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Algorithm automatically generates family trees

March 18, 2017 — Doctoral student Eric Malmi has developed a family tree algorithm called AncestryAI which looks for links between 5 million baptisms from the end of the 17th to the mid-19th century and partly to the beginning of the 20th century. The family tree algorithm automatically searches for a child's most probable parents and creates family trees based on this. The algorithm gives several options based on the parents' date and place of birth and similar names. The algorithm takes about half an hour to link all the records in the data. Visit the application here.

Watch, Attend and Spell has the potential to lip-read

March 18, 2017 — Watch, Attend and Spell (WAS) is a new artificial intelligence (AI) software system that has been developed by Oxford, in collaboration with the company DeepMind, and has the potential to lip-read more accurately than people to help those with hearing loss. The AI system uses computer vision and machine learning methods to learn how to lip-read from a dataset made up of more than 5,000 hours of TV footage, gathered from six different programmes including Newsnight, BBC Breakfast and Question Time. The videos contained more than 118,000 sentences in total, and a vocabulary of 17,500 words. Read more here.

multi-device system for handling emergencies

March 18, 2017 — Researchers from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid have presented a prototype of a multi-device system that can involve citizens in managing emergencies. The system, which can be used through a smart tabletop, can identify individuals in the area of the hazard and communicate directly with them. The ability of the system to distinguish between different types of agents, more or less reliable and more or less prepared to act, can support decision-making at the control center and can be used to envision sustainable policies of service co-production. Read more here.

RESEARCHERS CREATE BATTERIES FROM DIAMONDS AND NUCLEAR WASTE

March 14, 2017 — Researchers at the University of Bristol have created a battery by encapsulating nuclear waste within diamonds, providing a small but steady stream of electricity for, perhaps, thousands of years. Nuclear waste management costs tens of millions of dollars annually of taxpayer money in the U.S. alone. Such innovations could provide maintenance-free power for portable, low-power electronics. Read more about it here.

JIGSAW CREATES A MACHINE LEARNING-BASED COMMENT FILTER

March 11, 2017 — Jigsaw, a technology incubator within Alphabet, has developed a free new tool to help web publishers identify toxic comments. Called Perspective, it rates comments on a scale of 0 to 100 depending on toxicity level of the comment. Web publishers can then simply choose to remove comments above a certain level of toxicity. Read more here.

Studying the origins of altruism

March 10, 2017 — A computer-based environment has been developed with the aim to shed light on the origins of altruism. This new study immersed participants in a virtual environment that reproduced a building on fire which they had to evacuate in a hurry, deciding whether to save their lives or interrupt their escape and help rescue an injured person. The results showed that altruistic individuals self-reported to have greater concern for others’ wellbeing and had larger right anterior insula compared to non-altruists. Read more here.

FIRST EVER QUANTUM COMPUTER FACE-OFF YIELDS INCONCLUSIVE RESULTS

March 4, 2017 — In a recent study, a quantum computer built at the University of Maryland was matched against another quantum computer built by IBM in an algorithm-crunching exercise. The result was inconclusive as one was faster while the other was more reliable. The positive takeaway was that, for the first time, two quantum computers were compared and tested on the same parameters. The two computers used dramatically different technologies. Read more here.

high-throughput computing resources to refine knee surgical procedures

March 3, 2017 — Darryl Thelen, Harvey D. Spangler Professor in mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, conducts research while using computational models of the musculoskeletal system and high-throughput computing resources to refine knee surgical procedures. OpenSim software, a freely distributed open source software package developed under a Biocomputing grant from the National Institutes of Health is used to investigate joint contact pressures by simulating movements such as walking, running and stair climbing in his research. Read the report here.

framework to understand future terrorist behaviors

March 3, 2017 — In an attempt to uncover the intentions of terrorists, government agencies are now more carefully utilizing technologies for planning and preparing for attacks. Researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New York have built a framework that is able to understand future terrorist behaviors by recognizing patterns in past attacks. The proposed Networked Pattern Recognition (NEPAR) framework, by defining the useful patterns of attacks to understand behaviors, to analyze patterns and connections in terrorist activity, to predict terrorists' future moves, finally, prevents and detects potential terrorist behaviors. Read the report here.

organic artificial synapse to recreate human brain

February 25, 2017 — For all the improvements in computer technology over the years, we still struggle to recreate the low-energy, elegant processing of the human brain. A new organic artificial synapse could support computers that better recreate the way the human brain processes information. It could also lead to improvements in brain-machine technologies. Find the report here.

first collision for Industry Security Standard SHA-1

February 25, 2017 — Researchers at CWI and Google jointly announced that they have broken the SHA-1 internet security standard in practice. The industry standard, used for digital signatures, file integrity verification and for securing credit card transactions, electronic documents, GIT open-source software repositories and software distribution, though deprecated by NIST in 2011 after exposed weaknesses is still in use. They successfully broke the industry standard SHA-1 using a so-called collision attack. Read the complete release here.

