In case you missed them, here’s another chance to catch 10 of our most popular recent stories. A quick spin around the real exoplanet universe offers tantalizing similarities to Star Wars fantasy creations; a look at deep learning; scientists on their favorite science fiction; how the brain can handle so much data; astronomers’ top 18 Hubble picks; top 9 computing technology trends; and human-machine superintelligence are all among the top stories.
1. Human-machine Superintelligence can solve World’s Most Dire Problems
The combination of human and computer intelligence might be just what we need to solve the “wicked” problems of the world, such as climate change and geopolitical conflict, say researchers from the Human Computation Institute and Cornell University. They present a new vision of the science of crowd-powered systems, which pushes beyond traditional limits, and takes on hard problems that, until recently, have remained out of reach.
2. Top 9 Computing Technology Trends for 2016
The IEEE Computer Society has unveiled its Top 9 Technology Trends for 2016. Some of these trends will come to fruition in 2016, while others reach critical points in development during this year. All of the trends interlock, many of them depending on the advancement of other technologies in order to move forward. Cloud needs network functional virtualization, 5G requires cloud, containers can’t thrive without advances in security…
3. Don’t Freak if you Can’t Solve a Math Problem that’s Gone Viral
It’s been quite a year for mathematics problems on the Internet. In the last few months, three questions have been online everywhere, causing consternation and head-scratching and blowing the minds of adults worldwide as examples of what kids are expected to know these days. The inability to solve such a problem quickly is certainly not indicative of a person’s overall math skill, nor should it prompt a crisis of confidence…
4. Hubble in Pictures: Astronomers’ Top 18 Picks
In this special feature, we have invited top astronomers to handpick the Hubble Space Telescope image that has the most scientific relevance to them. The images they’ve chosen aren’t always the colorful glory shots that populate the countless “best of” galleries around the internet, but rather their impact comes in the scientific insights they reveal.
5. What if you Discovered the Answer to a Famous Math Problem, but No One was able to Understand It?
It’s not clear what the future holds for Shinichi Mochizuki’s proof. A small handful of mathematicians claim to have read, understood and verified the argument; a much larger group remains completely baffled. A December workshop reinforced the community’s desperate need for a translator, someone who can explain Mochizuki’s strange new universe of ideas and provide concrete examples to illustrate the concepts.
6. How the Brain Can Handle So Much Data
Humans learn to very quickly identify complex objects and variations of them. We generally recognize an “A” no matter what the font or background, for example, or the face of a coworker even if she puts on a hat or changes her hairstyle. But how? Are there simple techniques that humans use across diverse tasks? And can such techniques be computationally replicated to improve computer vision, machine learning or robotic performance?
7. NORAD’s Santa Tracker Celebrates 60 Years
In 1955, a misprint in a Sears ad that ran in a Colorado Springs newspaper accidentally encouraged kids to call Santa at the wrong phone number — a secret military hotline number that rang through on a cold-war era “red phone.” The first child’s call was answered by the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center’s then-Director of Operations Colonel Harry Shoup, who heard a small boy ask, “Is this Santa Claus?”
8. Scientists on their Favorite Science Fiction
Tales of strange alien worlds, fantastic future technologies and bowls of sentient petunias have long captivated audiences worldwide. But science fiction is more than just fantasy in space; it can educate, inspire and expand our imaginations to conceive of the universe as it might be. We invited scientists to highlight their favorite science fiction novel or film and tell us what it was that captivated their imagination…
9. A Look at Deep Learning
Mahatma Gandhi said: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” Indeed, it is human learning which is the basis for deep learning, which can be defined as a type of machine learning. It is used to solve complex problems, such as recognizing objects and understanding speech by developing algorithms that solve problems through examples. A key difficulty in these problems is feature extraction…
10. Meanwhile, in a Galaxy Not So Far, Far Away…
The fantasy creations of the Star Wars universe are strikingly similar to real planets in our own Milky Way galaxy. A super Earth in deep freeze? Think ice-planet Hoth. And that distant world with double sunsets can’t help but summon thoughts of sandy Tatooine. We don’t know if any of them are inhabited by Wookiees or mynocks. Still, a quick spin around the real exoplanet universe offers tantalizing similarities to several counterparts.