A turbo engine for tracing neurons

A turbo engine for tracing neurons
Putting a turbo engine into an old car gives it an entirely new life -- suddenly it can go further, faster. That same idea is now being applied to neuroscience, with a software wrapper that can be used on existing neuron tracing algorithms to boost their ability to handle not just big, but enormous sets of data. The wrapper, called UltraTracer, is highlighted this month in Nature Methods. "In trying to uncover the diversity of neuron shapes, scale is a very large and increasingly pressing proble…
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Looking for the quantum frontier

Looking for the quantum frontier
A team of researchers from Australia and the UK have developed a new theoretical framework to identify computations that occupy the 'quantum frontier' -- the boundary at which problems become impossible for today's computers and can only be solved by a quantum computer. Importantly, they demonstrate that these computations can be performed with near-term, intermediate, quantum computers. "Until recently it has been difficult to say definitively when quantum computers can outperform classical com…
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New method addresses reproducibility in computational experiments

New method addresses reproducibility in computational experiments
Scientists have developed a workflow management system that addresses irreproducibility when analyzing large genomics datasets with computers. Nextflow contributes to establishing good scientific practices and provides an important framework for those research projects where the analysis of large datasets are used to take decisions, for example, in precision medicine. Research reproducibility is crucial to move forward in science. Unfortunately, and according to recent studies and surveys, the n…
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Monitoring troubles of the heart

Monitoring troubles of the heart
Your partner comes in and slams a door. What was that about? Something you did? What if you knew to anticipate it because you were notified in advance from an automated text message that he/she didn't have a great day at work? Might that change the dynamic of your interactions? You had a bad day. The last thing you need is to get into an argument when you get home because your partner also had a bad day. What if technology could automatically send you a notification advising you to do a short me…
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Helping students learn by sketching

Helping students learn by sketching
Although sketching exercises can help students learn many subjects, they are woefully underused in classrooms. "Sketches are difficult and time-consuming to grade," said Northwestern University's Ken Forbus. "Intelligent tutoring systems, which enable students to receive feedback on their work anywhere and anytime, rarely are capable of understanding sketches." Forbus, Walter P. Murphy Professor of Computer Science in Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering, and his team have developed a …
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Tool for checking complex computer architectures reveals flaws in emerging design

Tool for checking complex computer architectures reveals flaws in emerging design
With backing from some of the largest technology companies, a major project called RISC-V seeks to facilitate open-source design for computer chips, offering the possibility of opening chip designs beyond the few firms that dominate the space. As the project moves toward a formal release, researchers at Princeton University have discovered a series of errors in the RISC-V instruction specification that now are leading to changes in the new system. The researchers, testing a technique they create…
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Algorithms can exploit human perception in graph design

Algorithms can exploit human perception in graph design
Algorithms can now exploit models and measures of human perception to generate scatterplot designs. Scatterplots are widely used in various disciplines and areas beyond sciences to visually communicate relationships between two data variables. Yet, very few users realize the effect the visual design of scatterplots can have on the human perception and understanding. Moreover, default designs of scatterplots often represent the data poorly, and manually fine tuning the design is difficult. Resear…
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Software system connects devices for the Internet of Things

Software system connects devices for the Internet of Things
The Internet of Things is steadily progressing: not only computers, but also machines, cars and household appliances are connected. Linking devices from different manufacturers is proving to be difficult. Researchers from the University of Kaiserslautern have found a solution: they are developing a user-friendly software system that connects devices from different manufacturers. The user can decide who has access. The system is ideal for companies, private households, as well as traffic systems …
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Android apps can conspire to mine information from your smartphone

Android apps can conspire to mine information from your smartphone
Mobile phones have increasingly become the repository for the details that drive our everyday lives. But Virginia Tech researchers have recently discovered that the same apps we regularly use on our phones to organize lunch dates, make convenient online purchases, and communicate the most intimate details of our existence have secretly been colluding to mine our information. Associate Professor Daphne Yao and Assistant Professor Gang Wang, both in the Department of Computer Science in Virginia T…
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Deep learning algorithm created that could boost drug development

Deep learning algorithm created that could boost drug development
Artificially intelligent algorithms can learn to identify amazingly subtle information, enabling them to distinguish between people in photos or to screen medical images as well as a doctor. But in most cases their ability to perform such feats relies on training that involves thousands to trillions of data points. This means artificial intelligence doesn't work all that well in situations where there is very little data, such as drug development. Vijay Pande, professor of chemistry at Stanford …
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