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 R.D. McDowall is Director, R D McDowall Limited.

Review of the Draft WHO Data Integrity Guidance Part 2: Suppliers, Training and ALCOA

January 25, 2016 1:04 pm | by R.D. McDowall, Ph.D. | Comments

This is the second and last part of a review of the draft World Health Organisation guidance entitled Guidance on Good Data and Record Management Practices. In this part of the review, we will discuss the role of suppliers and service providers, staff training, good documentation practices, designing systems for data quality and addressing data reliability issues.

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Every release of the NAG Library has included numerical code contributed by professionals working in industry and academia.

The Code Contributors: Experts offer Insights on Future-proofing Algorithmic Code with the NAG Library

January 22, 2016 4:15 pm | by NAG | Comments

The NAG Library is a set of mathematical and statistical algorithms used by thousands around the world for solution of numerical problems. Every release has included numerical code contributed by professionals working in industry and academia. These esteemed “Code Contributors” generously give their code to help others gain benefit from their expert algorithms. Each code donated is then documented, tested, maintained and supported by NAG.

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R.D. McDowall is Director, R D McDowall Limited.

Review of the Draft WHO Data Integrity Guidance Part 1: Principles, Risk and Management

January 22, 2016 4:09 pm | by R.D. McDowall, Ph.D. | Comments

Data integrity continues to be the hottest regulatory topic for the pharmaceutical industry, with citations from all major regulatory authorities on a global scale. In September 2015, WHO issued a draft document entitled Guidance on Good Data and Record Management Practices or, in other words, a data integrity guidance.

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NREL researchers test enzymes and micro-organisms used in a biological process that converts biomass to alternative fuels. Courtesy of Warren Gretz/NREL

Innovative Strategy Advances Renewable Energy Research, Creates World’s Most Energy-efficient Data Center

January 22, 2016 1:46 pm | by Suzanne Tracy, Editor-in-Chief, Scientific Computing and HPC Source | Comments

In the research projects it conducts and in the way it conducts research, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory lives out the true meaning of its energy-efficient creed. In this way, NREL is that rarest of entities: a preacher of virtue that incorporates virtue into its daily life. NREL’s sincerity of purpose begins with its Peregrine supercomputer and the ultra-efficient data center in which it resides.

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Primes: Here be magic

The 22 Million Digit Number … and the Amazing Math Behind Primes

January 21, 2016 11:46 am | by Steve Humble MBE, Newcastle University | Comments

It is a quite extraordinary figure. Dr. Curtis Cooper from the University of Central Missouri has found the largest-known prime number — written (274207281)-1. It is around 22m digits long and, if printed in full, would take you days to read. Its discovery comes thanks to a collaborative project of volunteers who use freely available software called GIMPS (Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search) to search for primes.

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The Manga Guide to Physiology is an amazing marriage of description, explanation, everyday interactions and visual analysis.

Book Review: The Manga Guide to Physiology

January 15, 2016 3:57 pm | by John A. Wass, Ph.D. | Comments

Having reviewed several volumes in this series before, it was a delightful surprise to see one in physiology, the area of my doctoral studies. As a quick background, the series deals with many areas of mathematics and the basic sciences cast in the background of Japanese cartoons. Each volume delves into the subject area with interesting plots, amusing zingers, well-moving action and succinct explanations.

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20 tons of Ohara E6 borosilicate glass being loaded onto the mold of one of the GMT’s mirrors. Ray Bertram, Steward Observatory, CC BY-ND

How Do You Build a Mirror for One of the World’s Biggest Telescopes?

January 15, 2016 11:53 am | by Buddy Martin, University of Arizona and Dae Wook Kim, University of Arizona | Comments

In order to learn about galaxies as they were forming soon after the Big Bang, and about nearby but much smaller and fainter objects, astronomers need more powerful telescopes. Detectors in research telescopes are already so sensitive that they capture almost every incoming photon, so there’s only one way to detect fainter objects and resolve structure on finer scales: build a bigger telescope.

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Are today’s drivers yesterday’s horses? Winton Motor Carriage Company

In a Driverless Future, What Happens to Today’s Drivers?

January 13, 2016 3:17 pm | by Leon Vanstone, University of Texas at Austin | Comments

Should we as a society pay to retrain workers whose jobs become obsolete, or do we just get used to living in Detroit? We stand on a technological precipice, a time in human history that rivals discovery of farming and the Industrial Revolution. Recently, a computer program passed a university entrance exam. There are even programs that can rewrite themselves to be more efficient. How long before we have to retrain computer scientists?