Can a computer care for the creatures you love?

February 25, 2017 — For scientists who monitor endangered species, sedating and capturing animals are tried-and-true methods to count and track individuals in a given population—along with photography and experts’ sharp eyes. Biologists and computer scientists at Michigan State University have built a facial recognition system, called LemurFaceID, which with a little training, correctly identified individuals in a set of red-bellied lemur photos with 98 percent accuracy. Read more here.

ALGORITHMS MAY LEAD TO LOSS IN HUMAN JUDGEMENT, SAYS REPORT

February 21, 2017 — A new report by the Pew Research Center and Elon University's Imagining the Internet Center concluded that algorithms and advances in technology can lead to loss in human judgment. The report included responses from 1,300 technology experts, scholars, businesspeople, and government officials. Their responses suggest they feel humanity and human judgment are lost when data and predictive modeling become paramount, and that as algorithms take on human responsibilities, and essentially begin to create themselves, “humans may get left out of the loop. Read more here.

SELF LOCATING AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES NOW A REALITY

February 17, 2017 — Researchers at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering are making a critical machine-to-machine handshake possible with onboard artificial intelligence technology in autonomous vehicles to be able to link them to highly detailed maps that reflect every change in the status of lanes, hazards, obstacles, and speed-limits in real time. They are developing a deep learning system that will allow self-driving cars to navigate, maneuver, and respond to changing road conditions by mating data from onboard sensors to information on HERE HD Live Map, a cloud-based service for automated driving. Read more here.

PRINTING INTEGRATED CIRCUITS

February 17, 2017 — Engineering researchers at Michigan State University have developed the first stretchable integrated circuit that is made entirely using an inkjet printer, raising the possibility of inexpensive mass production of smart fabric. The smart fabric is made up of several materials fabricated from nanomaterials and organic compounds. These compounds are dissolved in solution to produce different electronic inks, which are run through the printer to make the devices. Read more here.

SPACEX HYPERLOOP POD COMPETITION TAKES TO THE TRACK

February 14, 2017 — The second phase of SpaceX's Hyperloop competition included 27 competing teams testing fully functional pods at the company's facility in Hawthorne, CA. SpaceX had invited them to build prototype vehicles for Hyperloop, its proposed mode of passenger and freight transportation that propels a pod-like vehicle through a near-vacuum tube at greater-than-airline speed. The Delft Hyperloop team from the Delft University of Technology scored the highest overall score. The next phase of the competition is scheduled for later this year. Read more about Hyperloop here.

FIVE GOOGLE LUNAR XPRIZE FINALISTS TO ATTEMPT MOON LANDING THIS YEAR

February 11, 2017 — The $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE is a competition to challenge and inspire engineers, entrepreneurs, and innovators from around the world to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration, sending the first private spacecraft to the surface of the Moon. Out of the initial 16 contestant teams, five—SpaceIL, Moon Express, Synergy Moon, Team Indus, and Hakuto—are officially moving forward into the competition’s final stretch. The finalists are based in various countries, including India, Israel, Japan, and the U.S., as well as an international team. The competitors have until the end of the year to launch their spacecraft. Visit the XPRIZE website here.

spectrometry to detect harmful cells in the body

February 10, 2017 — A special spectrometry method that is normally used in analyses of computer chips, lacquers and metals has been further developed so that it can help researchers better detect harmful cells in the body at University of Gothenburg.The refined mass spectrometry method also reveals that the area where the cancer tumour was found and displays a variety of lipid profiles. Find more here.

governing traffic flow in engineered and biological systems

February 10, 2017 — Deciding on how to route information fairly and efficiently through a distributed system with no central authority was a priority for the Internet’s founders, based on which a discovery from Salk Institute shows that an algorithm used for the Internet is also at work in the human brain, an insight that improves our understanding of engineered and neural networks and potentially even learning disabilities. Read more here.

human brain inspires deep learning method

February 6, 2017 — In an attempt to uncover the semisupervised learning algorithm implemented by the neural circuits in the visual cortex and how that relates to the theory of deep learning, neuroscientists and artificial intelligence experts from Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine have taken inspiration from the human brain in creating a new deep learning method that enables computers to learn about the visual world largely on their own, much as human babies do.  Read more here.

artificial player that excels at the arcade game Ms Pac-Man

February 6, 2017 — Engineers at Cornell have developed an AI that has managed the highest score in the game Ms Pac-Man. Indications seem to be that the project will be revisited further down the line. Professor Silvia Ferrari has stated that they would improve their artificial player by allowing it to learn from its own mistakes as it plays more games. Read more here.

