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The Light Harvesting Complex II (LHC-II) molecule, which carries out photosynthesis in plants, and an incident beam of light

High Performance Computing helps Shed Light on First Moments of Photosynthesis

August 27, 2015 10:33 am | by University of the Basque Country | News | Comments

Using quantum mechanics as the basis, computer scientists, physicists and chemists are working together to produce simulations of the molecule in which photosynthesis occurs. They have executed an OCTOPUS software package in the fastest supercomputers in Europe and, after incorporating various improvements, they have carried out the biggest simulations made in this field by efficiently using thousands of processors.

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Landsat 7 images show damage from Hurricane Katrina along the Mississippi Gulf Coast from Biloxi, MS, to the edge of Mobile, AL. Courtesy of NSF

10 Years Later, Researchers are still Gaining Insight from Hurricane Katrina Impact Data

August 27, 2015 9:59 am | by Suzanne Tracy, Editor-in-Chief, Scientific Computing and HPC Source | Blogs | Comments

Ultimately, Katrina was responsible for 1,833 deaths and damage estimated at $151 billion, including $75 billion in the New Orleans area and along the Mississippi coast. Over the past decade, researchers have been working steadily to collect and analyze data on the storm’s aftermath, including coastal change, science for recovery and restoration, and census data.

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A still shot of the world's first digital map of the seafloor's geology — Recent images of Pluto’s icy plains are spectacular, but the process of unveiling the hidden geological secrets of the abyssal plains of our own planet was equally full of surprises

Big Data: Mapping the Geology of the World's Ocean Floor

August 26, 2015 4:26 pm | by University of Sydney | News | Comments

Scientists have created the world’s first digital map of seafloor geology. It is the first time the composition of the seafloor, covering 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, has been mapped in 40 years; the most recent map was hand-drawn in the 1970s. The map will help us better understand how oceans have responded, and will respond, to environmental change. It also reveals deep ocean basins to be much more complex than previously thought.

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It might not be possible to convince someone who believes that vaccines cause autism that they don’t. Telling skeptics that their belief is not scientifically supported often backfires and strengthens, rather than weakens, their anti-vaccine views. But re

When Vaccine Data doesn’t Change Minds, Directing Attention to Risks is Effective

August 26, 2015 3:53 pm | by Diana Yates, University of Illinois | News | Comments

It might not be possible to convince someone who believes that vaccines cause autism that they don’t. Telling skeptics that their belief is not scientifically supported often backfires and strengthens, rather than weakens, their anti-vaccine views. But researchers say they have found a way to overcome some of the most entrenched anti-vaccine attitudes: Remind the skeptics — with words and images — why vaccines exist.

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Enzyme Close-up: Phosphofructokinase -- Courtesy of Nikon Small World -- 2014 Nikon Small World Image of Distinction -- Click to enlarge

Enzyme Close-up: Phosphofructokinase

August 26, 2015 2:24 pm | News | Comments

This 100X photo shows phosphofructokinase, a kinase enzyme that phosphorylates fructose 6-phosphate in glycolysis. Glycolysis is a pathway that uses glucose to maintain a steady amount of adenosine triphosphate, the major energy carrier in living cells. It was designated an Image of Distinction in the 2014 Nikon Small World Photomicrophotography Competition, which recognizes excellence in photography with the optical microscope.

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Entropy scaling data structure for similarity search. The naive approach (a) tests each query against each database entry to find entries within a certain distance of the query (inside the green circle). By selecting appropriate cluster centers (b) with a

Searching Big Data Faster: Theoretical Analysis could expand Accelerated Search Applications in Biology, Other Fields

August 26, 2015 1:57 pm | by Larry Hardesty, MIT | News | Comments

For more than a decade, gene sequencers have been improving more rapidly than the computers required to make sense of their outputs. Searching for DNA sequences in existing genomic databases can already take hours, and the problem is likely to get worse. Researchers have been investigating techniques to make biological and chemical data easier to analyze by, in some sense, compressing it.

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Alan Turing: The Enigma is certainly the most complete work done to date on this complex man, a mixture of equal parts genius, runner and an oblivious observer of the norms of early twentieth century Britain.

Alan Turing: The Enigma

August 26, 2015 12:34 pm | by John A. Wass, Ph.D. | Articles | Comments

Upon receipt of the book Alan Turing: The Enigma, an amusing anecdote jumped to mind. In high school, one of the more formal teachers advised us not to go on a book hunt with a ruler! He was, of course, referring to choosing the one with the least number of pages. This rather large volume on Alan Turing, the cryptanalysis and mathematical genius who did much to define the modern computer, is certainly the most complete work done to date.

