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April 2018 — April 2018

Riding the AI Cycle Instead of Building It (Apr 22, 2018)
We all remember learning to ride a bike. Those early wobbly moments with “experts” holding on to your seat while you furiously peddled and tugged away at the handlebars trying to find your own balance. Training wheels were the obvious hardware choice for those unattended and slightly dangerous practice sessions. Training wheel hardware was often installed by your then “expert” in an attempt to avoid your almost inevitable trip to the ER.

Plan for Quantum Supremacy (Apr 20, 2018)
Things are getting real for researchers in the UC Santa Barbara John Martinis/Google group. They are making good on their intentions to declare supremacy in a tight global race to build the first quantum machine to outperform the world's best classical supercomputers.

An AI that Makes Road Maps from Aerial Images (Apr 20, 2018)
IMAGE IMAGE: THIS IS THE ROADTRACER MAP PROCESS. view more CREDIT: MIT CSAIL Map apps may have changed our world, but they still haven't mapped all of it yet. In particular, mapping roads can be tedious: even after taking aerial images, companies like Google still have to spend many hours manually tracing out roads. As a result, they haven't yet gotten around to mapping the vast majority of the more than 20 million miles of roads across the globe.

Robots Could Be Girls' Ticket to Future (Apr 18, 2018)
Eleven-year-old Hayliee Tat traveled two-and-a-half hours with her family for a sneak preview of what the future looks like with robots in it. Their destination: the robotics open house at the University of Southern California (USC). The annual event draws mainly elementary and secondary school students from Los Angeles and beyond to spark their interest in robotics and computer science.

K-12 Computer Science Education Makes Strides (Apr 18, 2018)
Efforts to ramp up computer science education in K-12 schools have intensified across the nation, and with good cause—most future jobs will require some form of computational thinking. According to stats, only 15 states have created K-12 computer science standards. In 35 states and Washington, D.C., computer science can count toward a high school math or science requirement; this is up from just 12 states in 2013.

Atos Announces World First in Quantum Computing (Apr 16, 2018)
Following on from the 4th meeting of the Atos Quantum Scientific Council held on Friday at its headquarters, Atos, a global leader in digital transformation, announces unprecedented simulation features in Quantum computing. Researchers at the Atos Quantum Laboratory have successfully modeled ‘quantum noise’ and as a result, simulation is more realistic than ever before, and is closer to fulfilling researchers’ requirements.

Using AI to detect Gravitational Waves with the Blue Waters Supercomputer (Apr 16, 2018)
NASA researchers are using AI technologies to detect gravitational waves. The work is described in a new article in Physics Review D this month. NCSA Gravity Group researchers, Daniel George, Eliu Huerta and Hongyu Shen leveraged NCSA resources from its Innovative Systems Laboratory, Einstein Toolkit and NCSA’s Blue Waters supercomputer. Also critical to this research were the GPUs (Tesla P100 and DGX-1) provided by NVIDIA, which enabled an accelerated training of neural networks. Wolfram Rese...
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Deep Learning Transforms Smartphone Microscopes into Laboratory-Grade Devices (Apr 15, 2018)
IMAGE IMAGE: IMAGE OF A BLOOD SMEAR FROM A CELL PHONE CAMERA (LEFT), FOLLOWING ENHANCEMENT BY THE ALGORITHM (CENTER), AND TAKEN BY A LAB MICROSCOPE (RIGHT). view more CREDIT: OZCAN RESEARCH GROUP/UCLA Researchers at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering have demonstrated that deep learning, a powerful form of artificial intelligence, can discern and enhance microscopic details in photos taken by smartphones. The technique improves the resolution and color details of smartphone images so m...
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Cybersecurity Engineering: A New Academic Discipline (Apr 15, 2018)
Cyber startups and legacy technology companies know exactly how to attract top undergraduates: a six-figure salary, a signing bonus, even a new car. With these luxuries in reach, choosing to forgo the job offer in pursuit of advanced higher education seems irrational for most new grads. However, this is exactly what’s being asked of them by the cybersecurity industry — an industry with zero unemployment and a severe skills shortage in both private sector employment and higher education.

Researchers Work on Algorithm that Reveals Face Swaps (Apr 14, 2018)
Image manipulation in this advanced stage of the digital age is not as much fun but a dicey weapon, in the shadows of fake news, to sway opinion and spark scandals. Face-swapping, in particular, sounds like fun if you think of it as a chuckle at a family table while kids and adults try out different faces on different people. However, it's also a tool for far worse motives.

What is the Optimal Way to Diversify an Economy? (Apr 14, 2018)
One of the eternal challenges of economic development is how to identify the economic activities that a country, city, or region should target. During recent years, a large body of research has shown that countries, regions, and cities, are more likely to enter economic activities that are related to the ones they already have. For instance, a region specialized in the exports of frozen fish and crustaceans can more easily start exporting fresh fish than heavy machinery. This research has illumi...
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Smallest Volume, Most Efficient Wireless Nerve Stimulator (Apr 13, 2018)
In 2016, University of California, Berkeley, engineers demonstrated the first implanted, ultrasonic neural dust sensors, bringing closer the day when a Fitbit-like device could monitor internal nerves, muscles or organs in real time. Now, Berkeley engineers have taken neural dust a step forward by building the smallest volume, most efficient wireless nerve stimulator to date. Teams Up with Kahoot to Help Demystify Computer Science (Apr 13, 2018)
The game-based learning platform Kahoot! is partnering with the nonprofit to launch specially curated computer science games on Kahoot's popular website and mobile app. By tapping into Kahoot's 70 million monthly active users — more than 50 percent of K-12 students in the U.S., Kahoot estimates — can further its goal of teaching more girls and underrepresented minorities to code and sparking their interest in computer science.

