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Ten-year-old problem in theoretical computer science falls

July 31, 2012 7:48 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Interactive proofs have emerged as one of the major research topics in theoretical computer science. In the classic interactive proof, a questioner with limited computational power tries to extract reliable information from a computationally powerful but unreliable respondent. The proofs get more complex with the addition of multiple respondents, and researchers recently solved a long-standing question about whether these types of proofs work in a quantum system.

Assay Depot partners with AstraZeneca to launch virtual research laboratory

July 31, 2012 5:00 am | News | Comments

Developed in partnership with AstraZeneca, a new private virtual laboratory product, Research Exchange, has been launched by Assay Depot. The cloud-based “laboratory” enables researchers to search for research services and vendors, communicate with experts, purchase services, and rate and review services through a single interface. 

Tech titans face off in court over iPhone, iPad

July 31, 2012 4:57 am | by Paul Elias, Associated Press | News | Comments

With billions of dollars and control of the U.S. smartphone and computer tablets markets at stake, jury selection began Monday in a closely watched trial between two of the world's leading tech companies over patents. Cupertino-based Apple is demanding $2.5 billion in damages from Samsung Electronics Co., an award that would dwarf the largest patent-related verdict to date.


Data visualization tool helps find the 'unknown unknowns'

July 26, 2012 3:30 am | News | Comments

A research team at the Georgia Tech Research Institute has developed a software tool that enables users to perform in-depth analysis of modeling and simulation data, then visualize the results on screen. The new data analysis and visualization tool offers improved ease of use compared to similar tools, the researchers say, and could be readily adapted for use with existing data sets in a variety of disciplines.

Single-photon transmitter could enable new quantum devices

July 25, 2012 9:45 am | News | Comments

In theory, quantum computers should be able to perform certain kinds of complex calculations much faster than conventional computers, and quantum-based communication could be invulnerable to eavesdropping. But producing quantum components for real-world devices has proved to be fraught with daunting challenges. Now, a team of researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University has achieved a crucial long-term goal of such efforts.

“Control-Alt-Hack” game lets players try their hand at computer security

July 24, 2012 5:28 pm | by Hannah Hickey | News | Comments

Do you have what it takes to be an ethical hacker? Can you step into the shoes of a professional paid to outsmart supposedly locked-down systems? "Control-Alt-Hack", a new card game developed by University of Washington computer scientists, gives teenage and young-adult players a taste of what it means to be a computer-security professional defending against an ever-expanding range of digital threats.

Astronomers find pulsar with a tremendous hiccup

July 24, 2012 8:21 am | News | Comments

Using data analysis methods, an international collaboration of researchers dug an unusual gamma-ray pulsar out of imagery from the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. The pulsar they found is radio-quiet, very young, and, during the observation period, experienced the strongest rotation glitch ever observed for a gamma-ray-only pulsar. The shift was so strong, the pulsar seemed to disappear.

Scalable device for quantum information processing

July 24, 2012 5:11 am | News | Comments

Researchers in National Physical Laboratory's Quantum Detection Group have demonstrated, for the first time, a monolithic 3D ion microtrap array which could be scaled up to handle several tens of ion-based quantum bits. The research shows how it is possible to realize this device embedded in a semiconductor chip, and demonstrates the device's ability to confine individual ions at the nanoscale.


DataONE portal streamlines access to environmental data

July 24, 2012 3:41 am | News | Comments

Environmental researchers who investigate climate change, invasive species, infectious diseases, and other data-intensive topics can now benefit from easy access to diverse data sets through technology released by the Data Observation Network for Earth, or DataONE.

New lab working on security shoe sole to ID people

July 23, 2012 4:48 am | by Kevin Begos, Associated Press | News | Comments

Carnegie Mellon University's new Pedo-Biometrics Lab is working to perfect special shoe insoles that can help monitor access to high-security areas, like nuclear power plants or special military bases. The concept is based on research that shows each person has unique feet, and ways of walking. Sensors check on the pressure of feet and the gait, using a computer to compare patterns.

Scientists find new principle for spin transistor

July 20, 2012 9:04 am | News | Comments

In conventional field effect transistors, the current through the device can be switched on and off by an electric field. A research team in Poland, however, has developed a new way to control electron current in a transistor-like structure by using the electrons’ spin. The new method can not only tune the electrical current in the device but also the spin-polarization of the electron current.

NaCl to give way to RockSalt

July 20, 2012 8:12 am | News | Comments

A team led by Harvard University computer scientists, including two undergraduate students, has developed a new tool that could lead to increased security and enhanced performance for commonly used Web and mobile applications. Called RockSalt, the clever bit of code can verify that native computer programming languages comply with a particular security policy.