AI BEATS WORLD’S BEST POKER PLAYERS

February 5, 2017 — Libratus, an artificial intelligence program developed at Carnegie Mellon University, beat four human players in a poker marathon lasting 20 days. In a similar tournament in 2015, the humans won. The algorithms behind Libratus can also take information and output a strategy in a range of non-poker-playing scenarios, including negotiation, finance, medical treatment, and cyber security. Read more here.

SCIENTISTS TEST THE MOST POWERFUL LASER ON EARTH

February 3, 2017 — A team of British and Czech scientists successfully tested a “super laser” they claim is 10 times more powerful than any other of its kind on Earth. The so-called super laser, developed by Britain’s Central Laser Facility and the Czech Institute of Physics’ high average power pulsed laser, or HiLASE, has a 1,000-watt average power output, a benchmark of sustained high-energy pulses. The super laser has potential for hardening metal surfaces, processing semiconductors, and micro-machining material. Nicknamed “Bivoj,” after a Hercules-like hero in Czech mythology, it weighs approximately 20 ton and costs $48 million.Read about it here.

BACTERIA POWERED BATTERY ON A PAPER SHEET

January 29, 2017 — Researchers at Binghamton University in New York have created a bacteria-powered battery on a single sheet of paper. The project is aimed at creating batteries for disposable microelectronics that can run for weeks using bacteria-rich liquid. The battery generates power through cellular respiration, and a configuration of six such batteries can generate 31.51 microwatts at 125.53 microamps. The manufacturing technique developed by the researchers reduces fabrication time and cost, and the design could revolutionize the use of bio-batteries as a power source in remote, dangerous, and resource-limited areas.Read more here.

RESEARCHERS DEVELOP BATTERY WITH BUILT-IN FIRE EXTINGUISHER

January 28, 2017 — Researchers at Stanford University have designed a lithium-ion battery that contains a fire-extinguishing material to be released if the battery gets too hot. Triphenyl phosphate (TPP), a flame retardant, sits inside a shell that melts when the temperature reaches 150°C, releasing the triphenyl phosphate. Previous attempts to incorporate TPP inside batteries without the shell have hampered battery performance. In tests, battery fires were extinguished in 0.4 seconds. Read the research article here.

helping heart patients to take their medications correctly

January 27, 2017 — A tablet computer application, called MyIDEA - My Interventional Drug-Eluting Stent Education App, was developed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago to help heart patients with drug-eluting stents to take their medications correctly. The app uses a patient-centered narrative to help patients understand the importance of taking their medication The educational application is set to be tailored to patients by incorporating their own health information, from symptoms and treatment to care team information. Find more here.

ALGORITHM TO DIAGNOSE SKIN CANCER

January 27, 2017 — In hopes of creating better access to medical care, researchers at Stanford University have trained an algorithm to diagnose skin cancer. They made a database of nearly 130,000 skin disease images and trained the algorithm to visually diagnose potential cancer. From the very first test, it performed with inspiring accuracy. Although this algorithm currently exists on a computer, the team would like to make it smartphone compatible in the near future, bringing reliable skin cancer diagnoses to our fingertips. Read more here.

IBM PREDICTS 5 LIFE-CHANGING INNOVATIONS OVER NEXT 5 YEARS

January 26, 2017 — IBM, known for making bold predictions about the future, announced a "5 in 5" list, highlighting the five technology innovations it thinks will have the greatest effect on human lives over the next five years.The company predicts we will see significant developments in AI technology, ultra-powerful telescopes, smart sensors, and medical devices—with benefits ranging from healthcare and the environment to our understanding of the Earth and the Universe itself. All these predictions are based on technology and research developments happening right now. Watch the videos here.

ADOBE WORKING ON VOICE-CONTROLLED PICTURE EDITOR

January 21, 2017 — Adobe Research is working on "intelligent digital assistant photo editing" that interacts with the user and helps crop, reframe, and share the picture entirely through voice commands. Users with limited photo editing skills, limited mobility, or no access to desktop Adobe services could greatly benefit from the digital assistant if it becomes capable of recognizing natural voice commands with accuracy. The software isn’t real at the moment, but it’s certainly an interesting idea. Adobe says it is “a first step towards a robust multimodal voice-based interface which allows our creative customers to search and edit images in an easy and engaging way using Adobe mobile applications”. Watch the demo video here.

