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Apr 16, 2024

Identifying the Neural Bases of Math Competence Based on Structural and Functional Properties of the Human Brain

Posted by in categories: mathematics, robotics/AI

It is well known that the human brain is a complex system that comprises not only individual brain regions but also distributed neural networks. The human brain is efficiently organized by integrating information across various brain regions to minimize the cost of information processing while maximizing the overall efficiency of the brain networks. Modern neuroimaging techniques allow us to identify distinct local cortical regions and investigate large-scale neural networks underlying math competence both structurally and functionally. To gain insights into the neural bases of math competence, this review aims to find answers based on structural and functional properties of the human brain in both typical and atypical populations of children and adults. Specifically, for atypical populations, we will focus on individuals with math learning deficits. Math learning deficits are neurodevelopmental disorders that impair an individual’s ability to learn and perform math-related tasks. Dyscalculia is a specific type of math learning deficit that affects the development of arithmetical skills and other basic numerical skills (Kuhl, Sobotta, Legascreen Consortium, & Skeide, 2021; Kucian et al., 2014; Rykhlevskaia, Uddin, Kondos, & Menon, 2009). When reviewing findings from atypical population, we will focus on individuals with math learning deficits including those with dyscalculia.

As math competence encompasses many different skills, for studies involving adults, this review will selectively examine the neural bases of relatively complex math skills, such as evaluation of mathematical statements (e.g., “Any equilateral triangle can be divided into two right triangles”; Amalric & Dehaene, 2016, 2019). For studies involving children, we will also include fundamental math abilities such as arithmetic skills that are commensurate with the math skills young children master. However, basic number comprehension and number comparison skills are outside the scope of this review. Moreover, we will consider whether neural markers associated with math competence are unique to math or may be reflective of academic achievement and cognitive abilities more generally.

Apr 16, 2024

Frontiers: Most mathematical cognition research has focused on understanding normal adult function and child development as well as mildly and moderately impaired mathematical skill

Posted by in categories: mathematics, neuroscience

Often labeled developmental dyscalculia and/or mathematical learning disability. In contrast, much less research is available on cognitive and neural correlates of gifted/excellent mathematical knowledge in adults and children. In order to facilitate further inquiry into this area, here we review 40 available studies, which examine the cognitive and neural basis of gifted mathematics. Studies associated a large number of cognitive factors with gifted mathematics, with spatial processing and working memory being the most frequently identified contributors. However, the current literature suffers from low statistical power, which most probably contributes to variability across findings. Other major shortcomings include failing to establish domain and stimulus specificity of findings, suggesting causation without sufficient evidence and the frequent use of invalid backward inference in neuro-imaging studies. Future studies must increase statistical power and neuro-imaging studies must rely on supporting behavioral data when interpreting findings. Studies should investigate the factors shown to correlate with math giftedness in a more specific manner and determine exactly how individual factors may contribute to gifted math ability.

A disproportionately large amount of scientific advancement throughout history has occurred due to cognitively gifted individuals. However, we know surprisingly little about the cognitive structure supporting gifted mathematics. The current understanding is that human mathematical ability builds on an extensive network of cognitive skills and mathematics-specific knowledge, which are supported by motivational factors (Ansari, 2008; Beilock, 2008; Fias et al., 2013; Szűcs et al., 2014; Szűcs, 2016). To date, most psychological and neuroscience studies have examined potentially important factors only in children and adults with normal mathematics as well as in children with poor mathematical abilities (e.g., in children with mathematical learning disability or developmental dyscalculia). In contrast, those with high levels of mathematical giftedness received relatively little attention.

Apr 16, 2024

The Darwin Brain-Based Automata: Synthetic Neural Models and Real-World Devices

Posted by in category: neuroscience

DOI link for The Darwin Brain-Based Automata: Synthetic Neural Models and Real-World Devices.

The darwin brain-based automata: synthetic neural models and real-world devices.

Apr 16, 2024

Purple Bacteria: A Key to Finding Life Beyond Earth

Posted by in categories: alien life, information science

What should we look for when trying to find life beyond Earth? Should it be the familiar green and blue colors that we see thriving on our small, blue planet, or something else entirely? This is what a recent study published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society hopes to address as a team of researchers investigated how identifying purple colors on other worlds, as opposed to the aforementioned green and blue on Earth, could serve as an optimal method in the search for life beyond Earth since many bacteria exhibit purple pigmentation. This study holds the potential to help scientists better understand the criteria for identifying life beyond Earth, and specifically life as we don’t know it.

“Purple bacteria can thrive under a wide range of conditions, making it one of the primary contenders for life that could dominate a variety of worlds,” said Dr. Lígia Fonseca Coelho, a postdoctoral associate at the Carl Sagan Institute (CSI) and lead author of the study.

