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Message 36021 - Posted: 10 Dec 2010, 16:46:29 UTC

Eurek Alert!

Tuning chip dopants could lead to integrating logic and memory on single chip

Public release date: 9-Dec-2010

Contact: Jay Gupta
Gupta.208@osu.edu
614-247-8457
Ohio State University

Physicists at Ohio State University have discovered that tiny defects inside a computer chip can be used to tune the properties of key atoms in the chip. The technique, which they describe in the journal Science, involves rearranging the holes left by missing atoms to tune the properties of dopants — the chemical impurities that ...

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http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-12/osu-ttc120710.php
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-12/osu-ttc120710.php
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Message 36022 - Posted: 10 Dec 2010, 17:25:39 UTC

We humans as a - multi-planetary - civilization

The SpaceX Business Plan: Help Build a Spacefaring Civilization

by Nancy Atkinson on December 9, 2010

Elon Musk - (born June 28, 1971) is a South African-Canadian engineer, entrepreneur and philanthropist best known for co-founding PayPal, SpaceX and Tesla) - Elon Musk - conceded that the space business world is an extraordinarily difficult place to make money. But that isn’t his main priority anyway. “The reason I’m doing SpaceX,” Musk said during the Falcon 9/Dragon post-flight press conference, “is that I just happen to have a very strong passion for space and I want us to become true spacefaring civilization and even a multi-planetary civilization. That is my goal for SpaceX.” ...

http://www.universetoday.com/81570/the-spacex-business-plan-help-build-a-spacefaring-civilization/
http://www.universetoday.com/81570/the-spacex-business-plan-help-build-a-spacefaring-civilization/
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Message 36065 - Posted: 14 Dec 2010, 18:25:31 UTC - in response to Message 35481.  

IBM to build 3 petaflop supercomputer for Germany

by
Joab Jackson

Germany’s Bavarian Academy of Science has announced that it has contracted IBM to build a “SuperMUC” supercomputer that, when completed in 2012, will be able to execute up to 3 petaflops, potentially making it the world’s most powerful supercomputer ...

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http://www.goodgearguide.com.au/article/371191/ibm_build_3_petaflop_supercomputer_germany/
http://www.goodgearguide.com.au/article/371191/ibm_build_3_petaflop_supercomputer_germany/



Chinese supercomputer is world’s fastest at 2.5 petaflops

China set to claim supercomputing crown - October 28, 2010

In a potential blow to US national pride the world’s fastest supercomputer is now Chinese, beating the Americans into second place for the first time since 2004 with a machine which is smaller and more energy efficient than its closest US rival.

In the run up to the release of the official list of the top 500 supercomputers next week the Chinese supercomputer, Tianhe-1A, looks certain to occupy the top spot

...

The system uses 7,168 NVIDIA Tesla M2050 massively parallel graphics processing units (GPUs) and 14,336 multi-core central processing units (CPUs). It would require more than 50,000 CPUs and twice as much floor space to deliver the same performance using CPUs alone. the company says.

Tianhe-1A was designed by the National University of Defense Technology (NUDT) in China. The system is housed at National Supercomputer Center in Tianjin and is already fully operational. It will be operated as an open access system to use for large scale scientific computations ...

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http://blogs.nature.com/news/thegreatbeyond/2010/10/china_will_claim_supercomputin.html
http://blogs.nature.com/news/thegreatbeyond/2010/10/china_will_claim_supercomputin.html

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Message 36694 - Posted: 1 Feb 2011, 14:36:26 UTC

Eurek Alert!

New transistors: An alternative to silicon and better than graphene

Smaller and more energy-efficient electronic chips could be made using molybdenite, a material developed in Switzerland


Smaller and more energy-efficient electronic chips could be made using molybdenite. In an article appearing online January 30 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, EPFL's Laboratory of Nanoscale Electronics and Structures (LANES) publishes a study showing that this material has distinct advantages over traditional silicon or graphene for use in electronics applications.

A discovery made at EPFL could play an important role in electronics, allowing us to make transistors that are smaller and more energy efficient. Research carried out in the Laboratory of Nanoscale Electronics and Structures (LANES) has revealed that molybdenite, or MoS2, is a very effective semiconductor. This mineral, which is abundant in nature, is often used as an element in steel alloys or as an additive in lubricants. But it had not yet been extensively studied for use in electronics.

