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As the first humanoid robot to pay for a seat on a commercial flight, Athena travelled in style, dressed in a white T-shirt and fetching red shoes. © MPI for Intelligent Systems, Tübingen

Robotics in Disaster Response: Athena begins Autonomous Perception Training

December 18, 2014 12:23 pm | by Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems | News | Comments

Travelling from Los Angeles to Frankfurt onboard Lufthansa flight 457, the passenger arrived on December 16 with no signs of jet lag: this was no ordinary holidaymaker, but the first humanoid robot to take up a seat on a commercial flight. Athena made her way from LA to Tübingen in order to acquire many new skills: standing, balancing, walking — and various other meaningful activities, which she can use to assist people in daily life.

Bang, Zoom ... Going Straight to the Moon!

December 16, 2014 12:47 pm | by AP | News | Comments

An outer-space delivery firm that is working with Carnegie Mellon University to put a privately-...

NORAD Ready to Track Santa’s Flight

December 16, 2014 11:19 am | by North American Aerospace Defense Command | News | Comments

The North American Aerospace Defense Command is once again ready to track Santa’s yuletide...

New Algorithm Prints with Zero Material Waste

December 16, 2014 11:09 am | by Diane Luckow, Simon Fraser University | News | Comments

Just in time for Christmas, Richard Zhang reveals how to print a 3-D Christmas tree efficiently...

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NASA flight engineer Roy Roper (left) reviews laptop displays showing the ASTAR data with Boeing principal investigator Gabe Brewer during a ground simulation. Courtesy of Boeing

NASA Software May Help Increase Flight Efficiency, Decrease Aircraft Noise

December 16, 2014 11:03 am | by NASA | News | Comments

NASA researchers began flight tests of computer software that shows promise in improving flight efficiency and reducing environmental impacts of aircraft, especially on communities around airports. Known as ASTAR, or Airborne Spacing for Terminal Arrival Routes, the software is designed to give pilots specific speed information and guidance so that planes can be more precisely spaced, enabling pilots to fly a "follow the leader" approach.

Results of large-scale simulations showing the Alnico alloy separates into FeCo-rich and NiAl-rich phases at low temperatures and is a homogenized phase at high temperatures.

Solving the Shaky Future of Super-strong Rare Earth Magnets

December 11, 2014 4:15 pm | by Katie Elyce Jones, Oak Ridge National Laboratory | News | Comments

The US Department of Energy is mining for solutions to the rare earth problem — but with high-performance computing instead of bulldozers. Researchers are using the hybrid CPU-GPU, 27-petaflop Titan supercomputer managed by the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to discover alternative materials that can substitute for rare earths.

This tiny slice of silicon, etched in Jelena Vuckovic's lab at Stanford with a pattern that resembles a bar code, is one step on the way toward linking computer components with light instead of wires. Courtesy Vuckovic Lab

New Algorithm a Big Step toward Using Light to Transmit Data

December 9, 2014 1:38 pm | by Stanford University, Chris Cesare | News | Comments

Engineers have designed and built a prism-like device that can split a beam of light into different colors and bend the light at right angles, a development that could eventually lead to computers that use optics, rather than electricity, to carry data. The optical link is a tiny slice of silicon etched with a pattern that resembles a bar code. When a beam of light is shined at the link, two different wavelengths of light split off

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A team of scientists has discovered an unusual form of electronic order in a new family of unconventional superconductors. The finding establishes an unexpected connection between this new group of titanium-oxypnictide superconductors and the more familia

Unusual Electronic State Found in New Class of Unconventional Superconductors

December 8, 2014 4:34 pm | by Brookhaven National Laboratory | News | Comments

A team of scientists has discovered an unusual form of electronic order in a new family of unconventional superconductors. The finding establishes an unexpected connection between this new group of titanium-oxypnictide superconductors and the more familiar cuprates and iron-pnictides, providing scientists with a whole new family of materials from which they can gain deeper insights into the mysteries of high-temperature superconductivity.