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CyberShake study 15.4 hazard map for 336 sites (white triangles) in the Los Angeles region. Map displays response spectral acceleration at 2 seconds period in units of surface gravitational acceleration for a two percent probability of exceedance in 50 ye

In Cutting-edge Simulations, LA Basin Jiggles like Big Bowl of Jelly

August 26, 2015 11:57 am | by Aaron Dubrow, NSF | News | Comments

Earthquakes occur on a massive scale and often originate deep below the Earth's surface, making them notoriously difficult to predict. The Southern California Earthquake Center uses massive computing power to improve our understanding of earthquakes, helping to provide long-term earthquake forecasts and more accurate hazard assessments. PressOn project aims to create more physically-realistic, wave-based earthquake simulations.

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PRP principal investigator Larry Smarr in front of Qualcomm Institute's Vroom display. The platform science group on scalable visualization, virtual reality and ultra-resolution video will allow Calit2 and partners to experiment in real-time sharing betwe

Pacific Research Platform to provide High-capacity Data-centric Big Data Freeway System

August 26, 2015 11:22 am | by UC San Diego | News | Comments

For the last three years, NSF has made a series of competitive grants to over 100 U.S. universities to aggressively upgrade their campus network capacity for greatly enhanced science data access. NSF is now building on that distributed investment by funding a $5 million, five-year award to UC San Diego and UC Berkeley to establish a Pacific Research Platform, a science-driven high-capacity data-centric freeway system.

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What distinguishes the MIT researchers’ work is that they prove properties of the file system’s final code, not a high-level schema. To do that, they took advantage of a tool known as a proof assistant, which provides a formal language for describing aspe

Crash-tolerant Data Storage: File System Mathematically Guaranteed Not to Lose Track of Data during Crashes

August 26, 2015 10:43 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT | News | Comments

In a computer operating system, the file system is the part that writes data to disk and tracks where the data is stored. If the computer crashes while it’s writing data, the file system’s records can become corrupt. Hours of work could be lost, or programs could stop working properly. At SOSP 2015, MIT researchers will present the first file system that is mathematically guaranteed not to lose track of data during crashes.

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Close-up: Flower Embryo -- Courtesy of Nikon Small World -- 2014 Nikon Small World Image of Distinction -- Click to enlarge

Close-up: Flower Embryo

August 25, 2015 4:17 pm | News | Comments

This 40X photo of a flower embryo was designated an Image of Distinction in the 2014 Nikon Small World Photomicrophotography Competition, which recognizes excellence in photography with the optical microscope. It was taken using fiber optic illumination, reflected light and extended focus.

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How does our brain remember things? Ask a mathematician.

Numbers on the Mind: How Math Can Help Explain the Workings of Our Brain

August 25, 2015 3:58 pm | by Geoff Goodhill, The University of Queensland | Articles | Comments

Given that advanced mathematical training is critical for helping to solve some of the most challenging questions about the brain works, why are there so few mathematical neuroscientists? I hated biology when I was a kid. It was too messy, too shallow, too unprincipled for my taste, and I gave up studying it at school almost as fast as I could. Instead, I wanted to be a theoretical physicist...

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Black holes don't actually swallow and destroy physical information, according to an idea proposed by Stephen Hawking at the Hawking Radiation conference being held at KTH Royal Institute of Technology. Instead, they store it in a two-dimensional hologram

Hawking Offers New Solution to Black Hole Mystery: Black Holes Store, and Garble, Information

August 25, 2015 2:11 pm | by David Callahan, KTH Royal Institute of Technology | News | Comments

Black holes don't actually swallow and destroy physical information, according to an idea proposed by Stephen Hawking at the Hawking Radiation conference being held at KTH Royal Institute of Technology. Instead, they store it in a two-dimensional hologram. One of the most baffling questions facing a generation of physicists is what happens to the information about the physical state of things that are swallowed up by black holes?

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BlueData has developed patent-pending innovations to run Hadoop and Spark in a virtualized environment with compute and storage decoupled, providing a cloud-like experience for on-premises big data deployments.

Intel and BlueData Collaborate to Simplify Big Data Infrastructure

August 25, 2015 2:01 pm | by BlueData | News | Comments

Intel and BlueData announced a broad strategic technology and business collaboration, as well as an additional equity investment in BlueData from Intel Capital. This relationship will bring together BlueData’s infrastructure software for big data with data center architecture based on Intel Xeon processor technology. The goal is to accelerate the adoption of big data solutions by simplifying deployment.

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The researchers dubbed their algorithm "Sir Isaac," in a nod to one of the greatest scientists of all time, Sir Isaac Newton.

Biophysicists take Small Step in Quest for Robot Scientist

August 25, 2015 1:50 pm | by Carol Clark, Emory University | News | Comments

Biophysicists have taken step forward in the quest for an automated method to infer models describing a system’s dynamics — a so-called robot scientist. The finding is a practical algorithm for inferring laws of nature from time-series data of dynamical systems. Everything that is changing around and within us — from the relatively simple motion of celestial bodies, to weather and complex biological processes — is a dynamical system.

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