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May 2016 — June 2016

Urban Planning Tools Synthesize and Collect Data to Improve the Quality of City Life (Jun 6, 2016)
Imagine your city as it might be in the not-so-distant future. Transportation in this city is various, pleasant, and low-impact. There are safe and efficient bike lanes, and anyone can order a cheap ride from an autonomous, minimal-emissions vehicle. Because fewer people drive, and almost no one idles in traffic, air quality is high. There are plenty of parks and open spaces because cars are less prevalent. Life in your city is happy, healthy, and sustainable. Your city is, above all, a smart ci...
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Believe It Or Not, Computer Science Can Help You Solve Your Problems (Jun 5, 2016)
Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions may sound like a tech-wonky excursion into topics where only the bored dare venture, but trust me, it’s not. This book will surprise you, and don’t be shocked if you find yourself going back to it for advice on situations you’re facing in your life. That’s right–it’s a solid, research-based book that’s applicable to real life. The algorithms the authors discuss are, in fact, more applicable to real-life problems than I�...
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Artificial Intelligence is Changing SEO Faster Than You Think (Jun 5, 2016)
By now everyone has heard of Google’s RankBrain, the new artificial intelligence machine learning algorithm that is supposed to be the latest and greatest from Mountain View, Calif. What many of you might not realize, however, is just how fast the SEO industry is changing because of it. In this article, I’ll take you through some clear examples of how some of the old rules of SEO no longer apply, and what steps you can take to stay ahead of the curve in order to continue to provide successfu...
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Cray Wants to Light a Fire Under Your Big Data (Jun 4, 2016)
On Tuesday, Cray unveiled a new supercomputing platform designed with highly iterative and interactive analytics in mind. Dubbed Urika-GX, the new system is the first agile analytics platform to fuse supercomputing with an open, enterprise framework, Cray said. Due to be available in the third quarter, Urika-GX promises data scientists new levels of performance and the ability to find insight in massive data sets quickly. The system is tuned for highly iterative and interactive analytics, and in...
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Robots Add Real Value When Working with Humans, Not Replacing Them (Jun 4, 2016)
In the popular media, we talk a lot about robots stealing jobs. But when we stop speculating and actually look at the real world of work, the impact of advanced robotics is far more nuanced and complicated. Issues of jobs and income inequality fade away, for example — there aren’t remotely enough robots to affect more than a handful of us in the practical sense. Yet robots usually spell massive changes in the way that skilled work gets done: The work required to fly an F-16 in a combat zone ...
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China Sets Ambitious Goal to Reach Exascale by 2020 (Jun 3, 2016)
At the 12th HPC Connections Workshop in Wuhan, China, Beihang University Professor Depei Qian disclosed new information regarding HPC development in China and exascale plans. Professor Qian confirmed that work is continuing on the two latest 100-petaflops systems, which are considered the next iteration of the Tianhe-2, which currently holds the tops spot in terms of number crunching in the world. He also walked through the Chinese government’s ambitions exascale plan, which they plan to achie...
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Fast, Stretchy Circuits Could Yield New Wave of Wearable Electronics (Jun 3, 2016)
The consumer marketplace is flooded with a lively assortment of smart wearable electronics that do everything from monitor vital signs, fitness or sun exposure to play music, charge other electronics or even purify the air around you—all wirelessly. Now, a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers has created the world's fastest stretchable, wearable integrated circuits, an advance that could drive the Internet of Things and a much more connected, high-speed wireless world.

Mark Zuckerberg, Tim Cook and More Appeal to Congress for K-12 Computer Science Funding (Jun 2, 2016)
Tim Cook and Mark Zuckerberg are two tech giants who are looking to become advocates for K-12 computer science education. The Apple and Facebook CEO’s have taken it upon themselves to appeal to congress in hopes to get the government to fund K-12 computer science education. Some of the biggest names in tech and corporate America, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, have teamed up with governors and educators to...
