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January 2018 — January 2018

Supercomputing Online Course (Jan 19, 2018)
Today’s supercomputers are the most powerful calculating machines ever invented, capable of performing more than a thousand million million calculations every second. This gives scientists and engineers a powerful new tool to study the natural world – computer simulation. Discover how supercomputers are powering scientific breakthroughs This free online course will introduce you to what supercomputers are, how they are used and how we can exploit their full computational potential to make sc...
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White Paper Addresses Impact of Meltdown and Spectre Vulnerabilities on HPC (Jan 18, 2018)
Two security vulnerabilities in modern CPUs have recently been publicised, causing widespread concern in the computing industry. This is because the vulnerabilities are hardware-based and therefore have a potentially very broad impact which cannot be easily patched without consequences. Colloquially referred to as “Meltdown” and “Spectre,” these vulnerabilities refer to attacks that can allow malicious programs to steal data from the memory of other programs.

Using the Titan Supercomputer to Accelerate Deep Learning Networks (Jan 18, 2018)
A team of researchers from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory has married artificial intelligence and high-performance computing to achieve a peak speed of 20 petaflops in the generation and training of deep learning networks on the laboratory’s Titan supercomputer.

Report: Stark Gender, Racial Gaps Persist in Engineering, Computer Science (Jan 17, 2018)
Very few female and minority students pursue engineering and computer science degrees at Texas universities, according to an eye-opening Society of Women Engineers (SWE) report that analyzed the state’s community-college transfer students. In analyzing data from the Texas Education Research Center, SWE researchers found that less than 4 percent of female students chose engineering or computer science (ECS) majors compared to nearly 20 percent of men across two- and four-year institutions in th...
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Supercomputing Online Course (Jan 17, 2018)
Today’s supercomputers are the most powerful calculating machines ever invented, capable of performing more than a thousand million million calculations every second. This gives scientists and engineers a powerful new tool to study the natural world – computer simulation. Discover how supercomputers are powering scientific breakthroughs This free online course will introduce you to what supercomputers are, how they are used and how we can exploit their full computational potential to make sc...
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Physicists Build Muscle for Shape-Changing, Cell-Sized Robots (Jan 16, 2018)
An electricity-conducting, environment-sensing, shape-changing machine the size of a human cell? Is that even possible? Cornell University physicists Paul McEuen and Itai Cohen not only say yes, but they've actually built the "muscle" for one. With postdoctoral researcher Marc Miskin at the helm, the team has made a robot exoskeleton that can rapidly change its shape upon sensing chemical or thermal changes in its environment.

Cryptocurrency Rivals Snap at Bitcoin's Heels (Jan 16, 2018)
Bitcoin may be the most famous cryptocurrency but, despite a dizzying rise, it's not the most lucrative one and far from alone in a universe that counts 1,400 rivals, and counting. Dozens of crypto units see the light of day every week, as baffled financial experts look on, and while none can match Bitcoin's $200-billion euro ($242 bilion) market capitalisation, several have left the media darling's profitability in the dust. In fact, bitcoin is not even in the top 10 of the crypto world's best ...
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Researchers in Japan are Showing Way to Decode Thoughts (Jan 15, 2018)
Making news this month is a study by researchers the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR) and Kyoto University in Japan, having built a neural network that not only reads but re-creates what is in your mind. Specifically, "The team has created a first-of-its-kind algorithm that can interpret and accurately reproduce images seen or imagined by a person," wrote Alexandru Micu in ZME Science.

Expansion of AP Computer Science Courses Draws More Girls and Minorities (Jan 15, 2018)
Ten years ago, girls were so scarce in high school computer science classes that the number of female students taking Advanced Placement tests in that subject could be counted on one hand in nine states. In five others, there were none. Latino and African American students were also in short supply, a problem that has bedeviled educators for years and hindered efforts to diversify the high-tech workforce.

After Years of Avoidance, Department of Energy Joins Quest to Develop Quantum Computers (Jan 14, 2018)
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is joining the quest to develop quantum computers, devices that would exploit quantum mechanics to crack problems that overwhelm conventional computers. The initiative comes as Google and other companies race to build a quantum computer that can demonstrate “quantum supremacy” by beating classical computers ona test problem. But reaching that milestone will not mean practical uses are at hand, and the new $40 million DOE effort is intended to spur the dev...
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Scientists Continue to Use Outdated Methods (Jan 13, 2018)
When Lior Pachter came across one of the latest publications from the federally funded Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) project, he couldn’t suppress his disappointment. In the paper, published last October, researchers from the GTEx consortium had analyzed RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) data from more than 40 tissue types in the human body. The findings themselves were exciting, says Pachter, a computational biologist at Caltech. But a single line, tucked away in the methods section, left him feel...
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Encoding Literacy in Computer Science (Jan 13, 2018)
Good, solid literacy instruction is the right of every student and the responsibility of all educators. School leaders recognize the need for literacy instruction to become a schoolwide priority—in all courses, not just English and the humanities.

