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New tools will make sharing research data safer in cyberspace

September 28, 2012 4:51 am | News | Comments

No longer limited to narrow focus groups, painstaking in-person surveys, or artificially controlled studies, researchers today have a far easier time compiling and manipulating large data sets. At the same time, however, sharing such data can be fraught with risks. Researchers with the “Privacy Tools for Sharing Research Data” project at Harvard University aim to keep the flexibility and convenience of sharing large amounts of data while more fully protecting individual privacy.

NSF and Mozilla announce winning ideas for Internet of the future

September 26, 2012 6:30 pm | News | Comments

This week, an open innovation challenge called Mozilla Ignite announced eight winning ideas for innovative applications that offer a glimpse of what the Internet's future might look like, and what the lives of Americans may look like as well. The challenge called for stellar application, or "app," ideas from anywhere in the world that would advance national priorities such as health care, public safety, clean energy, and transportation.

Hotter might be better at energy-intensive data centers

September 26, 2012 4:43 am | News | Comments

As data centers continue to come under scrutiny for the amount of energy they use, researchers at University of Toronto Scarborough have a suggestion: turn the air conditioning down. Their latest research suggests that turning up the temperature could save energy with little or no increased risk of equipment failure.

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Signature of long-sought particle could advance quantum computing

September 26, 2012 3:19 am | News | Comments

A Purdue University physicist, Leonid Rokhinson, has observed evidence of long-sought Majorana fermions, special particles that could unleash the potential of fault-tolerant quantum computing. Rokhinson led a team that is the first to successfully demonstrate the fractional a.c. Josephson effect, which is a signature of the particles.

University lab encodes collagen

September 25, 2012 9:53 am | News | Comments

The human body is proficient at making collagen. And human laboratories are getting better at it all the time. In a development that could lead to better drug design and new treatments for disease, Rice University researchers have made a major step toward synthesizing custom collagen. The scientists who have learned how to make collagen are now digging into its molecular structure to see how it forms and interacts with biological systems.

“Space travel” gives computers a more powerful way to detect threats

September 21, 2012 5:46 am | News | Comments

As cloud computing is becoming more popular, new techniques to protect the systems must be developed. Computer scientists in Texas have developed a technique to automatically allow one computer in a virtual network to monitor another for intrusions, viruses or anything else that could cause a computer to malfunction. Dubbed “space travel”, the technique bridges the gap between computer hardware and software systems.

Computer simulations for multiscale systems can be faster, more reliable

September 20, 2012 4:16 am | News | Comments

University of Oregon scientists have found a way to correctly reproduce not only the structure but also important thermodynamic quantities, such as pressure and compressibility, of a large, multiscale system at variable levels of molecular coarse-graining.

Accelrys to streamline lab-to-market with process and compliance suite

September 18, 2012 4:35 am | News | Comments

Designed to improve the way businesses manage the scientific innovation lifecycle, the new Accelrys Process Management and Compliance Suite unifies Accelrys Inc.’s lifecycle management software offerings, covering the ground between product development and process execution. It is geared to help companies bring products to market faster and at a lower cost, while meeting critical quality and regulatory compliance objectives.

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Vanadium oxide bronze: A new material for the computing industry?

September 14, 2012 5:00 am | News | Comments

Few modern materials have achieved the fame of silicon, a key element of computer chips. The next generation of computers, however, may not rely so much on silicon. University at Buffalo researchers are among scientists working to identify materials that could one day replace silicon to make computing faster. Their latest find: A vanadium oxide bronze whose unusual electrical properties could increase the speed at which information is transferred and stored.

4DSP to commercialize NASA-licensed fiber optic technology

September 13, 2012 10:35 am | News | Comments

This week, design company 4DSP has launched live industry demonstrations of licensed NASA fiber optic sensing and 3D shape rendering technology. Past fiber optic sensing solutions have been limited by both processing speed and high deployment costs, and 4DSP expects the new technology to offer a 20-fold improvement in performance.

U.S. research and development most prevalent in small number of regions

September 13, 2012 4:29 am | News | Comments

According to data from a 2008 Business R&D and Innovation Survey by the National Science Foundation, businesses perform the lion's share of their R&D activity in just a small number of geographic areas, particularly the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland area and the New York-Newark-Bridgeport area.

Radiation-enabled computer chip for low-cost security imaging systems

September 13, 2012 3:39 am | News | Comments

A professor from Tel Aviv University is reconfiguring existing complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) chips designed for computers and turning them into high-frequency circuits. The ultimate goal of this project is to produce chips with radiation capabilities that are able to see through packaging and clothing to produce an image of what may be hidden beneath.

