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Can our computers continue to get smaller and more powerful?

August 14, 2014 9:09 am | News | Comments

Chip designers are facing both engineering and fundamental limits that have become barriers to the continued improvement of computer performance. Have we reached the limits to computation? In a review article in Nature, Igor Markov of the Univ. of Michigan reviews limiting factors in the development of computing systems to help determine what is achievable, identifying "loose" limits and viable opportunities for advancements.

Report: Russian hackers steal 1.2B passwords

August 6, 2014 10:10 am | News | Comments

Russian hackers have stolen 1.2 billion user names and passwords in a series of Internet heists affecting 420,000 websites, according to a report published Tuesday. The thievery was described in a New York Times story based on the findings of Hold Security, a Milwaukee firm that has a history of uncovering online security breaches. For confidentiality reasons, the identities of the affected websites weren't identified by the Times.

DARPA collaboration launches breakthrough elastic cloud-to-cloud networking

July 29, 2014 9:06 am | News | Comments

In 2006, DARPA launched a long-term project called CORONET, which sought to develop a cloud-based technology that could enable affordable, fast bandwidth and ensure the survival of cloud networks in the event of system-wide failures. After years of work, scientists from AT&T, IBM and Applied Communication Sciences have announced a proof-of-concept technology that reduces setup times for cloud-to-cloud connectivity from days to seconds.

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Apple, IBM team up in mobile devices, applications

July 16, 2014 10:17 am | by Michael Liedtke, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

Apple is teaming up with former nemesis IBM to work together on about 100 different mobile applications in an attempt to sell more iPhones and iPads to corporate customers and government agencies. The applications, expected to be released this fall, will feature some of data-crunching tools that IBM Corp. sells to companies trying to get a better grasp on their main markets while scouring for new money-making opportunities.  

Fundamental chemistry findings could help extend Moore’s Law

July 15, 2014 3:49 pm | by Kate Greene, Berkeley Lab | News | Comments

The doubling of transistors on a microprocessor occurs roughly every two years, and is the outcome of what is called Moore’s Law. In a bid to continue this trend of decreasing transistor size and increasing computation and energy efficiency, chip-maker Intel has partnered with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to design an entirely new kind of photoresist, one that combines the best features of two existing types of resist.

Study: Competitor keyword purchasing can backfire

July 14, 2014 1:06 pm | News | Comments

Firms buy specific keywords, including competitors’ brand names, on search engines such as Google or Bing to reach consumers searching for those words. Online advertisements employing such keywords are called search ads. This practice can backfire, however. A new study shows that any large difference in reputation between the two brand names is further magnified in the minds of consumers.

Researchers introduce new benchmark for field-effect transistors

June 11, 2014 3:32 pm | News | Comments

At the 2014 Symposium on VLSI Technology in Triangle Park, N.C., researchers from the Univ. of California, Santa Barbara introduced the highest-performing class III-V metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFETs) yet demonstrated. The new MOSFETs exhibit, in an industry first, on-current, off-current and operating voltage comparable to or exceeding production silicon devices, while also staying relatively compact.

Are squiggly lines the future of password security?

June 5, 2014 9:16 am | Videos | Comments

The need for robust password security has never been more critical than now, as people use smartphones or tablets to pay bills and store personal information. A new Rutgers study shows that free-form gestures can be used to unlock phones and grant access to apps. These gestures are less likely to be observed and reproduced than than traditional methods such as typed passwords.

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Proactive approach to detect malicious software in networked computers and data

June 4, 2014 10:12 am | News | Comments

Highlighting the impact of malicious software, Target suffered the largest retail hack in U.S. history during the Christmas shopping season of 2013. To help combat this worsening trend, Virginia Tech computer scientists have used causal relations to determine whether or not network activities have justifiable and legitimate causes to occur. The work effectively isolates infected computer hosts and detects in advance stealthy malware.

Carnegie Mellon, Microsoft Research automate privacy compliance for big data systems

May 21, 2014 1:56 pm | News | Comments

Web services companies make promises about how they will use personal information. But ensuring that millions of lines of code operate in ways consistent with privacy promises is difficult. A team from Carnegie Mellon Univ.and Microsoft Research has shown, however, that these compliance checks can be automated. Their prototype automated system is now running on the data analytics pipeline of Bing, Microsoft's search engine.

Graphene photonics breakthrough promises fast-speed, low-cost communications

May 9, 2014 12:08 pm | News | Comments

Researchers in Australia have created a micrometer thin film with record-breaking optical nonlinearity suitable for high-performance integrated photonic devices. To create the thin film the researchers spin coated graphene oxide solution to a glass surface. Using a laser as a pen they created microstructures on the graphene oxide film to tune the nonlinearity of the material.

New IBM memory card combines flash with phase-change materials

May 7, 2014 2:27 pm | by Chris Sciacca, IBM Research - Zurich | News | Comments

First proposed for memory in the 1970s, phase-change materials exhibit two metastable states which can store data when placed between two electrically conducting electrodes. IBM researchers in Zurich have recently used them as part of Project Theseus to develop a PCI-e card that melds flash memory with phase-change memory. The major improvement in speed interests IBM for Big Data applications.

