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July 2016 — July 2016

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Dedicates New Supercomputer Facility (Jul 17, 2016)
Officials from the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and government representatives today dedicated a new supercomputing facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). The $9.8 million modular and sustainable facility provides the Laboratory flexibility to accommodate future advances in computer technology and meet a rapidly growing demand for unclassified high-performance computing (HPC). The facility houses supercomputing systems in support of N...
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Now Hiring: Women With These Degrees (Jul 15, 2016)
Picture a software engineer or video game developer. What do you see? Chances are it's not a woman. One reason is that women are still very much in the minority in computer sciences and engineering. Even though there are many efforts underway to encourage girls from a young age to pursue STEM fields, the pipeline of women coming out of college with degrees in engineering and computer science is still very small relative to men. That's also why talented women entering the workforce with degrees i...
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Analog Computing Returns (Jul 15, 2016)
A transistor, conceived of in digital terms, has two states: on and off, which can represent the 1s and 0s of binary arithmetic. But in analog terms, the transistor has an infinite number of states, which could, in principle, represent an infinite range of mathematical values. Digital computing, for all its advantages, leaves most of transistors’ informational capacity on the table. In recent years, analog computers have proven to be much more efficient at simulating biological systems than di...
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We Need To Talk About AI And Access To Publicly Funded Data-sets (Jul 14, 2016)
For more than a decade the company formerly known as Google, latterly rebranded Alphabet to illustrate the full breadth of its A to Z business ambitions, has engineered an annually increasing revenue generating empire which last year pulled in ~$75 billion. And it’s done this mostly by mining user data for ad targeting intel. It’s an abstract idea for starters, and a personal cost that’s far harder to quantify given how unclear it is what Google really does with the data it gathers and pro...
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Require Computer Science But Don't Replace Other Classes (Jul 14, 2016)
Computer science, if installed in all of Iowa's schools, should not replace other classes and instead be a main course, according to a committee with the Governor's STEM Advisory Council. "We believe it is time that computer science is recognized as a core discipline," Mark Gruwell, co-chairman of the computer science committee, told members of the Council. Gruwell told the Register the group does not want computer science class time to supplant math, foreign language or other coursework. If the...
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Obama, NIH Announce Big Data Gathering Push For Precision Medicine (Jul 13, 2016)
One could be forgiven for experiencing a bit of hopeful, skepticism in response to U.S. President Barack Obama Administration’s statement in May regarding re-energizing the “War Against Cancer.” The war against cancer is a many-decades old effort with mixed results – great progress in many areas but matched with disappointment in others. Winning the war still seems rather far-off. Precision Medicine is a powerful idea – mostly marshaling insights from varying genomics technologies and ...
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Extortion Extinction: Researchers Develop A Way To Stop Ransomware (Jul 13, 2016)
Ransomware - what hackers use to encrypt your computer files and demand money in exchange for freeing those contents - is an exploding global problem with few solutions, but a team of University of Florida researchers says it has developed a way to stop it dead in its tracks. The answer, they say, lies not in keeping it out of a computer but rather in confronting it once it's there and, counterintuitively, actually letting it lock up a few files before clamping down on it.



Computer Science Is Future-Proof (Jul 12, 2016)
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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New, Better Way To Build Circuits For World's First Useful Quantum Computers (Jul 12, 2016)
The era of quantum computers is one step closer as a result of research published in the current issue of the journal Science. The research team has devised and demonstrated a new way to pack a lot more quantum computing power into a much smaller space and with much greater control than ever before. The research advance, using a 3-dimensional array of atoms in quantum states called quantum bits -- or qubits -- was made by David S. Weiss, professor of physics at Penn State University, and three s...
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A Celebration Of Women In HPC (Jul 11, 2016)
Why are there not more women in HPC? This was the simple question that led to the formation of the Women in HPC (WHPC) network nearly three years ago. Under the direction of founder Dr. Toni Collis of the Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre (EPCC), the organization has been gaining momentum and making a name for itself since its inaugural Women in HPC workshop at SC14. At ISC 2016 in Frankfurt, Germany, WHPC expanded its program to three events: its fourth international Women in High Performance...
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Can Technology Protect Soft Targets Against Mass Shootings And Terrorist Attacks? (Jul 11, 2016)
Sandy Hook, Charlie Hebdo, San Bernardino, the Paris Attacks, Brussels, Istanbul. Virtually all of these terrorist attacks and mass shootings occurred in what are known as "soft target" locations: big spaces with multiple entries and exits, lots of people, and relatively little protection. Soft targets like airports often contain more stringent security inside, but those security checkpoints, scanners and pat-downs you endure at the TSA are intended to protect the airplanes and their passengers....
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The End Of Your Undivided Attention (Jul 10, 2016)
Many things have sought to capture your undivided attention, but that might be the ghost of a goal in today’s reality. We’re less attentive than goldfish; even our best and brightest can’t focus; and we’re more likely than ever to be paying less than full attention in even circumstances where distraction can be deadly. And that genie isn’t going back in the bottle, so responsible product design now has to assume a high and growing average level of user distraction. Already, the product...
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Researchers Break Record For DNA Data Storage (Jul 10, 2016)
University of Washington and Microsoft researchers have broken what they believe is the world record for the amount of digital data successfully stored—and retrieved—in DNA molecules. The team of computer scientists and electrical engineers encoded and decoded a video of the band OK Go (featuring the craziest Rube Goldberg machine ever), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in more than 100 languages, the top 100 books of Project Gutenberg and the Crop Trust's seed database—among othe...
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OLCF Researchers Scale R to Tackle Big Science Data Sets (Jul 9, 2016)
Sometimes lost in the discussion around big data is the fact that big science has long generated huge data sets. “In fact, large-scale simulations that run on leadership-class supercomputers work at such high speeds and resolution that they generate unprecedented amounts of data. The size of these datasets—ranging from a few gigabytes to hundreds of terabytes—makes managing and analyzing the resulting information a challenge in its own right,” notes an article posted on Oak Ridge Nationa...
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Tiny Bacteria-powered 'Windfarm' For Your Phone? (Jul 9, 2016)
A team of scientists from Oxford University has shown how the natural movement of bacteria could be harnessed to assemble and power microscopic 'windfarms' -- or other human-made micromachines such as smartphone components. The study, published in the journal Science Advances, uses computer simulations to demonstrate that the chaotic swarming effect of dense active matter such as bacteria can be organised to turn cylindrical rotors and provide a steady power source.



