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Collecting Just the Right Data: When you can’t collect all you need, new algorithm tells you which to target

July 28, 2014 | by Larry Hardesty, MIT | News | Comments

Much artificial-intelligence research addresses the problem of making predictions based on large data sets. An obvious example is the recommendation engines at retail sites like Amazon. But some types of data are harder to collect than online click histories — information about geological formations thousands of feet underground, for instance. And in other applications there may just not be enough time to crunch all the available data.

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This July 11, 2014, aerial photo shows the coast of Barnegat Light, NJ, near where a plan to carry out seismic research on the ocean floor is being challenged by environmental and fishing groups. A federal appeals court on July 14, 2014, rejected New Jers

US Plans Wide Seismic Testing of Sea Floor

July 28, 2014 2:29 pm | by Wayne Parry, Associated Press | News | Comments

The federal government is planning to use sound blasting to conduct research on the ocean floor along most of the East Coast, using technology similar to that which spawned a court battle between environmentalists and researchers in New Jersey this summer. The U.S. Geological Survey plans this summer and next to map the outer limits of the continental shelf, and also study underwater landslides that would help predict tsunamis.

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Recrystallized Sulfur -- Courtesy of Nikon Small World

Close-up: Recrystallized Sulfur

July 28, 2014 12:06 pm | News | Comments

This 100X photo of recrystallized sulfur received an Image of Distinction designation in the 2013 Nikon Small World Photomicrophotography Competition, which recognizes excellence in photography with the optical microscope. It was taken by Dr. Edward Leighman Gafford in Richland, WA, using polarized light.

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To celebrate Chandra's 15th anniversary, four new images of supernova remnants – the Crab Nebula, Tycho, G292.0+1.8, and 3C58 – are being released. These supernova remnants are very hot and energetic and glow brightly in X-ray light, which allows Chandra

NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory Celebrates 15th Anniversary

July 25, 2014 3:05 pm | by NASA | News | Comments

Fifteen years ago, NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory was launched into space aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia. Since its deployment, Chandra has helped revolutionize our understanding of the universe through its unrivaled X-ray vision. Chandra, one of NASA's current "Great Observatories," along with the Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer Space Telescope, is specially designed to detect X-ray emission from hot and energetic regions.

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Using data from NASA's Kepler and Spitzer Space Telescopes, scientists have made the most precise measurement ever of the size of a world outside our solar system, as illustrated in this artist's conception. Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech

Weird Worlds: Precisely Measuring an Alien World's Size

July 25, 2014 2:56 pm | by NASA | News | Comments

Thanks to NASA's Kepler and Spitzer Space Telescopes, scientists have made the most precise measurement ever of the radius of a planet outside our solar system. The size of the exoplanet, dubbed Kepler-93b, is now known to an uncertainty of just 74 miles (119 kilometers) on either side of the planetary body.

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K computer installed in the computer room. Each computer rack is equipped with about 100 CPUs. In the Computer Building, 800 or more computer racks are installed for the K computer.  Courtesy of Riken

K Computer Runs Largest Ever Ensemble Simulation of Global Weather

July 25, 2014 2:25 pm | by RIKEN | News | Comments

Ensemble forecasting is a key part of weather forecasting. Computers typically run multiple simulations using slightly different initial conditions or assumptions, and then analyze them together to try to improve forecasts. Using Japan’s K computer, researchers have succeeded in running 10,240 parallel simulations of global weather, the largest number ever performed, using data assimilation to reduce the range of uncertainties.

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Alan Turing in slate at Bletchley Park. Courtesy of Jon Callas

Can Machines Think? – Misidentification of Humans as Machines in Turing Test

July 25, 2014 2:09 pm | by Taylor & Francis | News | Comments

Alan Turing led a team of code breakers at Bletchley Park which cracked the German Enigma machine cypher during WWII  but that is far from being his only legacy. In the year of the 100th anniversary of his birth, researchers published a series of ‘Turing tests’ in the Journal of Experimental & Theoretical Artificial Intelligence; these entailed a series of five-minute conversations between human and machine or human and human.

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HPC-X Scalable Software Toolkit for High-Performance Computing Platforms and Applications

HPC-X Scalable Software Toolkit for High-Performance Computing Platforms and Applications

July 25, 2014 2:01 pm | Mellanox Technologies, Inc. | Product Releases | Comments

HPC-X Scalable Software Toolkit  is a comprehensive software suite for high-performance computing environments that provides enhancements to significantly increase the scalability and performance of message communications in the network. The toolkit provides complete communication libraries to support MPI, SHMEM and PGAS programming languages, as well as performance accelerators that take advantage of Mellanox scalable interconnect solutions.