Framework to improve cyber physical systems

January 20, 2017   However streamlined as cyber-physical systems may appear, the technology developed within manufacturing systems are not designed to accommodate it. To change that, researchers banded together from Michigan Technological University, Boston University, University of California, Berkeley, and University of California, Riverside to lay the groundwork for better design in cyber-physical systems. They are trying to decipher that whether a durable design methodology, such as the design flow, will emerge for cyber-physical systems. The answer, they say, depends on how well cross-disciplinary teams learn to manage heterogeneous and dynamic technologies across large scales while accounting for human users. Read here.

using heart's electrical pattern as encryption key

January 20, 2017   Researchers at Binghamton University have devised a new way to protect personal electronic health records using a patient's own heartbeat. Traditional security measures like cryptography or encryption can be expensive, time-consuming, and computing-intensive. Binghamton researchers encrypted patient data using a person's unique electrocardiograph (ECG), a measurement of the electrical activity of the heart measured by a biosensor attached to the skin, as the key to lock and unlock the files. Find the report here.

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT CALLS FOR ROBOT RULES

January 18, 2017   The members of the European Parliament think that it is essential to establish comprehensive rules about artificial intelligence and robots. The parliament thinks that we are on a threshold of a "new industrial revolution" and it has issued a report that looks into the need to create a legal status just for robots which would see them dubbed as “electronic persons”. Having their own legal status would mean that robots would have their own legal rights and obligations, including taking responsibility for autonomous decisions or independent interactions. Read the full report here.

gaming algorithm to enhance a DNA sequencing Android app

January 13, 2017   GelApp, developed by intern Jia-Zhi Sim under the supervision of Samuel Ken-En Gan and Hwee Kuan Lee at the A*STAR Bioinformatics Institute, analyzes and labels outputs from 'gel electrophoresis'—a common laboratory technique that separates and identifies molecules, such as DNA and proteins, by passing a sample through a gel under electric charge. They are now employing the Monte Carlo Tree Search algorithm, used to great effect in Google’s Alpha-Go, which is being trained using expertly labeled gel band images and then continues to learn from individual GelApp users according to their own laboratory set-up and inputs. Learn more here.

MACHINE LEARNING ALGORITHM To SOLVE THE AMBIGUITY Conundrum

January 13, 2017   In an attempt to disambiguate people with common names, two computer scientists from the School of Science at the Indiana University, Purdue University Indianapolis and a Purdue University doctoral student have developed a novel-machine learning method to provide better solutions to this perplexing problem. They report that the new method is an improvement on currently existing approaches of name disambiguation because the IUPUI method works on streaming data that enables the identification of previously unencountered common names. Read more here.

MARK ZUKERBERG UNVEILS HIS HOME AI JARVIS

January 11, 2017   Facebook co-founder Mark Zukerberg published a video about an AI that he developed in 2016. The AI named Jarvis has powerful capabilities, like understanding natural language, face recognition, speech recognition, and many more features. The fundamental approach of the entire AI system is the use of pattern matching techniques in some form or another. A central feature of Jarvis is to associate the context with commands given by the user. This is critical for proper interpretation of the instruction. The AI responds to open-ended user requests such as "play me some music" by analyzing the user's past behavior. Jarvis improves itself whenever it makes a mistake and users correct it. Jarvis already has an iOS app and an Android app is in the making. Zukerberg plans to make the source code public soon. Read more about Jarvis here.
 

Baidu family robot a Chinese spin on Amazon Echo

January 10, 2017   In a year of conversational computing, Baidu released its robot called Xiaoyu Zaijia at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas ahead of its release in China later this year. While using voice to interact with computers that are able to essentially learn from experience was among the hot trends at CES, but unlike faceless Amazon Alexa or Google Home devices that rely on people asking for information or controlling devices by speaking, the device also features a touch-screen on top of its orb-shaped base. Read more here
 

SWITCHER TROJAN TARGETS ANDROID DEVICES

January 5, 2017   Kaspersky Lab experts have discovered a Trojan malware infecting Android devices. Called "Switcher", the malware targets Wi-Fi routers connected to the infected device and gains web administrator access. Switcher achieves this by a brute force attack on the web interface of the router. After the malware has obtained access to the router, it then changes the DNS server settings of the router so that all traffic from the router is directed through the attacker's server. All devices connected to the hacked router become susceptible to malware infections and phishing attacks. The malware is distributed as a fake clone of an Android client of the Baidu search engine. The rise of malware attacks like Switcher and Gooligan is raising serious concerns over the security of Android mobile OS, which runs on more than a billion devices today. Read more about Switcher here. 

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