A research team in Europe has created a new keyboard called KALQ that enables faster thumb-typing on touchscreen devices. They used computational optimization techniques in conjunction with a model of thumb movement to search among millions of potential layouts to find the best one. A study confirmed that users could type 34% faster than they could with a QWERTY layout.
Bitcoins are a virtual currency whose oscillations have pulled geeks and speculators alike through stomach-churning highs and lows. But an increasing number of transactions—up to 70,000 each day over the past month—that have propelled bitcoins from the world of Internet oddities to the cusp of mainstream use, a remarkable breakthrough for a currency which made its online debut only four years ago.
Java is one of the most common programming languages in use today, which is partly why researchers at the University of California, San Diego, have developed an immersive, first-person player video game designed to teach students in elementary to high school how to use the language effectively, despite never having been exposed to programming previously.
The agency that oversees Internet domain names says it will open a satellite office in China, home of the world's largest Internet population. Monday's announcement comes as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers holds its spring meeting in Beijing this week.
A world-class supercomputer called Stampede—which has already enabled research teams to predict where and when earthquakes may strike, how much sea levels could rise and how fast brain tumors grow—was officially dedicated this week at the University of Texas at Austin's Texas Advanced Computing Center. The new research tool will be utilized by thousands of research groups.
Even cyberwar has rules, and one group of experts is putting out a manual to prove it. Their handbook, the Tallinn Manual, due to be published later this week, applies the practice of international law to the world of electronic warfare in an effort to show how hospitals, civilians and neutral nations can be protected in an information-age fight.
Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have recently performed a record number of simulations using all 1,572,864 cores of Sequoia, the largest supercomputer in the world. The simulations are the largest particle-in-cell (PIC) code simulations by number of cores ever performed. PIC simulations are used extensively in plasma physics to model the motion of the charged particles
A variety of solid-state systems are currently being investigated as candidates for quantum bits of information, or qubits. One such qubit, a quantum dot, is made of semiconductor nanocrystals embedded in a chip, but the quality of photons generated from solid-state qubits can be low due to decoherence. Now, researchers in the U.K. have generated single photons with tailored properties from solid-state devices that are identical in quality to lasers
Two California urban areas have the dubious distinction of being tied for second-worst traffic in the country. Commuters spend 61 hours per year being stuck in traffic in the Bay Area and in Los Angeles. A new project called Connected Corridors, led by University of California, Berkeley, is developing new technologies that will help Caltrans gather and analyze traffic data to make real-time whole-system traffic management recommendations
One of the government's top spy agencies, the National Security Agency, has teamed with Carnegie Mellon University to interest high school students in a game of computer hacking. Their goal with "Toaster Wars" is to cultivate the nation's next generation of cyber warriors. The free, online "high school hacking competition" is scheduled to run from April 26 to May 6, and any U.S. student or team in grades six through 12 can apply and participate.
Encrypting a message with a strong code is the only safe way to keep your communications secret, but it will be obvious to anyone seeing such a message that the sender is hiding something. Steganography, on the other hand, can hide a secret message in plain sight, using binary numbers, for example. Researchers, however, now suggest that instead of using a humdrum text document and modifying it in a codified way to embed a secret message, correspondents could use a joke to hide their true meaning.
Mechdyne Corporation has recently announced that it has licensed the CAVE2 hybrid reality environment developed by the Electronic Visualization Laboratory at University of Illinois at Chicago. The licensing agreement was signed in January of 2013, and continues the strong working relationship that began in 1994 when Mechdyne licensed the EVL-designed original CAVE technology.
Maplesoft has announced a major new initiative to support teaching and learning. The Möbius Project is designed to help users create rich, interactive mathematical applications, share them with everyone, and grade them to assess understanding.
Computer scientists at the University of California, San Diego, and Google have developed a novel approach that allows the massive infrastructure powering cloud computing as much as 15 to 20% more efficiently. This novel model has already been applied at Google.
ACCES I/O Products, Inc. has announced the release of a new family of PCI-104 serial communication boards—the 104I-COM-8SM Series. These PCI-104 boards feature a selection of 8, 4, or 2-ports of field selectable RS-232, RS-422, and RS-485 asynchronous serial protocols on a port by port basis.
Trapped atomic ions are a promising architecture that satisfies many of the critical requirements for constructing a quantum computer. Scientists who hope to push the capabilities of ion traps even further using cryogenics have recently published a report in Science that speculates on ion trap technology as a scalable option for quantum information processing.
The European Union has fined Microsoft €561 million ($733 million) for breaking a pledge to offer personal computer users a choice of Internet browsers when they install the company's flagship Windows operating system. The penalty imposed by the EU's executive arm, the Commission, is a first for Brussels: no company has ever failed to keep its end of a bargain with EU authorities before.
The term "big data" is defined as a huge amount of digital information, so big and so complex that normal database technology cannot process it. The open-source software framework Apache Hadoop is a user-friendly approach for accessing vast amounts of data, but it is not able to query big datasets as efficiently as database systems that are designed for parallel processing. Researchers have recently introduced an aggressive indexing library for Hadoop that answers queries up to 100 times faster.
Maplesoft this week announced that its ongoing partnership with Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. has been expanded to include the use of new symbolic computation methods in control systems engineering. The new research will allow developers to consider system nonlinearities, modeling inaccuracies, and parametric uncertainties in the design process, helping Toyota shorten development time while maintaining high quality results.
An international team of researchers affiliated with Göttingen University in Germany has found a way to store vast amounts of data—up to one petabyte—per square inch. The scientists developed a unique molecule with an exploitable electron that carries a spin. This serves as the memory for their electronic device, which can be read out by a magnetic reference electrode at room temperature.
The National Science Foundation (NSF), along with the journal Science, this week announced the 53 winners and honorable mentions of the International Science & Technology Visualization Challenge, a contest jointly sponsored by NSF and the joournal Science. The winning entries highlight the often stunning capabilities of computer-aided visualization techniques.
Watson, the supercomputer famous for beating the world's best human "Jeopardy!" champions, is going to college. IBM today says it will provide a Watson system to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the first time the computer is being sent to a university. Just like the flesh-and-blood students who will work on it, Watson is leaving home to sharpen its skills.
Good grammar helps people make themselves be understood. But when used to concoct a long computer password, grammar provides crucial hints that can help someone crack that password. Carnegie Mellon University researchers have recently demonstrated this fact by developing a grammar-aware password-cracking algorithm that surpassed the capabilities of other state-of-the-art password crackers.
The Dow Innovation Center, a new research facility to be located at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, has recently been announced by Dow and will develop data management solutions. At the same time, Dow has entered into an industry partnership with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, providing access to expertise and equipment which will accelerate Dow’s discovery processes.
Teams of scientists from across Europe are vying for a funding bonanza that could see two of them receive more than a billion dollars over 10 years to keep the continent at the cutting edge of technology. The contest began with 26 proposals, and just four have made it to the final round, including a plan to develop digital guardian angels, an accurate model of the human brain, and better ways to produce and use graphene.