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Sep 18, 2018

High blood pressure breakthrough: Over 500 genes uncovered

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

The world’s largest genetic study of hypertension finds that the number of genetic loci involved is three times larger than previously thought.

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Sep 18, 2018

DARPA Announces $2 Billion Campaign to Develop Next Wave of AI Technologies

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, military, robotics/AI

Over its 60-year history, DARPA has played a leading role in the creation and advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies that have produced game-changing capabilities for the Department of Defense. Starting in the 1960s, DARPA research shaped the first wave of AI technologies, which focused on handcrafted knowledge, or rule-based systems capable of narrowly defined tasks. While a critical step forward for the field, these systems were fragile and limited. Starting in the 1990s, DARPA helped usher in a second wave of AI machine learning technologies that created statistical pattern recognizers from large amounts of data. The agency’s funding of natural language understanding, problem solving, navigation and perception technologies has led to the creation of self-driving cars, personal assistants, and near-natural prosthetics, in addition to a myriad of critical and valuable military and commercial applications. However, these second wave AI technologies are dependent on large amounts of high quality training data, do not adapt to changing conditions, offer limited performance guarantees, and are unable to provide users with explanations of their results.

To address the limitations of these first and second wave AI technologies, DARPA seeks to explore new theories and applications that could make it possible for machines to adapt to changing situations. DARPA sees this next generation of AI as a third wave of technological advance, one of contextual adaptation. To better define a path forward, DARPA is announcing today a multi-year investment of more than $2 billion in new and existing programs called the “AI Next” campaign. Agency director, Dr. Steven Walker, officially unveiled the large-scale effort during closing remarks today at DARPA’s D60 Symposium taking place Wednesday through Friday at the Gaylord Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland.

“With AI Next, we are making multiple research investments aimed at transforming computers from specialized tools to partners in problem-solving,” said Dr. Walker. “Today, machines lack contextual reasoning capabilities, and their training must cover every eventuality, which is not only costly, but ultimately impossible. We want to explore how machines can acquire human-like communication and reasoning capabilities, with the ability to recognize new situations and environments and adapt to them.”

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Sep 18, 2018

This Experiment Will Shoot Ghostly Particles Through Earth, Answer Why We Exist

Posted by in category: particle physics

The study of the subatomic world has revolutionized our understanding of the laws of the universe and given humanity unprecedented insights into deep questions. Historically, these questions have been in the philosophical realm: How did the universe come into existence? Why is the universe the way it is? Why is there something, instead of nothing?

Well, move over philosophy, because science has made a crucial step in building the equipment that will help us answer questions like these. And it involves shooting ghostly particles called neutrinos literally through the Earth over a distance of 800 miles (nearly 1,300 kilometers) from one physics lab to another.

An international group of physicists has announced that they have seen the first signals in a cube-shaped detector called ProtoDUNE. This is a very big stepping stone in the DUNE experiment, which will be America’s flagship particle physics research program for the next two decades. ProtoDUNE, which is the size of a three-story house, is a prototype of the much larger detectors that will be used in the DUNE experiment and today’s (Sept. 18) announcement demonstrates that the technology that was selected works. [The 18 Biggest Unsolved Mysteries in Physics].

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Sep 18, 2018

Modified superconductor synapse reveals exotic electron behavior

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

Electrons tend to avoid one another as they go about their business carrying current. But certain devices, cooled to near zero temperature, can coax these loner particles out of their shells. In extreme cases, electrons will interact in unusual ways, causing strange quantum entities to emerge.

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Sep 18, 2018

Artist uses her brainwaves to manipulate water – the power of human emotion

Posted by in category: neuroscience

The power of human emotion!

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Sep 18, 2018

Incredible strength of ‘nuclear pasta’ revealed in new simulations

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics

Researchers from Indiana University and the California Institute of Technology say the new simulations could help us better understand major astrophysical phenomena, such as gravitational waves.

‘The strength of the neutron star crust, especially the bottom of the crust, is relevant to a large number of astrophysics problems, but isn’t well understood,’ says Matthew Caplan, a postdoctoral research fellow at McGill University.

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Sep 18, 2018

Does IBM Have The Quantum Advantage?

Posted by in categories: computing, quantum physics

At the latest TechCrunch Disrupt conference IBM provided a visionary speech on the future of compute using quantum computing. IBM Research COO Dario Gil gave a very cogent description of quantum computing and how it will change the computing landscape in the near future.

Quantum computing is a very complex and esoteric technology to try to explain to an audience of entrepreneurs and developers looking to raise money for the next Snapchat. Interestingly enough, there was a quantum computing start up at Disrupt, Rigetti Computing, pitching a quantum computing cloud service. IBM introduced its quantum computing cloud service in May 2016.

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Sep 18, 2018

Representing a “revolution”: how the popular press has portrayed personalized medicine

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

This study investigated the portrayal of “personalized” and “precision” medicine (PM) in North American news over the past decade. Content analysis of print and online news was conducted to determine how PM has been defined and to identify the frames used to discuss PM, including associated topics, benefits, and concerns.

A data set was built using the FACTIVA database, searching for popular North American publications with the terms “personalized (personalised) medicine” and/or “precision medicine” from 1 January 2005 to 15 March 2016. The final set of publications totaled 774.

PM is almost exclusively defined as related to genetics and is often part of a story related to cancer. The PM story is overwhelmingly one of highlighting (potential) benefits and optimism, especially in shorter publications, and ones where PM is not the main focus. This promotional PM discourse has remained fairly consistent over the past decade.

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Sep 18, 2018

Reimagining of Schrödinger’s cat breaks quantum mechanics — and stumps physicists

Posted by in category: quantum physics

In a multi-‘cat’ experiment, the textbook interpretation of quantum theory seems to lead to contradictory pictures of reality, physicists claim.

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Sep 18, 2018

Quantum theory cannot consistently describe the use of itself

Posted by in category: quantum physics

Quantum mechanics is expected to provide a consistent description of reality, even when recursively describing systems contained in each other. Here, the authors develop a variant of Wigner’s friend Gedankenexperiment where each of the current interpretations of QM fails in giving a consistent description.

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