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Sep 17, 2015

Single photon decision-maker solves multi-armed bandit problem

Posted by in categories: computing, information science, particle physics, quantum physics

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-armed_bandit

In probability theory, the multi-armed bandit problem (sometimes called the K- or N-armed bandit problem) is a problem in which a gambler at a row of slot machines (sometimes known as “one-armed bandits”) has to decide which machines to play, how many times to play each machine and in which order to play them. When played, each machine provides a random reward from a distribution specific to that machine. The objective of the gambler is to maximize the sum of rewards earned through a sequence of lever pulls.


(Phys.org)—A combined team of researchers from France and Japan has created a decision-making device that is based on basic properties of quantum mechanics. In their paper published in Scientific Reports (and uploaded to the arXiv preprint server), the team describes the idea behind their device and how it works.

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Sep 17, 2015

The world’s first all-electric propulsion satellite is now operational

Posted by in categories: electronics, internet, space

Boeing has announced that the ABS–3A, the world’s first all-electric propulsion satellite, has commenced its tour of duty.

The communications satellite is being operated by ABS, a Bermuda-based satellite network that provides TV, Internet, and cellular services across the world. Unlike conventional satellites, which have mostly used propellant systems that burn chemicals of one kind or another to get about the place, the ABS–3A makes use of a xenon-ion propulsion system to achieve thrust.

Specifically, the all-electric propulsion system uses electron bombardment to create xenon ions, which are then expelled by the spacecraft, producing thrust in the opposite direction.

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Sep 17, 2015

System can convert MRI heart scans into 3D-printed, physical models in a few hours

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, biotech/medical, computing, engineering

Researchers at MIT and Boston Children’s Hospital have developed a system that can take MRI scans of a patient’s heart and, in a matter of hours, convert them into a tangible, physical model that surgeons can use to plan surgery.

The models could provide a more intuitive way for surgeons to assess and prepare for the anatomical idiosyncrasies of individual patients. “Our collaborators are convinced that this will make a difference,” says Polina Golland, a professor of and computer science at MIT, who led the project. “The phrase I heard is that ‘surgeons see with their hands,’ that the perception is in the touch.”

This fall, seven cardiac surgeons at Boston Children’s Hospital will participate in a study intended to evaluate the models’ usefulness.

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Sep 17, 2015

DARPA Has Made a Brain Implant That Boosts Your Memory

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

In what may seem like a Hollywood blockbuster, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has developed an implant that goes directly onto the human brain.

The agency wrote in a statement their device is showing promise with improving patient’s memory tests scores. It is “raising hope that such approaches may someday help individuals suffering from memory deficits as a result of traumatic brain injury or other pathologies.”

DARPA’s Restoring Active Memory (RAM) program presented their preliminary findings at the ‘Wait, What? A Future Technology Forum,’ which is also hosted by the agency at St. Louis.

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Sep 17, 2015

Dancing with Systems — By Donella Meadows | Whole Earth Catalog

Posted by in category: complex systems

Unknown

“People who are raised in the industrial world and who get enthused about systems thinking are likely to make a terrible mistake. They are likely to assume that here, in systems analysis, in interconnection and complication, in the power of the computer, here at last, is the key to prediction and control. This mistake is likely because the mindset of the industrial world assumes that there is a key to prediction and control.”

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Sep 17, 2015

The company behind Second Life is building a virtual reality universe

Posted by in category: virtual reality

Linden Labs is starting from scratch with Project Sansar, a new platform for the coming virtual reality world.

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Sep 17, 2015

We Finally Know What Is Sending These Weird Black Hole Light Flashes

Posted by in category: cosmology

When scientists spotted this pair of black holes, it was a rare chance to observe black holes in the process of colliding. Soon, however, as they looked closer, scientists were consumed with a brand new question: Uh, hey, what’s that blinking light?

The light isn’t coming from the pair of colliding black holes (named PG 1302-102) 3.5 billion light years away from us, it’s coming from the turbulence around them. What that doesn’t explain, though, is why the light “flashes” rhythmically—regularly brightening, then dimming. So researchers Daniel D’Orazio, Zoltan Haiman, and David Schiminovich at Columbia University built a simulation of the pair and have now come up with an explanation for just what we’re seeing.

It’s the orbit of the black holes.

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Sep 17, 2015

Ray Kurzweil — What Will Happen After the Technological Singularity?

Posted by in categories: Ray Kurzweil, singularity

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtyGst3lYVo

Sep 17, 2015

Making 3-D objects disappear: Researchers create ultrathin invisibility cloak

Posted by in categories: engineering, materials, nanotechnology

Invisibility cloaks are a staple of science fiction and fantasy, from Star Trek to Harry Potter, but don’t exist in real life, or do they? Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California (UC) Berkeley have devised an ultra-thin invisibility “skin” cloak that can conform to the shape of an object and conceal it from detection with visible light. Although this cloak is only microscopic in size, the principles behind the technology should enable it to be scaled-up to conceal macroscopic items as well.

Working with brick-like blocks of gold nanoantennas, the Berkeley researchers fashioned a “skin cloak” barely 80 nanometers in thickness, that was wrapped around a three-dimensional object about the size of a few biological cells and arbitrarily shaped with multiple bumps and dents. The surface of the skin cloak was meta-engineered to reroute reflected waves so that the object was rendered invisible to optical detection when the cloak is activated.

“This is the first time a 3D object of arbitrary shape has been cloaked from ,” said Xiang Zhang, director of Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and a world authority on metamaterials — artificial nanostructures engineered with electromagnetic properties not found in nature. “Our ultra-thin cloak now looks like a coat. It is easy to design and implement, and is potentially scalable for hiding macroscopic objects.”

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Sep 17, 2015

A fast cell sorter shrinks to cell phone size

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, mobile phones, neuroscience

“The current benchtop cell sorters are too expensive, too un-safe, and too high-maintenance. More importantly, they have very low biocompatibility. The cell-sorting process can reduce cell viability and functions by 30–99 percent for many fragile or sensitive cells such as neurons, stem cells, liver cells and sperm cells. We are developing an acoustic cell sorter that has the potential to address all these problems.”


Researchers describe an acoustic cell sorter capable of the kind of high sorting throughput necessary to compete with commercial fluorescence activated cell sorters.

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