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September 2016 — September 2016

Australia to Embrace the New Era of Gravitational Wave Astronomy (Sep 20, 2016)
Four hundred years ago Galileo pointed a telescope at Jupiter and saw electromagnetic waves (light) being reflected off its moons. This profound observation displaced Earth from its position at the center of the universe to just one planet among many. It also sparked a new golden era of optical astronomy, which continues to this day. In September 2015 the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (aLIGO) detected the gravitational waves emitted by two coalescing black holes. T...
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Women Break Barriers in Engineering and Computer Science at Some Top Colleges (Sep 20, 2016)
Women are making major gains in enrollment in engineering and computer science at some of the nation’s most prominent colleges and universities, a breakthrough that shows that gender parity is possible in technology fields long dominated by men. More than half of engineering bachelor’s degrees at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology went to women in 2015, federal data shows. The same was true at Dartmouth College this year. The majority of computer science majors at California’s Harve...
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Security News This Week: Google Ups the Ante on Web Encryption (Sep 19, 2016)
Not too long ago, the standard for a secure website was to not offer gaping holes for hackers to exploit or infect visitors with malware. Now even plain-old HTTP itself, that venerable web protocol, is about to be considered insecure. Google has announced that its web browser Chrome will soon take a more aggressive stance on web encryption, marking any site as insecure if it doesn’t use HTTPS, a protocol that encrypts web pages with the encryption schemes SSL or TLS, and putting a red “X” ...
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Nvidia Launches Pascal GPUs for Deep Learning Inferencing (Sep 19, 2016)
Already entrenched in the deep learning community for neural net training, Nvidia wants to secure its place as the go-to chipmaker for datacenter inferencing. At the GPU Technology Conference (GTC) in Beijing today (Tuesday), Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang unveiled the latest additions to the Tesla line, Pascal-based P4 and P40 GPU accelerators, as well as new software all aimed at improving performance for inferencing workloads that undergird applications like voice-activated assistants, spam filter...
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Japan's Post-K Computer Hits 1-2 Year Speed Bump (Sep 18, 2016)
Dr. Yutaka Ishikawa, project lead for RIKEN AICS, confirms that Japan’s next-generation supercomputer, the Post-K computer, has been delayed by one-to-two years, slipping from its original 2020 target to either 2021 or 2022. The additional time is needed to ensure sufficient processor volume, sources report. With the adjusted schedule, Japan’s exascale horizon has shifted closer to the US goal to stand up a productive exascale computer by no later than 2023.



DOE Funds Asynchronous Supercomputing Research at Georgia Tech (Sep 18, 2016)
The DOE is funding a $2.4 million project at Georgia Tech to develop new computer algorithms for solving linear and nonlinear equations that will ultimately help pave the way for the next generation of supercomputers. The research targets a critical need for more advanced algorithms in the transition from petascale to exascale computing, which could unlock a thousand-fold increase in computer performance. Exascale computing refers to computing systems capable of at least a billion billion (quint...
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Green-Powered Boat Readies for Round-The-World Voyage (Sep 13, 2016)
Dubbed the "Solar Impulse of the Seas," the first boat to be powered solely by renewable energies and hydrogen hopes to make its own historic trip around the world. A water-borne answer to the Solar Impulse—the plane that completed its round-the-globe trip using only solar energy in July—the Energy Observer will be powered by the Sun, the wind and self-generated hydrogen when it sets sail in February as scheduled. The multi-hulled catamaran is in a shipyard at Saint-Malo on France's west coa...
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Keeping Track of Warehouse Inventories with an Army of Fully Autonomous Drones (Sep 13, 2016)
When they wanted to stash the Ark of the Covenant away at the end of the first Indiana Jones film, the government did what any self-respecting bureaucratic institution would, filing it away in a giant warehouse. Navigating even the most well-appointed warehouse spaces can get tricky, and keeping tabs on missing inventory a downright nightmare, requiring full staffs over several day-long periods to count and re-count pallets, in hopes of determining whether anything has gone missing. And let’s ...
