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February 2015 — March 2015

Thinkabit Lab Brings World of Creative Engineering to Middle School Students (Mar 14, 2015)
A group of curious middle-school students at Feaster Middle STEAM Academy in Chula Vista recently was immersed into a world of creative engineering via Thinkabit Lab, an outgrowth of the University of California at San Diego’s K-16 Programs. A hands-on lab, Thinkabit adds an “A” for art to the traditional STEM curriculum of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Taught at Qualcomm's headquarters in Sorrento Valley, the coursework inspires students to be creative while they lear...
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Real Science Using Stampede's Xeon-Phi (Mar 13, 2015)
Researchers have built a full atomic model of the influenza envelope, comprised of more than 210 million atoms, using molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of the viral system on the Stampede supercomputer Xeon Phi co-processors. The viral particle is the largest atomic-resolution system that has ever been simulated and will allow researchers to gain unprecedented insights into the mechanisms of influenza virulence that will help to accelerate anti-viral therapeutics development.

Evolutionary Approaches to Big-Data Problems (Mar 12, 2015)
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) AnyScale Learning For All (ALFA) group investigates a wide range of big data challenges. ALFA focuses on working with raw data that comes directly from the source and then investigates the data with a variety of techniques, most of which involve scalable machine learning and evolutionary computing algorithms. "Machine learning is very useful for retrospectively looking back at the data to help you predict the future," says ALFA director Una-May O...
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New Research Points Way To Less Vulnerable Computer Memory (Mar 11, 2015)
Researchers at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Arizona State University have built one of the three components of a ferroelectric field-effect transistor (FeFET). The transistor promises to offer data storage that is quickly accessible and non-volatile. As part of the transistor that is open or closed, corresponding to the "0"s and "1"s in a computer's binary language, the gate would retain its state when no power is applied. Computing devices with memor...
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UC San Diego/SDSC Study Advances Brain Cancer Research (Mar 10, 2015)
Researchers at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), Moores Cancer Center and Department of Neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego, have shown for the first time a pyramid hierarchical network of “coherent gene modules” that regulate glioblastoma genes, which are involved in a highly aggressive form of brain cancer. By identifying the most important gene modules responsible for cancer growth and proliferation, the study informs a strategy that could elucidate these mod...
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Program Teaches Low-Income Kids to Code (Mar 9, 2015)
Civil rights activist Van Jones has created Yes We Code, an initiative that aims to teach 100,000 low-income kids programming skills. Yes We Code is helping dozens of organizations around the U.S. that are trying to address high-tech's racial and gender gap, from Black Girls Code to Hack the Hood. It connects those groups with the resources they need, according to Jones. Yes We Code wants to get communities to redirect young people's talents and to help the technology industry access that talen...
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What Advanced Tech Will Dominate Your Car by 2025? IBM Knows (Mar 8, 2015)
An IBM study on the future of automotive technologies found self-healing cars featuring social networking communications capabilities and connections to the Internet of Things are the wave of the future. IBM interviewed 175 executives at automotive manufacturers, suppliers and other businesses in 21 countries about what they expect the cars of 2025 to be able do. "By 2025, the industry will not only recreate our highly personalized and digitized lives inside our cars, but also give consumers a b...
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Faster Raspberry Pi Brings Low-Price Computing Power to Education (Mar 7, 2015)
The latest version of Raspberry Pi is six times faster than its predecessor and delivers the same amount of power as a standard personal computer. The extremely low price point was the biggest challenge, says Raspberry Pi Foundation founder Eben Upton. The Foundation promotes credit card-sized Raspberry Pi computers as an affordable tool that children can use to learn programming. Upton says the other challenge was moving from a package-on-package system, in which the memory was part of the main...
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Lab-in-a-Box Takes Aim at Doctors’ Computer Activity (Mar 6, 2015)
They call it “the Lab-in-a-Box,” according to Nadir Weibel, a research scientist in the Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) Department at the University of California, San Diego. Inside the box are assorted sensors and software designed to monitor a doctor’s office, particularly during consultations with patients. The goal is to analyze the physician’s behavior and better understand the dynamics of the interactions of the doctor with the electronic medical records and the patients in ...
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The Hot Yet Little-Known Trend That'll Supercharge AI (Mar 5, 2015)
When Andrew Ng trained Google’s army of computers to identify cat videos using artificial intelligence, he hit a few snags. Google’s worldwide network of data centers housed more computers than he needed for the job but harnessing all that power wasn’t easy. When a server broke down—an everyday occurrence when you’re using 1,000 machines at a time—it slowed down his calculations. According to Ng, this is one of the big unreported stories in the world of deep learning, the hottest tre...
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Elementary School Teachers’ Biases Can Discourage Girls from Math and Science (Mar 4, 2015)
The biases of elementary school teachers have a profound effect on whether or not girls pursue studies in math and science, suggests a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). Beginning in 2002, NBER researchers began following three groups of Israeli students from sixth grade through the end of high school. Students were given two exams covering multiple subjects, one that was graded by their teachers and another one that was graded by outsiders who did not know the stude...
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SDSC Participates in CalWater Extreme Precipitation Project (Mar 3, 2015)
The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) and the University of California, San Diego, is providing data management, visualization and modeling resources and expertise to a two-month wintertime field campaign to study “atmospheric rivers” and particles of dust, smoke, sea spray and organic materials called aerosols along the western U.S. coast to better understand variability in the region’s water supply, flood and drought hazards, infrastructure requirements and optimal reservoir operatio...
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Charged Graphene Gives DNA a Stage to Perform Molecular Gymnastics (Mar 2, 2015)
When Illinois researchers set out to investigate a method to control how DNA moves through a tiny sequencing device, they did not know they were about to witness a display of molecular gymnastics. Fast, accurate and affordable DNA sequencing is the first step toward personalized medicine. Threading a DNA molecule through a tiny hole, called a nanopore, in a sheet of graphene allows researchers to read the DNA sequence; however, they have limited control over how fast the DNA moves through the po...
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Meet Poppy, the Printable Robot (Mar 1, 2015)
European researchers have developed Poppy, an open source, 3D-printed, humanoid robot. The researchers hope to make Poppy part of vocational training in schools, giving students the opportunity to learn and experiment. "Very little has been done to explore the benefits of 3D printing and its interaction with computer science in classrooms," says European Research Council scientist Pierre-Yves Oudeyer. "With our Poppy platform, we are now offering schools and teachers a way to cultivate the creat...
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Uncovering Alzheimer's Complex Genetic Networks (Feb 28, 2015)
Researchers from the Mayo Clinic are using Blue Waters, one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world, to decode the complicated language of genetic pathways in the brain. In doing so, they hope to provide insights into what genes and proteins are malfunctioning in the brain, causing amyloid beta plaques, tau protein tangles and brain atrophy due to neuronal cell loss--the telltale signs of Alzheimer's disease--and how these genes can be detected and addressed.