100,000 times less energy

"It's a two-dimensional material, very thin and easy to use in nanotechnology. It has real potential in the fabrication of very small transistors, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and solar cells," says EPFL Professor Andras Kis, whose LANES colleagues M. Radisavljevic, Prof. Radenovic et M. Brivio worked with him on the study. He compares its advantages with two other materials: silicon, currently the primary component used in electronic and computer chips, and graphene, whose discovery in 2004 earned University of Manchester physicists André Geim and Konstantin Novoselov the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics.

One of molybdenite's advantages is that it is less voluminous than silicon, which is a three-dimensional material. "In a 0.65-nanometer-thick sheet of MoS2, the electrons can move around as easily as in a 2-nanometer-thick sheet of silicon," explains Kis. "But it's not currently possible to fabricate a sheet of silicon as thin as a monolayer sheet of MoS2." Another advantage of molybdenite is that it can be used to make transistors that consume 100,000 times less energy in standby state than traditional silicon transistors. A semi-conductor with a "gap" must be used to turn a transistor on and off, and molybdenite's 1.8 electron-volt gap is ideal for this purpose.

Better than graphene

In solid-state physics, band theory is a way of representing the energy of electrons in a given material. In semi-conductors, electron-free spaces exist between these bands, the so-called "band gaps." If the gap is not too small or too large, certain electrons can hop across the gap. It thus offers a greater level of control over the electrical behavior of the material, which can be turned on and off easily.

The existence of this gap in molybdenite also gives it an advantage over graphene. Considered today by many scientists as the electronics material of the future, the "semi-metal" graphene doesn't have a gap, and it is very difficult to artificially reproduce one in the material.


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http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-01/epfd-nta012811.php
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-01/epfd-nta012811.php
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Message 36696 - Posted: 1 Feb 2011, 17:10:19 UTC

Cosmos At Least 250x Bigger Than Visible Universe, Say Cosmologists

The universe is much bigger than it looks, according to a study of the latest observations

arxivblog
technology review
Published by MIT
kfc 02/01/2011
http://arxivblog.com/
http://arxivblog.com/

The Physics arXiv Blog produces daily coverage of the best new ideas from an online forum called the Physics arXiv
on which scientists post early versions of their latest ideas. Contact: KentuckyFC @ arxivblog.com


When we look out into the Universe, the stuff we can see must be close enough for light to have reached us since the Universe began. The universe is about 14 billion years old, so at first glance it's easy to think that we cannot see things more than 14 billion light years away.

That's not quite right, however. Because the Universe is expanding, the most distant visible things are much further away than that. In fact, the photons in the cosmic microwave background have travelled a cool 45 billion light years to get here. That makes the visible universe some 90 billion light years across.

That's big but the universe is almost certainly much bigger. The question than many cosmologists have pondered is how much bigger. Today we have an answer thanks to some interesting statistical analysis by Mihran Vardanyan at the University of Oxford and a couple of buddies.

Obviously, we can't directly measure the size of the universe but cosmologists have various models that suggest how big it ought to be. For example, one line of thinking is that if the universe expanded at the speed of light during inflation, then it ought to be 10^23 times bigger than the visible universe.

Other estimates depend on a number factors and in particular on the curvature of the Universe: whether it is closed, like a sphere, flat or open. In the latter two cases, the Universe must be infinite.

If you can measure the curvature of the Universe, you can then place limits on how big it must be.

It turns out that in recent years, astronomers have various ingenious ways of measuring the curvature of the Universe. One is to search for a distant object of known size and measure how big it looks. If it's bigger than it ought to be, the Universe is closed; if it's the right size, the universe is flat and if it's smaller, the Universe is open.

Astronomers know of one type of object that fits the bill: waves in the early universe that became frozen in the cosmic microwave background. They can measure the size of these waves, called baryonic acoustic oscillations, using space observatories such as WMAP.

There are also other indicators, such as the luminosity of type 1A supernovas in distant galaxies.

But when cosmologists examine all this data, different models of the Universe give different answers to the question of its curvature and size. Which to choose?

The breakthrough that Vardanyan and pals have made is to find a way to average the results of all the data in the simplest possible way. The technique they use is called Bayesian model averaging and it is much more sophisticated than the usual curve fitting that scientists often use to explain their data.