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Promising Drug Leads Identified to Combat Heart Disease (Sep 12, 2016)
Using a unique computational approach to rapidly sample, in millisecond time intervals, proteins in their natural state of gyrating, bobbing, and weaving, a research team from UC San Diego and Monash University in Australia has identified promising drug leads that may selectively combat heart disease, from arrhythmias to cardiac failure. Reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition, the researchers used the computing power of Gordon and Comet, based at the San Di...
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Using the Outside World to Save on Brainpower (Sep 12, 2016)
Every day, we rely on our physical surroundings--friends, gadgets, and even hand gestures--to manage incoming information and retain it. In a Review published in Trends in Cognitive Sciences, two researchers explain the myriad ways in which forms of assistance from gestures to GPS affect both what we know and what we think we know. Evan F. Risko, a Canada Research chair in Cognitive Psychology at the University of Waterloo, and co-author Sam Gilbert, a Royal Society research fellow at University...
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Blue Waters Supercomputer Used in White House Arctic Initiative (Sep 11, 2016)
The Blue Waters supercomputer is playing an instrumental role in a White House project aimed at mapping out the Arctic. High-resolution topographic maps of Alaska that were released last week were created by Blue Waters. They are the first high-resolution, high-quality images of the region. Collaborators from Ohio State and Cornell universities are working with Paul Morin, head of the University of Minnesota’s Polar Geospatial Center, on his ArcticDEM project, using Blue Waters to create digit...
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Saving Water with Sandia’s New Datacenter Cooling Technology (Sep 11, 2016)
Engineers at Sandia are developing new datacenter cooling technologies that could save millions of gallons of water nationwide. In different parts of the country, people discuss gray-water recycling and rainwater capture to minimize the millions of gallons of groundwater required to cool large data centers. But the simple answer in many climates, said Sandia National Laboratories researcher David J. Martinez, is to use liquid refrigerant. Based on that principle, Martinez — engineering project...
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Computers Are for Girls, Too (Sep 10, 2016)
I remember three things about my first computer science class in college. First, improbably, the professor was named Ramm, as in “random access memory.” Second, the class was about processors, and I only had a vague idea what a processor was. Third, it was the last computer science class for most of my female classmates, who quickly decided they’d rather major in something else. I never would have guessed that my time as a computer science student would turn out to be pretty much the high ...
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Argonne Launches ‘Array of Things’ Urban Sensing Project (Sep 10, 2016)
Argonne National Laboratory is partnering with the University of Chicago and the City of Chicago to launch an open access urban sensing project - the Array of Things - to better understand and improve the cities. The Array of Things (AoT) will collect streams of data on Chicago's environment, infrastructure, and activity. This local, open data collection can then be used by researchers, city officials and software developers to study challenges such as air pollution, flooding, traffic safety and...
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We're at Peak Complexity and It Sucks (Sep 9, 2016)
Virtually all companies are doing digital transformation wrong. We’re placing it around the edge, keeping it at arm’s length, like it’s a problem and not an opportunity. If companies are to succeed, we need to rebuild around what’s possible, with the greatest toolkit we’ve ever seen. We celebrate what we’ve done and what’s changed, not what was actually possible or what changes have yet to happen. I believe we should be collectively disappointed at our inaction — it’s time we t...
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Vulnerabilities Found in Cars Connected to Smartphones (Sep 9, 2016)
Many of today's automobiles leave the factory with secret passengers: prototype software features that are disabled but that can be unlocked by clever drivers. In what is believed to be the first comprehensive security analysis of its kind, Damon McCoy, an assistant professor of computer science and engineering at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, and a group of students at George Mason University found vulnerabilities in MirrorLink, a system of rules that allow vehicles to communicate with ...