Researchers produce first complete computer model of an organism

July 20, 2012 3:37 am | News | Comments

In a breakthrough effort for computational biology, the world's first complete computer model of an organism has been completed, Stanford University researchers report. A team led by Stanford bioengineering Professor Markus Covert used data from more than 900 scientific papers to account for every molecular interaction that takes place in the life cycle of Mycoplasma genitalium , the world's smallest free-living bacterium.


Innovation promises to cut power use at big data companies

July 18, 2012 10:00 am | News | Comments

Big data needs big power. The server farms that undergird the Internet run on a vast tide of electricity. Even companies that have invested in upgrades to minimize their eco-footprint use tremendous amounts: The New York Times estimates that Google, for example, uses enough electricity in its data centers to power about 200,000 homes. Now, a team of Princeton University engineers has a solution that could radically cut that power use.

Humanizing computer aids affects trust, dependence

July 17, 2012 10:56 am | News | Comments

Computerized aids that include person-like characteristics can influence trust and dependence among adults, according to a Clemson University researcher. A recently published study by a Clemson University psychology associate professor examined how decision making would be affected by a human-like aid. The study focused on adults; trust, dependence, and performance while using a computerized decision-making aid for persons with diabetes.

Titan supercomputer hours awarded to collaborative protein project

July 16, 2012 11:01 am | News | Comments

Scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory and Stony Brook University have been awarded processing time on a new supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to study how proteins fold into their 3D shapes.

Research raises questions about iris recognition systems

July 13, 2012 3:55 am | News | Comments

Since the early days of iris recognition technologies, it has been assumed that the iris was a "stable" biometric over a person's lifetime—"one enrollment for life." However, new research from University of Notre Dame researchers has found that iris biometric enrollment is susceptible to an aging process that causes recognition performance to degrade slowly over time.

Peering into the heart of a supernova

July 12, 2012 6:32 am | News | Comments

Using computer simulations, researchers from the California Institute of Technology have determined that if the interior of a dying star is spinning rapidly just before it explodes in a magnificent supernova, two different types of signals emanating from that stellar core will oscillate together at the same frequency. This could be a piece of "smoking-gun evidence" that would lead to a better understanding of supernovae.

Naval sensor and software suite hunts down hundreds of boats

July 11, 2012 4:23 am | News | Comments

A vessel hunting system called “Rough Rhino,” sponsored by the Office of Naval Research and deployed aboard U.S. aircraft, ships and partner nation ships operating in waters off the coast of Senegal and Cape Verde, has helped track more than 600 targets since it’s been in operation. The effort has culminated in 24 boardings.

Solid-state terahertz devices could scan for cancer

July 11, 2012 3:49 am | by Bill Steele, Cornell University | News | Comments

Cornell University researchers have developed a new method of generating terahertz signals on an inexpensive silicon chip, offering possible applications in medical imaging, security scanning, and wireless data transfer.

Searching genomic data faster

July 10, 2012 12:44 pm | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Biologists' capacity for generating genomic data is increasing more rapidly than computer power. A team of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University researchers have developed a new algorithm that reduces the time it takes to find a particular gene sequence in a database of genomes.

Toward achieving 1 million times increase in computing efficiency

July 10, 2012 10:15 am | News | Comments

Northwestern University researchers have created an entirely new family of logic circuits based on magnetic semiconductor devices. The advance could lead to logic circuits up to 1 million times more power-efficient than today's.

New chip captures power from multiple sources

July 9, 2012 3:56 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have taken a step toward battery-free monitoring systems. Previous work focused on the development of computer and wireless-communication chips that operate at extremely low power levels, and on a variety of devices that can harness power from natural light, heat, and vibrations in the environment. The latest development is a chip that could harness all three of these ambient power sources at once.

Study: Computing advances vital to sustainability efforts

June 29, 2012 8:17 am | News | Comments

Innovation in computing will be essential to finding real-world solutions to sustainability challenges. The immense scale, numerous interconnected effects of actions over time, and diverse scope of these challenges require the ability to collect, structure, and analyze vast amounts of data.

Princeton researchers working at forefront of 'exascale' supercomputing

June 28, 2012 10:22 am | News | Comments

Scientists at Princeton University are composing the complex codes designed to instruct a new class of powerful computers that will allow researchers to tackle problems that were previously too difficult to solve. These supercomputers, operating at a speed called the "exascale," will produce realistic simulations of complex phenomena in nature such as fusion reactions, earthquakes, and climate change.

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