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July 2015 — August 2015

Computer Scientists Are Using Artificial Intelligence to Predict Prices of Fine Wine (Aug 7, 2015)
Researchers at University College London have developed a model that predicts the price fluctuation of fine wines using artificial intelligence. Their study is being published in the Journal of Wine Economics. The new model uses complex machine-learning methods and has been shown to outperform other simpler processes. By determining which data is most important in predicting wine prices, the new approach predicts prices with greater accuracy on the Liv-ex 100 index.

Intel, Georgia Tech to Boost Women and Minorities in STEM (Aug 6, 2015)
Intel will invest $5 million at Georgia Tech over the next five years to boost the number of woman and minorities in computer science and engineering. “It is a national imperative that the U.S. continue to enhance the engagement of students of all backgrounds in STEM fields to create a more robust economy,” said Gary May, dean and Southern Company Chair in the College of Engineering at Georgia Tech. “The higher education and private sectors must combine forces to achieve the impact that is...
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White House Launches National HPC Strategy (Aug 6, 2015)
The executive order by President Barack Obama creating a National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI) is not only powerful acknowledgment of the vital role HPC plays in modern society but is also indicative of government’s mounting worry that failure to coordinate and nourish HPC development on a broader scale would put the nation at risk. Not surprisingly, early reaction from the HPC community has been largely positive.

How to Improve the Workplace for Women in IT (Aug 1, 2015)
Although many computing pioneers were women, modern computer science is dominated by men, and unfortunately, the number of women studying computer science has plunged even as other technical and professional fields are seeing an influx of women. Longitudinal studies on the declining percentage of women in IT reveal some common factors. The Athena 2.0 project reports that women in mid-level IT positions experience several influences that contribute to them leaving the profession. In many cases, t...
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Nowhere to Hide (Aug 1, 2015)
Criminals operating under the cover of darkness had better watch out. Computer scientists have developed a technology that can recognize a person’s face and identify them in poor lighting and even total darkness. It uses a "deep neural network system" that works a little like the human brain to analyse infrared images and match them with ordinary photos.Computer scientists at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany, developed the new facial recognition technique that reads a person’s ...
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This New 3D XPoint Memory Could Last Forever (Jul 31, 2015)
Intel and Micron this week unveiled a new type of memory they plan to mass produce that is purportedly 1,000 times faster than NAND flash and has 1,000 times the endurance. One thousand times the endurance would be about one million erase-write cycles, meaning the new memory would last pretty much forever. By comparison, today's NAND flash lasts for between 3,000 and 10,000 erase-write cycles. With wear-leveling and error correction software, those cycles can be improved upon, but still don't ge...
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Meet the High-Performance Single-Molecule Diode (Jul 31, 2015)
A team of researchers from Berkeley Lab and Columbia University has passed a major milestone in molecular electronics with the creation of the world’s highest-performance single-molecule diode. Working at Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry, a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility, the team used a combination of gold electrodes and an ionic solution to create a single-molecule diode that outperforms the best of its predecessors by a factor of 50.

High Performance Computing in Defense Intelligence (Jul 30, 2015)
Advancements in high performance computing (HPC) have begun to influence the way defense intelligence is gathered, stored and processed. Analysts who attempt to predict the changing landscape of the battlefield are overwhelmed by larger amounts of data due to increased numbers of sensors and a more sophisticated adversary. In addition, the information they receive is constantly changing, making it harder to anticipate what’s coming next. Technological advancements in hardware and software prod...
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Smaller Companies Shun HPC in Europe (Jul 30, 2015)
The lack of interest in high performance computing shown by small and medium sized companies book-ended this year’s European supercomputing conference, ISC High Performance, held in Frankfurt last week. In the keynote address that opened the event, the conference was told that Europe is failing to persuade enough small and medium companies to take advantage of high performance computing (HPC) and engineering simulation, even though HPC and computer-aided engineering (CAE) are essential tools i...
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What Top Computer Science Graduates Really Want From an Employer (Jul 29, 2015)
Right now, thanks to the shortage in STEM talent, working in tech is an employee’s market – there are way more jobs than there are degrees. predicted there would be 1 million more jobs than computer science students by 2020. Of course, Silicon Valley companies put significant resources toward luring hires with perks like nap pods, dry cleaning services and covering egg freezing costs for female employees. Successes among A-list hires shed light on a new priority for young tech worke...
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High Performance Computing Helps Chemists Sort Through Cellular Statistics (Jul 29, 2015)
DNA is often referred to as “the blueprint of life.” But it’s more than just a blueprint—it’s also a kind of operations manual for the workings of the cell, telling it what proteins to manufacture and when. Aaron Dinner, professor in chemistry, and his graduate student Herman Gudjonson are trying to read that manual, as part of the Dinner group’s research into bioinformatics—the application of statistics to biological research. To carry out their research, Dinner and Gudjonson turn...
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Fewer British Women Studying Computer Science (Jul 28, 2015)
The gender gap among British university students has widened in courses including software engineering, information systems and combined computer science courses. It appears that fewer women are studying computer science at UK universities than five years ago, according to UCAS figures. Overall, the prevalence of new courses (like gaming and graphics) to meet the growing demand for technology skills has steadily increased over the last five years.Yet the ratio of women accepting a place on a com...
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Basic Computing Elements Created in Bacteria (Jul 28, 2015)
The "friendly" bacteria inside our digestive systems are being given an upgrade, which may one day allow them to be programmed to detect and ultimately treat diseases such as colon cancer and immune disorders. In a paper published in the journal Cell Systems, researchers at MIT unveil a series of sensors, memory switches, and circuits that can be encoded in the common human gut bacterium Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron. These basic computing elements will allow the bacteria to sense, memorize, and ...
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UCSC Students Create New Tools to Archive and Explore Computer Game Culture (Jul 25, 2015)
In a UC-Santa Cruz research lab dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of computer games, two graduate students have combined linguistics and computational theory to create a new multidimensional library of 12,000 computer games.The web-based tools, GameNet and GameSage, offer novel ways to discover similar types of games. It is a step toward sorting decades of game culture that has yet to be successfully categorized and archived. The pair used natural language processing, the intersection bet...
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Simulations Lead to Design of Near-frictionless Material (Jul 25, 2015)
Argonne scientists used Mira to identify and improve a new mechanism for eliminating friction, which fed into the development of a hybrid material that exhibited superlubricity at the macroscale for the first time. Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF) researchers helped enable the groundbreaking simulations by overcoming a performance bottleneck that doubled the speed of the team's code.