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UC Berkeley launches Center for Human-Compatible Artificial Intelligence (Sep 8, 2016)
UC Berkeley artificial intelligence expert Stuart Russell will lead a new Center for Human-Compatible Artificial Intelligence. Russell, a UC Berkeley professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences and the Smith-Zadeh Professor in Engineering, is co-author of Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach, which is considered the standard text in the field of artificial intelligence, and has been an advocate for incorporating human values into the design of AI. The primary focus of the new...
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9 Social Good Innovations that Made an Impact in August (Sep 8, 2016)
Socially conscious inventors are the true champions of global progress, though they are rarely recognized. Their innovations and inventions shake up our world, tackling some of the planet's biggest problems with bold ingenuity. From tiny gadgets that can cleanse water in a flash to satellites that are mapping global poverty in an unprecedented way, innovations are constantly making strides toward solving massive social problems. These nine innovations sought to tackle global inequality in August...
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Kiwi Birds Younger than Originally Thought, Research Shows (Sep 7, 2016)
New Zealand's kiwi may be one of the world's oddest birds – flightless, nocturnal, an enigmatic dirt digger with nostrils at the end of its long bill. But the national symbol also has a lot to tell the world about evolution during the most recent ice age. According to research published in the prestigious U.S. journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by a team led by Jason Weir, biological sciences professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough, today's kiwi are much newer b...
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How Machine Learning Can Help with Voice Disorders (Sep 7, 2016)
There's no human instinct more basic than speech, and yet, for many people, talking can be taxing. Unfortunately, many behaviorally-based voice disorders are not well understood. In particular, patients with muscle tension dysphonia often experience deteriorating voice quality and vocal fatigue ("tired voice") in the absence of any clear vocal cord damage or other medical problems, which makes the condition both hard to diagnose and hard to treat. But a team from MIT's Computer Science and Artif...
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Seven Women in IT Chosen to Help Build and Operate SCinet at SC16 (Sep 6, 2016)
Seven women who work in IT departments at research institutions around the country have been chosen to help build and operate SCinet, the very high capacity SC conference network, under the “Women in IT Networking at SC” program. Now in its second year, WINS is a collaboration between the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, the Department of Energy’s Energy Sciences Network and the Keystone Initiative for Network Based Education and Research. Although women have been members o...
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HPC Speeds Analysis of 'Alternative Futures' for Water Management (Sep 6, 2016)
As water becomes a more precious and scarce commodity, effective use and conservation require that researchers test different water management strategies. It’s a complex problem that involves conservation, groundwater and seawater desalination and water reuse, as well as the uncertainty about future climate change and development patterns. Managing the flow of the Colorado River, which winds almost 1,500 miles through seven states and some of the most arid land in the country, has been a big j...
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Flood Forecasting Gets Major Upgrade (Sep 5, 2016)
The recent floods in Louisiana have reminded the nation of the devastation these disasters can cause, resulting in more than a dozen deaths and damaging more than 40,000 homes. With support from the National Science Foundation, David Maidment and his team created a water model prototype for the science community for research purposes. That prototype helped establish the National Water Model, which now delivers forecast information, data, decision-support services and guidance to essential emerge...
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NCSA to Lead $110 Million NSF Project to Expand Nation's Cyberinfrastructure Ecosystem (Sep 5, 2016)
The National Science Foundation announced a $110 million, five-year award to the National Center for Supercomputing Applications NCSA at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and 18 partner institutions to continue, and expand, the activities undertaken through the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment, a cornerstone of the nation's cyberinfrastructure ecosystem. XSEDE accelerates open scientific discovery by enhancing the productivity and capability of researchers, engi...
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Packaging a Wallop (Sep 4, 2016)
From climate-change predictions to models of the expanding universe, simulations help scientists understand complex physical phenomena. But simulations aren’t easy to deploy. Computational models comprise millions of lines of code and rely on many separate software packages. For the largest codes, configuring and linking these packages can require weeks of full-time effort. Recently, a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory team deployed a multiphysics code with 47 libraries on Trinity, the Cr...
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