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July 2017 — July 2017

UI Researchers Use Supercomputer to Develop Techniques for More Accurate Evolutionary Trees (Jul 18, 2017)
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has a bit of a history with genomics, to put it mildly. In 1977, microbiologist Carl Woese uprooted the tree of life, a concept dating back to the early 19th century that explored how organisms were related and evolved. Woese is credited with discovering the third domain that organisms could fall into—Archaea—consisting of single-celled organisms that are vastly different from bacteria, plants or animals. This discovery changed how researchers v...
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Sherlock Launches Secure, Compliant Cloud Services in Amazon Web Services (Jul 17, 2017)
The Health Cyberinfrastructure (CI) Division of the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California San Diego, has deployed its secure and compliant Cloud solution, Sherlock Cloud, in Amazon Web Services (AWS). This solution addresses the gap that currently exists in infrastructure level compliance offered by public cloud platforms with a comprehensive, managed compliance capability offered by Sherlock Cloud, thereby giving customers the option of buying services on premise...
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Can Computer Science Education Be Fun? (Jul 17, 2017)
Retail sales and truck driving are two of the most common jobs in America. They are also jobs that may eventually be automated. That's why David Delmar, executive director and founder of Resilient Coders, said, "Coding is the new blue-collar job." Accepting that reality, though, means that a lot has to change about how we educate kids. Yet, "For most states and school districts, the notion of computer science for every student is a relatively new and unexplored topic," according to

Want to Kill Your IT Security Team? Put the Top Hacker in Charge (Jul 16, 2017)
Managing an IT department at the best of times can be a struggle, and managing a security team has its own special challenges. But whatever you do, don't put an engineer, even your best, in charge, unless their people management skills are as good as their infosec knowhow. “All my staff are basically volunteers,” Mike Murray, VP of intelligence for mobile security biz Lookout, told The Register this week. “The people are all so highly competent and completely in demand. I know any person o...
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Code @ TACC Robotics Camp Delivers on Self-Driving Cars (Jul 16, 2017)
On a hot and breezy June day in Austin, parents, friends, brothers and sisters navigated through main campus at The University of Texas at Austin and helped carry luggage for the new arrivals to their dorm rooms. Thirty-four high school students from mostly low-income Title I schools in Central Texas, some from as far away as Houston, said good-bye to their families. The students came for a different kind of summer camp, where for one week they became part of a science team that used computer pr...
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Women in HPC Luncheon Shines Light on Female-Friendly Hiring Practices (Jul 15, 2017)
The second annual Women in HPC luncheon was held in June 2017, during the International Supercomputing Conference in Frankfurt, Germany. The luncheon provides participants the opportunity to network with industry leaders and meet new contacts as well as brainstorm about ways to improve diversity and inclusivity for women within the HPC community. As keynote speaker Angelo Apa of Lenovo noted, “if this was an easy problem to solve we would have fixed it already, so we need to generate ideas. My...
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Supercomputing RNA Structure at Argonne (Jul 15, 2017)
Over at ALCF, Joan Koka writes that researchers at the National Cancer Institute are using Argonne supercomputers to advance disease studies by enhancing our understanding of RNA, biological polymers that are fundamentally involved in health and disease. In collaboration with staff from the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF), researchers have perfected a technique that accurately computes the 3-D structure of RNA sequences. This method, which relies on a computer program known as RS3D ...
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Girl Develop It Promotes Women in Tech Through Meet-ups (Jul 14, 2017)
A meeting of Rochester's Girl Develop It chapter looks a lot like a group of freelancers working in a coffee shop. Heads bent over laptops, brows furrowed in concentration, the click-clacking of computer keys creating a sort of musical orchestration. According to the National Center for Women in Technology, women represent just 26 percent of professional computing occupations in the 2016 US workforce. Girl Develop It, a national, nonprofit organization, is trying to confront that statistic throu...
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Data Science and Analytics Skills Essential for Minority Students (Jul 14, 2017)
By 2021, job candidates who possess skills in data science and analytics — or DSA — will be more than twice as likely to be hired as those who don’t. That’s according to an April 2017 Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF) report titled “Investing in America’s Data Science and Analytics Talent: The Case for Action.” Dr. Brandeis Marshall, an associate professor and chair of computer and information sciences at Spelman College. In addition, only about one out of every four universit...
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A New Breed of Scientist, with Brains of Silicon (Jul 13, 2017)
If this is the biology laboratory of the future, it doesn’t look so different from today’s. Scientists in white lab coats walk by with boxes of frozen tubes. The chemicals on the shelves—bottles of pure alcohol, bins of sugar, protein, and salts—are standard issue for growing microbes and manipulating their genes. You don’t even notice the robots until you hear them: They sound like crickets singing to each other amid the low roar of fans. The robots work for Zymergen, a biotechnology ...
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Where Will Future HPC Leaders Come From? (Jul 13, 2017)
In the recent ISC17 conference in Frankfurt, Germany, the HPC community’s attention was inevitably focused on big supercomputers, new processors, and other technologies. Of course, there were a number of voices also calling for attention to the non-hardware aspects of HPC, especially software and people. However, most of those discussions centered on programmers, sysadmins, and researchers using HPC, as is customary in the HPC community.