A useful analogy is with early models of the Solar System. With the Earth at the centre of the Solar System, it gradually became harder and harder to fit the observational data to this model. But astronomers found ways to do it by introducing ever more complex systems, the wheels-within-wheels model of the solar system.

We know now that this approach was entirely wrong. One worry for cosmologists is that a similar process is going on now with models of the Universe.

Bayesian model averaging automatically guards against this. Instead of asking how well the model fits the data, its asks a different question: given the data, how likely is the model to be correct. This approach is automatically biased against complex models--it's a kind of statistical Occam's razor.

In applying it to various cosmological models of the universe, Vardanyan and co are able to place important constraints on the curvature and size of the Universe. In fact, it turns out that their constraints are much stricter than is possible with other approaches.

They say that the curvature of the Universe is tightly constrained around 0. In other words, the most likely model is that the Universe is flat. A flat Universe would also be infinite and their calculations are consistent with this too. These show that the Universe is at least 250 times bigger than the Hubble volume. (The Hubble volume is similar to the size of the observable universe.)

That's big, but actually more tightly constrained than many other models.

And the fact that it comes from such an elegant statistical method means this work is likely to have broad appeal. If so, it may well end up being used to fine tune and constraint other areas of cosmology too.

Ref: arxiv.org/abs/1101.5476: Applications Of Bayesian Model Averaging To The Curvature And Size Of The Universe


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http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/
http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/
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Message 36726 - Posted: 4 Feb 2011, 18:14:34 UTC

Physicists call for alien messaging protocol

By: Liz Tay

on Jan 28, 2011 12:50 PM


Earth's previous attempts to contact intelligent, extraterrestrial life could be too disorganised or cryptic for non-human beings to decode, US physicists have reported.

In a submission to the international journal, Space Policy, postgraduate astrophysicists Dimitra Atri, Julia DeMarines and Jacob Haqq-Misra suggested that a protocol be developed to improve the likelihood that messages would be understood.

The messaging to extraterrestrial intelligence protocol (METI, pdf) would include constraints and guidelines for signal encoding, message length, information content, the researchers wrote.

It should also specify a transmission strategy, they said, suggesting a simple physical or mathematical language with the signal repeated regularly to avoid being overlooked as noise.

The researchers suggested transmissions use either 1.42 GHz or 4.46 GHz frequencies to coincide with radio frequencies commonly observed in nature, and assuming "modest technical capabilities" of an extraterrestrial receiver.

Frequency, pulse and polarisation signal modulation techniques should also be considered to maximise the probability of detection, they said.

Noting that there were a few telescopes - including Arecibo in Puerto Rico - currently able to transmit messages at "planetary distances", the researchers called for a dedicated beacon to be established for conducting regular broadcasts.

"This is a much longer-term ambition that will require significant international investment and cooperation," they wrote.


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http://www.itnews.com.au/News/246346,physicists-call-for-alien-messaging-protocol.aspx
http://www.itnews.com.au/News/246346,physicists-call-for-alien-messaging-protocol.aspx
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Message 36727 - Posted: 4 Feb 2011, 18:18:27 UTC

Julia Map generates fractals with just a browser

by Amara D. Angelica

February 4, 2011

Google Labs has launched Julia Map, a fractal renderer in HTML 5. which lets you generate and explore fractals — specifically, the Julia set and Mandelbrot set — with just a browser (no need to launch a program).

It uses the Google Maps API to zoom and pan into the fractals. The images are computed with HTML 5 canvas. “Each image generally requires millions of floating point operations,” explains Google Software Engineer Daniel Wolf, so “Web workers spread the heavy calculations on all cores of the machine,” performing background processing tasks in parallel. You have a choice of 11 different fractal sets.

You can also share URLs for the fractal images you generate on Twitter under hashtag #juliamap, such as this one:




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http://www.kurzweilai.net/julia-map-generates-fractals-with-just-a-browser
http://www.kurzweilai.net/julia-map-generates-fractals-with-just-a-browser
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Message 36809 - Posted: 10 Feb 2011, 15:58:43 UTC

Google has launched the Google Translate for iPhone app, with all of the features of the web app, plus speech synthesis.


Google Translate for iPhone adds speech synthesis

February 9, 2011
by the Editor

The new app accepts voice input for 15 languages, and — just like the web app — you can translate a word or phrase into one of more than 50 languages. For voice input, just press the microphone icon next to the text box and say what you want to translate.

