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Engineers boost efficiency of cloud computing infrastructure

March 8, 2013 10:16 am | News | Comments

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.

The future of ion traps

March 7, 2013 3:40 pm | by E. Edwards, JQI | News | Comments

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.

Biologists produce rainbow-colored algae

March 7, 2013 3:30 pm | News | Comments

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have engineered a green alga used commonly in laboratories, <em>Chlamydomonas reinhardtii</em>, into a rainbow of different colors by producing six different colored fluorescent proteins in the algae cells. Tagging algae with different kinds of fluorescent proteins could help sort different kinds of cells, allow scientists to view cellular structures like the cytoskeleton and flagella, or even to create “fusion proteins”.

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Agreement will lead to grid-friendly electric vehicle charging

March 7, 2013 3:16 pm | News | Comments

A technology that will allow widespread adoption of plug-in electric vehicles without negatively impacting the electrical grid is the subject of a commercial license agreement between Battelle and AeroVironment, Inc., of Monrovia, Calif. The technology may also ultimately result in lower costs for plug-in electric vehicle owners.

Waves generated by Russian meteor recorded in U.S.

March 7, 2013 10:44 am | News | Comments

While thousands of earthquakes around the globe are recorded by seismometers in these stations—part of the permanent Global Seismographic Network (GSN) and EarthScope's temporary Transportable Array (TA)—signals from large meteor impacts are far less common. The meteor explosion near Chelyabinsk on Feb. 15, 2013, generated ground motions and air pressure waves in the atmosphere. The stations picked up the signals with seismometers and air pressure sensors, and recorded the pressures waves as they cross the United States.

Electron field emitter technology to improve imaging, communications

March 7, 2013 10:24 am | News | Comments

Scientists in Maryland have built a new practical, high-efficiency nanostructured electron source. Unlike thermionic electron sources, which use an electric current to boil electrons off the surface of a wire, the new emitter uses highly porous silicon carbide to avoid the energy efficiency problems of traditional emitters. This type of field emitter has a fast response and could lead to improved X-ray imaging systems.

Curiosity sleeps as solar blast races toward Mars

March 7, 2013 9:47 am | by Alicia Chang, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

NASA’s Martian rover hunkered down Wednesday after the sun unleashed a blast that raced toward Mars. While Curiosity was designed to withstand punishing space weather, its handlers decided to power it down as a precaution since it suffered a recent computer problem. While the hardy rover slept, the Opportunity rover and two NASA spacecraft circling overhead carried on with normal activities.

EU fines Microsoft $733M for breaking browser pact

March 7, 2013 9:18 am | by Toby Sterling, Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

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Distance to nearest galaxy measured

March 6, 2013 3:31 pm | News | Comments

The Hubble constant is a fundamental quantity that measures the current rate at which our universe is expanding; it is critical for gauging the age and size of our universe. One of the largest uncertainties plaguing past measurements of the Hubble constant has involved the distance to the Large Magellanic Cloud, our nearest neighboring galaxy. A team of astronomers have now managed to improve the measurement of the distance to our nearest neighbor galaxy and, in the process, refine the calculation that helps measure the expansion of the universe.

Quantum refrigerator offers extreme cooling and convenience

March 6, 2013 3:21 pm | News | Comments

Researchers at the NIST have demonstrated a solid-state refrigerator that uses quantum physics in micro- and nanostructures to cool a much larger object to extremely low temperatures. What's more, the prototype NIST refrigerator, which measures a few inches in outer dimensions, enables researchers to place any suitable object in the cooling zone and later remove and replace it, similar to an all-purpose kitchen refrigerator.

Study: Mental picture of others can be seen using fMRI

March 5, 2013 2:16 pm | News | Comments

According to a study by Cornell University neuroscientist Nathan Spreng and his colleagues, it is possible to tell who a person is thinking about by analyzing images of his or her brain. Our mental models of people produce unique patterns of brain activation, which can be detected using advanced imaging techniques such as functionalized magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

White House: Cell phone unlocking should be legal

March 5, 2013 10:07 am | News | Comments

An Obama administration adviser says the White House believes smartphone and tablet users should be allowed to unlock their phones and use the devices on the network of their choosing. The administration's opinion on the matter also goes for tablets, since they are becoming similar to smartphones.

Light control on superconducting chip brings quantum devices closer

March 4, 2013 3:05 pm | News | Comments

As one crucial step of achieving controllable quantum devices, physicists at the University of California Santa Barbara have developed an unprecedented level of manipulating light on a superconducting chip. In their experiment, they caught and released photons in and from a superconducting cavity by incorporating a superconducting switch.

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International consortium builds “Google Map” of human metabolism

March 4, 2013 1:28 pm | News | Comments

Building on earlier pioneering work by researchers at the University of California, San Diego, an international consortium of university researchers has produced the most comprehensive virtual reconstruction of human metabolism to date. Scientists could use the model, known as Recon 2, to identify causes of and new treatments for diseases like cancer, diabetes and even psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders.