SDSC to Participate in New Cancer Cell Mapping Initiative (Feb 27, 2015)
Researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and University of California, San Francisco – with support from a diverse team of collaborators including the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) – have launched an ambitious new project to determine how all of the components of a cancer cell interact. "We’re going to draw the complete wiring diagram of a cancer cell,” said Nevan Krogan, director of the UC San Francisco division of QB3, a quantitative bioscienc...
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Legislation Introduced to Jumpstart Research into Exascale Supercomputing (Feb 26, 2015)
U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.) along with U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) introduced bipartisan legislation that would jumpstart research into exascale supercomputing that is “critical to U.S. competitiveness and national security.” The ExaSCALE Computing Leadership Act of 2015 would create research partnerships between industry, universities and U.S. Department of Energy’s national labs to research and develop at least two exascale superco...
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More Students Earning STEM Degrees, Report Shows (Feb 25, 2015)
Science, technology, engineering and math degrees have become incrementally more common for both men and women over the last decade, a new report shows. Driven by a growth in the "hard sciences" – such as computer science, engineering and physical and biological sciences – the prevalence of STEM degrees increased between 2004 and 2014 at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels, according to a report from the National Student Clearinghouse. At the same time, the proportion of students ma...
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Middle School Girls Conceive Facial Recognition App for Alzheimer's Patients (Feb 24, 2015)
Determined to help others living with Alzheimer's, Middle school girls at St. Catherine of Alexandria in the Chicago suburb of Oak Lawn put their heads together to conceive a facial recognition concept smartphone app for the annual Verizon Innovative App Challenge. Dubbed "Remember Me," the app would use facial recognition technology and a smartphone camera to help Alzheimer's patients recognize family, friends, caregivers and even pets -- sort of like a scrapbook. A single snap of the camera wo...
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New Search Engine Lets Users Look for Relevant Results Faster (Feb 23, 2015)
Researchers at the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology believe they have developed technology that will make Web searches more efficient. The new search engine is designed to show related keywords and topics to help those who do not know exactly what they are looking for or how to formulate a query to find it. The SciNet search engine features a topic radar to display the range of keywords and topics and how they are related to each other. The relevance is tied to its distance from the...
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New Computational Methods Help Identify Positions in the Human Genome (Feb 22, 2015)
Cornell University scientists have created a computational method to identify biologically significant DNA in the human genome. The method combines two techniques to pinpoint signals of selective pressure in DNA--one that looks for divergence and another that looks for mutations in DNA between individual humans. The new method clusters functionally similar markers in the genome into groups and subsequently estimates the probability of whether a group is contributing to the fitness of the species...
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Sustained Investment in Research is Needed to Combat Cyber Threats (Feb 21, 2015)
In testimony before the U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee's Research and Technology Subcommittee on Tuesday, Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Assistant Director Jim Kurose said sustained basic research investment is necessary for countering growing cyberthreats. He also stressed the need for behavioral researchers' participation in this effort, since effective solutions must be social-technical in nature. In addition, Kurose said there must be closer comm...
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Coder creates smallest chess game for computers (Feb 20, 2015)
The Sinclair ZX81 computer game 1K ZX Chess is no longer the smallest-sized chess computer program, as French coder Olivier Poudade has created BootChess, which is only 487 bytes in size, and the code can run on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux computers. David Horne's 1K ZX Chess contained 672 bytes of code and had held the record for 33 years. Poudade, who says creating something smaller seemed impossible at first, achieved his goal by making BootChess even more basic than its 1982 predecessor. T...
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Study: 100 Percent of Women of Color in STEM Have Experienced Bias (Feb 18, 2015)
Women of color in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields face a double jeopardy, according to University of California Hastings professor Joan Williams. Her new study reveals 100 percent of women of color said they have experienced gender bias, compared with 93 percent of white women. However, women of color also report encountering ethnic and racial stereotyping. Williams, who has studied gender for more than two decades, interviewed 60 women of color and surveyed 55...
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Computer Scientists at UT Austin Crack Code for Redrawing Bird Family Tree (Feb 17, 2015)
A new computational technique developed at The University of Texas at Austin has enabled an international consortium to produce an avian tree of life that points to the origins of various bird species. A graduate student at the university is a leading author on papers describing the new technique and sharing the consortium's findings about bird evolution in the journal Science. The results of the four-year effort — which relied in part on supercomputers at the university's Texas Advanced Compu...
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