You can also listen to your translations spoken out loud in one of 23 different languages. This feature uses the same new speech synthesizer voices as the desktop version of Google Translate introduced last month.

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http://www.kurzweilai.net/google-translate-for-iphone-adds-speech-synthesis
http://www.kurzweilai.net/google-translate-for-iphone-adds-speech-synthesis
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Message 36815 - Posted: 10 Feb 2011, 22:58:52 UTC

China is building a city for cloud computing

But it has a way to go to match U.S. in IT spending

By Patrick Thibodeau
of: Computerworld
February 7, 2011 05:59 AM


Computerworld

China is building a city-sized cloud computing and office complex that will include a mega data center, one of the projects fueling that country's double-digit growth in IT spending.

The entire complex will cover some 6.2 million square feet, with the initial data center space accounting for approximately 646,000 square feet, according to IBM, which is collaborating with a Chinese company to build it.

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http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9208398/China_building_a_city_for_cloud_computing
http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9208398/China_building_a_city_for_cloud_computing
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Message 36817 - Posted: 10 Feb 2011, 23:09:36 UTC

IBM and a China-based firm set to build Asia's largest cloud computing center

By Michael Kan
of: Computerworld
January 26, 2011 02:50 AM ET

IBM and the China-based Range Technology will build a cloud computing data center near Beijing that the companies claim will be Asia's largest by floor space.

The 620,000 square meter facility, which is to be owned by Range Technology, is expected to be completed in 2016, the companies announced on Tuesday. The data center aims to mainly serve government departments from China's capital and across the country, but will also be open to banks and private enterprises.

The cloud computing center will be built in Langfang, a city between Beijing and Tianjin, in northern China. The data center is meant to support the development of a new information technology hub being built in the area, said IBM spokeswoman Harriet Ip.

IBM, the vendor for the project, did not disclose the cost of the data center. But the company said Range Technology is spending about $1.49 billion on the building of the Langfang Range International Information Hub, of which the data center will be a part.

IBM says there has been growing demand for data centers and cloud computing in China. The company's data-center business in China has tripled in the last four years. In 2010, China overtook Japan as IBM's second largest data center market, with the U.S. as the company's number one market.

Range Technology could not be reached for comment. But the company said in a statement, "This initiative plays a critical role in the economic development of China in light of the pressing demand for managed hosting in the areas of cloud computing and mobile devices," according to its chairman Zhou Chaonan.

Range Technology, an Internet data center services provider, was founded in 2009. Earlier this month, the company and IBM formed a strategic partnership on cloud computing and software services.

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http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9206461/IBM_China_based_firm_set_to_build_Asia_s_largest_cloud_computing_center
http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9206461/IBM_China_based_firm_set_to_build_Asia_s_largest_cloud_computing_center
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Message 36855 - Posted: 14 Feb 2011, 15:57:45 UTC

Topic: Computers/Infotech/UI | Internet/Telecom

Web experts ask scientists to use the Web
to improve understanding, sharing of their data in science


February 14, 2011 by Editor

Fox and Hendler, both professors within the Tetherless World Research Constellation at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, outlined a new vision for the visualization of scientific data, in a perspective piece titled “Changing the Equation on Scientific Data Visualization.”

As the researchers explain, visualizations provide a means to enable the understanding of complex data. The problem with the current use of visualization in the scientific community, according to Fox and Hendler, is that when visualizations are actually included by scientists, they are often an end product of research used to simply illustrate the results and are inconsistently incorporated into the entire scientific process.

Their visualizations are also static and cannot be easily updated or modified when new information arises.

And as scientists create more and more data with more powerful computing systems, their ability to develop useful visualizations of that data will become more time consuming and expensive with the traditional approaches.

Fox and Hendler ask the scientific community to take some important lessons from the Web:

  • Visualizations on the Web are becoming increasingly more sophisticated and interactive, and are also inexpensive and easy to use.

  • Simple Web-based visualization tool kits allow users to easily create maps, charts, graphs, word clouds, and other custom visualizations at little to no cost and with a few clicks of a mouse. In addition, Web links and RSS feeds allow visualizations on the Web to be updated with little to no involvement from the original developer of the visualization, greatly reducing the time and cost of the effort, but also keeping it dynamic.