Geckos have fascinated people for hundreds of years. Scientists have been especially intrigued by these lizards, and have studied a variety of features such as the adhesive toe pads on the underside of gecko feet with which geckos attach to surfaces with

Geckos are Effortlessly Sticky

December 3, 2014 4:07 pm | by Iqbal Pittalwala, University of California, Riverside | News | Comments

Geckos have fascinated people for hundreds of years. Scientists have been especially intrigued by these lizards, and have studied a variety of features such as the adhesive toe pads on the underside of gecko feet with which geckos attach to surfaces with remarkable strength. One question that has captivated researchers is: Is the strength of this adhesion determined by the gecko or is it somehow intrinsic to the adhesive system?

Left to right: Ron Weiss, professor of biological engineering; Domitilla Del Vecchio, associate professor of mechanical engineering; and Deepak Mishra, MIT graduate student in biological engineering. Courtesy of Brian Teague

New Device Could Make Large Biological Circuits Practical

November 26, 2014 1:49 pm | by David L. Chandler, MIT | News | Comments

Researchers have made great progress in recent years in the design and creation of biological circuits — systems that, like electronic circuits, can take a number of different inputs and deliver a particular kind of output. But, while individual components of such biological circuits can have precise and predictable responses, those outcomes become less predictable as more such elements are combined.

The National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology and Innovation medals ready to be presented to awardees. Courtesy of Sandy Schaeffer, NSF

National Medals of Science, Technology and Innovation Presented

November 25, 2014 12:00 pm | by NSF | News | Comments

At a White House ceremony on November 20, 2014, President Obama presented the National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology and Innovation to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to science and engineering. The awards are the nation's highest honors for achievement and leadership in advancing the fields of science and technology.

Schematic of nanoparticle construction. Courtesy of Andrew Dunn

Inside job: Designer Nanoparticles Infiltrate Cancer Cells from Within

November 25, 2014 10:34 am | by Melanie Titanic-Schefft, University of Cincinnati | News | Comments

Conventional treatment seeks to eradicate cancer cells by drugs and therapy delivered from outside the cell, which may also affect — and potentially harm — nearby normal cells. In contrast, a research team has developed several novel designs for iron-oxide based nanoparticles that detect, diagnose and destroy cancer cells using photo-thermal therapy, using nanoparticles to focus light-induced heat energy only within the tumor

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Ohio State's Adaptive Suspension Vehicle (AVS), nicknamed the "Walker." Developed by electrical engineer Robert McGhee and mechanical engineer Kenneth Waldron, along with a 60-member team of students and technical assistants, the 'Walker' was designed to

NSF Celebrates More than 40 Years Supporting US Robotics Research

November 24, 2014 4:14 pm | by Aaron Dubrow, NSF | News | Comments

The fundamental research in computing and engineering that enabled robotics to develop in the U.S. has been supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) since its inception. Yet despite these early investments in sensors, machine movement and computer vision, it wasn't until 1972 that the first grant with "robot" in the title was funded.

Moleculomics’s core business is focused on developing new computational tools (known as pipelines) that take genetic information (in the form of DNA sequences) and automatically convert this into detailed three-dimensional models of all of the proteins wi

High Performance Computing for All (Yes, You Too…)

November 19, 2014 1:34 pm | by Gilad Shainer, HPC Advisory Council | Blogs | Comments

High-performance computing can help a business to become more efficient and more productive. And, for a small business, HPC can be a game changer, helping it leapfrog ahead of the competition by reducing its costs and dramatically improving its time to market.

John Joyce is a laboratory informatics specialist based in Richmond, VA.

Holiday Shopping? 25 Gifts Sheldon and Friends would Love

November 13, 2014 8:40 am | by John R. Joyce, Ph.D. | Blogs | Comments

Welcome to Scientific Computing's annual holiday gift guide. In this section, we've focused on identifying gifts suitable for the true Geeks out there. However, I believe everyone has a little geek in them, it just needs to be properly nurtured for it to catch fire.

By using a technique called ion doping, the team of researchers have discovered a material that could use light to bring together different computing functions into one component, leading to all-optical systems.

