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Computer scientists develop new way to study molecular networks

January 24, 2013 2:15 pm | News | Comments

Computer scientists at Virginia Tech developed a new approach to address the shortcomings in the computational analysis of the multiple ways interactions can occur within cells. Their work may lead to further understanding of the interactions between molecules.

Grammar undercuts security of long computer passwords

January 24, 2013 12:14 pm | News | Comments

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.

Study: Digital information can be stored in DNA

January 24, 2013 11:42 am | by Malcolm Ritter, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

Using genetic material as their medium, researchers reported Wednesday that they had stored all 154 Shakespeare sonnets, a photo, a scientific paper, and a 26-second sound clip from Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. That all fit in a barely visible bit of DNA in a test tube.

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Sensors from a spray can: Organic materials increase camera sensitivity

January 23, 2013 5:41 pm | News | Comments

Researchers in Germany have developed a new generation of image sensors that are more sensitive to light than the conventional silicon versions. Simple and cheap to produce, they consist of electrically conductive plastics which are sprayed onto the sensor surface in an ultra-thin layer. The chemical composition of the polymer spray coating can be altered so that even the invisible range of the light spectrum can be captured.   

Storing data in individual molecules

January 23, 2013 3:41 pm | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

An experimental technology called molecular memory, which would store data in individual molecules, promises another 1,000-fold increase in storage density. But previous schemes for molecular memory have relied on physical systems cooled to near absolute zero. An international team of researchers describes a new molecular-memory scheme that works at around the freezing point of water—which in physics parlance counts as "room temperature."

Self-assembling silica microwires may enable integrated optical devices

January 23, 2013 10:23 am | News | Comments

Silica microwires are the tiny and as-yet underutilized cousins of optical fibers. If precisely manufactured, however, these hair-like slivers of silica could enable applications and technology not currently possible with comparatively bulky optical fiber. By carefully controlling the shape of water droplets with an ultraviolet laser, a team of researchers from Australia and France has found a way to coax silica nanoparticles to self-assemble into much more highly uniform silica wires.

Novel gene-searching software improves accuracy in disease studies

January 23, 2013 8:43 am | News | Comments

A new software tool, developed at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, streamlines the detection of disease-causing genetic changes through more sensitive detection methods and by automatically correcting for variations that reduce the accuracy of results in conventional software. The software, called ParseCNV, is freely available to the scientific-academic community.

Report: Cuba using undersea fiber-optic cable

January 21, 2013 2:15 pm | by PETER ORSI - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

Cuba apparently has finally switched on the first undersea fiber-optic cable linking it to the outside world nearly two years after its arrival, according to analysis by a company that monitors global Internet use. In a report posted Sunday on the website of Renesys, author Doug Madory wrote that Cuba began using the ALBA-1 cable on Jan. 14.

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Martian crater may once have held groundwater-fed lake

January 21, 2013 11:46 am | News | Comments

New information coming from researchers analyzing spectrometer data from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), which looked down on the floor of McLaughlin Crater on the Red Planet’s surface, suggests the formation of the carbonates and clay in a groundwater-fed lake within the closed basin of the crater. The depth of the crater may have helped allow the lake to form.

Researchers keep electronic devices cool with nanotechnology

January 21, 2013 10:57 am | News | Comments

A team of scientists have designed and fabricated ultrasmall devices for energy-efficient electronics. By finding out how molecules behave in these devices, a ten-fold increase in switching efficiency was obtained by changing just one carbon atom. These devices could provide new ways to combat overheating in mobile phones and laptops, and could also aid in electrical stimulation of tissue repair for wound healing.

“Quadruple helix” DNA structure proven to exist in human cells

January 21, 2013 8:53 am | News | Comments

Marking the culmination of over 10 years of investigation by scientists to show—in vivo—that complex four-stranded structures exist in the human genome alongside Watson and Crick’s famous double helix, researchers in the U.K. have recently published a paper that goes on to show clear links between concentrations of four-stranded quadruplexes and the process of DNA replication, which is pivotal to cell division and production.

Multiple steps toward the “quantum singularity”

January 18, 2013 7:41 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

In early 2011, a pair of theoretical computer scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology proposed an optical experiment that would harness the weird laws of quantum mechanics to perform a computation impossible on conventional computers. The experiment involves generating individual photons—particles of light—and synchronizing their passage through a maze of optical components so that they reach a battery of photon detectors at the same time.

