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.
A new NASA-funded prototype system developed by the National Center for Atmospheric Research now is providing weather forecasts that can help flights avoid major storms as they travel over remote ocean regions. The eight-hour forecasts of potentially dangerous atmospheric conditions are designed for pilots, air traffic controllers and others involved in transoceanic flights.
Because of the limited image spatial-resolution of even today's best-quality laptop and desktop computers, researchers and physicians often can’t see phenomena that are too large, too small, too complex, or too distant. CAVE2, a next-generation, large-scale virtual environment, combines the benefits of scalable-resolution display walls with virtual-reality system to create a revealing and seamless 2D and 3D environment that is becoming increasingly important in scientific discovery.
After more than a decade of research, chip engineers at IBM Research have built a scalable, fab-ready microchip that successfully integrates a complete optical package built from silicon. This silicon nanophotonics breakthrough allows the new chip, which is built on an existing high-performance 90-nm CMOS fabrication line, to exceed a transceiver data rate of 25 Gbps per channel.
Apple’s newest iMac computer line, which went on sale last week, has something in common with world of shipbuilding. Refined for use in constructing vessels by the Office of Naval Research, friction-stir welding is responsible for the enabling the design of the iMacs. The process uses heat and pressure to join metals, and is used to achieve an extra-thin aluminum-bodied computer.
Toyota Motor Corp. is testing car safety systems that allow vehicles to communicate with each other and with the roads they are on in a just completed facility in Japan. The size of three baseball stadiums, the Intelligent Transport System site hosts a fleet of cars that receive information from sensors and transmitters installed on the streets. The sensors help to minimize the risk of accidents in situations such as missing a red traffic light, cars advancing from blind spots, and pedestrians crossing the street.
Over the course of two weeks this fall, computer models made a startling sequence of correct and useful predictions. By running thousands of simulations on polling data, Nate Silver correctly forecasted how all 50 states would vote for president. In the case of Hurricane Sandy, meteorologists identified the potential danger to the Northeast nearly a week before the storm arrived. Computer models of many kinds have improved in recent years, and the approach is finding new, unexpected uses.
According to the Top500 list, the semiannual ranking of computing systems around the world that was announced Monday morning, Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Titan is now the world’s most potent supercomputer. It eclipses the most recent top performed, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Sequoia, with a speed of 17.59 petaflops in testing. The Titan is a Cray XK7 hybrid system, built from 16-core processors equipped with graphic processing unit (GPU) accelerators.
Most electronic data is stored on magnetic hard drives that cannot simply be enlarged to store more data. The required spinning speed for larger sizes strains components. Researchers in Singapore report that an alternative technology, heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR), is now a significant step closer to commercial realization. The method has the potential to double storage capacity for a given hard drive.
At IBM, scientists have for the first time precisely placed and tested more than 10,000 carbon nanotube devices in a single chip using mainstream manufacturing processes. Achieved through conventional chemistry, materials, and wafer fabrication methods, the invention helps validate the used of carbon nanotube technology for future electronic circuit design.