Researchers at North Carolina State Univ. have developed a new technique for using multi-core chips more efficiently, significantly enhancing a computer’s ability to build computer models of biological systems. The technique improved the efficiency of algorithms used to build models of biological systems more than seven-fold, creating more realistic models that can account for uncertainty and biological variation.
A European research team has developed a microscopic theory that describes the interactions between the various components of a complex polymer mixture. Now that it has been experimentally proven by physicists through neutron scattering, the technique can be used to describe difficult fluids and draw realistic conclusions about the liquid’s behavior on the macroscopic scale.
In revisiting the 255 year-old Leidenfrost effect, which describes how a liquid produces an insulating vapor layer when contacting a solid hotter than its boiling point, researchers at the University of Melbourne and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia have found a new way to reduce drag on large ships.
Recent studies of turbulent flow phenomena by a Johns Hopkins Univ. engineer have resulted in the astonishing proof of "spontaneous stochasticity", which basically means that objects placed in a turbulent flow – even objects that are identical and which are dropped into the same spot – will end up in different places. The study also upended a long-held belief about the “flux freezing” of magnetic lines those same flows.
Univ. of Adelaide acoustics researchers are investigating the causes of wind turbine noise with the aim of making them quieter and solving 'wind turbine syndrome'. They are also developing a computer model to predict the noise output from wind farms so they can accurately and quickly assess the effectiveness of potential noise-reducing designs and control methods.
Whether 2011 has set a modern record for tornado deaths is still unclear, but the severity of this year’s storms has left little doubt about the inability of current science to provide adequate forecasting. Warnings have improved from the addition of weather radar throughout the country in the 1990s, but even 20 minutes of advance notice hasn’t helped in some cases.
The earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March 11 were generated on a fault that didn't rupture in the usual fashion, according to a study by researchers at Stanford Univ. and the Univ. of Tokyo. The quake’s motion amplified fault slip near the surface, causing violent seafloor sediment deformations previously seen only in computer simulations.
Some scientists have debated the actual severity of the nuclear power plant incident at Fukushima Dai-ichi, but its impact on the ocean is no question much greater than that of Chernobyl. Now, researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution are starting to build a global database of baseline levels of marine radionuclides so they can be more accurately tracked in the future.
The latest version of the COMSOL Multiphysics simulation environment was recently launched by Burlington, Mass.-based COMSOL Inc. According to the company, core multiphysics improvements have accelerated simulation performance across the platform, and three new applications modules have been added.
The Earth is cooling from the inside out, causing the inner core of iron to slowing solidify. But research have brought scientists to the realization that the core is also undergoing melting. Using a computer model of convection in the outer core, together with seismology data, researchers now believe they know how and why the inner core does this.
Some forms of technology—think, for example, of computer chips—are on a fast track to constant improvements, while others evolve much more slowly. Now, a new study by researchers at MIT and other institutions shows that it may be possible to predict which technologies are likeliest to advance rapidly, and therefore may be worth more investment in research and resources.
Memory resistors, or memristors, are a newly invented but long-theorized circuit that can “remember” the total electronic charge that passes between them. Hewlett Packard and UC Santa Barbara researchers have recently used x-rays to map out the nanoscale physical and chemical properties of these electronic devices in unprecedented detail.
At first glance, a diagram of the complex network of genes that regulate cellular metabolism might seem hopelessly complex, and efforts to control such a system futile. However, an MIT researcher has come up with a new computational model that can analyze any type of complex network—biological, social, or electronic—and reveal the critical points that can be used to control the entire system.
Radioactive dating is used to determine everything from the age of dinosaur fossils to Native American arrowheads. A new technique recently developed at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory may give researchers another tool for radioactive dating that could be of particular use in studying the history of climate change.
A spinoff from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne has pioneered a new way to generate fast, cheap, large-scale 3D models without investing in heavy, localized computer processing. The method involves the use of micro aerial vehicles and introduces the property of time to the 3D models.
By combining a computational model with experiments on the evolution of drug resistance in bacteria, a team from MIT, for the first time, calculated the likelihood of a particular evolutionary adaptation reversing itself.
The role of sulfur dioxide, a pollutant of volcanic gasses and many combustion processes, in acid rain is well known, but how sulfur dioxide reacts at the surface of aqueous particulates in the atmosphere to form acid rain is far from understood. New laser-based research suggests this behavior should be added to today’s climate-modeling scenarios.
For decades chemistry professor James Hinton has used nuclear magnetic resonance to look at protein structure and function. But communicating his protein discoveries to students was difficult. With help from the Arkansas Bioscience Institute, Hinton worked with Virtalis in the UK to create an immersive 3-D virtual reality experience for studying proteins. The results have been dramatic.
This week, the Department of Energy dedicated the Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors (CASL), an advanced research facility that will accelerate the advancement of nuclear reactor technology. Supercomputer modeling will be used to study the performance of light-water reactors and accelerate upgrades at existing plants.
Materials researchers and textile designers have teamed up to introduce to market new lightweight, translucent curtain that are excellent at absorbing sound. Such materials are typically poor at absorption, but a mathematical model helped identify the optimal microscopic structure to deliver a five-fold improvement.
A new computational study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals how hydrocarbons may be formed from methane in deep Earth at extreme pressures and temperatures.
IBM, the California Dept. of Transportation and UC Berkeley have joined forces to analyze real-time traffic patterns and individual commuter travel history to forecast better, safer routes for drivers. The predictive modeling is an effort to shave some portion of the loss in money ($808), time (1 week), and gas (28 gallons) experienced every year by the average driver due to traffic.
University of Utah geophysicists have made the first large-scale picture of the electrical conductivity of the gigantic underground plume of hot and partly molten rock that feeds the Yellowstone supervolcano. A study using the new geoelectric imaging technology revealed a plume much larger than previously thought.
When black holes slam into each other, the surrounding space and time surge and undulate like a heaving sea during a storm. This warping of space and time is so complicated that physicists haven't been able to understand the details of what goes on. By combining theory with computer modeling, however, Caltech researchers have now found a way.
In February, NASA held a press conference to announce the 1,235 planet candidates found by the Kepler project team using space observatory launched in 2009. Team member Jason Rowe has won a lot of fans by using plotting software to visualize the discoveries in a single image, illustrating the way Kepler uses periodic brightness fluctuations in stars to find exoplanets.