Deciphering the language of transcription factors

September 11, 2012 3:25 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

A new, Massachusetts Institute of Technology-developed analytical method identifies the precise binding sites of transcription factors—proteins that regulate the production of other proteins—with 10 times the accuracy of its predecessors.

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Built-in germanium lasers could make computer chips faster

September 10, 2012 9:05 am | News | Comments

A European research team has recently been able to demonstrate that germanium, under certain conditions, can function as a laser material. Together with silicon, the researchers report, germanium lasers could form the basis for innovative computer chips in which information would be transferred partially in the form of light.

Researchers craft program to stop cloud computing problems

September 10, 2012 5:02 am | News | Comments

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new software tool to prevent performance disruptions in cloud computing systems by automatically identifying and responding to potential anomalies before they can develop into problems.

Researchers make first all-optical nanowire switch

September 10, 2012 3:48 am | News | Comments

Computers may be getting faster every year, but those advances in computer speed could be dwarfed if their 1s and 0s were represented by bursts of light, instead of electricity. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have made an important advance in this frontier of photonics, fashioning the first all-optical photonic switch out of cadmium sulfide nanowires.

Computer chip developed from sea squirt molecules

September 10, 2012 3:29 am | News | Comments

Scientists from the University of Aberdeen's Marine Biodiscovery Center and the University of St Andrews presented their work on the components of a new type of computer chip created using molecules from a sea squirt sourced from the bottom of the Great Barrier Reef.

Computing with water droplets and superhydrophobic materials

September 7, 2012 9:37 am | News | Comments

In Finland, researchers have experimentally determined the conditions for rebounding of water droplets moving on superhydrophobic surfaces. Like billiard balls, these droplets move by way of collisions, allowing the scientists to build “droplet logic”. When combined with chemical reactions these devices demonstrate elementary Boolean logic operations.

New DNA encyclopedia shows complex inner workings

September 6, 2012 4:34 am | by Malcolm Ritter, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

Particular sequences of the familiar double helix structure of DNA form genes, which tell cells how to make proteins. But the vast majority of DNA lies outside of genes and is poorly understood. A massive project by more than 500 scientists to gain a comprehensive look at how our DNA works has produced an encyclopedia of information that reveals extraordinarily complex networks that tell our genes what to do. It also reveals just how much of the human genome is active.

'Hybrid metrology' method could improve computer chips

September 5, 2012 12:40 pm | News | Comments

A refined method developed at NIST for measuring nanometer-sized objects may help computer manufacturers more effectively size up the myriad tiny switches packed onto chips' surfaces. The method, which makes use of multiple measuring instruments and statistical techniques, is already drawing attention from industry.

Researchers identify biochemical functions for most of the human genome

September 5, 2012 11:06 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Only about 1% of the human genome contains gene regions that code for proteins, raising the question of what the rest of the DNA is doing. Scientists have now begun to discover the answer: About 80% of the genome is biochemically active, and likely involved in regulating the expression of nearby genes, according to a study from a large international team of researchers.

Simulating the birth of a planet

September 5, 2012 7:51 am | News | Comments

Over the past few decades, the hunt for extrasolar planets has yielded incredible discoveries. Now, planetary researchers have a new tool—simulated models of how planets are born. A team of researchers at The University of Texas at Austin are using supercomputers to model and simulate the protostellar disks that precede the formation of planet.

Mapping neurological disease

September 5, 2012 4:36 am | by Helen Knight, MIT News correspondent | News | Comments

Disorders such as schizophrenia can originate in certain regions of the brain and then spread out to affect connected areas. Identifying these regions of the brain, and how they affect the other areas they communicate with, would allow drug companies to develop better treatments and could ultimately help doctors make a diagnosis. But interpreting the vast amount of data produced by brain scans to identify these connecting regions has so far proved impossible, until now.

Silicon chip to enable mass-manufacture of quantum technologies

September 4, 2012 4:33 am | News | Comments

An international research collaboration led by scientists in the U.K. has developed a new approach to quantum computing that could lead more widespread use of new quantum technologies. The breakthrough has been a move from glass-based circuitry that allowed circuits to manipulate photons to a silicon-based technology that accomplishes the same calculations using quantum mechanical effects.

Making Web applications more efficient

September 4, 2012 3:54 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Most major Websites maintain huge databases. Almost any transaction on a shopping site, travel site, or social networking site require multiple database queries, which can slow response time. Now, researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a system that automatically streamlines Websites' database access patterns, making the sites up to three times as fast.

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