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Stop printing all over my patent. Enrique Dans/flickr, CC BY

How 3D Printing Threatens our Patent System

January 11, 2016 4:47 pm | by Timothy Holbrook, Emory University | Comments

Remember Napster or Grokster? Both services allowed users to share computer files — usually digital music — that infringed the copyrights for those songs. Now imagine that, instead of music, you could download a physical object. Sounds like something from a sci-fi movie — push a button and there’s the item! But that scenario is already becoming a reality. With a 3D printer, someone can download a CAD file...

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Data flow diagram, leveraging analysis assembly at the data warehouse tier

Open Innovation and IT Infrastructure Considerations for Information Assembly in Analytical Sciences

January 11, 2016 2:50 pm | by Andrew Anderson and Graham A. McGibbon, ACD/Labs | Comments

Everyone wants to foresee the future, prompting the Industrial Research Institute to present summary findings looking ahead in “IRI 2038: Envisioning the Future of R&D.” Some of the key future trends are already being considered by thought leaders across a variety of industries; moreover, several related topics were highlighted in a series of recent articles. Of particular relevance is the increasing trend of open innovation models.

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Visualization of wind: velocity in m/s at surface level and streamlines, seeded in the area marked by the red rectangle, representing additionally the local wind direction. Courtesy of DKRZ.

New DKRZ Mistral Supercomputer Enhances Climate Modeling Capabilities

January 11, 2016 12:36 pm | by Linda Barney | Comments

On October 5, 2015, Germany enhanced its leadership in climate research with the inauguration of Mistral — a state-of-the-art HPC system and one of the world’s most efficient supercomputers. The Mistral HPC system is 20 times faster than the previous supercomputer and features a large storage system to house the large climate simulation data archive managed by DKRZ, the German Climate Computer Center.

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The ALICE detector at the Large Hadron Collider may help unravel some of nature’s grestest mysteries. John Vogel/wikimedia, CC BY-SA

From Bosons to Bigfoot: Six Science Mysteries that might be Solved in 2016

January 8, 2016 9:18 am | by Gavin Hesketh, UCL; Louise Gentle, Nottingham Trent University, and Simon Cotton, University of Birmingham | Comments

From the origin of life to the fate of the universe, there’s plenty scientists simply don’t know. But they are making progress. 2015 has been a great year for science: we’ve seen the agreement of climate deal, pictures of dwarf planets and evidence of flowing water on Mars. So, what will happen in 2016 – are there any major science mysteries that could be solved? We asked three experts to speculate.

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Our bodies set some requirements for what it would mean to upload our brains. Nicolas Rougier, Author provided

Silicon Soul: The Vain Dream of Electronic Immortality

January 6, 2016 3:47 pm | by Nicolas P Rougier, Inria | Comments

"In just over 30 years, humans will be able to upload their entire minds to computers and become digitally immortal." — Ray Kurzweil, Global Futures 2045 International Congress (2013). Without even considering the ethical, philosophical, social or legal scope of such a statement, it’s important to consider if it actually makes any sense. To give an educated guess, we have to move away from computer science and look at biology...

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BB-8 (left) is a new droid addition to the Star Wars universe. Courtesy of Disney

Star Wars: These could be the Droids We’re Looking for in Real Life

January 6, 2016 3:33 pm | by Jonathan Roberts, Queensland University of Technology | Comments

The latest Star Wars episode has unleashed a new era of science fantasy robots. One of the heroes of The Force Awakens is BB-8, a cute but capable spherical droid at the center of the story (sorry, no spoilers). But droids have been at the heart of the epic science fantasy saga since the original Star Wars movie back in 1977, when C-3PO uttered the immortal words: "I am C-3PO, human-cyborg relations. And this is my counterpart R2-D2."

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Let’s do this! But what exactly do we upload? Nicolas Rougier

Why You’ll Never be able to Upload Your Brain to the Cloud

January 6, 2016 8:35 am | by Nicolas P Rougier, Inria | Comments

Let’s assume we’ve solved the problems of sensors and muscles and all the rest, and accept that the uploaded brain won’t truly reflect our mind. Now comes the big challenge: uploading the brain. But what is a brain exactly? If we consider the whole central nervous system, we face an average of 86 billion neurons, and each of these contacts an average of 10,000 other neurons, representing a grand total of about 860 billion connections.

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