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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.

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.

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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.

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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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New record in quantum communications

August 30, 2012 4:44 am | News | Comments

Researchers from the Australian National University have taken a quantum leap towards developing the next generation of super-fast networks needed to drive future computers. The team has developed a technique that allows for quantum information to travel at higher bandwidth using a beam of light and the phenomenon called entanglement.

IBM introduces new powerful mainframe computers

August 29, 2012 3:24 am | News | Comments

On Tuesday IBM introduced a new line of mainframe computers the company calls its most powerful and technologically advanced ever. The zEnterprise EC12 mainframe server is designed to help users securely and quickly sift through massive amounts of data. Running at 5.5 GHz, IBM said the microprocessor that powers the mainframe is the fastest chip in the world.

Nanoinverters are created with low-cost additive manufacturing process

August 27, 2012 6:59 am | by Angela Herring | News | Comments

A crit­ical ele­ment in any microchip is an inverter—an elec­tronic com­po­nent that spits out zeros when it is given ones, and vice versa. Complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor, or CMOS, is the industry standard for this type of component, but still requires billions of dollars to achieve production scale. Researchers have recently pioneered a room-temperature additive process that creates a nanoscale inverter quickly and at low cost.

New simulation models metastasis

August 27, 2012 3:28 am | News | Comments

Cancer metastasis, the escape and spread of primary tumor cells, is a common cause of cancer-related deaths. But metastasis remains poorly understood, and only recently have studies indicate that blood’s “stickiness” actually tears off tumor cells. Using a statistical technique employed by animators, scientists created a new computer simulation that reveals how cancer cells enter the bloodstream and the physical forces involved.

Mini-camera captures more than just the visual action

August 24, 2012 5:07 am | News | Comments

At outdoor athletic competitions?at the Olympic Games, for example?athletes pushed themselves to the limit. But it’s hard to depict this in pictures alone. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany have created an intelligent camera that instantly delivers more complete picture of the action, supplying additional metadata acceleration, temperature, or heart rate.

Study details power of new chip to diagnose disease, analyze proteins

August 20, 2012 10:33 am | by Krista Conger | News | Comments

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Intel Corp. have collaborated to synthesize and study a grid-like array of short pieces of a disease-associated protein on silicon chips normally used in computer microprocessors. Used recently to identify patients with a severe form of lupus, the new technology has the potential to improve diagnoses of a multitude of diseases.

Researchers demonstrate that 15=3x5 about half of the time

August 20, 2012 7:56 am | News | Comments

A research team at the University of Santa Barbara has designed and fabricated a quantum processor capable of factoring a composite number—in this case the number 15—into its constituent prime factors, 3 and 5. Although modest compared to, say, a 600-digit number, the algorithm they developed was right about half the time, matching theoretical predictions and marking a milestone on the trail of building a stronger quantum computer.

Writing the book in DNA, literally

August 20, 2012 4:54 am | News | Comments

Using next-generation sequencing technology and a new strategy to encode 1,000 times the largest data size previously achieved in DNA, Harvard University geneticist George Church has encoded his book in life's language. While the volume of data is comparatively modest, the density of 5.5 petabits, or 1 million gigabits per cubic meter, is off the charts.

IBM to acquire Texas Memory Systems

August 17, 2012 9:53 am | News | Comments

IBM announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Texas Memory Systems (TMS), a developer of high-performance flash memory solutions. Following acquisition close, IBM plans to invest in and support the TMS product portfolio, and will look to integrate over time TMS technologies into a variety of solutions including storage, servers, software, and PureSystems offerings.

Quantum state of single atom controlled by simple electrode

August 17, 2012 4:11 am | News | Comments

In order to preserve the integrity of data in a quantum computer, the quantum mechanical system must be stable and shielded. But the information must also go in and come out.  Researchers in France and Germany report they have done this for the first time by reading out the quantum state of an atom directly by using electrodes.

An entirely new principle for information processing

August 15, 2012 8:10 am | News | Comments

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute in Germany have developed a complex network computer that is equally capable of performing arbitrary calculations as conventional computer, but does this under completely different conditions. Instead of a 0s and 1s in a binary system, this computer can in principle compute from, or be built from, any oscillating system, like a pendulum.

3D facial reconstruction tools “shaves” faces virtually

August 13, 2012 4:48 am | News | Comments

Conventional face capturing is well established and widely utilized in the entertainment industry to capture a 3D model of an actor's face. However, up to now, no method was capable of reconstructing facial hair or even handling it appropriately. A new method developed at Disney Research in Switzerland captures individual strands of facial hair and stores them separately from the actual human face until added. Or “shaved” away.

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