  • Visualizations are absolutely critical to our ability to process complex data and to build better intuitions as to what is happening around us. They use the example of an online weather report. With such visualizations, Web users can click on their area for a forecast or watch videos specific to their region. Without these visualizations, no one but a trained meteorologist would be able to make sense of the mess of raw data behind those pretty maps and graphical snow clouds.

  • Visualizations on the Web can be easily modified, updated, customized, and recreated by other users, thanks to the use of Uniform Resource Identifiers. This “linking” of data is a key feature of the new vision that Fox and Hendler outline. It is of particular importance when dealing with what they refer to as “big science” on topics such as climate change that involves data that ranges from distinct fields like biology to geology.


The challenge is that many of the major scientific problems facing our world are becoming critically linked to the interdependence and interrelatedness of data from multiple instruments, fields, and sources.

Fox and Hendler urge scientists involved in such vital scientific projects to take some tips from large Web companies like Google and Facebook, and even massive online communities such as World of Warcraft. These large companies use new data integration approach such as NoSQL, “big data,” and scalable linked data to rapidly expand and maintain their capabilities.

These new capabilities provide easy-to-use, low-end tools to generate visualizations and scalable tools for curating very large visualization projects that scientists can model their own visualization after, according to Fox and Hendler.

Adapted from materials provided by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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http://www.kurzweilai.net/web-experts-ask-scientists-to-use-the-web-to-improve-understanding-sharing-of-their-data-in-science
http://www.kurzweilai.net/web-experts-ask-scientists-to-use-the-web-to-improve-understanding-sharing-of-their-data-in-science

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Message 36883 - Posted: 16 Feb 2011, 16:10:37 UTC

Superconducting quantum integrated circuit
may lead to future quantum computational architecture


Adapted from materials provided by UC Santa Barbara
February 16, 2011 by Editor of: kurzweilai.net


An important milestone toward the realization of a large-scale quantum computer, and further demonstration of a new level of the quantum control of light, were accomplished by a team of scientists at UC Santa Barbara and in China and Japan.

The study, published in the Feb. 7 issue of the journal Physical Review Letters, involved scientists from Zhejiang University, China, and NEC Corporation, Japan. The experimental effort was pursued in the research groups of UCSB physics professors Andrew Cleland and John Martinis.

The team described how they used a superconducting quantum integrated circuit to generate unique quantum states of light known as “NOON” states. These states, generated from microwave frequency photons, the quantum unit of light, were created and stored in two physically-separated microwave storage cavities, explained first author Haohua Wang, postdoctoral fellow in physics at UCSB. The quantum NOON states were created using one, two, or three photons, with all the photons in one cavity, leaving the other cavity empty. This was simultaneous with the first cavity being empty, with all the photons stored in the second cavity.

“This seemingly impossible situation, allowed by quantum mechanics, led to interesting results when we looked inside the cavities,” said second author Matteo Mariantoni, postdoctoral fellow in physics at UCSB. “There was a 50 percent chance of seeing all the photons in one cavity, and a 50 percent chance of not finding any –– in which case all the photons could always be found in the other cavity.”

However, if one of the cavities was gently probed before looking inside, thus changing the quantum state, the effect of the probing could be seen, even if that cavity was subsequently found to be empty, he added.

“It’s kind of like the states are ghostly twins or triplets,” said Wang. “They are always together, but somehow you never know where they are. They also have a mysterious way of communicating, so they always seem to know what is going to happen.” Indeed, these types of states display what Einstein famously termed, “spooky action at a distance,” where prodding or measuring a quantum state in one location affects its behavior elsewhere.

The quantum integrated circuit, which includes superconducting quantum bits in addition to the microwave storage cavities, forms part of what eventually may become a quantum computational architecture.


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http://www.kurzweilai.net/superconducting-quantum-integrated-circuit-may-be-future-may-become-a-quantum-computational-architecture
http://www.kurzweilai.net/superconducting-quantum-integrated-circuit-may-be-future-may-become-a-quantum-computational-architecture
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Message 37842 - Posted: 17 May 2011, 15:05:38 UTC

Music can spark creativity in math and science

The research in this episode was funded by NSF through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

musical experiences that feed the mind may also spark greater proficiency in science and technology

Creativity lies at the heart of the modern economy


Reported by:

Marsha Walton, Science Nation Producer
Miles O'Brien, Science Nation Correspondent


Music and Creativity

Music can spark creativity in math and science

From records to boom boxes to CDs and iPods, music has long been part of the lifeblood of being a teenager. Learning math and science in class is not always such a priority.

