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Feb 28, 2024

Linking environmental influences, genetic research to address concerns of genetic determinism of human behavior

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, neuroscience

It has long been known that there is a complex interplay between genetic factors and environmental influences in shaping behavior. Recently it has been found that genes governing behavior in the brain operate within flexible and contextually responsive regulatory networks. However, conventional genome-wide association studies (GWAS) often overlook this complexity, particularly in humans where controlling environmental variables poses challenges.

In a new perspective article published on February 27 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology by researchers from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Rutgers University, U.S., the importance of integrating environmental effects into genetic research is underscored. The authors discuss how failure to do so can perpetuate deterministic thinking in genetics, as historically observed in the justification of eugenics movements and, more recently, in cases of racially motivated violence.

The authors propose expanding GWAS by incorporating environmental data, as demonstrated in studies on aggression in , in order to get a broader understanding of the intricate nature of gene-environment interactions. Additionally, they advocate for better integration of insights from animal studies into human research. Animal experiments reveal how both genotype and environment shape brain gene regulatory networks and subsequent behavior, and these findings could better inform similar experiments with people.

Feb 28, 2024

Enter the gridworld: Using geometry to detect danger in AI environments

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Spacetime is a conceptual model that fuses the three dimensions of space (length, width, and breadth) with the fourth dimension of time. By doing so, a four-dimensional geometric object is created. Researchers have recently used a similar way of thinking to study AI environments, leading to a unique reframing of AI problems in geometric terms.

Dr. Thomas Burns, a Ph.D. graduate and Visiting Researcher at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST), and Dr. Robert Tang, a mathematician at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University and a former post-doctoral researcher at OIST, wanted to study AI systems from a geometric perspective to more accurately represent their properties.

Continue reading “Enter the gridworld: Using geometry to detect danger in AI environments” »

Feb 28, 2024

Scientists Develop Method To Cool One of the World’s Hottest Cities by 8°F

Posted by in categories: climatology, materials

A recent study from UNSW Sydney demonstrates that significant reductions in the temperatures of major cities located in hot desert climates can be achieved alongside decreases in energy expenses.

The findings, recently published in Nature Cities, detail a multi-faceted strategy to cool Saudi Arabia’s capital city by up to 4.5°C, combining highly reflective ‘super cool’ building materials developed by the High-Performance Architecture Lab with irrigated greenery and energy retrofitting measures. The study, which was conducted in collaboration with the Royal Commission of Riyadh, is the first to investigate the large-scale energy benefits of modern heat mitigation technologies when implemented in a city.

“The project demonstrates the tremendous impact advanced heat mitigation technologies and techniques can have to reduce urban overheating, decrease cooling needs, and improve lives,” says UNSW Scientia Professor Mattheos (Mat) Santamouris, Anita Lawrence Chair in High-Performance Architecture and senior author of the study.

Feb 28, 2024

Beyond Moore’s Law: New Strategy for Developing Highly Versatile Electronics With Outstanding Performance Discovered

Posted by in categories: computing, economics, nanotechnology

The miniaturization of electronic components, including transistors, has hit a plateau, presenting obstacles in the production of semiconductors. Nonetheless, a group of researchers, led by experts in materials science from the City University of Hong Kong (CityUHK), has unveiled a novel approach for creating highly versatile and high-performing electronics using transistors made of mixed-dimensional nanowires and nanoflakes. This breakthrough facilitates easier chip circuitry design and promotes the development of future electronic devices that are both flexible and energy-efficient.

In recent decades, as the continuous scaling of transistors and integrated circuits has started to reach physical and economic limits, fabricating semiconductor devices in a controllable and cost-effective manner has become challenging. Further scaling of transistor size increases current leakage and thus power dissipation. Complex wiring networks also have an adverse impact on power consumption.

Multivalued logic (MVL) has emerged as a promising technology for overcoming increasing power consumption. It transcends the limitations of conventional binary logic systems by greatly reducing the number of transistor components and their interconnections, enabling higher information density and lower power dissipation. Significant efforts have been devoted to constructing various multivalued logic devices, including anti-ambipolar transistors (AAT).