Long-Sought Discovery Fills in Missing Details of Cell "Switchboard" (Jul 24, 2015)
A biomedical breakthrough, published in the journal Nature, reveals never-before-seen details of the human body's cellular switchboard that regulates sensory and hormonal responses. The work is based on an X-ray laser experiment at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. The much-anticipated discovery, a decade in the making, could have broad impacts on development of more highly targeted and effective drugs with fewer side effects to treat conditions including high bloo...
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BubbleSort Zines Lure Teen Girls to Computer Science (Jul 24, 2015)
Amy Wibowo knew, even as a kid, that computer science was a magical intersection of math, science and pictures. “As the teacher introduced a new concept, I would make cartoons about it,” she said; the visual elements of math theory sparked inspiration for her. “Textbooks are so dry,” she mourned; why didn’t anyone create textbooks with comics? “That would be so much juicier,” she thought, and resolved to make it happen someday. That day has come. The first issue of her BubbleSort Z...
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Will Teaching New Computer Science Principles Level the Playing Field? (Jul 23, 2015)
Realizing the dearth of access to computer science offerings in high school, the National Science Foundation, together with the College Board, convened a group of teachers and academics to craft a new course called “AP Computer Science Principles.” The primary goal of this new course, to be offered in fall 2016, is to increase student access to computer science, computing and STEM through a more multidisciplinary approach than the current AP course, which is focused primarily on programming ...
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Artificial Intelligence Contests Showcase Computer-generated Creativity (Jul 23, 2015)
Can an algorithm pass for an author? Can a robot rock the house? A series of contests at Dartmouth College is about to find out. Dartmouth is seeking artificial intelligence algorithms that create "human-quality" short stories, sonnets and dance music sets that will be pitted against human-produced literature, poetry and music selections. The judges won't know which is which. The goal is to determine whether people can distinguish between the two, and whether they might even prefer the computer-...
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Supercomputers Surprisingly Link DNA Crosses to Cancer (Jul 22, 2015)
DNA naturally folds itself into cross-shaped structures called cruciforms that jut out along the sprawling length of its double helix. DNA cruciforms are abundant; scientists estimate as many as 500,000 cruciform-forming sequences may exist on average in a normal human genome. Supercomputers have now helped scientists find a surprising link between cross-shaped (or cruciform) pieces of DNA and human cancer, according to a study.

EU Funds Open-Source Software Project to Advance Computational Science (Jul 22, 2015)
An open-source software project to extend the capacity of computational mathematics and interactive computing environments has received €7.6 million in EU funding. The OpenDreamKit project, funded by the EU’s Framework 2020 program, will make all associated code, data and research available for free on the internet as open-source software that other researchers can use. The project will develop software for mathematical tools, such as GAP and SageMath, which can be used by researchers to run...
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Face It, Your Brain is a Computer (Jul 21, 2015)
Science has a poor track record when it comes to comparing our brains to the technology of the day. Many neuroscientists today would add to the list of failed comparisons the idea that the brain is a computer — just another analogy without a lot of substance. Some of them actively deny that there is much useful in the idea; most simply ignore it.

Polite Robots Show Glimmer of Self-Awareness (Jul 21, 2015)
For the first time, three humanoid robots showed a glimmer of self-consciousness by solving a classic philosophical problem. The robotic trio was composed of three old Nao models, but the experiment that was conducted on them was extremely novel — and so were the results. The robots were programmed to think that two of them had been given a “dumbing pill” that would make them unable to speak. However, they didn't know exactly which two of them had been silenced. When the robots were asked ...
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Breakthrough in the Study of Gene Regulation (Jul 20, 2015)
Inside every cell that makes up a diminutive fruit fly is a vast, dynamic network of information -- the genome whose 15,000 genes allow that cell to function. In a new study, computer scientists and molecular biologists demonstrated the utility of a novel approach to deciphering how networks of genes are regulated.

Middle School Girls Get Head Start in Computer Science (Jul 20, 2015)
Women computer science majors at Rutgers University in New Brunswick are doing their part to inspire young girls to follow them into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. The Rutgers students worked one-on-one with girls at Theodore Schor Middle School in Piscataway this past school year to coach them in programming, game design, robotics and fundamentals of computing such as binary numbers. The aim is to show girls computer technology can be understandable and fun. Lea...
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