Lighting the Way for Super-fast Computers

November 12, 2014 3:28 pm | by University of Surrey | News | Comments

Findings demonstrate how glass can be manipulated to create a material that will enable computers to transfer information using light. This development could significantly increase computer processing speeds and power in the future. The findings show that it’s possible to change the electronic properties of amorphous chalcogenides, a glass material integral to data technologies such as CDs and DVDs.

University of Waikato Master of Engineering student Pinwei Jin with his Snake Robot prototype at the Carter Holt Harvey Pulp & Paper Engineering Design Show.

Snake Robot to the Rescue

November 11, 2014 3:17 pm | by University of Waikato | News | Comments

Pinwei Jin has designed and built a remote control robotic snake, which he hopes will be used in the future for rescue operations. Differing from the existing mobile rescue robot systems currently in the market place, Jin says his Snake Robot provides the flexibility of movement needed in cluttered and irregular environments created by disasters.

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The USS Macon inside Hangar One at Moffett Field on October 15, 1933 — following a transcontinental flight from Lakehurst, New Jersey.

Google Signs 60-year, $1 Billion NASA Lease

November 11, 2014 3:07 pm | by Brandon Bailey, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

Google has signed a long-term lease for part of a historic Navy air base, where it plans to renovate three massive hangars and use them for projects involving aviation, space exploration and robotics. The giant Internet company will pay $1.16 billion in rent over 60 years for the property, which also includes a working air field, golf course and other buildings. The 1,000-acre site is part of the former Moffett Field Naval Air Station.

The world’s most advanced bionic hand was tested with the help of amputee Dennis Aabo Sørensen who was able to grasp objects intuitively and identify what he was touching, while blindfolded. © LifeHand2

Neural Interface allows Natural Control of World’s Most Advanced Bionic Hand

November 7, 2014 3:27 pm | by European Commission | News | Comments

A prosthetic hand, which provides a sense of touch acute enough to handle an egg, has been completed and is now exploited by the NEBIAS project after 10 years of EU-funded research. The world’s most advanced bionic hand was tested with the help of amputee Dennis Aabo Sørensen who was able to grasp objects intuitively and identify what he was touching, while blindfolded.

This diagram shows how researchers compute average traffic flows through a wider system of highways. Courtesy of the researchers

New Model Provides Accurate Traffic Flow Predictions

November 7, 2014 2:46 pm | by David L. Chandler, MIT | News | Comments

A reliable way of predicting the flow of traffic could be a great convenience for commuters, as well as a significant energy-saver. During an emergency evacuation following a natural disaster, reliable predictions of the best routes could even be a lifesaver. Now a team of researchers from MIT, the University of Notre Dame, and elsewhere has devised what they say is an effective and relatively simple formula for making such predictions.

JMP 11: Remarkable Statistics, Graphics and Integration Designed for the Technician, Scientist, Engineer and Businessperson

JMP 11: Remarkable Statistics, Graphics and Integration

November 7, 2014 10:30 am | by John A. Wass, Ph.D. | Articles | Comments

It should come as no surprise to readers of this column that JMP is a personal favorite and, along with SAS, one of my most-used programs. There are a number of reasons for this. Of the many advantages that most packages can offer, breadth and depth of the statistics offered, quality of the diagnostics, interconnectivity of graphics with both data and analyses, and ease-of-use issues are uppermost in my mind as most desirable.

Highly motivated to organize the Argonne Training Program on Extreme-Scale Computing, Paul Messina reflects on what makes the program unique and a can’t-miss opportunity for the next generation of HPC scientists.

A Q&A with Paul Messina, Director of Science for the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility

November 6, 2014 4:22 pm | by Brian Grabowski, Argonne National Laboratory | Articles | Comments

Highly motivated to organize the Argonne Training Program on Extreme-Scale Computing, Paul Messina reflects on what makes the program unique and a can’t-miss opportunity for the next generation of HPC scientists. ATPESC is an intense, two-week program that covers most of the topics and skills necessary to conduct computational science and engineering research on today’s and tomorrow’s high-end computers.