For the study, the researchers analyzed a myriad of purple sulfur and purple non-sulfur from various oxygenated and non-oxygenated environments with the goal of ascertaining how their physical properties compared with reflectance data derived from several Earth-sized exoplanets. In the end, they produced a data base that can be used to potentially locate purple-colored life on other worlds throughout the cosmos, including Earth analogs, water planets, frozen planets, and snowball planets. The goal of this data is to improve algorithms and additional search methods to identify purple colors instead of green, with the latter being the traditional search baseline.

Apr 16, 2024

The Next Frontier for Brain Implants Is Artificial Vision

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, cyborgs, Elon Musk

In 2021, he heard about a trial of a visual prosthesis at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Researchers cautioned that the device was experimental and he shouldn’t expect to regain the level of vision he had before. Still, he was intrigued enough to sign up. Thanks to the chips in his brain, Bussard now has very limited artificial vision—what he describes as “blips on a radar screen.” With the implant, he can perceive people and objects represented in white and iridescent dots.

Bussard is one of a small number of blind individuals around the world who have risked brain surgery to get a visual prosthesis. In Spain, researchers at Miguel Hernández University have implanted four people with a similar system. The trials are the culmination of decades of research.

There’s interest from industry, too. California-based Cortigent is developing the Orion, which has been implanted in six volunteers. Elon Musk’s Neuralink is also working on a brain implant for vision. In an X post in March, Musk said Neuralink’s device, called Blindsight, is “already working in monkeys.” He added: “Resolution will be low at first, like early Nintendo graphics, but ultimately may exceed normal human vision.”

Apr 16, 2024

Pea-Sized Human Brain Stimulator Invented

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

Summary: Researchers developed a groundbreaking pea-sized brain stimulator, the Digitally Programmable Over-brain Therapeutic (DOT), capable of wireless operation through magnetoelectric power transfer. This implantable device promises to revolutionize treatment for neurological and psychiatric disorders by enabling less invasive and more autonomous therapeutic options compared to traditional neurostimulation methods.

The DOT’s ability to stimulate the brain through the dura without implanted batteries represents a significant advancement in medical technology, offering potential treatments for conditions like drug-resistant depression directly from the comfort of one’s home. This innovation could change the landscape of how brain-related disorders are managed, emphasizing patient comfort and control.

Apr 16, 2024

AI-powered ‘digital twin’ of Earth could make weather predictions at super speeds

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, supercomputing

An AI-driven supercomputer dubbed Earth’s ‘digital twin’ could help us avoid the worst impacts of climate catastrophes headed our way.

Apr 16, 2024

Fusion to Warp Drive with a Hint of Antigravity

Posted by in categories: education, habitats, health, space travel

Jason Cassibry, Ph.D., explains his team’s research and experiments in the areas of fusion, warp drive and even a mention of antigravity propulsion. A mention is also made as to what happened to Ning Li (more on that in a subsequent video). This was a presentation to the Huntsville Alabama L5 Society, a chapter of the National Space Society. There is a lot of technical discussion with the audience who were almost all engineers and scientist.

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Apr 16, 2024

Quantum Systems: Potential Improvements and Future Developments

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

“Interfacing two key devices together is a crucial step forward in allowing quantum networking, and we are really excited to be the first team to have been able to demonstrate this,” said Dr. Sarah Thomas.

How close are we to making quantum computing a reality? This is what a recent study published in Science Advances hopes to address as an international team of researchers discuss recent progress in how quantum information is both stored and then transmitted over long distances using a quantum memory device, which scientists have attempted to develop for some time. This study holds the potential to help scientists better understand the processes responsible for not only making quantum computing a reality, but also enabling it to work as seamlessly as possible.

While traditional telecommunications technology uses “repeaters” to prevent the loss of information over long distances, quantum computing cannot use such technology since it will destroy quantum information along the way. While quantum computing uses photons (particles of light) to send information, storing the information using a quantum memory device for further dissemination has eluded researchers for some time. Therefore, to combat the problem of sending quantum information over long distances, two devices are required: the first will send the quantum information while the second will store them for later dissemination.

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Apr 16, 2024

A single atom layer of gold—researchers create goldene

Posted by in categories: chemistry, particle physics

For the first time, scientists have managed to create sheets of gold only a single atom layer thick. The material has been termed goldene. According to researchers from Linköping University, Sweden, this has given the gold new properties that can make it suitable for use in applications such as carbon dioxide conversion, hydrogen production, and production of value-added chemicals. Their findings are published in the journal Nature Synthesis.

Scientists have long tried to make single-atom-thick sheets of gold but failed because the metal’s tendency to lump together. But researchers from Linköping University have now succeeded thanks to a hundred-year-old method used by Japanese smiths.

“If you make a material extremely thin, something extraordinary happens—as with graphene. The same thing happens with gold. As you know, gold is usually a metal, but if single-atom-layer thick, the gold can become a semiconductor instead,” says Shun Kashiwaya, researcher at the Materials Design Division at Linköping University.

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