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March 2015 — April 2015

Changing the World One Hackathon at a Time (Apr 22, 2015)
Sixty-six teens are taking part in the My Brother's Keeper Hackathon, a group coding competition spearheaded by Qeyno Labs CEO Kalimah Priforce. Priforce notes this hackathon is different because it caters to African-American teens, rather than mostly white and Asian men. He says hackathons can collapse the walls that have isolated high-potential kids with too few opportunities. "Why not put Dr. King, Amelia Earhart and Steve Jobs in one room and see what is it they can do," Priforce says.

USC Team’s DNA Research is Shaping Up (Apr 21, 2015)
Remo Rohs is looking for some deep connections: He’s integrating genomics and structural biology to uncover some significant insights into how proteins recognize DNA. While genomics deciphers DNA by studying the sequences of base pairs that encode genetic information, structural biology explores the impact of the actual 3-D structure of DNA. Rohs, however, aims to unite the two fields into something new — and hopefully more useful.

TACC Supports UT's Center for Transportation Research to Solve Austin’s Traffic Woes (Apr 20, 2015)
The Network Modeling Center (NMC), a group of researchers within the Center for Transportation Research (CTR) at The University of Texas at Austin, is using advanced transportation models to help transportation agencies understand, compare and evaluate alternative solutions and development strategies. However, the complex impact of alternative solutions on everyday traffic is not easy to predict. "The goals of our group are two-fold," Natalia Ruiz-Juri, assistant director of the Network Modeling...
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Cornell Plays Key Role Surfing for Gravitational Waves (Apr 19, 2015)
A full century after Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity proclaimed that gravitational waves cause ripples in space-time, humanity may finally have the tools to detect these waves. The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $14.5 million to the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav) consortium over five years to create and operate a Physics Frontiers Center (PFC). The NANOGrav PFC seeks to detect low-frequency gravitational waves, which are elusive sw...
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So, Arkansas Is Leading the Learn to Code Movement (Apr 18, 2015)
The idea that computer science should become a core aspect of K-12 education is gaining significant political currency around the country, but current state-level initiatives have been fairly weak. Many initiatives, such as one in Washington state, seek to have computer science count toward math and science graduation requirements. Meanwhile, Arkansas took the lead in pushing computer science in schools last month when it passed a comprehensive law requiring all public and charter schools in the...
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Supercomputers Help Solve Puzzle-Like Bond for Biofuels (Apr 17, 2015)
One of life's strongest bonds has been discovered by a science team researching biofuels with the help of supercomputers. Their find could boost efforts to develop catalysts for biofuel production from non-food waste plants. Renowned computational biologist Klaus Schulten of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign led the analysis and modeling of the bond, which behaves like a Chinese Finger Trap puzzle. "What's new is that we looked at the system very specifically, with the tools of sing...
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BCS Network to Figure Out Why Initiatives to Attract Females to IT Are Not Working (Apr 16, 2015)
Liz Bacon, the outgoing president of BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, says a key piece of her legacy at BCS will be a network of women in the science, technology, engineering and math fields she established at the Institute to encourage more women to pursue careers in those fields. Bacon says despite numerous efforts to boost women's participation in information technology (IT), their representation in the field continues to slip. "The challenge is that we have lots of computing initiatives ...
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First White House Data Chief Discusses His Top Priorities (Apr 15, 2015)
Data science is not entirely new to Washington, D.C.—nor is DJ Patil, who was recently named as the U.S.’s first chief data scientist. Pres. Barack Obama’s administration launched nearly six years ago and required all agencies to publish at least three “high-value” data sets to the publicly accessible Web site. Now it is Patil’s job, at least in part, to ensure that the government continues to release data in a variety of areas while ensuring that the information is not misu...
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Why International Engineering and Science Students Stay or Go (Apr 14, 2015)
According to national data, just 50 percent of science and engineering doctoral recipients who were born overseas end up staying in the U.S. to pursue their post-graduation careers. A recent survey by the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at the University of California, Santa Barbara of 166 international graduate students found the limitations of U.S. immigration policy and H-1B work visas are among the biggest challenges for foreign students interested in pursuing U.S. careers. The study al...
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America Makes Taps Lawrence Livermore, GE to Develop Open Source Algorithms for 3D Printing (Apr 13, 2015)
Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and General Electric have received a $540,000 America Makes award to develop open source algorithms designed to improve the additive manufacturing of metal parts. The project aims to develop and demonstrate algorithms that will enable selective laser melting (SLM) to produce metal parts that are high quality and durable. There currently is no effective approach to SLM that reduces problems associated with the method, such as surface roughness...
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Data Mining Reveals When a Yellow Taxi is Cheaper than Uber (Apr 12, 2015)
To determine if on-demand cab service Uber is less expensive than conventional taxis, University of Cambridge researcher Cecilia Mascolo compared Uber's prices with those of New York City's Yellow Taxis. The team made a 2014 Freedom of Information Act request for the data associated with New York City Yellow Taxi journeys during 2013, which covered hundreds of millions of trips and comprised 50 GB of data, and included the location of every pick-up and drop-off, as well as the fare paid for each...
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To Attract More Women, Cybersecurity Industry Could Drop Macho Jargon (Apr 11, 2015)
Women make up less than 20 percent of the information security workforce, and many women leave the industry before advancing their careers, according to a Ponemon Institute study. "We are not innovating as quickly as we need to be because there aren't enough women in this field," says Intel Security chief privacy officer Michelle Dennedy. Although there are several efforts to support women in cybersecurity and encourage more female computer science students to pursue the field, achieving gender ...
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Your Desktop Computer is Wasting a Surprising Amount of Energy While You're Not Using It (Apr 10, 2015)
The California Energy Commission (CEC) recently released a set of draft standards aimed at increasing the energy efficiency of desktop computers and monitors. The CEC estimates computers, monitors and signage displays account for 5 percent of the electricity used in the state; in some commercial buildings and offices, that rises to more than 10 percent. The CEC estimates its proposed standards could cut electricity bills by $340 million. The new rules particularly target the amount of energy des...
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Tour the 2015 White House Science Fair Exhibits (Apr 9, 2015)
President Obama welcomed young scientists and engineers from across the country to showcase their inventions, robots and discoveries at the 2015 White House Science Fair. Hosted by President Obama, the Fair features innovative projects, designs and experiments from students all across America. With students from a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions, this year’s Fair also included a specific focus on girls and women who are excelling in STEM and inspiri...
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School Computer Coding Bill Passes First Vote in Utah Senate (Apr 8, 2015)
The Utah Senate gave preliminary approval Thursday to a bill that seeks to address what one lawmaker calls "a crisis in America." "We have a 1 million computer programmer shortage in this nation between now and 2020," said Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, "and AP computer science is only 0.7 percent of high school enrollment." SB107 creates a computer science initiative requiring the Utah STEM Action Center and the Utah State Board of Education to implement a repository of computer science inst...
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Los Alamos Computer Simulation Improves Offshore Drill Rig Safety (Apr 7, 2015)
Los Alamos National Laboratory mechanical and thermal engineering researchers’ efforts to solve the complex problem of how ocean currents affect the infrastructure of floating oil rigs and their computational fluid dynamics (CFD) numerical simulations received recognition from ANSYS Inc., a company that provides computer-based engineering simulation capabilities.