A new algorithm can, with high accuracy, determine whether a patient is suffering from emphysema or heart failure based on readings from a capnograph — a machine that measures the concentration of carbon dioxide in a patient’s exhalations. Courtesy of Chr

Diagnostic Exhalations: Algorithm Analyzes CO2, could Help Determine Treatment

November 6, 2014 3:41 pm | by Larry Hardesty, MIT | News | Comments

Paramedics respond to a 911 call to find an elderly patient who’s having difficulty breathing. Anxious and disoriented, the patient has trouble remembering all the medications he’s taking, and with his shortness of breath, speaking is difficult. Is he suffering from acute emphysema or heart failure? The symptoms look the same, but initiating the wrong treatment regimen will increase the patient’s risk of severe complications.

COMSOL Multiphysics 5.0

COMSOL Multiphysics 5.0

November 4, 2014 1:59 pm | Comsol, Inc. | Product Releases | Comments

COMSOL Multiphysics 5.0 is an interactive environment for modeling and simulating scientific and engineering problems. Any COMSOL Multiphysics model can be turned into an application with its own interface using the tools provided with the Application Builder desktop environment.

Can Private Space Industry Survive 2 Explosions in 4 Days?

November 3, 2014 10:48 am | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

Fiery failures are no stranger to the space game. It's what happens when you push the boundaries of what technology can do, where people can go. And it happened again to Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo. In the past decade, the space industry has tried to go from risky and government-run to routine private enterprise — so routine that if you have lots of money you can buy a ticket on a private spaceship and become a space tourist.

The effectiveness of current laser-propulsion techniques is limited by the instability of supersonic gas flow, caused by shock waves that “choke” the inlet of the nozzle, reducing thrust. Those effects can be reduced with the help of laser ablation, redir

Supersonic Laser-propelled Rockets may Enable Aircraft to Exceed Mach 10

October 31, 2014 2:21 pm | by The Optical Society | News | Comments

Scientists and science fiction writers alike have dreamed of aircrafts that are propelled by beams of light rather than conventional fuels. Now, a new method for improving the thrust generated by such laser-propulsion systems may bring them one step closer to practical use. A new system integrates a laser-ablation propulsion system with the gas blasting nozzles of a spacecraft. 

A new system lets programmers identify sections of their code that can tolerate a little error. The system then determines which program instructions to assign to unreliable hardware components, to maximize energy savings while still meeting the programme

Harnessing Error-prone Chips Trades Computational Accuracy for Energy Savings

October 31, 2014 2:09 pm | by Larry Hardesty, MIT | News | Comments

As transistors get smaller, they also grow less reliable. Increasing their operating voltage can help, but that means a corresponding increase in power consumption. With information technology consuming a steadily growing fraction of the world’s energy supplies, some researchers and hardware manufacturers are exploring the possibility of simply letting chips botch the occasional computation.

MIT researchers explain their new visualization system that can project a robot's "thoughts." Video screenshot courtesy of Melanie Gonick/MIT

Projecting a Robot’s Intentions: New Spin on Virtual Reality to Read Robots’ Minds

October 30, 2014 4:46 pm | by Jennifer Chu, MIT | News | Comments

In a darkened, hangar-like space inside MIT’s Building 41, a small, Roomba-like robot is trying to make up its mind. Standing in its path is an obstacle — a human pedestrian who’s pacing back and forth. To get to the other side of the room, the robot has to first determine where the pedestrian is, then choose the optimal route to avoid a close encounter.

The software stores only the changes of the system state at specific points in time. Courtesy of Université du Luxembourg, Boshua

New Algorithm Provides Enormous Reduction in Computing Overhead

October 30, 2014 4:37 pm | by University of Luxembourg | News | Comments

The control of modern infrastructure, such as intelligent power grids, needs lots of computing capacity. Scientists have developed an algorithm that might revolutionize these processes. With their new software, researchers are able to forego the use of considerable amounts of computing capacity, enabling what they call micro mining.

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