Parag Chordia, director of the Music Intelligence Lab at Georgia Tech, is finding ways to bring those two disparate realities together.

"How can music be used to think about scientific problems, how can music be used to sort of catalyze our thinking in other areas?" asks Chordia.

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Chordia is researching the neurological roots of the creative process. And music is a key ingredient.

"We've never found a culture that has no language--we've never found a culture that has no music. So, music seems to be universal," he says.

While music and arts programs are often the first subjects to be cut when school budgets are tight, Chordia says that may not be the best strategy.

"To be a great engineer; to really produce innovative products and to advance the frontiers of science, you have to be creative. And it's not just that music is a diversion or an extracurricular, but it's actually something that's fundamental to life and mind," he says.

"One of the difficulties of teaching math and science is that it quickly becomes very abstract. You have to have points of reference that people can relate to and it becomes much easier. So, whether we're talking about teaching basic mathematical concepts, or designing experiments, you can design experiments around music," he explains.

Statistics, for instance, can be used to model music.

"For example, if you listen to a melody, a melody is made up of all these different little motifs, and those motifs go together to make up larger patterns and those larger patterns form bigger blocks that we build on," says Chordia.

"So it's very similar to language, where you have these low level acoustic units like phonemes, which form syllables, which form words. So, what we are trying to do here represents that process of pattern formation," he says.

Studies show that at different ages, music connections do work as teaching tools.

"At the college level, students who have access to music programs are much more likely to graduate because it increases retention," says Chordia. "And people have, in terms of early learning, shown that exposure to music at an early age, intensive exposure in music does improve cognitive outcomes."

Chordia understands the creative process from many angles. He is a master of the sarod, a classic Indian instrument. He is also a mathematician. And his research works to see how all those elements work together.

"Is creativity just the gift of a few--just sprinkled on a few people and that's it? I would argue no, that creativity is something that we all have inside of us and what it's all about is finding out, how do we unlock that creativity," he says.

Using tools like electroencephalograms (EEGs) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), Chordia is investigating whether "real-time creativity," like improvising in a jazz band, uses the brain in a different way.

"When a person is improvising, are they entering into a uniquely creative state, and if so, what is that state all about?" he asks.

Brain scans show a distinct difference when professional musicians are playing composed music, versus when they are improvising. Future studies could be designed to try to home in on exactly what is happening when someone is experiencing deep creative insight.

Other work in the Music Intelligence Lab involves music and computers.

Graduate student Avinash Sastry investigates "computational creativity." While that may sound beyond the scope of what we think these machines usually do, the aim is to let computers do what they do best, to free up human teachers and composers for their best work.

Sastry writes computer programs that analyze musical compositions; then, the computers write their own music.

"So we have a database of compositions, giving it [the computer] some idea of what it is going to expect. So it analyzes all this, and builds up this big tree of probabilities. It's going to try and predict what's going to happen at every step and it's going to use that information to try and compose its own sequence of strokes as it goes on," explains Sastry.

Sastry says he has done some double takes when he hears original music composed by a computer.

"So sometimes you get these gems of music that just pop out, and we are working on trying to isolate those things and use that in a more constructive way," he says.

Sastry says he can easily see this as being an educational tool for children, and even musicians. The human composer gives the computer something to start with, and it can then try to help you compose.

"So the idea is to use everything together ... use their computational ability along with our emotions, our ability, our creativity, put everything together and make some sort of collaboration!" says Sastry.

An iPhone app Chordia and colleagues created gives a psychological boost to people who may not think they have any musical skills.

It's called LaDiDa, and it now has more than ten million users.

"You sing into the app, it listens to what you are singing, and it composes music to match. Our goal is to make music expression as ubiquitous as social expression," says Chordia.

"I'm a terrible singer, and I think part of the whole point of this technology is to let people like myself actually get the confidence to make music."

There are many YouTube videos of LaDiDa users, from Chordia himself to Mishka the singing dog, using the simple app, and in most cases, sounding much better after the app's music has been added.

"A lot of the people we are targeting are young people between 13 and 18, who are really engaged in music. And they want to have the experience of making music. We get emails all the time, 'I was afraid to sing but now it makes me want to sing all the time'," says Chordia.