IBM Supercomputer Watson to Help Advance Preschool Education (Jul 8, 2016)
Sesame Workshop and IBM announced a collaboration to use IBM Watson’s cognitive computing technology and Sesame’s early childhood expertise to help advance preschool education around the world. As part of a three-year agreement, Sesame Workshop and IBM will collaborate to develop educational platforms and products that will be designed to adapt to the learning preferences and aptitude levels of individual preschoolers. Research shows that a significant extent of brain development occurs in t...
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XSEDE Names 2016 Campus Champion Fellows (Jul 8, 2016)
The National Science Foundation’s Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) program has named the fifth cohort of Fellows for its Campus Champions (CC) program, pairing a Champion with a member of XSEDE’s Extended Collaborative Support Services (ECSS) staff to work on real-world science and engineering projects for about one year. Campus Champions are local faculty, staff and researchers at over 200 U.S. institutions who advise researchers on the use of high-end cyberinfr...
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'Cut!' - the AI Director (Jul 7, 2016)
At the Cannes Lions advertising festival on Thursday morning, an audience was shown a series of short films in the annual New Directors Showcase, which highlights emerging talent. One of the entries had AI as a director. A few days ago, I saw Eclipse, a pop video featuring a French band, at the offices of Saatchi and Saatchi, which runs the Cannes showcase and commissioned the AI entry. What is remarkable about it is not the production values - it is actually a rather dull piece of work - but a ...
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Early-Universe Soup (Jul 7, 2016)
At the dawn of the universe – just after the Big Bang – all matter was in the form of a hot-flowing soup called quark-gluon plasma, or QGP. Large-scale computations have been critical to the theoretical study of QGP’s novel characteristics. As part of a theoretical effort funded by the Department of Energy, Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Swagato Mukherjee and his colleagues are using an allotment of 167 million processor hours from the ASCR Leadership Computing Challenge to better unde...
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Computer is Trained to Recognize Events in YouTube (Jul 6, 2016)
Using deep learning techniques, a group of researchers has trained a computer to recognize events in videos on YouTube - even the ones the software has never seen before like riding a horse, baking cookies or eating at a restaurant. Researchers from Disney Research and Shanghai's Fudan University used both scene and object features from the video and enabled link between these visual elements and each type of event to be automatically determined by a machine-learning architecture known as neural...
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The Inventors of the Internet Are Trying to Build a Truly Permanent Web (Jul 6, 2016)
If you wanted to write a history of the Internet, one of the first things you would do is dig into the email archives of Vint Cerf. In 1973, he co-created the protocols that Internet servers use to communicate with each other without the need for any kind of centralized authority or control. He has spent the decades since shaping the Internet’s development, most recently as Google’s “chief Internet evangelist.” Thankfully, Cerf says he has archived about 40 years of old email—a first-h...
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U.S. to Have 200-Petaflop Supercomputer by Early 2018 (Jul 5, 2016)
The U.S. plans to have a supercomputer by early 2018 with roughly double the performance of China's newest and most powerful system. The Chinese system, Sunway TaihuLight, was announced in the latest release of the Top 500, the biannual ranking of publicly known supercomputers. Sunway TaihuLight can reach a theoretical peak speed of 124.5 petaflops, and has achieved 93 petaflops on the Linpack benchmark, used by the Top 500 to assess the performance of supercomputers. The latest ranking of the w...
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Brazil Budget Crisis Slows Supercomputer from Studying Zika (Jul 5, 2016)
A supercomputer named Santos Dumont has been partially switched off in Rio de Janeiro due to government spending cuts. It was meant to be genetically mapping the Zika virus. "It seems nonsensical, at a moment like this when everyone is talking about the Zika virus," Antonio Tadeu, head of a government group responsible for high performance processing, told Reuters. "The financial problems have meant Santos Dumont is running below capacity since last month," he added. In the midst of Brazil's wor...
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MIT’s New AI Can (Sort of) Fool Humans with Sound Effects (Jul 4, 2016)
Neural Networks are already beating us at games, organizing our smartphone photos, and answering our emails. Eventually, they could be filling jobs in Hollywood. Over at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), a team of six researchers created a machine-learning system that matches sound effects to video clips. Before you get too excited, the CSAIL algorithm can’t do its audio work on any old video, and the sound effects it produces are limited.



Bluetooth 5: Quadruple the Range, Double the Speed (Jul 4, 2016)
Bluetooth is so ubiquitous, it's easy to forget it's still an evolving technology. The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) defines the standard, and late last year teased what's coming in the next major version change since 2009. Today, the body shared a bit more about what we can expect from the release of Bluetooth 5, expected in late 2016 or early 2017. For starters, the next version will quadruple the range of connections and double their speeds, too, with no increase in power consumption...
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