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Up into the imagination!

Scientists on their Favorite Science Fiction

January 4, 2016 10:39 am | by Michael J. I. Brown, Alice Gorman, Bryan Gaensler, Duncan Galloway, Geraint Lewis, Helen Maynard-Casely, Matthew Browne and Rob Brooks | Comments

Tales of strange alien worlds, fantastic future technologies and bowls of sentient petunias have long captivated audiences worldwide. But science fiction is more than just fantasy in space; it can educate, inspire and expand our imaginations to conceive of the universe as it might be. We invited scientists to highlight their favorite science fiction novel or film and tell us what it was that captivated their imagination...

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Are you smarter than a third grader in Vietnam?

Don’t Freak if you Can’t Solve a Math Problem that’s Gone Viral

December 24, 2015 8:47 am | by Kevin Knudson, University of Florida | Comments

It’s been quite a year for mathematics problems on the Internet. In the last few months, three questions have been online everywhere, causing consternation and head-scratching and blowing the minds of adults worldwide as examples of what kids are expected to know these days. The inability to solve such a problem quickly is certainly not indicative of a person’s overall math skill, nor should it prompt a crisis of confidence...

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Wait, what was that? You lost me.

What if you Discovered the Answer to a Famous Math Problem, but No One was able to Understand It?

December 23, 2015 2:39 pm | by Kevin Knudson, University of Florida | Comments

It’s not clear what the future holds for Shinichi  Mochizuki’s proof. A small handful of mathematicians claim to have read, understood and verified the argument; a much larger group remains completely baffled. A December workshop reinforced the community’s desperate need for a translator, someone who can explain Mochizuki’s strange new universe of ideas and provide concrete examples to illustrate the concepts.

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The Met Office uses a sophisticated Unified Model to predict weather and climate. This system can predict global, European and United Kingdom weather. Its flexibility also allows it to be used to model a wide range of time-scales, from daily weather forec

Met Office Enhances Weather Prediction Accuracy and Modeling with New HPC Tools

December 23, 2015 10:50 am | by Linda Barney | Comments

The Met Office, the U.K.'s national weather service, has been at the forefront of global weather and climate science for 150 years. They are continuing this leadership in weather prediction and climate modeling with the installation of one of the world’s most advanced HPC systems. The Met Office estimates that the system will deliver £2 billion socio-economic benefits through enhanced UK resilience to severe weather and related hazards.

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It’s a lot for a person to puzzle out… call in the computers! Shaury Nash, CC BY-SA

How Computers Help Biologists Crack Life’s Secrets

December 17, 2015 10:26 am | by Sri Krishna and Diego Chowell, Arizona State University | Comments

Once the three-billion-letter-long human genome was sequenced, we rushed into a new “omics” era of biological research. Scientists are now racing to sequence the genomes (all the genes) or proteomes (all the proteins) of various organisms — and in the process are compiling massive amounts of data. Today, even basic experiments yield big data, and one of the biggest challenges is disentangling the relevant results from background noise.

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An FTP site can be used as a neutral intermediary, allowing the CRO to deliver exactly the files it wants to send.

The Business Challenges of Externalizing R&D

December 14, 2015 12:51 pm | by Brian Fahie and Evan Guggenheim, Biogen | Comments

Having a well-thought-out strategic sourcing model allows a company to fully integrate internal human and capital resources within the context and framework of effective utilization of external resources. This can lead to improved FTE hiring and capital acquisition decisions. An added benefit is that CRO partners are more easily able to identify where they may fit into the innovator’s business model.

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Why are some pages of a book of numbers tables more dog-eared than others?

How a Simple Observation from the 1800s about Patterns in Big Data Sets Can Fight Fraud

December 10, 2015 8:47 am | by Steven J Miller, Williams College | Comments

Benford’s law was first mentioned by the American scientist Simon Newcomb in the 1880s, when he noticed that in books of tables of logarithms, the pages of numbers whose leading digit was 1 were more worn than the pages of numbers whose leading digit was 9. For some reason, people seemed to be consistently looking up certain numbers more frequently than others.

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Automatically generated computational domains on a turbine blade, to be used with the FETI Solver. ESPRESSO is an ExaScale PaRallel FETI Solver with support for many-core accelerators (Intel Xeon Phi and Nvidia GPU) developed at IT4Innovations. The solver

Europe’s Largest Xeon Phi-based Installation Supercharges Czech Republic Supercomputer

December 2, 2015 4:49 pm | by Suzanne Tracy, Editor-in-Chief, Scientific Computing and HPC Source | Comments

The creation and nurturing of supercomputing capabilities has become a national strategic priority for countries all over the world, including the Czech Republic, which — as of September 2015 — houses the largest installation of an Intel Xeon Phi-accelerated cluster in Europe. The Salomon supercomputer is located at IT4Innovations, the Czech Republic’s National Supercomputing Center and is ranked 48th on the TOP500 list.