And those musical experiences that feed the mind may also spark greater proficiency in science and technology.

"Creativity lies at the heart of the modern economy," he says.

read more here ...

http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/science_nation/musiccreativity.jsp?WT.mc_id=USNSF_51
http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/science_nation/musiccreativity.jsp?WT.mc_id=USNSF_51
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Message 37922 - Posted: 21 May 2011, 12:53:35 UTC

DARPA Wants Your Ideas for a 100-Year Starship

by Nancy Atkinson on 21 May 2011

The idea for a 100-year starship has been tossed around recently, and now DARPA the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, has put out a Request for Information (RFI) looking for ideas about how a long-term human mission to boldly go out to the stars could possibly happen. It’s been estimated that such a mission would cost over $10 billion, and the idea has gotten $100,000 from NASA and $ 1 million from DARPA – which means that as of now it is just that, an idea.

Pete Worden, the Director of NASA’s Ames Research Center announced the idea last fall, and it received plenty of coverage, but not much publicized research on how the idea could possibly come to fruition. Worden optimistically said he expected to see the first prototype of a new propulsion system within the next few years, but that seem unlikely given NASA’s frozen budget and a Congress that doesn’t seem very forward-looking in their vision for what NASA should be doing. But perhaps DARPA’s input could have some leverage.

There would be several technological obstacles to overcome, such as how to create an artificial gravity so that those aboard the ship wouldn’t experience the muscle and bone loss that astronauts on the ISS have after just six months in space. Then there’s how to manufacture food, and create other things the crew might need while they are out in the middle of nowhere. Those are just a few examples of what would need to be dealt with.

But anyway, a journey starts with a single step, and so if you’ve got any ideas,

here’s DARPA’s RFI (Request for Information}

https://www.fbo.gov/download/4e9/4e97f00f960077f97483818426f13673/RFI_-_100_Year_Starship_Study.pdf
https://www.fbo.gov/download/4e9/4e97f00f960077f97483818426f13673/RFI_-_100_Year_Starship_Study.pdf
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Message 38064 - Posted: 30 May 2011, 16:00:36 UTC

Eurek Alert!

Repetitive error correction in a quantum processor

by the Editor of kurzweilai.net

May 30, 2011

A more efficient algorithm for error correction in quantum computers has been demonstrated experimentally by physicists at the Institute for Experimental Physics of the University of Innsbruck and the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (IQOQI).

The physicists demonstrated the mechanism by storing three calcium ions in an ion trap. All three particles were used as quantum bits (qubits): one ion represented the system qubit while the other two ions represented auxiliary qubits. The system qubit was then entangled with the auxiliary qubits to transfer the quantum information to all three particles.

The physicists applied a quantum algorithm to determine whether an error occurred and, if there was an error, correct it. After making the correction, the auxiliary qubits were reset using a laser beam to enable repetitive error correction.

“For a quantum computer to become reality, we need a quantum processor with many quantum bits,” says Philipp Schindler. “Moreover, we need quantum operations that work nearly error-free. The third crucial element is an efficient error correction.”

Rainer Blatt, Philipp Schindler, et al., Experimental Repetitive Quantum Error Correction, Science, 27 May 2011: Vol. 332 no. 6033 pp. 1059-1061 DOI: 10.1126/science.1203329

read more here ...

http://www.kurzweilai.net/repetitive-error-correction-in-a-quantum-processor?utm_source=KurzweilAI+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=382baa3dfd-UA-946742-1&utm_medium=email

http://www.kurzweilai.net/repetitive-error-correction-in-a-quantum-processor?utm_source=KurzweilAI+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=382baa3dfd-UA-946742-1&utm_medium=email
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Message 38103 - Posted: 1 Jun 2011, 13:08:00 UTC

Computing

Tapping Quantum Effects for Software that Learns

Defense contractor Lockheed Martin paid $10 million
for a "quantum computer" that is also being tested by Google


Technology Review

Published by MIT


In a bid to enable computers to learn faster, defense company Lockheed Martin has bought a system that uses quantum mechanics to process digital data. It paid $10 million to startup D-Wave Systems for the computer and support using it. D-Wave claims this to be the first ever sale of a quantum computing system.

