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...
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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...
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.
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.
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...