NSF CAREER Awards Given to Two Computer Science Education Researchers (Apr 6, 2015)
This year, the National Science Foundation (NSF) Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate (CISE) CISE made its first CAREER awards for research in computer science education. The awardees are Kristy Boyer, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at North Carolina State University, and Ben Shapiro, Assistant Professor of Engineering Education at Tufts University.

Meet the Fifty Most Inspiring Women in European Tech (Apr 5, 2015)
The Inspiring Fifty: Europe identifies and showcases the fifty most inspiring women in technology and business. Throughout 2014, Inspiring Fifty asked its extended network of professionals, journalists and social media followers to nominate those women serving as role models and standing as an inspiration to others. What came back was an amazing list of women from across the technology spectrum, including entrepreneurs, business leaders, academicians and policy makers.

AP Computer Science Principles Draw Arts Students into Computational Thinking in Alabama (Apr 4, 2015)
In 2013, Alabama began to allow Computer Science Principles (CSP) and Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science to count as a math credit for students' graduation requirements. Previously, computer science had been viewed as an elective that did not contribute to graduation requirements, as is the case in about half of the school districts in the U.S. Now the computer science classes are filled with arts students, who focus on creative, writing, dance, music, theater and visual arts.

NCSA's Merle Giles Co-Edits Book on Industrial Impact of HPC (Apr 3, 2015)
Merle E. Giles, director of Private Sector Programs and Economic Impact at NCSA, and Anwar Osseyran, director of the Dutch HPC and e-cience center SURFsara, are co-editors of a new book on the impact high-performance computing in industry. The book, Industrial Applications of High-Performance Computing: Best Global Practices, provides a global overview of high-performance computing (HPC) for industrial applications, along with a discussion of software challenges, business models, access models (...
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Security Risks and Privacy Issues are too Great for Moving the Ballot Box to the Internet (Apr 2, 2015)
Thirty-three U.S. states currently allow or have experimented with some type of online voting, says Lawrence Livermore Center for Applied Scientific Computing researcher David Jefferson. With email voting, the voter's ballot, identification, and legal affirmation are transmitted as attachments to an email message. Jefferson says all email voting systems are vulnerable to attack, and can be secretly manipulated in transit by any information technology person who controls relays, routers, or serve...
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ORNL Captures Real-Time Images of Structures That Degrade Lithium-Ion Batteries (Apr 1, 2015)
Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have captured the first real-time nanoscale images of lithium dendrite structures known to degrade lithium-ion batteries. The ORNL team’s electron microscopy could help researchers address long-standing issues related to battery performance and safety. Dendrites form when metallic lithium takes root on a battery’s anode and begins growing haphazardly. If the dendrites grow too large, they can puncture the divider betwee...
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FCC Sets Net Neutrality Rules (Mar 31, 2015)
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission released the details of the new broadband Internet regulations it approved last month. The rules were presented in a 313-page document that includes the rules, their legal justifications, and comments from the commissioners. Immediately upon the document's release, net neutrality advocates and broadband providers began examining it for insight. The new rules do many things beyond reclassifying broadband Internet as a telecommunications service. For exam...
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Researcher Receives $1 Million NSF Grant to Devise New Supercomputing Model (Mar 30, 2015)
Texas Tech University professor Yong Chen has received a $1-million grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation to create a faster and improved method for supercomputing. Chen will lead a team of researchers to develop a new concept called "compute on data path" that seeks to achieve data-centric computing. The approach would assimilate and analyze more and different types of data used in scientific discovery and do so all at once. "This is more how an investigation to see whether a new conc...
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How to Interest Girls in Computer Science and Engineering? Shift the Stereotypes (Mar 29, 2015)
Inaccurate stereotypes depicting computer scientists and engineers as geeky, brilliant and socially awkward males are the key culprits in the underrepresentation of women in computer science and engineering. Broadening those stereotypes is important to attracting more girls to the two fields, according to a University of Washington study. Although women earn about 50 percent of undergraduate degrees in biological sciences, they obtain only 18 percent of computer science degrees.

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