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IBM Watson Supercomputer Teams Up with Top Universities to Fight Cybercriminals (Jun 2, 2016)
The supercomputer IBM Watson has now turned its talents to addressing the cybersecurity skills gap by teaming up with multiple universities to develop a cognitive system to help cybersecurity analysts search through data for patterns that indicate cyberattacks faster. IBM has launched the Watson for Cyber Security research project, which will see Watson fed huge amounts of data relating to cybersecurity research over the last 20 years, including over 100,000 documented vulnerabilities and 8 mill...
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Weather Forecast Accuracy Continues to Improve with Recent Supercomputer Upgrade (Jun 1, 2016)
Weather forecasts should continue to become more accurate due to improvements in the main National Weather Service weather computer model. NOAA's main weather forecast model, called the Global Forecast System (GFS), had upgrades implemented May 11, 2016. Glenn White, Ph.D., research scientist at NOAA's Environmental Modeling Center, says there were three big improvements in how the GFS is run. White says these improvements show small increases in accuracy for several weather parameters. The impr...
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Supercomputing LHC Experiments with Titan (Jun 1, 2016)
University of Texas at Arlington physicists are preparing the Titan supercomputer at Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility in Tennessee to support the analysis of data generated from the quadrillions of proton collisions expected during this season’s Large Hadron Collider particle physics experiments. The LHC is the world’s most powerful particle accelerator, located at the European Organization for Nuclear Research or CERN near Geneva in Switzerland. The new collaboration will allow scien...
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16-Year-Old is Teaching the World to Code (May 31, 2016)
High school junior Moksh Jawa is only 16 years old, but thousands of people around the world are turning to him to learn a valuable skill: coding. Jawa, the author of "Decoding AP Computer Science A: For a High Schooler, By a High Schooler," is also the self-taught brains behind a free online computer course that has 4,000 students enrolled. His 114-lecture online course, rated 4.5 stars by his students, all started because Jawa was willing to persist toward his goal, he said. Though his parents...
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Genomics Research Powers Up with New Supercomputer (May 31, 2016)
The Genome Analysis Centre in Norwich has invested in what it believes is game changing capability to boost international genomics research. TGAC’s new supercomputing platform gives the research Institute access to the next-generation of SGI UV technology for genomics. It leverages the world’s largest SGI® UV™ 300 installation for Life Sciences. The extra capability enables TGAC researchers to store, categorize and analyze more genomic data in less time for decoding living systems and ans...
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Computer Science Students Fooled by Artificially Intelligent TA (May 30, 2016)
Students taking an online course at Georgia Tech’s School of Interactive Computing were duped into thinking one of their teaching assistants, named Jill Watson, was an actual human. And how can you blame them—the virtual TA managed to answer many of their questions with 97 percent certainty. The students were not told anything about their virtual TA until April 26th. When the news broke, the response was overwhelmingly positive. The course was called Knowledge Based Artificial Intelligence, ...
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Computer Science Education Being Added in Virginia Schools (May 30, 2016)
Computer Science education will be added into K-12 classrooms. Virginia is one of the first states to add this kind of education. The bill, delivered by a robot and signed by Governor Terry McAuliffe, adds computer science into math and science Standards of Learning. Now it goes to the Virginia Board of Education, who will make decisions about what will be added with input from teachers, parents, non-profits, like CODE VA, and businesses. “Our students have to learn these computer-adaptive co...
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Japan Unveils Details of 25 PFLOPS Machine to be Operational in December 2016 (May 29, 2016)
The Joint Center for Advanced High Performance Computing (JCAHPC) in Japan today released the details of its next generation supercomputer – Oakforest-PACS – which will deliver 25 PFLOPS, use Intel’s Xeon Phi (Knights Landing) manycore processors and Omni-Path Architecture, be built by Fujitsu, and be operational in December 2016. When fired up, the Oakforest-PACS will be the fastest supercomputer system in Japan for the moment. Twenty-five PFLOPS would have taken the second spot on the TO...