Computer System Transcribes Words Users 'Speak Silently' (Apr 8, 2018)
MIT researchers have developed a computer interface that can transcribe words that the user verbalizes internally but does not actually speak aloud. The system consists of a wearable device and an associated computing system. Electrodes in the device pick up neuromuscular signals in the jaw and face that are triggered by internal verbalizations -- saying words "in your head" -- but are undetectable to the human eye.

Computer Science Degrees and Technology’s Boom-and-Bust Cycle (Apr 8, 2018)
Many economists call the current era of technology growth a boom era, not unlike previous gold rushes such as the Dot-com bubble. But the thing about bubbles is, they usually pop. And that has some people concerned. Is another bust on the horizon? It’s not only tech employees who are paying attention to these patterns. In higher education, the number of computer science bachelor’s degrees follows market trends in finance and technology in particular—growing when times are good and plummeti...
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The Thin Line Between High Performance Computing and AI (Apr 7, 2018)
While the industry has woken up to the immense potential AI holds, it is still not clear about where high performance computing (HPC) ends and where AI begins. What is powering the AI juggernaut is the wide availability of compute and GPUs that make parallel processing faster and more powerful, while proving to be affordable.

High-Performance Computing Pioneer and Microsoft Technical Fellow Burton Smith Dies (Apr 7, 2018)
Burton Smith, who played an instrumental role in advancing the development of high-performance computing at Cray and Microsoft, died Tuesday at the age of 77 in Burien, Wash. Microsoft announced his death in a blog post Wednesday morning. The company described him as “a kind man always willing to help and give advice who shared generously of his deep stores of knowledge and also an innovator who consistently came up with completely new ideas for designing hardware.”

Two ‘Hotspots’ in Education Procurement Identified for 2018 (Apr 6, 2018)
Procuring digital learning tools and technology to help educate students with special needs are two of 10 “hotspots” in government contracting for 2018, according to an analysis of bids and RFPs conducted by GovWin+Onvia from Deltek.

Female Computer Science Students Want to Fix the Gender Gap in Their Major (Apr 6, 2018)
For Mira Baliga, a sophomore computer science major at the University of Maryland, the lack of gender diversity in her major-related classes is sometimes "uncomfortable."

Linguistic Changes in Gender and Ethnic Stereotypes Correlated with Major Social Movements and Demographic Changes (Apr 5, 2018)
Artificial intelligence systems and machine-learning algorithms have come under fire recently because they can pick up and reinforce existing biases in our society, depending on what data they are programmed with.

Scholarly Snowball: Deep Learning Paper Generates Big Online Collaboration (Apr 5, 2018)
Bioinformatics professors Anthony Gitter and Casey Greene set out in summer 2016 to write a paper about biomedical applications for deep learning, a hot new artificial intelligence field striving to mimic the neural networks of the human brain. They completed the paper, but also triggered an intriguing case of academic crowdsourcing. Today, the paper has been massively written and revised with the help of more than 40 online collaborators, most of whom contributed enough to become co-authors.

Computer Searches Telescope Data for Evidence of Distant Planets (Apr 4, 2018)
As part of an effort to identify distant planets hospitable to life, NASA has established a crowdsourcing project in which volunteers search telescopic images for evidence of debris disks around stars, which are good indicators of exoplanets. Using the results of that project, researchers at MIT have now trained a machine-learning system to search for debris disks itself.

Researchers Develop Nanoparticle Films for High-Density Data Storage (Apr 4, 2018)
As we generate more and more data, the need for high-density data storage that remains stable over time is becoming critical. New nanoparticle-based films that are more than 80 times thinner than a human hair may help to fill this need by providing materials that can holographically archive more than 1000 times more data than a DVD in a 10-by-10-centimeter piece of film. The new technology could one day enable tiny wearable devices that capture and store 3-D images of objects or people.

Music Students Make Soundtracks for Video Games by Computer Science Undergrads (Apr 2, 2018)
The Super Mario Bros. jingle seems to have almost as many fans as the classic video game itself. The theme song has inspired innumerable covers on YouTube – some with millions of views – performed with instruments as varied as the marimba and four calculators. Yet, while songs and effects are an important part of gameplay, few programmers can write music as well as they write code.

Tech Job Openings Spark Interest in US High School Computer Science Courses (Apr 2, 2018)
With two years left at Rockhurst High School, sophomore Tanner Helton is building websites for pay, and his Advanced Placement computer science class is starting an “Internet of Things” project. Rockhurst last year began requiring freshmen to take computer science. Helton said he thought it was important for young people to have tech skills, and he appreciated the way the internet connects the globe.

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