Here they are ― the 10 most-visited stories from the past week. New formal methods for software development, a novel toolkit for computational bio-design and an international computational sustainability network; an animation of a tropical cyclone unfolding; green, dirt-cheap storage for life sciences; energy-time entanglement’s vulnerability to attack; 5 supercomputing predictions for 2016; why you’ll never be able to upload your brain to the cloud; genes clusters linked to human intelligence; element 113 discovery; mysterious radio signals from space test Einstein’s Theory; and a unique high-res view of Earthrise are all among the top stories.
1. NASA Releases Earthrise in High-res
NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter recently captured a unique view of Earth from the spacecraft’s vantage point in orbit around the moon. The image evokes the famous ‘Blue Marble’ image taken by Astronaut Harrison Schmitt during Apollo 17, 43 years ago, which also showed Africa prominently in the picture. In this composite image, we see Earth appear to rise over the lunar horizon from the viewpoint of the spacecraft.
2. Mysterious Radio Signals from Space Test Einstein’s General Relativity Theory
A new way to test one of the basic principles underlying Einstein’s theory of General Relativity using brief blasts of rare radio signals from space called Fast Radio Bursts is 10 times to 100 times better than previous testing methods using gamma-ray bursts. The new method is considered to be a significant tribute to Einstein on the 100th anniversary of his first formulation of the Equivalence Principle, a key component of the theory.
3. It’s Official! Element 113 was Discovered at RIKEN
Element 113, discovered by a RIKEN group led by Kosuke Morita, has become the first element on the periodic table found in Asia. Rewarding nearly a decade of painstaking work by Morita’s group, a Joint Working Party of IUPAC and IUPAP has recommended that the group, from the RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-based Science, be given recognition for the discovery of the new element.
4. Intelligence Networks Discovered in Brain for the First Time
Scientists have identified for the first time two clusters of genes linked to human intelligence. Called M1 and M3, these so-called gene networks appear to influence cognitive function — which includes memory, attention, processing speed and reasoning. Crucially, the scientists have discovered that these two networks — which each contain hundreds of genes — are likely to be under the control of master regulator switches.
5. Why You’ll Never be able to Upload Your Brain to the Cloud
Let’s assume we’ve solved the problems of sensors and muscles and all the rest, and accept that the uploaded brain won’t truly reflect our mind. Now comes the big challenge: uploading the brain. But what is a brain exactly? If we consider the whole central nervous system, we face an average of 86 billion neurons, and each of these contacts an average of 10,000 other neurons, representing a grand total of about 860 billion connections.
6. 5 Predictions: Where Supercomputing is Heading in 2016
From new processor technologies to quantum computing, 2016 promises to be another exciting year for supercomputing. Here are five predictions as to how the industry will push ahead in 2016…
7. Quantum Cryptography Security Hole Revealed, Energy-time Entanglement Vulnerable to Attack
Quantum cryptography is considered a fully secure encryption method, but researchers have discovered that this is not always the case. They found that energy-time entanglement — the method that today forms the basis for many systems of quantum cryptography — is vulnerable to attack. The technology for quantum encryption studied is based on testing the connection at the same time as the encryption key is created.
8. Pioneering Green, Dirt-cheap Storage for Life Sciences Research
In late 2012, the Joint High-Performance Computing Exchange in the Department of Biostatistics at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, hit a wall. The advent of next-generation sequencing technologies had supercharged the scaling law for sequencing, and the center was drowning in a tsunami of data. To rebalance the infrastructure portfolio, investment needed to shift from computing to storage.
9. Watch Last Year’s Precipitation Fall over Land and Sea, See Tropical Cyclones Unfold
A new animation shows moisture transport in the atmosphere from September 1 to November 30, 2014. In it, you can see precipitation, evaporation and moisture content in the atmosphere and watch how they move across the globe. At the same time, you can see the sea ice grow in the Arctic and the new winter’s snow settling across North America, northern Europe and Russia.
10. NSF Commits $30 Million to Theoretical Computer Science, Synthetic Biology, Computational Sustainability
NSF announced $30 million in funding to three Expeditions in Computing projects. Each will provide $10M over 5 years to interdisciplinary, multi-investigator teams to support transformative computing and information technology research. The projects will pursue new formal methods for software development, a novel toolkit for computational bio-design and a large national-international network of computational sustainability researchers.