ANSYS acquires 3-D modeling company SpaceClaim

May 1, 2014 11:46 am | News | Comments

Engineering simulation software provider ANSYS announced Thursday that it has acquired SpaceClaim Corp. for a purchase price of $85 million in cash. SpaceClaim is a developer of fast, intuitive 3-D direct modeling software for engineers, and has partnered with ANSYS in the past to offer customers ANSYS SpaceClaim Direct Modeler.

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Google: Driverless cars are mastering city streets

April 28, 2014 10:48 am | by Justin Pritchard, Associated Press | News | Comments

Self-driving cars are motoring along: Google’s cars can navigate freeways comfortably, albeit with a driver ready to take control. But city driving has been a far greater challenge for the cars' computers. In a blog entry posted April 28, the project’s leader said test cars now can handle thousands of urban situations that would have stumped them a year or two ago.

Physicist wins $1.3M tech prize for data storage

April 10, 2014 5:12 pm | by Matti Huuhtanen, Associated Press | News | Comments

Anyone who uses large data centers, cloud services, social networks or gets music and film online can thank British-American physicist Stuart Parkin. Parkin, who was R&D Magazine’s first Innovator of the Year in 2001, has won the 1 million-euro Millennium Technology Prize this week for discoveries leading to a thousand-fold increase in digital data storage on magnetic disks.

Advanced warning systems increase safety at intersections, study shows

April 9, 2014 9:28 am | News | Comments

A major factor making driving difficult is hazards that are sudden and hard to predict. The wrong choice in this situation, known as the “dilemma zone,” may lead to crashes. Roadside and in-vehicle display warning systems may help drivers handle these hazards by predicting their occurrence and providing advanced warning to the driver, according to a new study.

New strategic partnership brings healthcare cloud tech to labs

April 8, 2014 11:51 am | News | Comments

Beckman Coulter Diagnostics has announced a strategic partnership with hc1.co of Indianapolis to help laboratories turn large amounts of clinical data into actionable insights. The new technology combines Beckman Coulter’s clinical diagnostic systems with hc1.com’s software-as-a-service product, Healthcare Relationship Cloud.

Big data keeps complex production running smoothly

March 27, 2014 9:25 am | News | Comments

Industrial plants must function effectively. Remedying production downtimes and breakdowns is an expensive and time consuming business. That is why companies collect data to evaluate how their facilities are doing. At the Hannover Messe Digital Factory, held April 7-11, researchers in Germany will show how operators can analyze these huge amounts of data and use it as an early warning system when problems threaten.

Google cameras take rafting trip at Grand Canyon

March 14, 2014 10:03 am | by Felicia Fonseca, Associated Press | News | Comments

The 360-degree views of the Grand Canyon that went live Thursday in Google's Street View map option once were reserved largely for rafters who were lucky enough to board a private trip through the remote canyon, or those willing to pay big bucks to navigate its whitewater rapids. But a partnership with the advocacy group American Rivers has allowed to Google to take its all-seeing eyes down nearly 300 miles of rich geologic history.

Amsterdam canal house built with 3-D printer

March 14, 2014 9:58 am | by Toby Sterling, Associated Press | News | Comments

Hundreds of years after wealthy merchants began building the tall, narrow brick houses that have come to define Amsterdam's skyline, Dutch architects are updating the process for the 21st century: fabricating pieces of a canal house out of plastic with a giant 3-D printer and slotting them together like oversized Lego blocks.

U.S. network to scan workers with secret clearances

March 10, 2014 9:49 am | by Stephen Braun, Associated Press | News | Comments

Intelligence officials are planning a sweeping system of electronic monitoring that would tap into government, financial and other databases to scan the behavior of many of the 5 million federal employees with secret clearances. The system is intended to identify rogue agents, corrupt officials and leakers, in part to prevent cases similar to former National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden.

Project to ensure “what you see is what you send”

February 25, 2014 4:43 pm | News | Comments

Imagine a user who intends to send $2 to a friend through PayPal. Embedded malware in the user’s laptop, however, converts the $2 transaction into a $2,000 transfer to the account of the malware author instead. Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology have created a prototype software, Gyrus, that takes steps to prevent malware from sending spam emails and instant messages, and blocking unauthorized commands such as money transfers.

Computer models help decode cells that sense light without seeing

February 10, 2014 7:47 am | News | Comments

For more than two years, researchers have been investigating melanopsin, a retina pigment capable of sensing light changes in the environment, informing the nervous system and synchronizing it with the day/night rhythm. They have found that this pigment is potentially more sensitive to light than its more famous counterpart rhodopsin, the pigment that allows night vision.

IBM brings Watson to Africa

February 6, 2014 12:32 pm | News | Comments

Named “Project Lucy” after the earliest known human ancestor, IBM’s new 10-year, $100 million initiative will bring the Watson computer and other cognitive systems to Africa in a bid to fuel development and spur business opportunities across the world’s fastest growing continent. Watson, whose design team won an R&D Innovator of the Year Award in 2011, improves itself by learning and quickly accessing big data resources.

Dassault Systèmes to acquire Accelrys Inc.

January 30, 2014 8:43 am | News | Comments

France-based 3-D design software and product lifecycle management solutions (PLM) company Dassault Systèmes has announced the signing of a definitive merger agreement for Dassault Systèmes to acquire San Diego-based Accelrys, Inc., a leading provider of scientific innovation lifecycle management software for chemistry, biology and materials. The acquisition is valued at approximately $750 million.

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