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Caribbean Sea Viewed from International Space Station -- Courtesy of NASA

Caribbean Sea Viewed from International Space Station

July 25, 2014 1:51 pm | News | Comments

From the Earth-orbiting International Space Station, flying some 225 nautical miles above the Caribbean Sea in the early morning hours of July 15, 2104, NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman photographed this north-looking panorama that includes parts of Cuba, the Bahamas and Florida, and even runs into several other areas in the southeastern US. The long stretch of lights to the left of center frame gives the shape of Miami.

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A photograph of the biologically-inspired microphone taken under a microscope, providing a top-side view. The tiny structure rotates and flaps about the pivots (labeled), producing an electric potential across the electrodes (labeled). Courtesy of N.Hall/

Sound Detector Based on Freakishly Acute Fly Hearing

July 24, 2014 2:55 pm | by American Institute of Physics (AIP) | News | Comments

Even within a phylum so full of mean little creatures, the yellow-colored Ormia ochracea fly is distinguished among other arthropods for its cruelty — at least to crickets. Native to the southeastern U.S. states and Central America, the fly is a most predatory sort of parasite. It swoops onto the back of a singing male cricket, deposits a smear of larvae, and leaves its wicked brood to invade, kill and consume the cricket from inside out.

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Dr. Julia Bryant, a research fellow with the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO), in the School of Physics at the University of Sydney, installing SAMI.

Researchers Pioneer Google Street View of Galaxies

July 24, 2014 2:40 pm | by University of Sydney | News | Comments

A new home-grown instrument based on bundles of optical fibers is giving Australian astronomers the first 'Google street view' of the cosmos — incredibly detailed views of huge numbers of galaxies. Developed by researchers at the University of Sydney and the Australian Astronomical Observatory, the optical-fiber bundles can sample the light from up to 60 parts of a galaxy, for a dozen galaxies at a time.

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The GAO report put the current shortfall at $400 million, but did say NASA was "making solid progress" on the rocket program design.

Audit: NASA Doesn't Have the Money for Big Rockets

July 24, 2014 2:31 pm | by AP | News | Comments

NASA doesn't have enough money to get its new, $12 billion rocket system off the ground by the end of 2017 as planned, federal auditors say. The GAO issued a report saying NASA's Space Launch System is at "high risk of missing" its planned initial test flight. The post-space shuttle program would build the biggest rockets ever — larger than the Saturn V rockets which sent men to the moon — to send astronauts to asteroids and Mars.

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IBM Expands High Performance Computing Capabilities in the Cloud

July 24, 2014 2:18 pm | by IBM | News | Comments

IBM is making high performance computing more accessible through the cloud for clients grappling with big data and other computationally intensive activities. A new option from SoftLayer will provide industry-standard InfiniBand networking technology to connect SoftLayer bare metal servers. This will enable very high data throughput speeds between systems, allowing companies to move workloads traditionally associated with HPC to the cloud.

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Vorticella Protozoa -- Courtesy of Nikon Small World

Close-up: Vorticella Protozoa

July 24, 2014 12:57 pm | News | Comments

This 20X photo of the protozoa Vorticella sp. received an Image of Distinction designation in the 2013 Nikon Small World Photomicrophotography Competition, which recognizes excellence in photography with the optical microscope. It was taken by Mr. Frank Fox ofKonz, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany, using a darkfield technique.

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Dr Grimes derived equations describing how string bending, vibrato and whammy bars change the pitch of a note. He found that the properties of the strings had a big effect on the change in pitch – in particular the Young's modulus. Courtesy of Feliciano G

The Physics of Lead Guitar Playing

July 23, 2014 6:36 pm | by University of Oxford | News | Comments

String bends, tapping, vibrato and whammy bars are all techniques that add to the distinctiveness of a lead guitarist's sound, whether it's Clapton, Hendrix, or BB King. Now, guitarist and physicist Dr. David Robert Grimes has described the physics underlying these techniques.

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2014 marks the 75th anniversary of NASA Ames Research Center.

NASA Ames Research Center to host First Open House in 17 Years

July 23, 2014 3:24 pm | by NASA | News | Comments

Maybe you’ve sat on the lawn, even hung out on the flightline. Now, for the first time since 1997, NASA Ames Research Center is opening their house. An announcement posted on NASA.gov states: “For our 75th anniversary, we're inviting all of the Bay Area and Silicon Valley to come inside the gates and get to know NASA's center in Silicon Valley. Take a two-mile walking tour through the center and visit with Ames engineers and scientists..."

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