The new system, called the D-Wave One, is not significantly more capable than a conventional computer. But it could be a step on the road to fuller implementations of quantum computing, which theoreticians have shown could easily solve problems that are impossible for other computers, such as defeating encryption systems by solving mathematical problems at incredible speed.

In a throwback to the days when computers were the size of rooms, the system bought by Lockheed, called the D-Wave One, occupies 100 square feet. Rather than acting as a stand-alone computer, it operates as a specialized helper to a conventional computer running software that learns from past data and makes predictions about future events. The defense company says it intends to use the new purchase to aid identification of bugs in products that are complex combinations of software and hardware. The goal is to reduce cost overruns caused by unforeseen technical problems with such systems, Lockheed spokesperson Thad Madden says. Such challenges were partly behind the recent news that the company's F-35 strike fighter is more than 20 percent over budget.

At the heart of the D-Wave One is a processor made up of 128 qubits—short for quantum bits—which use magnetic fields to represent a single 1 or 0 of digital data at any time and can also exploit quantum mechanics to attain a state of "superposition" that represents both at once. When qubits in superposition states work together, they can work with exponentially more data than the equivalent number of regular bits.


read more here ...

http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/37673/?nlid=4542&a=f
http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/37673/?nlid=4542&a=f
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Message 38882 - Posted: 11 Jul 2011, 13:42:12 UTC

Computing

Intel Equipped to Lead Industry to Era of Exascale Computing

Posted by Patrick Darling on Jun 20, 2011 5:58:54 AM

SANTA CLARA, Calif. and HAMBURG, Germany, June 20, 2011 – At the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC), Kirk Skaugen, Intel Corporation vice president and general manager of the Data Center Group, outlined the company’s vision to achieve ExaFLOP/s performance by the end of this decade. An ExaFLOP/s is quintillion computer operations per second, hundreds times more than today’s fastest supercomputers.


Reaching exascale levels of performance in the future will not only require the combined efforts of industry and governments, but also approaches being pioneered by the Intel® Many Integrated Core (Intel® MIC1) Architecture, according to Skaugen. Managing the explosive growth in the amount of data shared across the Internet, finding solutions to climate change, managing the growing costs of accessing resources such as oil and gas, and a multitude of other challenges require increased amounts of computing resources that only increasingly high-performing supercomputers can address.


here is a Link with more info:

http://newsroom.intel.com/community/intel_newsroom/blog/2011/06/20/intel-equipped-to-lead-industry-to-era-of-exascale-computing?cid=rss-258152-c1-268076
http://newsroom.intel.com/community/intel_newsroom/blog/2011/06/20/intel-equipped-to-lead-industry-to-era-of-exascale-computing?cid=rss-258152-c1-268076
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Message 39097 - Posted: 19 Jul 2011, 3:25:08 UTC

NASA Science News for July 18, 2011

NASA's Dawn spacecraft, which over the weekend became the first spacecraft to orbit a main-belt asteroid, has just returned a close-up image of Vesta.

FULL STORY at:

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2011/18jul_dawn4
http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2011/18jul_dawn4
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Message 39104 - Posted: 19 Jul 2011, 11:31:11 UTC

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Message 39382 - Posted: 31 Jul 2011, 18:44:16 UTC

Technology Review

by: MIT

Top Fusion Experiments

MIT reviews some of the attempts to contain ultrahot plasmas and create tiny stars on earth

Fusion is the mythical beast of energy technologies—the one that could solve all of our energy problems by providing a nearly limitless source of power, but one that forever seems to be decades away from reality. Yet scientists have made real progress toward using fusion as an energy source, and along the way they’ve built fascinating machines, including the world’s most powerful lasers and sculpture-like magnetic coils capable of confining 100,000,000 ºC plasmas. Here are some of the most interesting projects, ranging from some of the first attempts to today’s cutting-edge efforts.

Devices called mirror magnets for confining the ultrahot plasmas needed for fusion were first built by researchers at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in the 1950s. In the 1960s, they developed mirror magnets shaped like the seams on a baseball. The second version (shown) was built in 1969. The shape of the magnet created a weak magnetic field surrounded by a strong magnetic field to confine the plasma. The magnetic field produced was roughly 1,500 times stronger than a typical refrigerator magnet.

Credit: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

read more here ...

http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/38167/?nlid=nldly&nld=2011-07-29
http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/38167/?nlid=nldly&nld=2011-07-29

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