Javidi: Helping Students and Teachers to Get IT (Jul 12, 2017)
We truly believe students in the Sarasota-Manatee area have the potential to become the region’s next technology leaders and we all need to work together to prepare them for this next important step. So how do we meet the ever-changing and growing demands of today’s students? The answer is by preparing teachers through dynamic academic programs at USF Sarasota-Manatee, which has taken on a key role to assist with the important and critical professional development of local teachers in comput...
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Self-driving Cars May Soon Be Able to Make Moral and Ethical Decisions as Humans Do (Jul 12, 2017)
Can a self-driving vehicle be moral, act like humans do, or act like humans expect humans to? Contrary to previous thinking, a ground-breaking new study has found for the first time that human morality can be modelled meaning that machine based moral decisions are, in principle, possible. The research, Virtual Reality experiments investigating human behavior and moral assessments, from The Institute of Cognitive Science at the University of Osnabrück, and published in Frontiers in Behavioral Ne...
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The Virtual Institute – High Productivity Supercomputing Celebrates 10th Anniversary (Jul 11, 2017)
The perpetual focus on hardware performance as a primary success metric in high-performance computing (HPC) often diverts attention from the role of people in the process of producing application output. But it is ultimately this output and the rate at which it can be delivered, in other words the productivity of HPC, which justifies the huge investments in this technology. However, the time needed to come up with a specific result or the “time to solution”, which it is often called, depends...
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Britain’s Warhead-watcher to Stimulate Trident Nukes with Atos Supercomputer (Jul 11, 2017)
The Atomic Weapons Establishment, which provides warheads for the UK's nuclear weapons, is going to use a Bull supercomputer to simulate Trident nuclear warhead explosions. Warhead components change over time through ageing, obsolescence and redesign, which impacts their operational efficiency. The AWE can't run test explosions any more, under the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (to which the UK is signed up), which bans emission of nuclear yield (radioactive debris). Instead, AWE simulate...
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Computer Science Is Future-Proof (Jul 10, 2017)
Here are some of the more outlandish predictions for the jobs people might hold in the future: mind-uploading specialist, personalized microbiome steward or de-extinction zoologist. I, for one, am looking forward to my second career in 2030 as a professional "triber" and crowdfunding specialist. No one can really say for certain what the jobs of the future will be. A former educator with whom I recently met argued that uncertainty about the future job market means that giving students opportunit...
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Less is More for Canadian Quantum Computing Researchers (Jul 10, 2017)
Researchers in Canada have found a way make a key building block for quantum computing from a custom photonics chip and off-the-shelf components intended for use in telecommunications equipment. They have built a chip that can create entangled pairs of multicolored photons. The result is that they can be manipulated as two "qudits," quantum computing digits, that can each hold 10 possible values. Where classical computers operate on values in sequence, quantum computers are able to express all p...
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First Battery-free Cellphone Makes Calls by Harvesting Ambient Power (Jul 9, 2017)
University of Washington researchers have invented a cellphone that requires no batteries—a major leap forward in moving beyond chargers, cords and dying phones. Instead, the phone harvests the few microwatts of power it requires from either ambient radio signals or light. The team also made Skype calls using its battery-free phone, demonstrating that the prototype made of commercial, off-the-shelf components can receive and transmit speech and communicate with a base station.