Feb 28, 2024

The Altermagnetism Breakthrough: A New Dimension of Magnetism Explored

Posted by in categories: innovation, materials

Researchers at Mainz University have been able to visualize the third class of magnetism, called altermagnetism, in action.

Ferromagnetism and antiferromagnetism have long been known to scientists as two classes of magnetic order of materials. Back in 2019, researchers at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) postulated a third class of magnetism, called altermagnetism. This altermagnetism has been the subject of heated debate among experts ever since, with some expressing doubts about its existence.

Recently, a team of experimental researchers led by Professor Hans-Joachim Elmers at JGU was able to measure for the first time at DESY (Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron) an effect that is considered to be a signature of altermagnetism, thus providing evidence for the existence of this third type of magnetism. The research results were published in Science Advances.

Feb 28, 2024

Beyond Binary: The Light-Driven Computing Revolution

Posted by in categories: computing, mapping

Researchers develop a computer from an array of VCSELs with optical feedback.

In our data-driven era, solving complex problems efficiently is crucial. However, traditional computers often struggle with this task when dealing with a large number of interacting variables, leading to inefficiencies such as the von Neumann bottleneck. A new type of collective state computing has emerged to address this issue by mapping these optimization problems onto something called the Ising problem in magnetism.

Understanding the Ising Problem.

Feb 28, 2024

MIT’s Wearable Ultrasound Sticker Monitors Health of Deep Internal Organs

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health, wearables

MIT ’s ultrasound sticker enables continuous monitoring of organ stiffness, revolutionizing the early detection of diseases such as liver and kidney failure.

MIT engineers have developed a small ultrasound sticker that can monitor the stiffness of organs deep inside the body. The sticker, about the size of a postage stamp, can be worn on the skin and is designed to pick up on signs of disease, such as liver and kidney failure and the progression of solid tumors.

In an open-access study published recently in Science Advances, the team reports that the sensor can send sound waves through the skin and into the body, where the waves reflect off internal organs and back out to the sticker. The pattern of the reflected waves can be read as a signature of organ rigidity, which the sticker can measure and track.

Feb 28, 2024

Unlocking the Mysteries of Rainfall With FY-3G, Earth’s New Eye in the Sky

Posted by in categories: chemistry, energy, satellites

Measuring the precise quantity of rainfall in a particular area is straightforward when there is equipment specifically designed to accurately capture and relay precipitation data. However, quantifying and identifying the types of precipitation across all locations on Earth presents significant logistical challenges.

Importantly, this information could provide a wealth of data for characterizing and predicting Earth’s water, energy, and biogeochemical cycles. Researchers from China recently deployed a satellite, FengYun 3G (FY-3G), that is successfully collecting Earth precipitation data from space.

Feb 28, 2024

Photon Detectors Rewrite the Rules of Quantum Computing

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

Scientists achieve breakthrough in quantum optics with photon detector-based method, paving the way for improved quantum computing.

Scientists at Paderborn University have used a new method to determine the characteristics of optical, i.e. light-based, quantum states. For the first time, they are using certain photon detectors — devices that can detect individual light particles — for so-called homodyne detection. The ability to characterize optical quantum states makes the method an essential tool for quantum information processing. Precise knowledge of the characteristics is important for use in quantum computers, for example. The results have now been published in the specialist journal Optica Quantum.

Advancements in Homodyne Detection.

Feb 28, 2024

China issues world’s 1st legally binding verdict on copyright infringement of AI-generated images

Posted by in categories: business, internet, robotics/AI

China ruled on a case of infringement of copyright by an AI-generated service, the first effective ruling of its kind globally, which provided a judicial answer to the dilemma of whether the content generated by AI service providers infringes on copyright, media reported on Monday.

According to the 21st Century Business Herald, the Guangzhou Internet Court ruled that the an AI company had infringed the plaintiff’s copyright and adaptation rights to the Ultraman works in the process of providing generative AI services, and should bear relevant civil liability.

The protagonist of this case was the super IP Ultraman. In this case, the copyright owner of the “Ultraman” works exclusively authorized the copyright of the series images to the plaintiff, while the defendant company operated a website, providing services with AI conversation and AI-generated painting functions.

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