercomputer, also located at ORNL, which provides 10x Titan’s simulation performance.

Supercomputing Heat Transfer Between 2D Electronic Components (Aug 3, 2019)
Smaller electronic components offer us more power in our pockets. But thinner and thinner components pose engineering problems. Anisotropic materials—those with properties that vary in direction—hold promise for being unusually versatile. Still, their properties, particularly as they become “two dimensional,” or ultra-thin, are not well understood.

Transforming Biology to Design Next-Generation Computers (Aug 1, 2019)
Moore's law -- which says the number of components that could be etched onto the surface of a silicon wafer would double every two years -- has been the subject of recent debate. The quicker pace of computing advancements in the past decade have led some experts to say Moore's law, the brainchild of Intel co-founder Gordon Moore in the 1960s, no longer applies.

Light for the Nanoworld (Aug 1, 2019)
An international team headed up by Alexander Holleitner and Jonathan Finley, physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), has succeeded in placing light sources in atomically thin material layers with an accuracy of just a few nanometers. The new method allows for a multitude of applications in quantum technologies, from quantum sensors and transistors in smartphones through to new encryption technologies for data transmission.

New Approach Could Sink Floating Point Computation (Jul 20, 2019)
In 1985, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) established IEEE 754, a standard for floating point formats and arithmetic that would become the model for practically all FP hardware and software for the next 30 years.

The Future of AI in Retail: Fueling Change for the Industry (Jul 19, 2019)
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are no longer just buzzwords of tech giants and consulting firms. Many forward-thinking companies have also implemented AI and ML strategies to solve both new and existing business problems brought on by the deluge of data. The Retail industry is now getting in on the action.

Argonne Combines Quantum and Classical Approaches to Overcome Limitations in Current Quantum Computing Hardware (Jul 18, 2019)
In recent years, quantum devices have become available that enable researchers — for the first time — to use real quantum hardware to begin to solve scientific problems. However, in the near term, the number and quality of qubits (the basic unit of quantum information) for quantum computers are expected to remain limited, making it difficult to use these machines for practical applications.

Supercomputing Potential Impacts of a Major Quake by Building Location and Size (Jul 18, 2019)
National lab researchers from Lawrence Livermore and Berkeley Lab are using supercomputers to quantify earthquake hazard and risk across the Bay Area. Their work is focused on the impact of high-frequency ground motion on thousands of representative different-sized buildings spread out across the California region.

Computing Biology’s Future (Jul 17, 2019)
Studying the human genome requires sequencing billions of base pairs. Tracking an epidemic involves elaborate computer simulations with multiple variables that influence how it spreads. One thing this research has in common? None of it would be possible without powerful computers.

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