In death, Facebook photos could fade away forever

March 4, 2013 8:17 am | by Lauren Gambino, Associated Press | News | Comments

A grieving Oregon mother who battled Facebook for full access to her deceased son's account has been pushing for years for something that would prevent others from losing photos, messages and other memories—as she did. The Oregon Legislature took up the cause as well, only to be turned back by pressure from the tech industry, which argued that both a 1986 federal law and voluntary terms of service agreements prohibit companies from sharing a person's information. Still, lawmakers pushed forward, seeking to treat digital information, from photos to intellectual property, as material property for estate purposes.

Supply ship meets space station after shaky start

March 4, 2013 7:58 am | by Marcia Dunn, AP Aerospace Writer | News | Comments

A private Earth-to-orbit delivery service made good on its latest shipment to the International Space Station on Sunday, overcoming mechanical difficulty and delivering a ton of supplies with high-flying finesse. The Dragon's arrival couldn't have been sweeter—and not because of the fresh fruit on board for the six-man station crew. Coming a full day late, the 250-mile-high linkup above Ukraine culminated a two-day chase that got off to a shaky, almost dead-ending start.

Volcanic aerosols, not pollutants, tamped down recent Earth warming

March 1, 2013 2:38 pm | News | Comments

A research team led by the University of Colorado Boulder had been looking for clues about why Earth did not warm as much as scientists expected between 2000 and 2010. They now think the culprits are hiding in plain sight—dozens of volcanoes spewing sulfur dioxide. The study results essentially exonerate Asia, including India and China, two countries that are estimated to have increased their industrial sulfur dioxide emissions by about 60% from 2000 to 2010 through coal burning.

Big data: Searching in large amounts of data quickly and efficiently

March 1, 2013 2:28 pm | News | Comments

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.

Smart “stickers” let you find things by phone

March 1, 2013 10:43 am | by Peter Svensson, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

Jimmy Buchheim's Davie, Fla.-based company, Stick-N-Find Technologies, wants to give people a way to find things, whether it's keys, wallets, TV remotes, or cat collars. There's no real trick to sending out a radio signal and having a phone pick it up. That's been done before. What makes Buchheim’s Stick-N-Find practical is a new radio technology known as Bluetooth Low Energy, which drastically reduces the battery power needed to send out a signal.

Companies struggle to popularize mobile money

March 1, 2013 10:25 am | by Peter Svensson, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

At the world's largest cellphone trade show in Barcelona this week, the 70,000 attendees are encouraged to use their cellphones—instead their keycards—to get past the turnstiles at the door. But very few people took the chance to do that. The process of setting up the phone to act as a keycard proved too much of a hassle. It's a poor omen for an industry that's eager to have the cellphone replace both tickets and credit cards.

Scientists engineer bacterial live wires

February 28, 2013 1:09 pm | News | Comments

Just like electronics, living cells use electrons for energy and information transfer. But cell membranes have thus far prevented us from “plugging” in cells to our computers. To get around this barrier that tightly controls charge balance, a research group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Molecular Foundry has engineered <em>E. coli</em> as a testbed for cellular-electrode communication. They have now demonstrated that these bacterial strains can generate measurable current at an anode.

Fermi's motion produces a study in spirograph

February 28, 2013 12:33 pm | News | Comments

NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope orbits our planet every 95 minutes, building up increasingly deeper views of the universe with every circuit. Its wide-eyed Large Area Telescope (LAT) sweeps across the entire sky every three hours, capturing gamma rays from sources across the universe. A Fermi scientist has transformed LAT data of a famous pulsar into a mesmerizing movie that visually encapsulates the spacecraft's complex motion.

Brown unveils novel wireless brain sensor

February 28, 2013 9:08 am | News | Comments

A team of neuroengineers based at Brown University has developed a fully implantable and rechargeable wireless brain sensor capable of relaying real-time broadband signals from up to 100 neurons in freely moving subjects. Several copies of the novel low-power device have been performing well in animal models for more than year, a first in the brain-computer interface field.

Sandia's new fiber optic network is world's largest

February 28, 2013 8:50 am | News | Comments

Sandia National Laboratories has become a pioneer in large-scale passive optical networks, building the largest fiber optical local area network in the world. The network pulls together 265 buildings and 13,000 computer network ports and brings high-speed communication to some of the laboratories' most remote technical areas for the first time.

Football camera provides ball’s-eye view of the field

February 27, 2013 12:37 pm | News | Comments

Football fans have become accustomed to viewing televised games from a dozen or more camera angles, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, working with researchers in Japan, suggest another possible camera position: inside the ball itself. One would think such a camera would deliver an unwatchable blur, but the researchers have also built a computer algorithm that converts the video.

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