Webb Telescope teams completes optics milestone

January 17, 2013 10:27 am | News | Comments

Engineers working on NASA's James Webb Space Telescope have recently concluded performance testing on the observatory's aft-optics subsystem at Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp's facilities in Boulder, Colo. This is significant because it means all of the telescope's mirror systems are ready for integration and testing.

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Scientists examine impact of functionalized MRI

January 17, 2013 10:07 am | News | Comments

The development of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)—a tool used to gauge real-time brain activity by measuring changes in blood flow—has given researchers the opportunity to try to answer various questions about the brain and mind. But some are not convinced of its usefulness, and a new report published by Association for Psychological Science takes stock of what fMRI has actually accomplished.

Experiment to reshape future of atmospheric science

January 17, 2013 8:38 am | by Kathryn Hansen, NASA | News | Comments

NASA scientists and engineers are working now to lay the groundwork for the Aerosol-Cloud-Ecosystem (ACE) mission, which will change what we can learn about clouds and aerosols. To that end, the Polarimeter Definition Experiment (PODEX) in Southern California will soon commence, testing a new class of polarimeters that are especially suited for finding the type, shape, and size of particles in the upper atmosphere.

Aerial platform supports development of lightweight sensors for UAVs

January 17, 2013 7:44 am | News | Comments

A research team at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) is developing an airborne testing capability for sensors, communications devices, and other airborne payloads. This aerial test bed, called the GTRI Airborne Unmanned Sensor System (GAUSS), is based on an unmanned aerial vehicle made by Griffon Aerospace and modified by GTRI.

Researchers develop integrated dual-mode active and passive infrared camera

January 16, 2013 1:14 pm | News | Comments

High-performance infrared cameras are usual for night-vision goggles and are usually either active, which use invisible infrared sources, or passive, which detect thermal radiation without the need for illumination. Integrating both modes has proven challenging, but researchers at Northwestern University have done by using advanced type-II superlattice materials.

Study: Quality of care measures can be improved for EHRs

January 16, 2013 7:55 am | News | Comments

Health care providers and hospitals are being offered up to $27 billion in federal incentives to use electronic health records (EHRs) in ways that demonstrably improve the quality of care. The incentives are based, in part, on the ability to electronically report clinical quality measures. A new study has found ways in which quality measurement from EHRs—which are primarily designed for documentation of clinical care for individual patients—can be improved

Dow opens innovation center at the University of Illinois

January 16, 2013 7:29 am | News | Comments

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.

NREL launches interactive tool for developing a cleaner energy future

January 15, 2013 2:20 pm | News | Comments

The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory has created an energy analysis tool to help individuals and educators experiment with future energy use scenarios. The interactive Buildings, Industry, Transportation, Electricity, and Transportation Scenarios (BITES) allows users to explore how changes in energy demand and supply can impact carbon dioxide emissions and the current U.S. energy trajectory.

Qubit control method bodes well for future of quantum computing

January 15, 2013 11:25 am | by Eric Gershon | News | Comments

Yale physicists have successfully devised a new, non-destructive measurement system for observing, tracking and documenting all changes in a qubit’s state, thus preserving the qubit’s informational value. In principle, the scientists said, this should allow them to monitor the qubit’s state in order to correct for random errors.

Race is on for EU's $1.3 billion science projects

January 15, 2013 11:01 am | by Frank Jordans, Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

Researchers demonstrate “intelligent molecule” concept

January 15, 2013 10:37 am | News | Comments

Intelligence is not only a matter of humans and animals. Scientists speak also of intelligent molecules. The latter directly react to external stimuli and reversibly change their shape in response. Physicists in Europe have recently demonstrated this process for the first time with a single molecule.

New effort to create green electronics, workforce

January 15, 2013 10:18 am | by Emil Venere, Purdue University | News | Comments

The world's love affair with gadgets—many of which contain hazardous materials—is generating millions of tons of electronic waste annually. Now, Purdue and Tuskegee universities are leading an international effort to replace conventional electronics with more sustainable technologies and train a workforce of specialists to make the transition possible.

Building electronics from the ground up

January 14, 2013 5:19 pm | News | Comments

Electronics devices are a mainstay of our daily lives. But the expectation that the next shopping season will inevitably offer an upgrade to more-powerful gadgets largely depends on size, and developers who employ top down manufacturing methods are running into expensive roadblocks as the domain shrinks to the nanoscale. To go further, some researchers looking at a bottom up method, coaxing individual molecules to self-arrange into patterns.

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