NCSA Scientist Using Big Data to Aid Emergency Responders (Jul 9, 2017)
We regularly hear the importance in packing water, blankets, and an FM/AM radio in response to a weather- or human-created disaster. Now researchers at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaignwant to make sure that leaders at the state, county and city levels leverage Big Data to help inform plans of action. Scott Poole, a senior research scientist at NCSA, is the principal investigator of a project to help organize and streamli...
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More Precise Diagnostics For Better Cancer Outcomes (Jul 8, 2017)
An important factor in fighting cancer is the speed at which the disease can be identified, diagnosed and treated. The current standard involves a patient feeling ill or a physician seeing signs of a tumor. These indicators lead to more precise diagnoses via blood tests, x-rays or MRI imaging. But once the disease is far enough along to be noticeable, the cancer has often spread. In the future, though, it may be possible to diagnose cancer much earlier using more sensitive body scans, new types ...
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Novel Molecular Dynamics Captures Atomic-Level Detail of CRISPR-Cas9 Activity (Jul 8, 2017)
Using a novel molecular dynamics method capable of capturing the motion of gyrating proteins at time intervals up to one thousand times greater than previous efforts, a team led by UC San Diego researchers has identified, for the first time, the myriad structural changes that activate and drive CRISPR-Cas9, the innovative gene-splicing technology that’s transforming the field of genetic engineering.

Argonne's Theta Supercomputer Goes Online (Jul 7, 2017)
Theta, a new production supercomputer located at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonnne National Laboratory is officially open to the research community. The new machine’s massively parallel, many-core architecture continues Argonne’s leadership computing program towards its future Aurora system. Theta was built onsite at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF), a DOE Office of Science User Facility, where it will operate alongside Mira, an IBM Blue Gene/Q supercomputer.

European Supercomputing Centers Adopt Joint Procurement Process (Jul 7, 2017)
Some of Europe’s leading supercomputing centers have joined forces to create a buyers group that will enable joint public procurement of new HPC systems. The new partnership of four public HPC centers (BSC, CINECA, JSC, and GENCI), located in four different countries (Spain, Italy, Germany, and France) means that new supercomputers can be procured through a market consultation for the purchase of HPC systems. This group will operate under as part of the Public Procurement of Innovative Solutio...
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Three-dimensional Chip Combines Computing and Data Storage (Jul 6, 2017)
As embedded intelligence is finding its way into ever more areas of our lives, fields ranging from autonomous driving to personalized medicine are generating huge amounts of data. But just as the flood of data is reaching massive proportions, the ability of computer chips to process it into useful information is stalling.Now, researchers at Stanford University and MIT have built a new chip to overcome this hurdle. The results are published today in the journal Nature, by lead author Max Shulaker...
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High School Computer Science Outreach Sells the Field Short (Jul 6, 2017)
According to a study conducted by Google and Gallup, black and Hispanic students are less likely than white students to have access to computer science classes in elementary and high school. Additionally, female students are less aware of opportunities to learn computer science within their schools, communities, and on the Internet. At UT, our computer science department is addressing these challenges by providing opportunities for underrepresented groups to get hands-on experiences within the f...
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