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Apr 27, 2016

Can AI fix education? We asked Bill Gates

Posted by in categories: education, mobile phones, robotics/AI

Bill Gates on personalized learning, AI in education.

The rise of smartphones has transformed the way students communicate and entertain themselves. But the classrooms they spend so much of their time in remain stubbornly resistant to transformation. On one hand, technology has long had a home in classrooms — I learned to type on an Apple IIe in the late 1980s. But for most schools, the approach to teaching remains stubbornly one-size-fits-all: a single teacher delivering the same message to a group of about 30 students, regardless of their individual progress.

Bill Gates is working to change all that. Through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Microsoft’s co-founder and chairman has invested more than $240 million to date in a developing field known as “personalized learning.” It’s a diffuse set of initiatives, led mostly by private companies, to develop software that creates individual lesson plans for students based on their performance, coaching them through trouble spots until they have mastered the subject at hand. Teachers still play a central role in the classroom, but they do less lecturing and more one-on-one coaching.

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Apr 27, 2016

Genetics startup Twist Bioscience is working with Microsoft to store the world’s data in DNA

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, business, genetics, information science

“[Using DNA,] you could fit all the knowledge in the whole world inside the trunk of your car,” Twist Bioscience CEO Emily Leproust told TechCrunch.

Twist Bioscience, a startup making and using synthetic DNA to store digital data, just struck a contract with Microsoft and the University of Washington to encode vast amounts of information on synthetic genes.

Big data means business and the company able to gather a lot of it is very valuable to investors and stockholders. But that data needs to be stored somewhere and can cost a lot for the upkeep.

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Apr 27, 2016

Approaching the Unknown: Movie Trailer

Posted by in categories: entertainment, space travel

Captain William D. Stanaforth (Mark Strong) is on a one-way solo mission, taking humanity’s first steps toward colonizing Mars. Although the entire world is watching him, he is completely alone in a dark and distant sea of stars. Stanaforth rockets bravely through space facing insurmountable odds, but as the journey takes a toll on his life-sustaining systems, he is forced to make impossible choices that threaten his sanity, mission and very existence.

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Apr 27, 2016

Supermassive black holes and dark matter create space ‘tunnels’, Lancaster university says

Posted by in categories: cosmology, particle physics

Dr Konstantinos Dimopoulos, a physicist at the University of Lancaster, believes that at the centre of some galaxies – where densely packed gas and dust burns incredibly brightly around a supermassive black hole – powerful magnetic fields which fire out from the jets of the black holes could affect the properties of dark matter.

As the burning galactic nucleus churns, Dr Dimopoulos claim that one type of dark matter in particular, made of theoretical particles called axions, would be affected.

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Apr 27, 2016

SpaceX Photo

Posted by in category: space travel

SpaceX is planning to send Dragons to Mars as early as 2018. Red Dragon missions will help inform the overall Mars architecture that will be unveiled later this year.

These missions will help demonstrate the technologies needed to land large payloads propulsively on Mars.

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Apr 27, 2016

Squad X Program Envisions Dismounted Infantry Squads of the Future

Posted by in categories: innovation, military

“Through Squad X, we want to vastly improve dismounted squad effectiveness in all domains by integrating new and existing technologies into systems that squads can bring with them,” said Maj. Christopher Orlowski, DARPA program manager. “The squad is the formation with the greatest potential for impact and innovation, while having the lowest barrier to entry for experimentation and system development. The lessons we learn and the technology we create could not only transform dismounted squads’ capabilities, but also eventually help all warfighters more intuitively understand and control their complex mission environments.”

Squad X intends to combine off-the-shelf technologies and new capabilities under development through DARPA’s Squad X Core Technologies (SXCT) program, which was launched specifically to develop novel technologies that Squad X could integrate into user-friendly systems. SXCT shares Squad X’s overarching goal of ensuring that Soldiers and Marines maintain uncontested tactical superiority over potential adversaries by exploring capabilities in four areas: precision engagement, non-kinetic engagement, squad sensing and squad autonomy. In an important step toward that goal, SXCT recently awarded Phase 1 contracts to nine organizations.

The U.S. Army, U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps have expressed interest in future Squad X capabilities and plan to support the experimentation efforts with testing in simulated operational environments as the program progresses.

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Apr 27, 2016

Estonian firm prints 3D customised model of you

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, robotics/AI

You need multiple clones of yourself as a humanoid robots created from your own 3D printer; we may be well on our way with this announcement.

An unusual egg-shaped booth in Tallinn’s Seaplane Harbour is where a small team of Estonian engineers is testing its new invention.

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Apr 27, 2016

Brain’s ‘thesaurus’ mapped to help decode inner thoughts

Posted by in category: neuroscience

What if a map of the brain could help us decode people’s inner thoughts?

Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have taken a step in that direction by building a “semantic atlas” that shows in vivid colors and multiple dimensions how the organizes language. The atlas identifies brain areas that respond to words that have similar meanings.

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Apr 27, 2016

You don’t need a brain to learn, scientists found

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Talk about changing everything that we thought about the brain and learning.

A new study from the University of Toulouse found that intelligence and learning aren’t limited to organisms with brains. By studying the mold Physarum polycephalum they found it can, over time, learn to navigate even irritating environments.

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Apr 27, 2016

Troubled Times Ahead for Supercomputers

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, information science, military, supercomputing

Supercomputer facing problems?

In the world of High Performance Computing (HPC), supercomputers represent the peak of capability, with performance measured in petaFLOPs (1015 operations per second). They play a key role in climate research, drug research, oil and gas exploration, cryptanalysis, and nuclear weapons development. But after decades of steady improvement, changes are coming as old technologies start to run into fundamental problems.

When you’re talking about supercomputers, a good place to start is the TOP500 list. Published twice a year, it ranks the world’s fastest machines based on their performance on the Linpack benchmark, which solves a dense system of linear equations using double precision (64 bit) arithmetic.

Looking down the list, you soon run into some numbers that boggle the mind. The Tianhe-2 (Milky Way-2), a system deployed at the National Supercomputer Center in Guangzho, China, is the number one system as of November 2015, a position it’s held since 2013. Running Linpack, it clocks in at 33.86 × 1015 floating point operations per second (33.86 PFLOPS).

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