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70 Years On, Supercomputing Helping Clean Up Manhattan Project Waste (May 29, 2016)
More than seven decades after the end of WWII, radioactive waste from the Manhattan Project is still awaiting cleanup. Progress at sites around the country—the largest is Hanford in southeastern Washington—has been slow, costly and plagued with problems. Cleaning up radioactive waste is incredibly complicated. Now a coalition of scientists is using GPU-accelerated supercomputing to better understand the radioactive materials inside storage tanks and find safe, inexpensive ways to remove and ...
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Cracking the Code: How Computer Science Can Change Lives (May 28, 2016)
Coding may be the new educational buzzword, but how can schools teach computer science in a meaningful way when their resources are already stretched to the max? At "Ready, Set, Code: The New Essential Skill" – a breakout session of the U.S. News STEM Solutions Conference in Baltimore on Wednesday – four experts spoke about the challenges they face in making coding and computational thought an integral part of K-12 curriculae, and to instill an interest in STEM that lasts long after the scho...
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How Can Theoretical Computer Science Inform Neuroscience? (May 28, 2016)
Today, there’s a thriving interaction between TCS and physics (mostly centered around quantum computing, but also around, for example, phase transitions in random constraint satisfaction problems). There’s also a thriving interaction between TCS and economics (e.g., combinatorial auction design, computational game theory), and a third thriving interaction between TCS and biology (DNA sequencing algorithms, phylogenetic tree reconstruction, inferring gene regulatory networks…). Meanwhile, t...
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The Wide World of E-Sports (May 27, 2016)
I played a lot of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty online when it launched. And by that I mean a lot. As a result, I inevitably drifted into watching streams of other players competing in order to improve my own game. I even remember having my favorite casters, Husky and TotalBiscuit, in addition to following Team Liquid. Eventually I stopped playing as much, and even stopped following the e-sports scene. However, this period only marked the very beginning of the professional e-sports industry. Tw...
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Advance May Make Quantum Computing More Practical (May 27, 2016)
Quantum computers are largely hypothetical devices that could perform some calculations much more rapidly than conventional computers can. They exploit a property called superposition, which describes a quantum particle's counterintuitive ability to, in some sense, inhabit more than one physical state at the same time. But superposition is fragile, and finding ways to preserve it is one of the chief obstacles to developing large, general-purpose quantum computers. In today's Nature, MIT research...
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How Will Virtual Reality Change Our Lives? (May 26, 2016)
Virtual Reality (VR) has been with us for many decades - at least as an idea - but the technology has now come of age. And it's not just gamers who are benefiting from the immersive possibilities it offers. Four experts, including Mark Bolas - former tutor of Palmer Luckey, who recently hand-delivered the first VR handset made by his company Oculus Rift - talked to the BBC World Service Inquiry programme about the future of VR.

Dartmouth Contest Shows Computers Aren't Such Good Poets (May 26, 2016)
Computers are pretty good at stocking shelves and operating cars, but are not so great at writing poetry. Scientists in a Dartmouth College competition reached that conclusion after designing artificial intelligence algorithms that could produce sonnets. Judges compared the results with poems written by humans to see if they could tell the difference. In every instance, the judges were able to find the sonnet produced by a computer program. The yearlong competition was a variation of the "Turing...
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Animal Training Techniques Teach Robots New Tricks (May 25, 2016)
Researchers at Washington State University are using ideas from animal training to help non-expert users teach robots how to do desired tasks. The researchers recently presented their work at the international Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems conference. As robots become more pervasive in society, humans will want them to do chores like cleaning house or cooking. But to get a robot started on a task, people who aren't computer programmers will have to give it instructions. "We want every...
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The Rise Of APIs (May 25, 2016)
It’s been almost five years since we heard that “software is eating the world.” The number of SaaS applications has exploded and there is a rising wave of software innovation in the area of APIs that provide critical connective tissue and increasingly important functionality. There has been a proliferation of third-party API companies, which is fundamentally changing the dynamics of how software is created and brought to market. The application programming interface (API) has been a key pa...
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