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The OpenHPC community was formed with the goal of streamlining some of the redundant efforts across HPC sites by fostering a community that can work together to develop flexible, open source HPC solutions.

OpenHPC Community Aims to Reduce Replicated Efforts across TOP500, Enhance Scientists’ Productivity

December 2, 2015 4:12 pm | by Sean Thielen | Comments

Just prior to SC15, founding members introduced a new community called OpenHPC, a Linux Foundation-supported project focused on reducing inefficiencies and speeding up innovation across the HPC ecosystem. If things go according to plans, open-source solutions will help scientists more easily disseminate and use tools through integration, which ultimately translates into more time spent on groundbreaking research.   

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The algorithm considers many factors to qualify a transaction as fraudulent: trustworthiness of the vendor, a cardholder’s purchasing behavior including time and location, IP addresses, etcetera. The more data points there are, the more accurate the decis

Machine Learning and Big Data Know It Wasn’t You Who Just Swiped Your Credit Card

November 30, 2015 8:41 am | by Jungwoo Ryoo, Pennsylvania State University | Comments

You’re sitting at home minding your own business when you get a call from your credit card’s fraud detection unit asking if you’ve just made a purchase at a department store in your city. It wasn’t you who bought expensive electronics using your credit card — in fact, it’s been in your pocket all afternoon. So, how did the bank know to flag this single purchase as most likely fraudulent?

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An advantage of Li-Fi is that it can use existing power lines as LED lighting, so no new infrastructure is needed. Courtesy of mightyohm, CC BY-SA

In Future, the Internet could come through Your Light Bulb

November 25, 2015 9:42 am | by Pavlos Manousiadis, Graham Turnbull and Ifor Samuel, University of St Andrews | Comments

The tungsten lightbulb has served well over the century or so since it was introduced, but its days are numbered now with the arrival of LED lighting, which consume 1/10 the power of incandescent bulbs and have a lifespan 30x longer. Potential uses of LEDs are not limited to illumination: smart lighting products offer various additional features, including linking your laptop or smartphone to the Internet. Move over Wi-Fi, Li-Fi is here.

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A particularly fruitful moment for technological innovation? Viktor M Vasnetsov

Why Does Culture Sometimes Evolve via Sudden Bursts of Innovation? A New Model

November 24, 2015 9:45 am | by Nicole Creanza and Oren Kolodny, Stanford University | Comments

Human beings inherit many genetic traits directly from their parents. However, cultural traits — tools, beliefs and behaviors that are transmitted by learning — can be passed on not only by parents but also teachers and peers. Many animals have learned behaviors, but people are uniquely good at building on existing knowledge to innovate further. This capacity, known as cumulative culture, was captured by Sir Isaac Newton...

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Figure 1: Effective management of analytical data enables research and development organizations to extract, retain and leverage knowledge.

Analytical Knowledge Transfer presents a Challenging Landscape in an Externalized World

November 23, 2015 4:10 pm | by Sanji Bhal, ACD/Labs | Comments

One of the hottest topics in lab informatics discussions today encompasses externalization of scientific R&D. Organizations spanning many industries (petrochemicals, food and beverage, fine chemicals, pharma/biotech) have increasingly outsourced a variety of activities along the business value chain. Extending existing systems into an externalized world that they were never designed to address presents myriad more predicaments.

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The author, teaching at the very front of his calculus class.

The Rush to Calculus is Bad for Students and their Futures in STEM

November 20, 2015 9:15 am | by Kevin Knudson, University of Florida | Comments

Two years ago, I taught a section of Calculus I to approximately 650 undergrads in a large auditorium. Perhaps “taught” isn’t the right word. “Performed,” maybe? Unsurprisingly, my student evaluations were not as high as they usually are in my more typical classes of 35 students. I particularly remember one comment: “This class destroyed my confidence.” According to a new Mathematical Association of America report, this outcome is common.

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Artitist's concept of the DARPA project: The central nervous system receives touch and proprioception information from sensory nerves and generates movements by sending signals to muscles via motor nerves. Electrodes in nerves and muscles intercept and wi

HAPTIX: Providing Prosthetic Hands with a Real Sense of Touch

November 19, 2015 12:31 pm | by Suzanne Tracy, Editor-in-Chief, Scientific Computing and HPC Source | Comments

With support from DARPA, and in support of the White House BRAIN Initiative, researchers have set out to build the world’s first neural system to enable naturalistic feeling and movements in prosthetic hands. The HAPTIX program aims to provide wounded service members with full and natural dexterous control over advanced prosthetic devices that substitute for amputated hands — the name HAPTIX is a play on the word haptics...

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