Essential Science: Graphene Makes for Cell-Sized Robots (Jan 12, 2018)
Imagine an electricity-conducting, environment-sensing, shape-changing cell-sized machine, used for medical diagnosis. Impossible? Not according to new research that has harnessed the properties of graphene. The new concept comes from Cornell University researchers, who have devised a type of robot exoskeleton which can quickly change its shape as it senses chemical or thermal changes in the environment.

It's Time to Weave Computational Thinking into K-12 (Jan 12, 2018)
It's high time for students to move beyond an hour of coding exercises and learn computational thinking. That's the message of a new report from Digital Promise that examines what's important to know and be able to do in a "computational world." Digital Promise is a non-profit that that promotes the use of innovation in education, particularly as it uses digital technologies.

Everyone Wants a Data Platform, Not a Database (Jan 11, 2018)
Every IT organization wants a more scalable, programmable, and adaptable platform with real-time applications that can chew on ever-increasing amounts and types of data. And it would be nice if it could run in the cloud, too. Because of this, companies no longer think about databases, but rather are building or buying data platforms that are based on industry-standard technologies, big data tools like NoSQL and unified in a single place. It is a trend that started gaining momentum around 2010 an...
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This Consortium is Giving Away Their Science to Accelerate Drug Discovery (Jan 11, 2018)
In the field of drug discovery and development, Prof Dr Chas Bountra believes that there are certain areas the pharmaceutical industry excels in and others that academicians have the advantage in. “Industry is brilliant at things that require scale and infrastructure. “So it’s great at doing high throughput screening with two million compounds; lead optimisation; identifying clinical molecules; doing toxicology, regulatory and the really big clinical studies – the phase 2b and phase 3; a...
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The AI Future is Closer Than It Seems (Jan 10, 2018)
In this video from the 2017 Intel HPC Developer Conference, Gadi Singer presents: The AI Future is Closer than it Seems. “Technology visionaries architecting the future of high-performance computing and artificial intelligence (AI) will share the key challenges as well as Intel’s direction. The talk will cover the adaptation of AI into HPC workflows, along their perspective architectural developments, upcoming transitions and range of solutions, technology opportunities, and the driving forc...
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Beyond Big Data: Why AI Requires Getting Small Data Right (Jan 10, 2018)
The allure of capturing as much data as possible is strong. And, now that more businesses are experimenting with machine learning and AI, it’s growing stronger. When you aren’t sure what you may eventually need, might as well capture everything, right? But having more data isn’t always better — just ask Equifax. More data also means it gets harder to manage and gain valuable insights, and leverage workable data sets to accomplish specific tasks and achieve the desired outcomes.

Batman’s Gotham City Provides Test Case for Community Resilience Model (Jan 6, 2018)
If a community is resilient, it can withstand and recover from an unanticipated disaster, like an earthquake, fire or flood. But since every disaster and every community is unique, a uniform measure for defining "resilience" has been hard to come by for engineers and social scientists.

Chip Flaws ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ Loom Large (Jan 6, 2018)
The HPC and wider tech community have been abuzz this week over the discovery of critical design flaws that impact virtually all contemporary microprocessors. The bugs leave processors vulnerable to side channel attacks where malicious programs can steal information from applications’ memory. Worse news yet some of the fixes for these flaws are either unclear at this point or may be associated with significant slowdowns.

At This Camp, Kids Learn Computer Science (Without Computers) (Jan 5, 2018)
Artificial intelligence is now quite adept at crunching vast amounts of data and using it to draw conclusions. As a result, humans who rely solely on procedural thinking aren't as valuable as they once were. What we need now are abstract thinkers who are deeply immersed in the Big Ideas made possible through computation. But traditionally, that's not how universities have sought out, categorized, or educated computer science students.

Four Reasons Tech Companies Should Hire More PhDs—and Not Just Computer Scientists (Jan 5, 2018)
“One man’s loss is another man’s gain.” That proverb means different things in different contexts. For recent PhD graduates who are struggling to find academic employment, many wonder “who will I be a gain to?” Most will not have a chance to apply their talents in academia. However, one sector of the economy that stands to gain from academia’s loss is technology.

World Record: Quantum Computer with 46 Qubits Simulated (Jan 4, 2018)
Scientists from the Jülich Supercomputing Centre have set a new world record. Together with researchers from Wuhan University and the University of Groningen, they successfully simulated a quantum computer with 46 quantum bits – or qubits – for the first time. For their calculations, the scientists used the Jülich supercomputer JUQUEEN as well as the world’s fastest supercomputer Sunway TaihuLight at China’s National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi.

The Wet Road to Fast and Stable Batteries (Jan 4, 2018)
An international team of scientists — including several researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory — has discovered an anode battery material with superfast charging and stable operation over many thousands of cycles.

Supercomputers Help Researchers Design Cancer Models and Predict Treatments Outcomes (Jan 3, 2018)
Attempts to eradicate cancer are often compared to a "moonshot"—the successful effort that sent the first astronauts to the moon. But imagine if, instead of Newton's second law of motion, which describes the relationship between an object's mass and the amount of force needed to accelerate it, we only had reams of data related to throwing various objects into the air. This, says Thomas Yankeelov, approximates the current state of cancer research: data-rich, but lacking governing laws and model...
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